Brahmacharya – Its True Meaning and Significance

Brahmacharya has always been an integral part of the spiritual process. Sadhguru speaks about what brahmacharya is, and who a brahmachari is.
Importance of brahmacharya
 
The True Meaning of Brahmacharya
Why Brahmacharya Is Important
Why Brahmacharis Are Necessary
What Does the Path of Brahmacharya Involve?
A Not-So-Merry-Go-Round
Admitting Your Madness

The True Meaning of Brahmacharya

Sadhguru: “Brahman” means “the divine” or “ultimate,” “charya” means “the path.” If you are on the path of the divine, you are a brahmachari. To be on the path of the divine means you have no personal agendas of your own. You simply do what is needed. You have no personal ways of deciding where you should go in your life, what you should do, or what you like and dislike; all these things are simply taken away from you. If you do this unwillingly, it can be an absolute torture. If you do it willingly, it makes your life so wonderful and beautiful because there is nothing to bother you anymore. You simply do what is needed; life is so simple. Once you have given yourself like that, you do not have to bother about the spiritual path or worry about your spirituality. It is taken care of. You do not have to really do anything about it.

People may think a brahmachari is making a great sacrifice and is being denied life. But it is not so at all. If someone is a brahmachari only by dress, yes it is true, life is torture. But for a person who is truly walking the path of the divine, the petty pleasures that the world offers will become totally meaningless. Once you enjoy the inner pleasures of your being, the external pleasures become totally meaningless.

Everyone should become a brahmachari, not necessarily in terms of lifestyle, but internally.

For example, let’s say someone wants to climb Mount Everest. He prepares for years, probably for a lifetime. And then he is in the harshest climate, denying himself every pleasure of life, of comfort, family, society, and everything that people normally want to have. But do you really believe he is denying himself? Or is he making another possibility, which you can never imagine, real in his life? Anyone who has created anything worthwhile in their lives have naturally denied themselves a lot of simple pleasures that other people are having. Maybe you are not eating well, sleeping well, taking your afternoon nap, sitting with your wife or husband or having dinner with the family. But you deny yourself everything because you want to create something. Isn't that true with every man or woman who has created something worthwhile in their life? The same is true with brahmacharya. They are on the path of the ultimate. Because of that, their attention is not diverted to other things that people think are valuable.

My work as a Guru is just to give you a taste of that ultimate, so that your life goes into a tizzy and you want to go for it. You have had a taste, and now you cannot stop. You want to know the power, the beauty and the joy of it. Brahmacharis are people who have had a taste of that, and now they want all of it. They do not care whether they eat or not. They do not care whether they drink, smoke and enjoy other simple physical pleasures that other people are addicted to. They have had a taste of the ultimate, now they want it all. They will not settle for anything less.

If people sleep through their life in the name of comfort and security, they are wasting their life. They must go all the way. This is not my desire, it is their desire also. Today you have a desire to fulfill something. If that happens, you want the next one and the next one and the next one. If you carefully look at your desiring process, you will see that you are not willing to settle for anything limited. There is something within you which does not like boundaries. There is something within you which is always longing for the ultimate. It is not my idea or philosophy that you should seek the ultimate. You are seeking the ultimate in unconscious ways anyway. If you seek in unconscious ways, you will always remain frustrated and the chances of finding it are remote. It is better to seek what you want in a conscious and focused way. Brahmacharis are those people who are seeking what you are seeking, but they are seeking it one hundred percent consciously.

Does it mean that everyone should become a brahmachari? Everyone should become a brahmachari, not necessarily in terms of lifestyle, but internally. Everyone should be on the path of the divine. Brahmacharya does not just mean celibacy. That is just one of the aspects that have been taken up as a supportive system. To become a brahmachari means you are ecstatic by your own nature. You can be married and still be a brahmachari. It is possible because you are joyful by your own nature – you are not trying to extract joy from your husband or wife. This is how it should be. The whole world should be brahmachari. Everyone should be joyful by their own nature. If two people come together, it should be a sharing of joy, not extraction of joy from each other.

Why Brahmacharya Is Important

Why has a certain order of brahmacharis been set up? If one is just seeking realization at the end of his life, it could be taken care of in many different ways. I can fix a date with you for that day! But if one wants to explore, and not only explore, if one wants to be a useful instrument in making it happen to many other people, then brahmacharya becomes significant. Brahmacharies are an investment for the future, to keep spirituality in its pristine purity and transmit it from generation to generation. A small, core group of people are needed. They are initiated in a particular way which turns their energies in a completely different direction. Everyone need not take that step, nor will we take everyone because it is not necessary, and neither can they put in the sadhana that is required or demanded out of them.

All of us have eaten mangoes, but how many of us have planted mango trees, made them grow and then eaten mangoes?

All of us have eaten mangoes, but how many of us have planted mango trees, made them grow and then eaten mangoes? Most people have eaten mangoes because someone else planted the mango trees. In every society, out of a thousand people, at least ten people have to take care to plant mango trees. Similarly with this, a few people have to take the path of brahmacharya. People who are willing to dedicate themselves to other's wellbeing are needed in society. If there is no one thinking about others’ wellbeing, that society is definitely heading for ruin. That is what has happened to society right now. There are very few people thinking of everyone's wellbeing.

Why Brahmacharis Are Necessary

Essentially, this human mechanism is a certain energy system. You can keep it with many openings and transact with the world in a certain way or you can make this into a close-circuit system so that it becomes very integrated. A rocket goes up because it is firing only on one side. Suppose it fires on all the sides, it is not going to go anywhere, it will just dissipate itself. Or it will go somewhere without direction and fall apart. What we are trying to make out of a brahmachari is just that he fires only on one side. One that fires only on one side is going to go straight up and there is a particular purpose to creating such a system.

It is a weapon with which you can bomb the world with a spiritual process.

When you have a close-circuit system like that, it is a powerful instrument. This instrument could be employed or deployed in so many different ways. It is a weapon with which you can bomb the world with a spiritual process.

Monks have been there in every culture because wherever there was a genuine enlightened process, they always wanted some mechanisms to be wired in such a way that they are completely integrated systems. There is no transaction outside. It is totally by itself. Those systems are needed if you want to shake the world in a certain way and want to create certain processes and access certain things. If you want to put a satellite beyond the atmosphere, you need a rocket. If you want to just fly around in the atmosphere, an airplane will do. That is the difference. When you are planning and projecting to do something which is beyond certain limitations, brahmacharis become necessary.

What Does the Path of Brahmacharya Involve?

Question: What does the path of brahmacharya involve? And how can one know if one is capable of living like that?

Sadhguru: Brahmacharya means to be like the breeze – that is, you do not stick to anything. The breeze is going everywhere, but we do not know where it is coming from right now. It just crossed the oceans and came, here it is, and it keeps going. Brahmacharya means simply being life – to live the way you were born – alone. Even if your mother happened to bear twins, you were still born alone. So brahmacharya means to be in a very close association with the Divine – to live like that.

Brahmacharya means you did nothing, you allowed your life to happen just as the Creator made you – you do not make anything out of it.

Brahmacharya is not a great step. It is just to exist as life is. Marriage is a great step – you are trying to do something very big! At least, people believe so. Brahmacharya means you did nothing, you allowed your life to happen just as the Creator made you – you do not make anything out of it. So there is no step. If you do not do anything, you are a brahmachari.

But there is sadhana, there are other disciplines, what is that about? That is only to help you stay like that because once you picked up material from this planet, the qualities of this planet will enter you and try to rule you. One basic quality is that once you pick up earth, there is something called inertia. Even to wake up in the morning there is inertia. To be on the path of the Divine means not to give in to the way of the earth.

One thing is inertia, another thing is compulsive movement. If you pick up a piece of this earth, you become like the earth. It tries to take you in circles. Cyclical movement is the basis of everything that you call as physical in the universe.

If you move in a circle, however large the circle is, you always come back. Even if you are not invited! We do not know whether the world wants you or not, but you will anyway come back because you are on a circle. Those who have realized that they are not really wanted around here, those who want to be on a straight path, for them, it is the path of the Divine, not the planetary trajectory. One takes brahmacharya as a path and a discipline instead of as a natural process, so that they do not get into the cyclical motion of life. They do not want to succumb to this. 

A Not-So-Merry-Go-Round

What does it involve? If you are very conscious, it involves nothing, it is very simple. You wake up every day in the morning like you were just born, you go to sleep like you would die. In between, whatever is useful to everyone you do, because you have still not reached that place where you can exist without activity – you need to do something. 

The idea is that the activity should never be about you, because if it is, you will pile up entanglement. So, you constantly do activity which is not about you. You do so much activity, that when you go to bed you do not have a moment – you fall like you are dead. Then you wake up before the birds and get busy. The rest will be taken care of by Grace.

You need not do too much because we invest a certain amount of energy to “manufacture” a brahmachari. Actually, it should not be necessary. If they simply did not do anything, they would be there, but the ways of the earth rule from within because after all, you cannot keep your body down – it has memory, it has a huge karmic pile, so it has its tendencies.

These tendencies are not natural to your being, but this vehicle – the body – tends to go like this. Suppose you are driving a car which has a small alignment problem. You have to straighten it, otherwise it will keep pulling one way. The body also has an alignment problem, and it always wants to go like this. Once it bends or turns, it is just a question of time before it completes the circle. 

But because it is taking a certain period of time and one’s awareness is not in any great place, every time you pass the same spot it looks like a new place. If you sit somewhere in the afternoon, the whole place looks in one way. If you sit there during sunset, it looks different. If you come at midnight, it looks different. So, you think you have come to a different place every time but no, it is just a question of time, season and short memory. 

Admitting Your Madness

What you have is a dis-aligned vehicle or a vehicle which is attuned to go in circular motion. Whether you are doing a twelve-year cycle or a three-month cycle, the difference is only a question of percentages of madness. If you are doing a three-month cycle, everyone can see that you are mad. If you are doing twelve-year cycles, people do not make out, but if you are sincere, you know you are crazy. The only thing is you can fool the world into thinking you are okay. 

You must sincerely look at yourself – do not worry about the social impact, you do not have to admit it to anyone – within yourself, are you not quite insane? I want you to sincerely look at this. If you are sincere and straight about yourself, you know you are quite off.

If you have become so much of a social being that how you look is all that matters to you and how you are does not matter, then you can go on for many lifetimes. If how you are matters to you, if your being – and not what someone thinks about you – has become very important for you, if it is not another person’s opinion which is crafting your life but the nature of your being, then you will naturally be on the path of the Divine.

Editor's Note: Click here to read the riveting life stories of many Isha Brahmacharis as they share their own experience of walking this path with Sadhguru’s grace and guidance.