Author Topic: Abstinence  (Read 240 times)


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« on: April 23, 2018, 06:44:11 AM »
I am of the view that unless sexual desire comes to an end, the imaginary ego continues.

Maharshi's talks on the matter of sexual desire can mistakenly be interpreted as, "I can continue to indulge myself". But if you read Maharshi's words broadly and between the lines, I think you will find the Maharshi would agree with my first sentence above.
The arguments against abstaining from all sexual activity are for example:
-- there is no ego, so I can do whatever I like
-- M.: You can sleep with your voluptuous neighbour, provided you have no sense of doership!
*It is only the Jnani that has no sense of doership. The ajnani would only be fuelling the imaginary ego taking such a course.
-- M.: even if you do commit adultery, do not think about it afterwards, because you are yourself always pure. You are not the sinner.
*This reminder will no doubt help the person who feels remorse about their action, but this is not a licence to indulge yourself; I explain why in the next section, "The arguments for abstaining from all sexual activity".
-- D.: Do you approve of sexual continence?
M.: A true brahmachari [celibate] is one who dwells in Brahman. Then there is no question of desires any more.
*The paradox here is that unless one applies Vichara to one's own sexual thoughts and desires, the "true brahmachari, the one who dwells in Brahman", is beyond reach.
The arguments for abstaining from all sexual activity are for example:
-- M.: The more the desires are fulfilled, the deeper grows the samskara (predisposition). They must become weaker before they cease to assert themselves. That weakness is brought about by restraining oneself and not by losing oneself in desires.
M.: Unless the samskara's cease to exist, there will always be doubt and confusion.
*Samskara is samsara (cycle of births and deaths).
-- M.: Freedom from passions is the essential requisite. When that is accomplished all else is accomplished.
-- M.: Craving for pleasures should not be encouraged. One cannot put out burning fire by pouring petrol over it. An attempt to satisfy your craving for the time being, so that the passion may later be suppressed, is simply foolish.
-- M.: Evil desire, a pit that can never be filled, is what plunges your life into poverty that can never be overcome.
*poverty here refers to a suffering mind.
The how of giving up sexual desire is typically Vichara, or abiding as Self:
D.: So we must rid ourselves of lust (kama), anger, (krodha), etc.
M.: Give up thoughts. You need not give up anything else.
D.: How to control lust, anger, etc.?
M.: Whose are these passions? Find out. If you remain as the Self, there will be found to be nothing apart from the Self. Then there will be no need to control, etc.
D.: How shall I overcome my passions?
M.: Find their root and then it will be easy.
D.: Can fasting cure sexual desire?
M.: Yes, but it is temporary. Mental fast is the real aid.
Maharshi also stated that will-power and other sadhana's such as sattvic food and prayers would help.
D.: How is Brahmacharya to be practised in order that it may be successfully lived up to?
M.: It is a matter of will-power. Sattvic food, prayers, etc., are useful aids to it.