Of all the methods and techniques to improve concentration, memory, courage, and positivity, Abstinence – Brahmacharya is the novel most and greatest technique, if you have some faith in spirituality. Though it looks like a spiritual belief, Ayurveda also approves of benefits of abstinence.
- Abstinence means Brahmacharya in Sanskrit. Abstinence refers to refraining one’s mind and body in indulgence of sex and sex related matters.
- At the outset, it appears as if it covers only physical aspect. But it also covers the mental aspect.
- If you indulge in sex, there is lack of abstinence at the same time, if you imagine about having sex, then also there is lack of abstinence.
- Lack of abstinence is there if one thinks, sees, hears, chats, touches, indulgence with a desire of sex , there is lack of abstinence.
- It is almost near to impossible for common people to practice abstinence at the highest level but it is possible to follow abstinence at certain levels based on one’s own capacity and comfort.
Benefits of abstinence: Why Brahmacharya?
- Brahmacharya is told as one among the three pillars of life. (other two are – food and sleep).
- Ayurveda details: The Ojas – the essence of immunity is told as byproduct of Shukra (the hormones, semen and other components of sex). Hence, preserving Shukra leads to improvement in immunity.
- Swamy Vivekananda was able to memorize whatever he used to glance, in a book. By reading a few lines of a paragraph, he used to get the meaning of the rest of the paragraph. He used to say that if one practices absolute abstinence for a period of 12 years, continuous, a special Nadi (nerve power) called Medha Nadi (Medha = intelligence) develops in one’s brain, which leads to tremendous memory and concentration.
- Abstinence leads to multi-fold improvement in concentration, memory and courage.
- For students, teenagers and children, abstinence is highly recommended.
- Abstinence leads to character building.
- Abstinence imbibes reliability, strength in character and trust worthiness.
- Abstinence is the fuel for spiritual journey. No spirituality without abstinence.
How to practice abstinence
- At the outset, it looks almost impossible to follow absolute abstinence. It depends upon one’s mind strength, practice and perseverance.
- If not full abstinence, teenagers can at least resolve to avoid sexual activities at least till a particular point of time in their lives.
- For married people, abstinence can be practiced at any available occasions, as in case of pregnancy, menstrual periods, being distant to each other etc.
- Keeping oneself away from stimulations such as TV, wrong company etc helps follow abstinence.
- Pranayama helps to keep the mind cool, calm and concentrated.
So, follow abstinence and be abstinent up to your capacity and till the time your mind is capable and enjoy its benefits.
Tips to maintain Celibacy
• Waking up early in the morning – Brahmi Muhurtha
• Restricted sleep of 6 – 7 hours
• Eating only for 2 – 3 times a day,
• Avoiding munching
• Avoiding excess of tea, coffee
• Avoiding alcohol, smoking,
• Avoiding excess spicy salty foods
• Controlling anger
• Avoiding junk foods
• Having better control over sense organs
• Having better control over mind
• Improving on focus concentration
• Pranayama and Yoga regularly – Control over breath = control over mind
• Love and compassion towards all
• Guru – able spiritual leader to walk you hand in hand, in the right path.
• Satsanga – company of holy people – mutual encouragement, healthy competition
Does nightfall break the Brahmacharya?
Night fall is the common term, used for nocturnal emission, wherein the semen that is collected inside, overflows while the person is sleeping. This does not break Brahmacharya.
If retention of semen was the only criteria for celibacy, then a simple vasectomy operation would have made everyone to follow this noble path. But what actually matters, in following Brahmacharya is purity of heart and mind. Nothing else.
Brahmacharya – Spirituality
Spirituality = Yearning towards higher mental status / Deity.
Spirituality is the journey of control of sense organs and directing all physical and mental strength to take mind to higher planes.
Lack of Brahmacharya
• Physical attraction = mind gets more and more attached to the body.
• Mind is made to concentrate more on physical aspects such as appearance, looks
• Lack of control over sense organs
• Lack of control over mind.
• Worsening of anger, frustration, etc.
Celibacy – basic foundation of spirituality
• Upon this foundation,
– Spiritual practice
– Self analysis
– Self exploration
– Getting rid of anger, greed,
Ego etc are performed to
Achieve highest spiritual realms.
Ojas and Celibacy
Concept of 7 tissues of Ayurveda
Ayurveda explains that there are seven body tissues.
• Rasa, Rakta Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja Shukra.
• Food – > Digestion
• Essence part of food –(Rasa Dhatu)
• Rasa nourishes Rakta (Blood)
• Rakta Nourishes Mamsa (muscles).
• Mamsa nourishes Meda (Fat)
• Meda -> Asthi (bone tissue)
• Asthi -> Majja (marrow)
• Majja -> Shukra (reproductive system).
Essence part (fruitful part) of seven body tissues = Ojas.
• Ojas is responsible for overall health, energy and liveliness. It is both a mental and physical factor. It is responsible for – Health maintenance and health promotion – Fight disease – prevent disease
• Ojus is the essence part of all the body tissues. Read more about ojas
Brahmacharya is a way to improve Ojas:
• Increased Ojas = Good mental strength (memory, concentration) = better meditation and spiritual gains
• Increased Ojas = Good physical strength – improved immunity, longevity, freedom from diseases, prolonged life expectancy.
• Depleted Ojas = opposite of the above.
Rasayana – rejuvenating, anti aging therapy to improve ojas:
• Ancient seers were able to pursue their religious studies, Tapas (Penance), Brahmacharya (celibacy), spiritual knowledge and meditation and also attained heaven.
• Therefore, persons desirous of attaining long life vitality and happiness should practice rejuvenation therapy with complete devotion according to the prescribed procedure.
Brahmacharya as prescription
• In the treatment of Rajayakshma (depleted body tissues, tuberculosis), Brahmacharya is advised. Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 8/187
Brahmacharya at what age?
Brahmacharya for all
• Brahmacharya for spiritual seekers
• Brahmacharya for teenagers
• Brahmacharya for people in their 20s
• Brahmacharya for married people
• Brahmacharya for old people
• For good health of society with high levels of ethics.
• The level of practice across people may wary.
Importance of Brahmacharya during teenage
• Helps the teenager to set the line of discipline
• Improves memory, concentration, focus.
• Improves discretional and analytical strength
• Sets the high tone for the rest of his / her life
Importance of Brahmacharya during 20s.
• Helps to chose better partners
• Helps to chose relationships better
• Helps to define purpose of life, better.
• Improved memory, concentration, health and immunity.
Brahmacharya after marriage
• Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – Married people should once in a while seek solace in forests and do meditation for few days time, before returning to mundane life.
• In Hindu custom, it is advised to abstain from sex during festivities, special days such as no-moon day, etc.
Importance in married people
• Improves mutual relationship
• Helps to put love ahead of lust
• Brings more meaning to relationship
• Makes the sexual relationship all the more interesting – due to self induced rules.
Brahmacharya in Ayurvedic Treatment
Utility of Bramhacharya in Ayurvedic treatment
• Ayurveda advocates abstinence as a way of life up to one’s strength.
• Abstinence is advocated during chronic illness, during
– Snehakarma – oleation
– Panchakarma procedure,
– post- panchakarma period
– Rasayana – rejuvenating, anti aging treatment procedures. (Brahma Rasayana)
Purity, love for truth, self-control, devotion to sacred rituals and Brahmacharya, Freedom from passion, anger, greed, ego, ignorance, jealousy, dejection and intolerance are Satvik qualities (Charaka Samhita Shareera Sthana 4th chapter).
• One should keenly follow the path of Bramacharya, knowledge, charity, friendship, compassion, happiness, detachment and peace. Charaka Sutrasthana 8/29
Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 7th chapter
• Good memory, intelligence, long life, health, nourishment, acuity of sense organs, reputation, strength and slow ageing accrue from disciplined (controlled) indulgence in the women.
• Charaka Samhita, Vimana Sthana, 3rd chapter – during an epidemic disease, one who follows Brahmacharya stands a good chance to withstand the spread of disease.
How Celibacy is broken?
• Darshana – looking at women with passionate resolve,
• Sparshan – touching,
• Keli – play,
• Kirtan – praising the qualities of the other sex,
• Guhya-Bhashan – talking in private,
• Sankalpa – determination,
• Adhyavasaya – nearing the other sex with the desire for gratification, intimacy
• Kriyanivritti – sexual act.
Herbs to maintain Brahmacharya
• Bitter and astringent
• Betel Nut -1 gram per day.
• Sandalwood powder – 1 gram per day, along with honey.
• Tulsi – Holy Basil – one leaf per day
• Haritaki – Chebulic myrobalan – Terminalia chebula – fruit rind – one teaspoon per day – for 2 months time, with water or honey.
Research on Brahmacharya
• Experiments on rats have shown that reduced fecundity increases their lifespan.
• In an experiment, castrated men in a mental hospital were shown to live many years more than the normal patients in same environment. Source
• An experiment on male japanese macaque has shown that each ejaculation is costly for the animal, even though this research only considered the calorific content of the ejaculation and not the cost of spermatogenesis itself.
Reader’s experience – Mr Harpal Singh
I am in no way well established in brahmacharya, but hopefully you can learn something from my experience. I said in my previous post about getting a routine and try to take it as a challenge to stay strong when seeing girls. However, I have realised that brahmacharya is all about controlling the mind rather than supressing the urge of masturbation, which is unhealthy, so you might as well masturbate if you are going to supress. Make the mind pure with practice and you will be a great man/woman. Start going to the gym REGULARLY. A strong body will help your practice. A weak body is more easily seduced. Whenever you start feeling weak, read the works of Swami Vivekananda or watch his videos about Brahmacharya on youtube. Remember why you started following celibacy, your goal. If you fail, be happy and try again. If loss of semen was loss of life, majority of people on this planet would be dead already. So don’t be fanatic like a lot of you people are on here, no offence. And please stop thinking about doing it for 12 years, relax and just start practicing. You don’t know if you will be alive tomorrow, forget 12 years. It will be hard in the beginning, but relax and keep trying.
Remember, this world is very superficial, and a lot of guys/girl will want you just because of your looks, so why do you run after a world like this? One day you will become old, so leave these things before they leave you. And that doesn’t mean going to the forest and becoming a monk. Enjoy this world whithout being attached to anything. Live like a king. Become who you were meant to be. For me personally I have accepted Swami Vivekananda as my guru and in his works he said that the secret to success is Brahmacharya and obeying your guru without question. So find your ideal/guru and make him/her proud. Don’t think too much and just go for it and obey your guru. And again, don’t be scared that you are going to die because you masturbated. It’s never too late and failure is good. Be happy, canalise your energy in the right direction and stop thinking/worrying too much. I have done that so please don’t make the same mistake, you won’t gain anything. Good luck to all and apologies for any hurtful comments. God bless you all!
Questions and answers:
sir,then should we leave masturbation(once a week) at all, so that we can also gain the power…
How can we preserve the shukra?it always over flows after 28 days if I dont masturbate at all…
(age:14 years 11 months).Thank you
See, male genital system starts producing semen from the age of 13 or 14. From this age onwards, it will be produced and it will be ejected out, either manually (masturbation) or by involuntarily (default).During young age, if you follow abstinence, by not ejecting out the semen manually, it will help you to gain tremendous concentration and confidence. If it ejected out involuntarily do not worry. Let it happen. No problem. But for the best of your efforts, avoid masturbation. In this effort, if you fail and do masturbation as well, say rarely, that is also fine. Do not curse yourself, forget it and move on. No regrets, no sorry feeling. Just move on and enjoy life Just do not worry. But train your mind for concentration. You will go places.
Once after you cross the teenage and become a fully grown man, take care of character. Remember, character will be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.
Thank You Sir,Thank You very much..actually I left masturbation 6 months ago and am experiencing wet dreams after every 28 days…Once I had an experience when I had not masturbated for a month and had been encouraged by my teachers,I got an extreme power like Swami Vivekananda.I could remember every single word I was studying just with a glance. I have now started meditating and I will try my best to revive that concentration and confidence again.
Thank You very much for your help and advice.
Bramhacharya for 12 years only?
Is it necessary to practice abstinence for exactly 12 years?
Because I have attained that extreme concentration and memory in just a month?
Memory is not only the benefit of practicing abstinence.It is one among the benefits. The other benefits are – self confidence, concentration, self esteem, robust health, courage, etc.(The list is not all inclusive)
Abstinence for women
Sir, i want to know how abstinence help woman ?? because she has regular monthly period ……
Very impressive question and line of thinking. I appreciate.
Abstinence is not limited to restriction from sexual intercourse. It is both physical and mental phenomenon.
Abstinence is a way of developing our character,
Abstinence is a way of improving our concentration, memory and self confidence.
Abstinence is a dynamic, practical way of maintaining purity and sanctity of body and mind.
It benefits both men and women alike.
Coming to physiological point of your query –
See, abstinence does not yield its fruits like memory, concentration, confidence, etc just by holding back semen or menstrual flow. It is related to holding back and controlling our emotions, and attractions. Physiologically it influences the neuro-hormones.
Swamy Vivekananda is of the opinion that separate school for female Sanyasins should be run be ladies only and the two schools of Sanyasins, of men and women should never be mixed. Because, the curtain that differs ‘Matha’ – The God from ‘Maya’ – the illusion – is very very thin.
As per my knowledge , vivekananda never said about restriction on meetings of male and female sannyasins. i would like to add that bramhachrjya is not absent from sexual activities but it is the control of sexual energy . you are the controller use it as per your requirement as a sound controller. best is that control ejaculation as per tantric methods.
Dear sir, many thanks for the comments.
Let me quote an excerpt from the book – “Talks with Swamy Vivekananda”, which is the conversation between a disciple and Swamiji.
Once Swamiji with his disciple (author of the above book), go to inaugurate a Female Brahmacharini school. While on their way, Swamiji clearly says that – Female Sanyasini Ashram should be entirely separately built far away from male Sanyasi Ashram.
– Sanyasini Ashram should be entirely and independently handled by Sanyasinis, without any interference from Male counterparts.
The purpose of the above two sentences are very clear. Maya can come in many ways to obstruct Sanyasi’s noble Path. a Sanyasi should always, in his sleep and while he is awake should be extra careful to follow his Dharma diligently with extra care.
Brahmacharya is the control of both Sexual activity and sexual energy.
You cannot control sexual energy without avoiding sexual activities.
I am unaware of Tantric methods of controlling ejaculation. If you know, please share with us. It will be useful to lot of aspirants.
Thanks and regards
Thanks to your nice reply. Actually i want to know the theory of control monthly period.I practice abstinence but menstrual period break it. i think it is easy for male to preserve semen but for woman it is hard to control period. i regular do yoga and pranayama or try my best to free from attraction…..
Controlling period is not natural and can not be called as Brahmachayra. For women, controlling the mind is the way to follow Bramhacharya.
Hello Dr Hebbar
I actually had a question regarding abhyanga. I want to use sesam seed oil for massage, but I don’t have any ayurvedic stores here so the only sesam seed oil I can get is “KTC Pure Sesam Seed Oil” I was hoping if you could tell me if I can use this oil for massage? Also can I apply this before going to bed and take shower next day (if this increases the effect?).
Thanks on behalf
Dear Mr Harpal,
There is no special ‘Ayurvedic’ sesame oil. Even for Ayurvedic purposes, we use the one available in general store. so, yes, you can use the same sesame oil that is with you. and applying the oil at night is a better way.
Better to heat the oil for 30 seconds before applying.
Longer the oil stays on skin, the better.
But oil may harm your bed spread. If that is not a problem, then oil can surely be applied at night.
I am practicing brahmacharya from a week after 5 years. Now i feel like Masturbating (before i used to masturbate 2 to 3 times a day and was watching porn every night) and I feel like i want 2 go back 2 previous life even though i dont want to.. I feel lot of energitic, good memory and everything good in a week itself..
But i am not able to concentrate on my Study. I feel dilemma about which life is better wen i sit to study and not able 2 study..
whenever i sit 2 study my mind goes 2 discussion about which life is better..
Is this thing is normal?
Any suggestions please??
The dilemma that you are facing is the common thing that all of us, men face 🙂
It is completely normal. I would recommend to stick to Brahmacharya for as long as possible. But if you happen to break it in between and give in to desire to masturbate also, there is nothing to lose. Just forget it and move on. It is not a competition with somebody else. It is a competition with yourself.
But whatever you do, you should not feel guilty about it. Just deal it as a normal thing and move on.
Wish you good health and a bright future.
Sir I am 21 years old. I would like to maintain bramacharya but I am having trouble at sleeping and falling asleep. Even though I slept , I woke up in the middle of the midnight and continued till morning without sleep. I’ve tried exercising, meditating nothing works for me. What shall I do? Please advice me
Follow these sleep tips – https://easyayurveda.com/2009/08/26/how-to-sleep-naturally-without-falling-a-prey-to-sedatives/
I have a problem ,my semen discharge unintentionally however there is no thought in mind please suggest
Once in 2 – 3 weeks, irrespective of sexual thoughts, one would have seminal discharge.
Does Brahmacharya helps in improving looks?
First up, “improving looks” – if it means to look more attractive to females, you are out of Brahmacharya range.
Brahmacharya will make you more confident, helps you face any given situation with fearless aggression and smile.
I only recently discovered Brahmacharya and I must state that it makes perfect sense to me.
As I sit-back, watch and document the activities of the human race, I cannot but wonder: how dumb do people have to get before they wake-up and smell what the Rock is cooking?
It is clear to me that the most powerful of minds throughout history (especially within Ancient India), were well ahead of their time, in terms of applying pscho-physiological techniques to advance both their minds and bodies in the quest for godhood and ultimate supremacy.
As someone who is 30 years of age and has never (ever) had any intimate contact with any living organism let alone a human, I can state with conviction that I am destined for greatness on this Earth.
My goal: Biological Supremacy. I have a date with godhood and of becoming the greatest of creations and there is absolutely nothing that can stand in my way. My sovereignty (virginity) is sacred and the energy that I conserve and channel from it will propel me to becoming a Living God!
The human race is an experiment that has gone out of control, threatening Mother Earth. But She will not allow Herself to be misused by humanity, for one day, She will destroy it.
Mr. Z. Ashraf
Well, and agreed to your thoughts on the human race and may good things come to past on your goal .
What intrigues me is with a name such as that, you’ve explored the Brahmi school of thought…
welcome to the party…
Sir , I have read your post on abstinence and it makes me a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I never got an advice on masturbation when I was 13. Sometimes in School I was told by teachers that doing it in control actually helps us to do better in studies. I am 20 now and never made any sincere effort to stop ejaculating. So I have been masturbating since 13, 5 times a week on an average.. Sometimes 3 per day. I wanted to ask that have I done an irreparable damage to my mental health ? If I practice abstinence now how much time it would take to become fully healthy. Will I ever be able to reach a state like someone who has been practicing abstinence from 13. Should I consider myself unlucky in not having received the right guidance..
If I was put onto cricket training at the age of 5, then I would have trained hard and by this time, I could have become greater than Sachin Tendulkar. There will always be lot of ‘ifs’ in our lives. Let us not worry about them. Let us start building from where we stand.
Do not worry about getting mental strengths by comparing yourselves to others. I believe, if you start following abstinence, as per your strength and capability, you will have your share of mental and physical benefits. Stop worrying about the past and start building your present and future from TODAY!
Yes Sir ! completely agreed to your wisdom punch “Stop worrying about the past”. But I was only concerned with where I stand in comparison to those who have been practicing abstinence from longer times and I have got my answer.
But I still not fully convinced with Brahmacharya concept. Sachin Tendulkar has played incredibly well even after marrying Anjali. A newly married pair would have multiple orgasms often exceeding 5 times a week. That means there should have been noticeable decline in Sachin’s performance or any other athlete for that matter. Even Dhoni is married and performance is good. So there I had a doubt.
There are many contributing factors to concentration and abstinence is one among them. The other factors are –
1. Self confidence: The confidence that I can bat well, can face any bowler in the world, will make me a better batsman.
2. Dedication: Tendulkar once went to school level match to another place along with his team mates. They all, along with his coach stayed in the hotel. At night, 3 am, some big noise was coming from the roof. Coach goes upstairs and sees that Tendulkar is practicing sweep shot by throwing the ball to the wall and playing the sweep shot. Sunil Joshi, a long time Ranji Player used to travel 70 km every day in the morning just to reach the cricket ground.
3. Passion – Steve Jobs tells – if you are not in love with what you do, you can never succeed.
4. Genetic, family, hereditary factors, influencing skills and mind set.
5. Fearlessness and determination to chase your dream. – Tendulkar himself and his parents would have feared that if he continues with cricket, what will happen, or what if he gets injured while playing fast bowlers, then he would not have become a champion.
Abstinence is one of the factors to improve concentration. It also helps to improve confidence and dedication also.
Long story short, let us not compare with others. You following abstinence to your capacity will be a better person than you, not following it.
Abstinence to your capacity means – as far as you can. and when you break it and masturbate, do not feel guilty about it. Just be cool about it and move on, try again.
I completely disagree with your comments regarding the cricketing performances of both Tendulkar and Dhoni.
The fact of the matter is that through their partnerships with their wives (and subsequent copulative acts), both of these misguided men have decided to “share their bodies” and therefore (like most men on Planet Earth), suffer from low self-esteem and decreased biological power.
If you think both of these men are superb cricketers now (whilst paired with partners), just think how good both of these guys would be without them.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind those who doubt the Path of Brahmacharya, about the following words associated with human pair bonds: weakness, humiliation, disgraceful, submissive, cowardice, no self-respect.
The fact of the matter is that Nature “forces” both men and women to submit to another organism and forego their sovereignty forever – for any act of intimacy = a permanent stain upon the Temple that is the Individual Human Body, transforming the Sacred into the Untouchable. And for what…to breed new life upon this Planet and continue the Cycle of Pain and Suffering.
The whole point of Individual Human Existence is to Discover Oneself – NOT to forgo one’s Identity for the benefit of the greater good (humanity).
The vast majority of humanity is living the Nightmare that a certain Mr. (Neo) Andersen was living, whilst bound and chained to the false reality of The Matrix.
Dr. this is from a woman (I’m one of your patients.) I practice alot of yoga and find that I have a tremendous amount of energy and have physically abstained from sex for years (not by choice.) Yet i respectfully submit that as a result the mind is constantly or quite often fantasizing about sex. And as a result there is a sense of built up tension in the body/mind.
So my question is for a householder-in Western world wouldn’t it be healthier to have sex with a loving, single partner, than to abstain totally? As other teachers say abstaining can cause other problems, since the energy is not circulating. In fact I have reproductive problems and my Chinese herbalist calls it “stagnation.”
Hi, thanks for a very good question.
1. Complete mental and physical abstinence is for Sanyasins and for those who seek eternal bliss and who have chosen to live sacred. That is a very hard path to follow. Not all of us can chose to be so.
2. It is natural for all of us to get sexual thoughts. Procreation by means of recreation is the rule of nature. We are all bound by it. But between these two extremes – complete abstinence and having a sexually active life, in this scale of two ends, we have to chose a place where we belong.
Sex can be had by anyone, with anyone, within ‘legal and ethical boundaries’. Though ethical boundary is a subjective issue, there are some guidelines which can be generalized. They are –
Sex with love and a relationship with healthy long perspective is better than lustful solitary outbursts.
Efforts to develop a love-full relationship (and having sex) is far better than suffering with under confidence because of the arising sexual desires and suffering due to it.
Extra marital relationship, using sex as a tool to achieve a vendetta or to get something is strict no no.Speaking about “stagnation” – If one is having completely good control over mind, then it is absolutely fine to follow complete Brahmacharya in its purest form.
But if someone is not mentally inclined for absolute Brahmacharya, and is getting sexual thought, then it might cause ‘stagnation’.Hope I make some sense?I agree with it. But for a married individual how it be brahmacharya.
Following restraint in festivals, during periods, full moon and no moon days, during pregnancy.
Putting love ahead of lust. are some form of Brahmacharya to be followed.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Ji told that after a few kids are born, the couple should live together like brother and sister. Though it may not be possible for many, some restraint and some Brahmacharya is always good to follow
Brahmacharya certainly does improve concentration, memory and several other things. I speak from experience. My health improved a lot after I started observing the practice. However, to reap the full benefits of sexual abstinence you have to be mentally chaste as well; only then will the body cooperate. Good luck to all who choose to follow this great path.