Brahmacharya, as said earlier, means control of the senses-the eye, ear, tongue and skin. In a limited sense, it means practice of celibacy.
Swami Sivananda, the great Master, was one of two saints who wrote a whole volume on practice of Brahmacharya. Our Master's book is more comprehensive than that of the other saint. We will explain the subject from his writings.
He states that from the food we eat, chyle is produced; from chyle the body produces blood and flesh; from flesh fat is made; from fat, bones; from bones, marrow; and finally, from marrow, the semen or vital force is produced.
When a couple get married, the semen or vital force from the male unites with the vital force of the female and this goes to produce a child.
Here we need to always keep in mind the following most important points:
1. Firstly, the vital force is the most precious substance in the human body, as it is the last thing that comes out of the food we eat.
2. Secondly, God has laid the law that the semen must only be used after one gets married and not before that.
3. Thirdly, after getting married, the semen must not be used for getting pleasure but for producing a child.
Saints and sages of the past and present, who married, and many pious and holy people even today follow this important rule. They thus lead a rich and glorious life of perfect purity, peace, happiness and bliss.
Since the semen is such a precious substance in the body, should you not try your best to preserve it? If you really want progress in life, if you wish to have happiness and good health, to move towards God, you will have to practise Brahmacharya, since without it much progress cannot be made.
How to Take Care of the Semen
1. Firstly, do not join evil company that will bring bad thoughts in your mind, like thoughts of love and sex. As students, all Spiritual Darlings should keep themselves busy with their study and games, and also with their daily prayer and physical exercise. Sex and love should not occupy the mind during student days as they will disturb one's studies and affect the health.
2. If Spiritual Darlings wish to become true heroes and heroines, then they must restrict TV viewing, or if possible, give it up completely. Undesirable scenes on TV cause great harm to the body and mind. Research today indicates clearly what great harm such scenes cause in children and even in adults. Saints tell us that evil forces work through the medium of TV. Therefore, if you sit before it for prolonged periods or see undesirable scenes, you will be affected without doubt. Kindly remember that viewing undesirable scenes on TV and then sitting for your morning or evening prayer will not be pleasing to God or to your Guru. Also, sitting for your prayer after viewing such TV scenes will disturb your mind, and again, this will not be pleasing to God.
3. Partake of foods that are pure and nourishing. Vegetarian foods will be very helpful in the practice of Brahmacharya. Too much of spicy foods, sweets and sugar will make practice of Brahmacharya difficult. All Spiritual Darlings should co-operate with parents at home in the matter of the right diet and not cause friction. The main thing with regard to eating habits is to offer the food to God before one eats. In this way the food becomes sanctified and purified and goes to build up a pure body and mind. Always remember this important point.
4. Keep away from all smoking, alcohol and drugs. They will ruin the body and mind and make you do rash and foolish things.
5. Be careful not to accept eatables from any of your friends at school and other places as such foods might contain drugs put into it by drug peddlers. Follow this rule strictly.
6. Do not go to parties where there is disco music, vulgar dancing and dating. All this will ruin you. You might think that you are strong, but when tempted, you may fall hopelessly. Even great Rishis like Narada and Vishwamitra were tempted and fell prey to lust. So beware!
7. Select your parties carefully. In a city you know that certain streets are not safe in which to move about, so you avoid them. In a similar manner you must avoid those parties which will lead you away from God and the path of virtue, and make you to develop undesirable habits. There is no harm in attending parties provided you make your selection carefully.
8. All Spiritual Darlings should henceforth make it a habit of celebrating their birthday with a grand Satsang. This will be a novel and beautiful way of having a party. It will ennoble and uplift everyone. Boys and girls who do not know about prayer and Satsang should be invited to such a party.
9. During holidays, never go to places of gambling, drinking and dancing. This will pollute your mind and lead you away from God. Ask your parents to take you to places where you can view natural scenes like mountains, rivers, waterfalls and landscapes. Visit nature reserves and admire the beauty of flowers, animals and birds in natural surroundings.
10. Games and sports are a must for all Spiritual Darlings. If you are always occupied in trying to keep the body healthy, you will not want to spoil it by taking to bad habits.
11. Boys and girls should never mix intimately and freely. There is no harm in them moving with each other. This cannot always be avoided, but if the boy or girl is God-fearing and respectful, then he or she will know the limit.
12. If boys and girls meet in private, if they hold each other's hands, then there is every danger that the vow of Brahmacharya will be broken. So be careful and humble and do not allow yourself to be tempted.
13. Marriage today is fraught with tremendous problems. The only safe and best way to tackle it is to seek the guidance of God. All Spiritual Darlings should earnestly pray to the all-merciful Lord and to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, to lead them to the right partner, who will be loyal to them till the end of life. God will without doubt answer such earnest prayer and lead one to a life-partner who will bring happiness to the entire household. Trust in God and our Master and you will be safe.
14. Spiritual Darlings should also get the guidance of their parents when selecting their life-partners. With the blessings of one's parents married life cannot but be a great success.
15. Remember also that the vows taken during the marriage ceremony are very sacred. If they are violated, one will have to go through immense pain and suffering. Scriptures like the Garuda Purana give graphic descriptions of the punishment that awaits such a one in hell after death.
16. Understand clearly the working of the great law of cause and effect. We all see the relentless operation of this law in nature and in our daily life. As you sow, so shall you reap. None can escape this granite law of God. If you do evil actions, you will reap pain and sorrow. If you do virtuous actions, you will have joy and happiness. Ignorant people do evil actions in private, thinking that no one knows. But the omniscient Lord, the silent witness of all our thoughts, words and actions always knows everything, and His law of Karma will bring the reaction sooner or later. A life of sense pleasure is sweet in the beginning, but ends in pain, sorrow and suffering. A life in search of higher values and ideals, a spiritual life dedicated to God, is often like poison in the beginning, but ends in unbroken peace and bliss.
17. Spiritual Darlings should always try to keep themselves fully occupied in some useful community service. They should request their parents to make them participate in the activities of some service institutions. Serving the poor and the sick, cheering the aged, doing acts of charity will bring great peace and happiness in their lives. If they give love and happiness to all those around them, they will also receive love and happiness in return. Academic skills, brilliant passes in exams and degrees will bring popularity, name and fame and provide you with comforts, luxuries and your daily bread and butter, but the peace that your soul craves for can only be had by seeking God, by leading a pure, virtuous life and by serving others. True selfless service of humanity is really worship of God.
Effects of Loss of Semen
Here is what happens if you lose much of the semen or vital force:
1. You will weaken your memory power. You will not be able to remember your school lessons well. This is the first disaster you will have to face if you waste this precious vital force.
2. Your mind will become weak. You will not be strong enough to say no to bad habits. You will become a slave. The end result will be misery, pain, sorrow and suffering.
3. Wastage of the vital force is the main cause of illnesses. Your health will be affected. Your body will not be able to fight off diseases easily. You will feel weak and listless.
4. Your nervous system will suffer, because the semen nourishes the nerves. You will get irritable easily and will lose control of yourself quickly. You will become a prey to fear.
5. You will not be able to face problems bravely, as your mind and will-power will be weak. You will even want to take your life because you are not able to deal with your problems.
6. You will have a fickle mind. You will not be able to concentrate properly on your work at school or at home. You will take up a task and soon give it up. Like a monkey, your mind will jump from one thing to another. You will feel restless and suffer from depression.
7. There will be no lustre on your face. This lustre is called Brahma Tejas by the Yogis. You will not be able to attract others due to the absence of Brahma Tejas.
8. If you engage in pre-marital sex or such other evil habits, your conscience will always trouble you. You will have no peace of mind. If you deceive your parents or are disloyal to your friends, sooner or later you, too, will be let down or deceived. Also, you cannot expect a successful married life. The great law of cause and effect will operate with scientific precision.