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Patanjali Yoga Sutra

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Patanjali Yoga Sutras

The great Master Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has cautioned us time and again to be careful about two temptations-kamini and kanchan i.e. lust and greed. What he and many other great masters spoke of centuries ago is more than true even today.

If we analyze all the crimes today, we will find these two evils as their root cause. Our seers,recognizing the potential harm inherent in these two vices, gave us a wonderful maxim for a harmonious and happy living:-
matruvat para dareshu
par dravyeshu losthavat

Consider every woman (other than your wife) as your mother; consider another's money (which youcovet) just a lump of mud.

"This world will be a wonderful place to live in if all people on earth follow these two basic on earth follow these two basic principles only" says Prof A S N Shastri.

But if we consider the benefits of brahmacharya (abstinence from sex), we will find it is not necessary to even mention the second principle (greed). It is inherent in the first. A brahmachri cannot be greedy. He is so full of bliss and self-contentment that he does not seek happiness in mundane objects...he does not depend on money to be happy.

So what is that brahmacharya, the virtue that the great masterPatanjali has included in the five yamas? There is a lot of confusion, misconception and distorted perception about this yamas. Many a sincere Sadhana falls in the trap of suppression while trying to follow the path of brahmacharya and feel frustrated. Some people make it too simple, thinking that brahmacharya means bachelorhood and others, caught in the veil of the Great Illusion, do not hesitate to compromise a lot in the name of freedom of soul. This group, unfortunately, includes pseudo-spiritual people also.

You can feel the radiance of a true brahmachari. He is one in a million or even in a billion. He exerts tremendous influence on others and is capable of doing impossible jobs. His status is as high as Bhishma, Shankara and Swami Vivekananda. Such masters are free sexual desires even in thought.

Brahmacharya is not mere absence of sex. It includes avoiding over-indulgence of any type. But since sex is the most strong desirecausing the downfall of even wise people, brahmacharya is generally associated with sex. If one can overcome the urges of sex, one can overcome almost all desires including the desires of acquiring name and fame.

Alas! Many unfortunate souls while suppressing the urge of sex, indulge in over-eating, anger or some other idiosyncrasies due to ignorance.

This article appears in the Yoga Magazine, Yoga Sudha September, 1993 edition. This article has been published courtesy

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