Q: How can I succeed in maintaining brahmacharya? It is not easy.
Whenever we begin any positive endeavor it is only natural that opposition to it will arise, both from without and within. However, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). That is, your pure spirit is greater than any force out in the world, and also greater than those aspects of your own makeup that are also “in the world.”
Perseverance is needed as well as careful vigilance to see that no subtle elements are entertained in the mind that will lead to endangering brahmacharya. Often delusion wears a mask so the nature of its presence is not recognized.
This I can assure you positively, three factors are crucial in the matter of brahmacharya: environment, diet and meditation. Without purity of all three there is simply no hope.
1. Environment for maintaining brahmacharya
The environment must be free of all elements that are incompatible with perfect brahmacharya both physically and mentally. This includes anything that coarsens our mind and senses, even if not specifically related to sex. It also includes people who are coarse and sexually oriented. As Yogananda often said: “Company is greater than will power.”
2. Diet as an aid in brahmacharya
The diet must be very pure and truly healthful. Merely being vegetarian or vegan means very little as there is a lot of junk food that has no animal elements. Nevertheless, all animal protein should be avoided in any degree, both animal flesh and animal glandular secretions–i.e. dairy. Gandhi had a tremendous struggle to achieve and maintain brahmacharya. He found that milk of any kind was very detrimental to brahmacharya. Any form of dairy is harmful to health, as well. Sugar, caffeine and chemical additives are enemies to health as are any form of drugs, including nicotine.
3. Meditation: a key factor in strengthening brahmacharya
Most important is meditation–not just twenty minutes in the morning and night. Even an hour morning and night is not sufficient. You may have heard a lot about living a life “with a balance of meditation and activity” from people who live no such thing. Take the time these people meditate and put it up against the hours in the day they do not.
A balanced life requires some hours a day of meditation. A truly balanced life would be eight hours of meditation, eight hours of activity and eight hours of sleep. Understandably, that cannot be managed by most people, but it puts the lie to the pop yogis who do not come near that. Don’t follow them.
Also, to keep the mind where it should be, continuous mantra japa is absolutely essential. Without it nothing can be done with the mind. Go to the Divine Life Society Headquarters website: Book 33 in the list is Practice of Brahmacharya. Download it or read it on line. From Sivananda’s own sacred lips I heard the teaching that of all methods to preserve brahmacharya, japa is supreme.
Be a 24/7 yogi. If you succeed in this, then your life will directed by divine grace and your spiritual future will be assured.