Power of Brahmacharya | Is Sexual Abstinence Old-Fashioned or the Sensible Thing to Do? (Part 1)

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

Power of Brahmacharya – Quotes by Swami Vivekananda and Swami Sivananda - “Brahmacharya” is the vow of celibacy in thought, word and deed. The chaste brain has tremendous energy and gigantic will-power. How did Hanuman become a Mahavir (the most brave)? It is with this weapon of Brahmacharya that he acquired unsurpassable strength and valour. The valour and greatness of emperor Prithviraj was due to the strength of Brahmacharya. The great Bhishma, the grandfather of Pandavas and Kauravas conquered death by Brahmacharya.

These days “unrestrained sex” has become the motto of the Indian media.

“Sexual freedom” is being promoted as a mantra on almost all major media platforms ranging from Bollywood movies, to TV serials, to newspapers. All are busy encouraging the youth to break out of tradition, to become promiscuous and indulge in unrestrained sexual activities, especially before marriage.

The motive of the media organizations, of course is plain and simple greed. Sex sells, and ensures viewer eyeballs and profits. However in what direction is this taking our country?

Swami Vivekananda has given the poignant answer:

“Chastity is the life of a nation. Do you not find in history that the first death-sign of a nation has been unchastity? When that has entered, the end of the race is in sight.”

Energetic youth are the hope and future of any country. But when our youth choose to waste their precious mental and physical energies indulging in promiscuous behavior, when young women and men are saddled with the burden of unwanted pregnancies and early onset of adulthood, then from where are they going to find the strength within them to take the country forward – to solve the larger problems of poverty, hunger, environmental decay, illiteracy etc. that face India?

Excessive Intercourse Dissipates “Prana” and Imbalances the Mind


The Rishis of Vedanta have emphasized that one of the greatest channels through which the vital spiritual energy or “prana” gets dissipated is through intercourse.

This prana is the energy that fuels not just the body but also the mind. In fact it is the subtle vibrations of prana which are responsible for producing thoughts in our mind.

So what happens when the pranic energy in the body is wasted through excessive intercourse and lustful imaginations?

Then the mind sapped of its vital energy source, becomes enormously weakened and this weakness manifests itself as lack of will-power, as lack of courage, in feelings of nervousness, fear, anxiety, negative thoughts and other mental disturbances.

Thus the media’s self-centered preoccupation with momentary satisfactions associated with the temporary physical body, comes at the heavy cost of injuring a young person’s mind. (Recall from a recent video that upon death, the soul leaves the physical body clothed in the mind. Since the SAME mind travels with our soul from birth to birth, therefore it is extremely important to cultivate a strong, iron-willed mind, as it will assist us in our future lives as well.)

It was for this reason that the Rishis of ancient India, required the youth in their Gurukuls (institutes of learning) to practice strict brahmacharya – or complete sexual abstinence in thoughts, words and deeds. Only then could the young cultivate highly focused, strong and controlled minds.

As Swami Sivananda has explained in his book Practice of Brahmacharya (Free Book):

“Even a little self-restraint or a little practice of continence gives inner strength and peace of mind. It invigorates the mind and nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will-force and brain-power. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality.

It gives power to face the difficulties in the daily battle of life. The special virtues of endurance and bravery are intimately connected with the cultivation of chastity.

A perfect celibate can move the world, can stop the ocean-waves like Lord Jesus, can blow up mountains, can command nature and the five elements like Jnana Dev. There is nothing in the three worlds that cannot be achieved by him. All Siddhis (supernatural powers) roll under his feet.”


Another example of such a perfect celibate was Swami Vivekananda, who too was endowed with many extraordinary powers. One of these powers was that of a tremendous memory.

The practice of strict brahmacharya all his life had endowed Swamiji with the Siddhi (power) that let him read many books in an extremely short period of time. Unlike ordinary people who read a book, word by word, Swamiji read them paragraph by paragraph.

So great were his concentration, attention and memory that in one reading alone he could memorize 10 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica! For a detailed account of these powers of Swami Vivekananda, be sure to read part 2 of this post.

PART 2: When Swami Vivekananda Memorized 10 Volumes of an Encyclopaedia – This wonderful story coupled with the incident when Swamiji explained to his brother monk Akhandananda that “I never read a book word by word”…

“Do not degrade…to the level of the brutes… Make yourselves decent men!… Be chaste and pure!… There is no other way. If you can conserve and use the energy properly, it leads you to God. Inverted, it is hell itself…”
– Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Volume 1.

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If You Liked this Post, I Also Recommend Reading:
5 Amazing Photos and Anecdotes from the Life of Swami Vivekananda
How Lord Buddha Suddenly Appeared Before Swami Vivekananda
The Hidden Reason Behind the Early Death of Swami Vivekananda
The Origins of “Arise! Awake!” – The Thundering Words of Swami Vivekananda
Do Ghosts Exist or is Seeing Ghosts a Sign of Delusion? (Part 1)
Do Ghosts Exist? Swami Vivekananda Answers a Disciple’s Query (Part 2)
Swami Vivekananda’s Conversation with the Ghosts of Suicides
The Ghost Tamer Whom Swami Vivekananda Transformed With a Mere Touch
The Mysterious Pelting of Stones Which Disturbed Swami Brahmananda

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Join the Discussion | Share Your Thoughts

  • John Doe

    Thank you for your wonderful videos and articles. This one topic of sexual abstinence — especially masturbation — is one I hope you will address further, as it affects almost all men (and some women). I have found that when I try to be chaste in mind, it is at first exceedingly difficult because of the sexual suggestive images that are almost everywhere in mainstream media, even on billboards & advertisements on public streets. What works for me is to use my spare time to memorize spiritual text. Or listen to spiritual music. And when I must look at something suggestive — to reframe it as fashion/contemporary style or as a symbol of liberation and to admire it from that standpoint, rather than to start lusting after a scantily-clad woman. After several months of abstaining from masturbation and visual lust, then it becomes easier to continue abstinence. Still, occasionally, if I am not watchful, I can easily fall back into old sinful patterns. So even if it has become easier, I still require regular “tune-ups” of reading articles like this one, and continuing my daily spiritual practices.

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