Brahmacarya, the life of celibacy, has eight aspects: one should not think of women, speak about sex life, dally with women, look lustfully at women, talk intimately with women or decide to engage in sexual intercourse, nor should one endeavor for sex life or engage in sex life. One should not even think of women or look at them, to say nothing of talking with them. This is called first-class brahmacarya. If a brahmacārī or sannyāsī talks with a woman in a secluded place, naturally there will be a possibility of sex life without anyone’s knowledge. Therefore a complete brahmacārī practices just the opposite. If one is a perfect brahmacārī, he can very easily control the mind and senses, give charity, speak truthfully and so forth.

One who accepts the order of sannyāsa but again becomes agitated by sensual disturbances and talks privately with women is called dharma-dhvajī or dharma-kalaṅka, which means that he brings condemnation upon the religious order. Therefore one should be extremely careful in this connection. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains the word markaṭa to mean “restless.” A restless person cannot be steady; therefore he simply wanders about, gratifying his senses. Just to get praise from others, to get cheap adoration from his followers or people in general, such a person sometimes accepts the dress of a sannyāsī or bābājī in the renounced order, but he cannot give up desires for sense gratification, especially for the association of women. Such a person cannot make advancement in spiritual life. There are eight different kinds of sensual enjoyment with women, including talking about them and thinking about them. Thus for a sannyāsī, a person in the renounced order, talking intimately with women is a great offense. Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura actually achieved the most elevated stage of the renounced order, but those who imitate them, accepting them as ordinary human beings, fall under the influence of the material energy, for that is a great misunderstanding.

It is said that if a man in a solitary place does not become agitated upon seeing a woman, he is to be considered a brahmacārī. But this practice is almost impossible. The sex impulse is so strong that even by seeing, touching or talking, coming into contact with, or even thinking of the opposite sex—even in so many subtle ways—one becomes sexually impelled. Consequently, a brahmacārī or sannyāsī is prohibited to associate with women, especially in a secret place. The śāstras enjoin that one should not even talk to a woman in a secret place, even if she happens to be one’s own daughter, sister or mother. The sex impulse is so strong that even if one is very learned, he becomes agitated in such circumstances. If this is the case, how can a young man in a nice park remain calm and quiet after seeing a beautiful young woman?

Lord Caitanya was very strict in advising His followers in this matter of celibacy. One of His personal attendants, Choṭa Haridāsa, was severely punished by Lord Caitanya because of his failure to observe the vow of celibacy. For a transcendentalist, therefore, who at all wants to be promoted to the kingdom beyond material miseries, it is worse than suicide to deliberately indulge in sex life, especially in the renounced order of life. Sex life in the renounced order of life is the most perverted form of religious life, and such a misguided person can only be saved if, by chance, he meets a pure devotee.

If one is trained to protect his semen by observing celibacy, naturally he is not attracted by the beauty of a woman. If one can remain a brahmacārī, he saves himself so much trouble in material existence. Material existence means enjoying the pleasure of sexual intercourse (yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukham (SB 7.9.45)). If one is educated about sex life and is trained to protect his semen, he is saved from the danger of material existence.

—Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda (

But, one day, his father ordered him to bring some articles to him in order to perform oblations. He went to the forest to collect the articles, such as kuśa grass and sacred wood. On his way back, he saw something obscene: a harlot and a man engaged in illicit sexual activity. Upon seeing this, his mind became perturbed. This obscene event disturbed his mind greatly and, consequently, he felt the urge to associate with the harlot. We should therefore avoid obscene sights. They are a very bad influence for us. After all, why do so many young boys and girls lose their character? By seeing such obscene things. Ajāmila is a good example of this.

—Śrīla Bhakti Vallabha Tīrtha Mahārāja (Taste of Transcendence)

An auspicious message for the young generation: practice of celibacy is nectar; lack of celibacy is death .
In this creation of Bhagavān, only a celibate person can truly obtain economic development, religiosity, sense gratification, and liberation. Those who do not conserve their semen spend their entire lives wandering in an ocean of distress. This knowledge is invaluable; it is very beneficial to realize it. Hanumān, Grandfather Bhīṣma, Mahāvīra, and many others observed celibacy, and for this reason they will always be famous.
These days, the environment has become so polluted that the unfortunate youth are always disturbed. Food is contaminated and dress is vulgar and agitating. Modern society is full of corrupt advertisements, morbid pictures, disturbing music, gossipy newspapers, obscene novels, perverse films, and so on. Co-education, television, and mobile phones have opened up the schools to obscenity. By the mercy of Bhagavān, I am writing about the means to save oneself from all these troubles. If the young generation follows these instructions, they can be saved to some degree.
One should give up bad association, and not take heavy meals. One should read religious texts, and monitor and control his mind. If a man ejects his semen, he will lose energy and become a victim of diseases. These diseases may even be passed on to his progeny. If one does not follow this advice, he will face constant embarrassment; he will not even be able to raise his head and speak. The shine around his face will be destroyed, and depression will show on his cheeks. The habit of masturbation will remain for his entire life. He will become even weaker due to involuntary discharge of semen in dreams. His ability to digest food will be reduced, and he will suffer from constipation. One’s ability to remember things will diminish, and his mind will not be able to concentrate on studying. His brain will not function properly, and he will be unable to focus on any task. He will not be able to obtain the things he desires. He will be afflicted by diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, prameha (semen passing through the urine), repeated headaches, and the feeling that the head is spinning, and he will always be distressed. He will repeatedly suffer from colds and fever.
On the other hand, if a man keeps his semen within, he becomes unlimitedly powerful. His mind can remain absorbed in devotion, and he will be able to obtain Bhagavān. He will be healthy for his entire life. He will be outstanding in his studies, and his mind will always be sharp. He will have a superior memory. He will be able to talk fearlessly with seniors at his job. By observing celibacy, one will develop all of these good qualities.
Sex desire usually arises at about the age of twelve, and if it is controlled at the beginning, it will trouble one less in the future. If it is not managed properly, it will go out of control. The more one enjoys sex, the more sex desire will increase. The more sex desire is controlled, the more it will diminish. As long as one enjoys sex, sex desire will not go away.
Sex desire awakens due to past impressions and imagination. It originates within consciousness, and if the impetus is stopped at this point, it will not reach the mind. If sex desire is not controlled, it will enter the mind and agitate one. One should never look at one’s genitals. It is best to wear a laṅgoṭa, a special type of underwear. Before going to sleep at night, one should chant at least two rounds of hari-nāma, the hare kṛṣna mahā-mantra.

hare kṛṣṇa, hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa, hare hare
hare rāma, hare rāma, rāma rāma, hare hare

If one chants attentively and remembers his spiritual master, he can sleep peacefully and avoid involuntary nocturnal discharge of semen due to erotic dreams (svapne-doṣa). In public one should not look around; he should walk with his head lowered. Saintly persons always walk with their eyes looking down. If we walk while looking forward, we may see animals, birds, or people engaged in sex life. With only a small hint, lust can immediately overpower one and make him fall down. As long as one does not get married, he must be very diligent in this regard. It is very rare to hear teachings such as these; by the inspiration of my spiritual master and the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I am giving these instructions. Naïve, innocent young men do not know anything about this topic; therefore, I must give this knowledge.

—Aniruddha Dāsa Adhikārī (Attaining God in This Very Lifetime)
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