Brahmacharya – the fourth discipline in Yama

Brahmacharya is a divine word. It is the sum and substance of Yoga. Brahmacharya is the Achara or conduct by which you attain or reach Brahman (God). It is life in the absolute. It is movement towards God or Atman. Brahmacharya is purity in thought word and deed. It is celibacy and continence.”
– Swami Sivananda 

“This world is nothing but sex and ego. Ego is the chief thing. It is the basis. The sex is hanging on the ego. Sex and ego are the products of Avidya or ignorance. Man – master of his destiny – has lost his divine glory and has become a slave, a tool in the hands of sex and ego, on account of ignorance.”
-Swami Sivananda.

Brahmacharya is the fourth discipline in Yama. It is the commitment to the containment and harnessing of a primal energy force – sexuality.

We as humans have one basic primal need. Survival, which entails procreation. Sexuality is a primordial force, even when we don’t realize it, therefore, it is VERY powerful.

Sexual energy is one of the strongest forces in humans, and like any great power, it can be put to constructive or destructive use. It is the force that must be worked with, and gently trained so that it does not rule our minds and senses.

Containment of sexuality is not about ruining your sex life. It is about transforming this vital force to a spiritual level (and oh, how divine that can be…). Conserving this energy and using it constructively allows depleted energy reserves to be recharged.

Sexual energy is to be taken to higher centres of the brain and yogis convert it to ojas. Even in tantra sexual interaction between man and women without ejaculation lead to awakening of kundalini shakti. Man and women represent positive and negative energy and in union or yoga they move out of their positions of polarity towards the centre. When they come out of their nucleus an explosion occurs matter becomes manifest and also lead to enlightenment or we can say it expands our consciousness. We can say union of Shiva and Shakti takes place.

Brahmacharya, means the control of the sexual energy (Brahma – the creator aspect of God – is related to sexual energy).

Brahmacharya translates literally as “walking with God” or “prayerful conduct.” “Charya” translates as “to walk actively.” Each of us holds a set of aims and goals for the person we hope to become. “Walking with God” means that as we go about our daily lives, we work to direct all our energies toward these highest goals – either in the eyes of a religious deity or in our own reflection; it is “walking with Intent”.

Historically, many yogic texts and many yogic practitioners interpreted brahmacharya as strict sexual celibacy. This practice is found in many different religious traditions, the principal idea being a thorough devotion of one’s energies toward spiritual pursuits, and away from temporal distractions. Today there are some schools of yoga and some practitioners that include celibacy in their practice. Some of these yogis may choose to commit to a temporary vow of celibacy, setting aside a week or a month or even a year to devote their attention and energy inward. This pre-determined period can provide an opportunity to become aware of one’s attitudes, dependencies, habitual behavior, and emotional relationship to sexuality.

Very often sensory and sensual pleasures are attractive because they tap into deep emotional memories within us. Sweets are brought out to celebrate special occasions and happy events, so our minds are clouded by that impression. Because we have enjoyed sweets so many times in the past, and with such happy memories, it is especially hard to figure out when our bodies actually want or need something sweet – or when we simply want a connection with something happy and comforting.

Continence is not harmful. It conserves energy. It gives immense strength and peace. Sexual indulgence leads to moral and spiritual bankruptcy, premature death, and loss of faculties, talents and capacities.

The Bhagavad Gita describes three types of pleasure: “That which is like poison at first but in the end like nectar – that pleasure is declared to be Sattwic, born of the purity of one’s own mind due to Self-realization. That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense-organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar and in the end like poison -that is declared to be Rajasic. That pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, arising from sleep, indolence and heedlessness -such a pleasure is declared to be Tamasic.” – BG 18 37- 39

Well did Krishna say (in Ch.7 #3 of the Gita) :
Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection
and of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me
in truth.

Bramacharya without the methods of sexual transmutation always result in failure. It is good to note that some Yogis, such as Swami Sivananda, publicly teach “Bramacharya” with the knowledge of sexual transmutation, and therefore the infamous nocturnal emissions of those attempting to renounce sex are avoided. Nevertheless, without Sexual Magic total self-realization cannot be attained.

Total sublimation is difficult, yet not impossible !

The process of sex sublimation is very difficult, and yet, it is most necessary for the aspirant in the spiritual path. It is the most important qualification for the Sadhaka, be in the path of Karma Yoga, Upasana, Raja Yoga or Vedanta. It is a fundamental prerequisite for an aspirant. If one has this qualification or merit, all other merits will come and cling to him. All good qualities will come by themselves. You must achieve this at any cost. You will surely attempt this in future births. Try this right now!

The total annihilation of the sexual desire is the ultimate spiritual ideal. Complete sublimation alone will make you free. But, perfect sublimation can hardly be achieved within a day or two. It demands continuous struggle with patience and perseverance for some time. Even the householders should keep the above ideal before them and try to realize it gradually. If the state of perfect sublimation is attained, there will be purity in thought, word and deed. No sexual thought will enter the mind at any time.

Authentic Yogis practice Sexual Magic with their spouse. There are two types of Bramacharya (sexual abstinence), solar and lunar. The solar type is for those that have performed the Second Birth. The lunar type is that absurd sexual abstinence that serves only to produce filthy, nocturnal sexual pollutions with all of its fatal consequences. – Samuel Aun Weor (The Initiatic Path in the Arcana of Tarot and Kabbalah)

I have taken a few quotations from Swami Sivananda’s masterpiece the Practice of Brahmacharya:

“You cannot attain perfect Brahmacharya by limited effort. Just as a machine-gun is necessary to kill a powerful enemy, so also, constant, vigorous, powerful Sadhana is necessary to annihilate this powerful enemy, lust. You must not be puffed up with pride for your little achievement in celibacy. If you are put to test, you will hopelessly fail.”

“Sexual impulses can, with difficulty, be controlled. A rebellion of the sexual impulses takes place when you attempt to control them. Constant Japa and meditation for a long period are necessary to direct the sex energy into the spiritual channel. Complete sublimation of the sexual energy into Ojas Shakti is necessary.”

“Yogic practices, meditation and so on will attenuate or thin out the sexual desire to a very great extent. But, Self-realization alone can completely destroy or burn the sexual desire and Samskaras in toto.”

“Sex urge is a creative force. Unless you are inspired by spiritual ideals, it is difficult to keep the sexual instinct in check. Direct the sex energy to the higher spiritual channel. It will be sublimated. It will be transformed into divine energy. Complete eradication of lust, however, cannot be done through personal effort. It can be accomplished only by God’s grace.”

“For a liberated sage, this world is full of Brahman only. For a passionate man, this world is full of woman. He falls in love with a wooden post if it wrapped in a silken gown or a beautiful cloth with attractive borders and a petticoat. When a man is under the influence of passion and, excitement the sex impulse or force destroy his understanding and reason, overwhelm him and make him utterly helpless.”

Sex sublimation is within your reach if you wish to attain it. The path is quite clear, straight and easy if you understand it and if you apply yourself with patience, perseverance, determination and strong will, if you practice discipline of the indriyas, right conduct, right thinking, right acting, regular meditation, assertion, auto-suggestion and enquiry of “Who am I?.” Atman is sexless.

May you all realize the absolute through the courageous practice of Brahmacharya.

Other Articles on Brahmacharya:

• Techniques of Sex Sublimation by Swami Sivananda
• The Dangers of Promiscuous Mixing by Swami Sivananda
• Wet Dreams and Spermatorrhoea by Swami Sivananda
• To Marry or Not to Marry by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya and the Educational Cirriculum by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya for Householders by Swami Sivananda
• Stop That Lustful Look by Swami Sivananda
• Birth Control by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya – An Outlook on Consciousness by Swami Sivananda
• The Role of Diet in Sex Control by Swami Sivananda
• Some Powerful Aids to the Practice of Celibacy by Swami Sivananda
• Commentary on Sivananda’s “Eighth Spiritual Instruction” by Swami Chidananda
• The Value of Semen by Swami Sivananda
• Women and Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda
• Intensity of Cravings in Different Persons by Swami Sivananda
• Importance of Celibacy in Spiritual Life by Swami Sivananda

With love & respect,


4 thoughts on “Brahmacharya – the fourth discipline in Yama

  1. while i definitely ain’t a spiritual person[in the typical definition], the only way we can rise above being mere talking monkeys, is to be selfless, even if its the most intimate part of our lives[sex]……..

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