Powerful Aids to Celibacy

Swami SivanandaAvoid all kinds of self-abuse. They drain away your vital energy and leave you like a dead man or like the sugar-cane from which the juice has been extracted. Veerya is indeed a priceless possession. Do not waste it for the sake of a momentary excitement and sensation. You will lose your eyesight. You will have dimness of vision. You will have shattered nerves.

Do not look at the reproductive Indriya. Do not also touch the generative organ with your hands now and then. This will aggravate your Kama Vasana. When it gets erection, do Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha.

Sexual excesses and outbursts of anger and hatred should be given up. Energy is depleted by fits of anger. The cells and tissues are filled with morbid poisonous materials when one loses his temper and entertains deep hatred. Various sorts of physical ailments crop up. The blood becomes hot and thin, and consequently, night pollution results. Various sorts of nervous diseases are attributable to excessive loss of the seminal energy and frequent fits of explosive anger or wrath.

Most of the diseases take their origin in overeating. Observe moderation in diet. Avoid late suppers. The evening meal should be light and eaten before 6 or 7 p.m. If possible, take milk and fruits only at night. No solid or liquid should be taken after sunset. When you take milk, mix ginger essence in it. Or boil crushed ginger with milk before taking the milk. Give up hot Chutnies, garlic, onion and pungent foodstuffs.

Sleep on a coarse bed. Use rough mats. Sleep on the left side. Allow the Solar Nadi, Pingala, to work throughout the night through the right nostril. In acute cases, sleep on the back until recovery.

If you are a married man, sleep in a separate room. You should never allow your wife to massage your legs at night. This is a dangerous practice.

It is befitting for a celibate to wear always wooden sandals as thereby the semen will be conserved, eyes will be benefited, life prolonged and holiness and lustre increased.

Endeavour to qualify yourself as your own doctor. Understand the laws of nature, the principles of hygiene and health. Do not tresspass against the laws of health. Do not give room for the mind to think of the body or the disease. This is the treatment for any kind of disease.

Root out love of leisure and ease. Overcome laziness and always keep the body and mind engaged in some useful work. Keeping the mind constantly engaged is one of the great secrets of Brahmacharya. Lead a disciplined, rigorous life.

First, dietary control. Meat can make a scientist, but never a philosopher, a sage or a Sattvic Person. Meat excites the passions. Gradually give up salt and tamarind. Salt excites passion and emotion. Salt excites and strengthens the Indriyas. Renunciation of salt brings in a cool condition of the mind and the nerves. It helps meditation.

Do not indulge in seeing naked pictures. All these tend to increase passion and deplete Veerya. You should strictly avoid these.

Watch the thoughts. Mind is a great electricity battery. It is a big dynamo indeed. This force of thought is transmitted with a tremendous lightning speed along the nerves to the organs. The physical body is fleshy mould prepared by the mind in accordance with the Samskaras and Vasanas for its own experience and enjoyment. The mind sways the organs of an undisciplined passionate man who has boisterous revolting Indriyas. It becomes an obedient faithful servant of a trained, developed Yogi. An ever-vigilant Brahmachari should always watch his thoughts very carefully. The bad thought should be nipped in the bud by supplanting counter divine thoughts. It should not be allowed to penetrate the physical body.

It is the mind that really does all actions. A desire arises in your mind and then you think. Then you proceed to act. The determination of the mind is put into action. First there is Sankalpa or thought and then comes action. Therefore, do not allow the sexual thoughts, to enter the mind.

That which the tongue speaks of, the organs of action do. That is the reason why it is said in the Vedas: “Let my mind think of auspicious things.” Entertain sublime divine thoughts. The old evil sexual thought will gradually vanish, just as the old nail in a plank goes away by inserting over it a new nail.

Seek Satsanga or good company. Even a moment’s company with wise people is quite sufficient to overhaul the old vicious Samskaras of worldly-minded people. The magnetic aura, the spiritual vibrations and the powerful thought-currents of developed adepts produce a tremendous influence on the minds of worldlings. The personal contact of Mahatmas is a blessing in reality for worldly persons. This is the reason why Sankara and others have spoken so highly of Satsanga in all their books.

If you cannot get good Satsanga in your own place, you can visit places of pilgrimage. Study of books written by realized persons will also be tantamount to Satsanga. The only potent specific for inducing burning Vairagya and desire for liberation is Satsanga.

Constantly remember: “Through the grace of God, I am becoming purer and purer, every day. Pleasures come but not to stay. Mortal flesh is only clay. Everything will pass away. Brahmacharya is the only way.” Develop Viveka and Vairagya.

It will not be out of place here to draw the reader’s attention to some Buddhist monks who always keep a human skull with them. This is to cause Vairagya in them and to remind them of the impermanent and perishable nature of human life.

Without renunciation of woman, it is impossible to have Self-realization. Ladies should not be offended when they read these lines. I only want to impress upon both the sexes the force and the glory of Brahmacharya and the evil effect of lust. I have great regard and admiration for women. Brahmacharya should be practiced by both men and women.

Mere condemning of lust is not sufficient to wean the mind from sexual craving. Remember this point well. Lust is a potent force, very difficult to be got rid of. That is the reason why the Sastras and saints censure and condemn women in order to create dispassion and discrimination in men and wean them from lustful tendencies and aggressive attacks. Sri Sankara, Sri Dattatreya, Sri Rama, Sri Tulasidas have all criticised women not out of hatred, prejudice or dislike, but out of compassion for elevating people from the quagmire of Samsara. Their criticism of women implies and includes criticism of man also. Their criticism aims at weaning the minds of worldly persons from sexual sin and creating disgust for sexual pleasure, and dispassion for worldly objects. This is misunderstood by people.

The same scriptures and saints who censure women in one place praise them in another. They say, “Women should be honoured. They are Ardhanginis. They are manifestations of Sakti or the energy of the Lord. Only those who honour women can attain prosperity.” Therefore, O women! Try to know the heart of the scriptures and the saints and become wise.

In India, religion is preserved and maintained only through the devotional element in women. Devotion is a fundamental characteristic of Hindu ladies. Hate lust, but not women.

When you obtain Viveka and Vairagya, then lust cannot take hold of you. You will see and realize, “Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma. All is Brahman only.” You will have Atma-Drishti. The sex idea will then vanish.

A vow of celibacy will give you sure protection against temptation. It is a strong weapon to attack lust. If your renunciation is not the outcome of discrimination and dispassion, the mind will be simply waiting for an opportunity to get back the object that has been renounced.

If you are weak, take a vow of celibacy for a month and then extend it to three months. You will gain some strength now. You will be able to prolong the period to six months. Gradually you will be able to extend the vow to one or two or three years. Sleep separately and do vigorous Japa, Kirtan and meditation daily. You will hate lust now. You will experience freedom and indescribable joy.

If you can render your will pure, strong and irresistible by eliminating desires, by eradicating Raga-Dvesha, by reducing your wants and by practising Titiksha, passion will die. Will is a powerful enemy of passion.

Lust takes its origin from impure resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When you resolutely turn away from it, it vanishes and dies. You will have to destroy the old mind and build a new mind. Nevertheless you will have to do it if you want to attain immortality and eternal bliss. You will surely succeed if you are fiery in your resolve and if you have an iron determination.

A man or a woman should practice self-analysis and self-examination. They should have a proper understanding of the ways in which lust operates and plays, and the things and emotions which excite passion and the manner in which one falls a victim to the other. Then only control of lust is possible.

Change the mental attitude. You will have heaven on earth. You will be established in Brahmacharya. This is an important method for becoming a true Brahmachari. See Atman in all women.

For a scientist, a woman is a mass of electrons only. For a Vaiseshika philosopher of Rishi Kanada’s school of thought, she is a conglomeration of atoms—Paramanu, Dvyanu, Tryanu. For a tiger, she is an object of prey. For a passionate husband, she is an object of enjoyment. For a crying child, she is an affectionate mother who gives milk, sweets and other indulgences. For a jealous sister-in-law or mother-in-law, she is an enemy. For a Viveki or a Vairagi, she is a combination of flesh, bone, urine, faecal matter, pus, perspiration, blood and phlegm. For a full-blown Jnani, she is Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman.

There is neither sex nor sexual Vasana in Brahman. Brahman is Nitya-Suddha, eternally pure: By constant thinking on that sexless Atman, you will be established in Brahmacharya. This is the most powerful and effective method. This is the best kind of Sadhana for those who know the right technique of Vichara. But, only advanced students in the path of Jnana Yoga can rely on the method of Brahma Vichara alone for the destruction of passion. For the vast majority of persons, a combined method is very congenial and healthy. When the enemies are very powerful, a combined method of lathis, pistols, shot-guns, machine-guns, submarines, torpedoes, bombs and poisonous gases is used for the destruction of the enemies. So also, in the destruction of this powerful enemy, passion, a combined method is absolutely necessary.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda

Two Forces of Life

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26There are two basic forces in the universe, which you can look up in the dictionary. One is called odic force. The other is actinic force. Odic force is magnetic force. Odic force is the force of collective energies that make things—trees, chairs, tables, houses, the physical body. Odic force is of the material world—dense and heavy. The aura around the physical body and the forces of nature which govern much of man’s life on Earth are odic force. Actinic force is your pure life force coming from the central source deep within, out through the nerve system. But as soon as this pure life force begins to mingle with the astral atoms and the physical body atoms, it turns to odic force. The study of these two forces can give you a great awakening—two primal forces.

The sahasrâra chakra, the âjñâ chakra, the visuddha chakra—the top three, the head and throat centers—are primarily actinic force centers of rarefied inner consciousness within the superconscious itself. The anâhata chakra, the heart center, which allows us to look out into the external world and within to the internal areas, is primarily a mixture of actinic force and odic force. It’s called actinodic . It’s a mixture of these two forces. However, the lower three chakras—manipûra, svâdhishthâna and mûlâdhâra—are primarily odic force chakras . They are the forces that make up what we call the world.

The ida and pingalâ forces are basically odic forces. So, therefore, when the odic force is withdrawn back into the sushumnâ, back into its actinic substance, we completely lose awareness of the external world. That is how we enter meditation , by withdrawing the odic forces. The prâna is the in-between. It is the actinodic force that flows in and through odic and actinic forces. It is the binder of these two forces.

To stabilize awareness, so it does not flow through the first chakra, the fifth chakra, the third chakra, the second chakra, to stabilize awareness, what do we do? Attention, concentration, meditation. We work daily within ourselves so we stabilize, and so that willpower and awareness become one and the same great motivating force, so we travel through the areas of the mind that we want to, not propelled by the forces of karma as they boomerang back, not propelled by those forces. We have to work within daily to stabilize the breath and the body so that will and awareness become one and the same great motivating force.

In the evolutionary cycle, man eventually becomes conscious of the actinic force as it flows through the odic areas of the mind. On these rays, education comes from the inside of himself out to the conscious mind. A person going through such an experience feels he has tapped a higher, intuitive resource.

It is known that sages have learned languages, mathematics and all flows of knowledge in meditation. Uneducated men have become scholars by opening what Jnanaguru Yoga swami called “your own book.”

As soon as we stop making the effort to penetrate the actinic realms, the ordinary forces of attachment, fear and desire force in upon us. It then requires extra effort to balance the forces and penetrate the life-giving, light-giving regions in meditation.

A guru-disciple relationship may be established on the actinic plane for years before a physical meeting and training takes place. The study and unfoldment begins when one turns within himself, creating the irrevocable “golden yoke” and attuning himself to the same actinic ray of consciousness in which the guru functions. Teachings can then be conveyed on these rays, as long as guru and disciple are in harmony. By working with this golden yoke, one’s karmic experiences are hastened, but at the same time they are encountered in a more orderly fashion.

The state of contemplation

The force field of actinic consciousness is one which a guru has worked perhaps for many years to enter. His awareness of it is his control of it. This mechanism works in the same way a corporate executive guides the forces of his business, through knowledge of the field and experience. A guru learns control of actinic force fields just as a businessman learns to control his odic force fields. The odic force and the actinic force make up this planet. The action and interaction of these two forces working together cause the life that we see on Earth.

The woman holds the power of the odic force field. The man holds the power of the actinic force field. Between them they cause a chemicalization that brings through the soul and the physical and emotional body of a newborn child. Depending upon this chemical balance, they give birth to an old soul or a young soul. That is why it is so important for families to have a deeply religious life. What is a religious life? It is the balance of these two forces, the odic force and the actinic force. It is so important that there is an absolute harmony between the man and the woman. This guides and governs the inner currents of the children until the age of twenty-one. At that time, the inner forces dissolve from the family and are governed by their own superconscious mind.

Striving in meditation for a continuing contemplative awareness, a strong actinic vehicle is built. The aura of a person who has created access to this inner world gives evidence of a higher energy source. This is what is behind the ancient myths wherein the Gods rode through the skies in golden chariots. The golden chariot is the actinic vehicle of the superconscious. A satguru must be able to control his travel on more than one actinic ray. In doing so, he is able to establish a continuity of contact in the deeper consciousness within his various disciples. It is on an actinic ray that intuitive knowledge is gained and passed along.

The actinic world is only attained and sustained by initiating definite controls over the odic world. One state of consciousness is controlled in the process of awareness moving and expanding into another state. As we progress along the path, we become more and more and more sensitive. This sensitivity that you will begin to recognize is so refined and yet so strong. You communicate with yourself through the nerve currents which extend out, around and through the physical body—physical nerve currents as well as psychic nerve currents. Before we get deeply within on the path, we’re not too sensitive. But as this sensitivity develops, we begin to see through our hands. We begin to hear feeling. We begin to see sound, and all sorts of new faculties manifest.

We want to be sensitive, and yet we want protection, psychic protection. Our dreams become more well defined, but we don’t want to be vulnerable to negative areas of the mind, disruptive areas, experiential areas of the astral plane, while we are sleeping. Neither do we wish to be attacked on the astral plane by the mischievous beings, entities, that are on that particular side of life. We need this astral protection. We need this psychic protection. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. The force field of a group of people on the path goes along at a certain rate of intensity which is not broken, and this gives us tremendous psychic protection. In the very same way, a positive group of people only admit into their midst other positive people. A group of businessmen have a well-managed force field, and generally only a businessman of their same caliber can come and mix with them. A group of artists has a force field, and only artists of the same caliber can get into it. Why? If they let everybody in, they wouldn’t have a force field. The business would fail. The art would go into chaos. Friendships would be destroyed because of other influences coming in and amongst the people.

Force fields protect and sustain not only our outer forms of expression, but deep spiritual layers as well. When we go “out” into superconsciousness, if we are sensitive and unable to protect our subconscious mind, all sorts of other types of influences can enter. We don’t want this to happen, and it’s not necessary. It is a deterrent on the path, for we then are exposed to unseemly astral influences that detract us from our quest.

Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with fine, positive people. Don’t be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside, or who are criticizing you for what you are doing. There’s the old statement, “One bad apple can turn the whole bushel rotten.”

Psychic protection

Psychic protection, to sensitive people, is extremely important. It involves every detail of life—your home, friends, clothes, diet, even your dreams.

By keeping your house, your meditation room, as clean as possible. By entertaining few guests and then only people of the same caliber and nature. Guests, other than close relatives, should not stay more than three nights. Why? Because otherwise they bring too much distraction, too many other influences into the home. Finally, the whole atmosphere may be disrupted. Many families have broken up and lost their home, and children have gone homeless, simply because guests have stayed too long and worked into the inner atmosphere and brought in too many influences of a distracting and disturbing nature.

Keep your environment positive, so that the inner feeling is always content. Keep your home shrine or meditation space radiant, so that the inner feeling there is always uplifting.

As you advance along the path, the radio mechanism will become highly tuned, very positive. Being positive, it will register all types of influences. Influences that are distasteful to you will come through as strongly as influences that are really magnificent. You have to learn to shield out the static by finely tuning this mechanism. That is why you strive for mastery of sâdhana, mastery of concentration, your ability to hold awareness where you want it by taking awareness out of the entire context into just being aware. You pull awareness out of the thought processes. You pull awareness out of the emotion processes. You pull awareness out of the bodily processes, and you’re just completely on that pinnacle of being aware of being aware. That’s so necessary to practice every day, even if you do it for a split second. To hold that experience and to stabilize the physical and emotional elements long enough to hold that intensity for even a minute takes more practice—not too much, but consistent practice, more effort, more will, more dedication to the life of sâdhana.

When you meditate, you become inwardly strong. You become extremely sensitive, and sensitivity is strength. Now, it is true that if you are centered in yourself completely enough to be all spine and just a being of energy, you can go anyplace in any type of environment, inside or outside, and the environment would be better for your having been there. You would not absorb any of the distracting or negative vibrations. But until that day comes, it is better to be wise and live in a positive vibration and among people who can help stabilize the force field around you, so that your inner life goes on without interruptions—of spinning out, having to crawl back, and spinning out and then having to crawl back.

Part of the psychic pitfall is the belief that in order to be spiritually awakened, one must also be psychically awakened, seeing auras, visions, hearing celestial music and such. We do not have to awaken the third eye. To me, that is a translation error made in the old scriptures. This third eye has never been asleep. It’s always awake. We are not aware, however, of the visual mechanism of the third eye. As we become more and more sensitive, the third eye becomes more and more apparent to us, because we keenly observe through that faculty more than we did before.

You have often noticed that you moved your foot or some other part of your body out of the way of danger just in time. Well, your third eye wasn’t asleep then, and you didn’t see that foot coming down on you with your physical eyes. You saw it with your third eye. We use this third eye all the time. When someone greets you who is apparently looking fine and you sense otherwise, thinking, “I feel he’s disturbed. I wonder what’s wrong,” you’re seeing his inner condition with your third eye. When you walk up to someone’s house and you have the feeling that nobody is home because you don’t feel vibrations coming from the house, you’re seeing this with your third eye. We see and respond to things seen with the third eye every day, whether we are fully conscious of it or not.

Protect yourself as you protect a precious jewel. Guard your awareness from coarse influences and you will enjoy the bliss of the natural state of the mind—pure, clear and undisturbed.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The Higher Man

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26
The Intellect – Outer Ego

The intellectual mind works through the mechanism of creating, preserving and destroying thought forms. The intellect is the manifestation of a series of well-constructed thought forms. Therefore, the better a person is educated, the more distinctly and clearly does the intellect function. There are people all over the world today who are guided simply by the habit patterns of the instinctive-intellectual mind.

The intellect is not the totality of man. The intellect is not the full mind, it is only one part, about one-tenth of the mind. The subconscious and the super conscious make up the other nine-tenths.

The intellect which when developed into a strong intellectual sheath is able to control the baser emotions through controlled memory, controlled reason and controlled willpower, the three faculties of our ability to govern forces of nature. Neither overrate nor underrate the intellect, for it fills several important functions in life, the great experience.

Opinionated knowledge is a faculty of memory. We study, we listen, we hear and we quote the opinions of others. Opinionated knowledge is stored up in the memory gridwork of the subconscious mind. This provides security, or a platform, for the intellect, making it strong, developing an ego. Therefore, intellect is our ego. The ego separates people from people, nations from nations and the soul from realization of the Self.

“Your real education is the innerversity.” Let’s examine the real meaning, function and purpose of education. Education is not worn. It does not stick to you. It is not your collection of someone else’s opinions. Through education, you stimulate your intellect. Education is that which you bring out from within yourself as a result of your personal interest in the fulfillment of your birth karmas, or prârabdha karmas. Education means exposure to new ideas and old opinions, giving you the tools to explore your own opinions freely, make decisions, research and review them and advance your understanding of God, soul and world. This is education. It is not static. It is as fluid as a river. Or it should be. You have the choice, the ability, to remold your intellect any way you want. The great truths of life are a part of your being. They are within you. They unfold to you slowly as you evolve your comprehension of them. Yet, they are always there within you, waiting to be realized. The only real, permanent education is your unfoldment into the building of the intuitive mind through the control of the intellect.

Since the intellect is made fundamentally of thoughts which are ever creating, preserving and destroying themselves, the control of thoughts builds the intuitive mind. Intuition, knowing, awareness and understanding—these are products not of the intellect, but of the intuitive mind. The dedicated student who has applied himself seriously leaves college not with a “know it all” feeling but with an awareness of the limits of the intellect, and profound respect for the vast amount of knowledge that he has yet to discover or unfold. Conceit is a sure sign of insecurity; humility denotes awareness.

Observe the intellect as it is manifested in the world around you. You can see its limits. You can also see when it becomes a tool for the intuitive mind. Observations give birth to understanding, and understanding comes from your superconscious mind. Thus, the intellect must be developed to a certain extent and then controlled through the control of thought.

The intellect is the external ego, but it is only the external ego when it is in control and has cut itself off sufficiently from superconsciousness by becoming opinionated. When the intellect represents the ego, we say a person is unable to change his mind, no matter how much you try to convince or talk with him. He is stubborn, unyielding, even unfriendly if he becomes agitated or disturbed in his effort to hold the intellect together. Should the intellectual nature become disturbed, the astral body then takes over and the instinctive mind or the instinctive qualities are prevalent at that time. This is quite apparent in undisciplined people, because the intellectual nature is undisciplined.

The Intuitive Nature

Within man, and functioning at a different rate of vibration than the intellect, is found the power or the motivating force of the mind, the chakras, or force centers. There are seven of these basic force centers, which are stimulated into action and unfoldment by the ida, pingala and sushumna currents. The ida and pingala are odic psychic currents (the Chinese yin and yang) interwoven around the spinal cord. Directly through the spinal cord runs the sushumna current, which is actinodic. The ida current is passive odic force; the pingala current is aggressive odic force. The sushumna is an actinodic current. These currents govern the chakras. These currents are like the reins which will guide a horse as we ride in one direction or another.

The intuitive nature is composed of a greater amount of actinic energy than odic. It is formed by the sushumna current that runs between the ida and pingala currents up through the spinal cord. However, it is the state of mind that a yoga student must learn to identify as his own, so to speak. Until this time he usually identifies with the intuitive mind of his guru. One does not entertain thoughts when in this state of full awareness. In this consciousness, one views and perceives through the anahata chakra of direct cognition.

Soul Body, The Real You

Within all seven aspects of man lies the body of the soul, the actinic causal body, anandamaya kosha, the real you. The soul body has a form, just as the astral body has a form, but it is more refined and is of a more permanent nature. It is this body which reincarnates, creating around itself new physical and astral bodies, life after life after life. This process matures and develops the body of the soul. Hence we have old souls and young souls, depending on the maturity and unfoldment of the soul body, or depending upon the number of lives or the intensity of maturing experience which the individual has passed through.

The body of the soul is pure light, made of quantums. It is indestructible. It cannot be hurt or damaged in any way. Its mind is superconsciousness, containing all intelligence, and is constantly aware, does not sleep and is expanding awareness as the soul body matures. The body of the soul lives in the eternity of the moment, simultaneously conscious of past and future as a one cycle. The true nature, everlasting secure personal identity, is realizing oneself as the soul body. This is truly finding our roots, our source, our indestructible, ever-maturing soul.

However, it should be mentioned that the first great attainment to be striven for by the aspirant is the experiencing of inner light, which is taught to family people and renunciates alike, implying that he has enough inner dominion and control over the intellect that the radiance within the head or body is actually seen. This implies also a working control of the manipura chakra and a conscious awareness of the working of the anahata chakra of cognition, allowing a burst of actinic energy to the vishuddha chakra of love.

It must be said that many frustrate themselves by seeking realizations beyond their abilities, while not accomplishing the realizations that are within their abilities. We must remember that savikalpa samadhi relates to the anahata and vishuddha chakras, sustained by a purified intellect and a dynamic will. Whereas, nirvikalpa samadhi is of the ajna and sahasrara chakras and those above and is sustained by complete renunciation of the world to the point where the world renounces the renunciate.

Control of the mind builds the intuitive nature. By directing the flow of thought,  perceptively discriminating between actions, aware of attending reactions, the yoga student soon learns the use of his actinic power. In order to hold an expanded consciousness, this power must be brought into use, and when it flows through the intellect, it automatically changes the chemistry of the intellect while it begins to build the intuitive nature.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami