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Celibacy Demand Great Effort And Constant Alertness

Brahmacharya or perfect continence is the sine qua non of spiritual life; its observance demands great effort and constant alertness. In the words of Swami Vivekananda: ‘A man feels that if he is unchaste, spirituality goes away, he loses mental vigor and moral stamina. That is why in all the religious orders in the world which have produced spiritual giants you will always find absolute chastity insisted upon. That is why monks came into existence, giving up marriage.’

But there is no reason to be disheartened by the difficulties in its practice. Many have achieved perfect control over baser instincts and many are earnestly struggling to achieve it. Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that the unsteady mind is difficult to control, but it can be tamed through abhyasa, constant practice, and vairagya, detachment. The wind of God’s grace is ever blowing; we are to open our sails to this wind of grace, says Sri Ramakrishna.

Swami Vivekananda also says: All the strength and succor you want is within yourselves. Therefore, make your own future. ‘Let the dead past bury its dead.’ The infinite future is before you, and you must always remember that each word, thought, and deed, lays up a store for you and that as the bad thoughts and bad works are ready to spring upon like tigers, so also there is the inspiring hope that the good thoughts and good deeds are ready with the power of a hundred thousand angels to defend you always and forever (2.225).

To purify the unconscious mind and then be able to trust it is the secret for attaining success in the practice of celibacy. Let us be realistic, let us know our present standing and work our way to realize the ideal. Shraddha — faith in one’s ability, sincerity, and whole-heartedness — is the keyword. Through tenacious effort and unbroken alertness we will surely reach the goal.