Written by Swami Sahajananda, Divine Life Society, Durban, South Africa
Here is an entertaining and educational play of how one youth got rid of his TV.
Scene: The lounge of Mr Softiwalla's home. Mr T.V. is anxiously awaiting Gopala, the son of Mr Softiwalla, who has gone to attend a discourse given by Swamiji. Gopala enters, humming the tune of "Apadbandhava Narayana".
Mr TV: Come, my sweet slave. Come with that enchanting zombie look! I have some good news for you. Because you have great love and devotion to me, I have decided to give you the title "Addictananda".
Gopala simply walks past, without so much as giving Mr TV a sideways glance. He pauses at the exit.
Gopala: Wait, blockhead! I'll deal with you just now.
Mr TV: What has come over him now? He is behaving rather strangely. He seems to be possessed by some good spirit. If that is the case, I am surely doomed.
Gopala returns. With his left hand on his hip, he raises his right fist at Mr TV.
Gopala: I am not your slave anymore, Mr TV. Those days are over. I will be soon busy with my Sri Ram Mantra, and afterwards I shall be helping Daddy in the garden. (He wags his finger at Mr TV.) So Mr TV, kindly keep your eyes closed and your big mouth shut!
With that he switches off Mr TV.
Mr TV: O my Lord! What is this world coming to? If you behave like this Gopala you will surely go to the dogs.
Gopala: Nearly right, blockhead. Not dogs, but Gods. I am going to God now. I'm through with you. You are not my boss anymore. I am your boss now.
Mr TV: Oh no!
It is evening. Mr TV is sitting in the corner gloomily. Enter Mr Softiwalla, father of Gopala.
Mr TV: O Mr Softiwalla! I have been waiting all afternoon for you. You have been very good to me, Mr Softiwalla. I have been happy as long as you have been soft with Gopala. It was you who allowed him to sit in front of me for hours on end, neglecting his school lessons and deprived of exercise. It was the long hours in front of me that has given him his beautiful zombie look. This afternoon, however, he was very rude to me, Mr Softiwalla.
Mr Softiwalla: Why, what was the problem, Mr TV ?
Mr TV: He actually showed me his fist in a threatening manner, Mr Softiwalla. What a cheek! What an insult! And this, after giving him the beautiful title "Addictananda"! I am very much afraid of him now, Mr Softiwalla.
Mr Softiwalla: What makes you think in that manner, Mr TV.
Mr TV: You know what these modern children are like, Mr Softiwalla. With all the hypertension in the world today, he could smash me to pieces in no time. My life is in great danger in this house, Mr Softiwalla. Is this what I get for all the good times I gave Gopala?
Mr TV bursts out crying.
Mr Softiwalla: You have a lot of poison in your system, Mr TV. You are spilling this out and spoiling the atmosphere. You need a very strong divine drug to put you right.
Mr TV: Please, Mr Softiwalla, if you give me such a drug, make sure it does not have any side effects! Oh! I feel so insulted, humiliated and disgusted. I just can't take it any more. I feel so depressed that I have a good mind to jump into the Ganga with a concrete slab tied to my neck.
MR TV bursts out sobbing again.
Mr Softiwalla: Yes, that might do you some good. It is said that anyone taking a dip in the Ganga is destined to have a better birth. Maybe you will be reborn as a more evolved TV, who knows?
Mr TV: What does that mean, Mr Softiwalla?
Mr Softiwalla: It means that you may then devote more of your time to showing God's wondrous creation through His beautiful landscapes and waterfalls, sweet-smelling flowers and colourful birds. His majestic animals, like the sinewy tiger and the fleet-footed cheetah, also proclaim His glory and majesty. You may even give up your bad habit of playing out disco music and violent scenes, which attract evil forces. You can then give more attention to singing the praises and glories of the Lord.
With that Mr Softiwalla picks up another box labelled, FRAGILE, DELIVER DIRECT TO THE GANGA, and walks towards Mr TV.
Mr TV: Oh! You, too, Mr Softiwalla. How can you let me down like this? Henceforth you should be called "Hardywalla", not "Softiwalla".
Terrified, Mr TV flees. He is last seen with his suitcases packed, heading in the direction of the North Pole-who knows, perhaps to drown himself in the North Sea instead of the Ganga, to avoid disgracing the TV world!
Spiritual Darlings attending the Yoga Camp have to give up television completely or view the same for not more than one and half hours every week. They are advised not to view undesirable scenes, like violence, love scenes, sex, etc. Many Spiritual Darlings and adults have completely given up television.
In July 1997, when the Guru Purnima Celebration took place, more than 300 children and adults took a pledge not to indulge in viewing television. To date, 951 children and adults have pledged not to watch television. Certificates were presented to them. Everyone is aware of the havoc television is causing although it has some benefits. Parents of children who have given up television have reported of the positive results that have been noticed at home and also with regard to the performance of the children in their studies.
1. Keep the picture of Gurudev Swami Sivananda, your Guru if you are following a particular Master, or any Deity, like Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Siva, etc. at the front door of your home. Before you leave home for school, bow to the Lord and ask for protection. When you return from school, bow again and offer thanks to the Guru or to God for protecting you.
2. Spiritual Darlings of the Divine Life Society from Standard 4 upwards take the vow of Brahmacharya at the monthly Yoga Camp.
3. All other boys and girls can also take the vow. Take a bath, wear clean clothes and take the vow before the picture of your Guru or any Deity. Renew the vow daily. Promise the Guru or your Deity that you will not break the vow before marriage.
4. Any boy or girl who wishes to take the vow may complete the Brahmacharya Form at the bottom of this page and send it to Divine Life Society, addressed to Swami Sahajananda. This will be the most beautiful gift that one can offer to God.
5. Lord Rama, who was God Himself taking birth on earth, set the best example for us. When He left on exile, His father, King Dasaratha, mourned bitterly, saying, "Worn out with His study of the Vedas, His observance of the Brahmacharya vow, His service of His Gurus, my son, at the moment when enjoyment should be his, is to suffer further privations." What a glorious example the Lord set for us, even though He was married to Sita. Sita herself was peerless in her purity and chastity.
6. The Bhagavata predicted many thousands of years ago the conditions that will prevail in this present age-Kali Yuga. These predictions are now being published in Western journals. The present conduct of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of employers and employees, was predicted in this scripture. The holy Bhagavata specifically mentioned that addiction to carnal pleasures-and not water and other accidents-will be the main cause of pain and suffering in this age.
When we see the behaviour of males and females, of young boys and girls, and witness all that appears on TV and in the media, we cannot but fully agree with the prediction. To help us in our present state of acute suffering, the all-merciful Lord has provided us with numerous spiritual institutions, temples, Ashrams and other facilities. He has provided us with any amount of inspiring spiritual literature. Many Mahatmas have come out of seclusion and are taking the message of hope to the very homes of the people. We no longer have to seek them out for Darshan and solace; they are coming to us themselves.
7. After Dhanwantari had taught all the details about Ayurveda, his disciples enquired the key-note of this science. The Master replied: "I tell you that Brahmacharya is truly a precious jewel; it is the one most effective medicine to destroy diseases, decay and death. For attaining brightness, peace, memory, knowledge, health and vision of God, one should observe Brahmacharya. It is the highest Dharma. It is the greatest strength. Saluting Brahmacharya first, the cases beyond cure, I cure. Aye, Brahmacharya can undo all inauspicious signs."
If at any time you find yourself being overcome by the lower impulses for some reason, or are tempted by others, follow these instructions:
1. Do not remain alone. Be in the company of a trusted friend, your parent or your teacher.
2. Practise a few rounds of breath control.
3. Chant some sacred syllable or the Divine Name loudly several times. Spiritual Darlings of the Divine Life Society repeat the all-powerful Sri Ram Mantra or call for Gurudev Sivananda by using the formula: Gurudev, please protect me, Gurudev. Choose any Mantra or sacred syllable and repeat it during times of temptation or danger.
4. Run fast for some distance. Play some vigorous games. Practise the Yoga postures. A refreshing cold bath or shower will invigorate you at once.
5. Ask: "To whom does this desire belong?" Feel that you are not the body and mind but the Soul.
6. Pray to God or to your Guru for strength and protection. Sing some elevating Kirtans or Bhajans.
7. Feel the Presence of God within you.
8. Engage yourself in the study of some elevating religious literature.
9. Pray to God with feeling: "O Sweet Lord, I am your child. At this moment of temptation, kindly protect me. Save me. Give me strength to overcome this difficulty. I surrender myself entirely to you." If you pray thus, then God or your Guru will at once come to your aid and you will come out of the temptation with flying colours. As Spiritual Darlings are pure and innocent, God will readily listen to their prayer.
10. Open your heart to your teacher or parents. Your teacher and your parents are your immediate guides and well-wishers. You will get instant relief if you do so. You will feel light at heart. Do not feel shy. Do not feel nervous. Pray to God for courage.
11. All girls should get into the habit of repeating the Sri Ram Mantra or any other Mantra or formula given by their Guru as many times as possible during the day. If they do this practice regularly and with faith and concentration, in time to come a powerful aura will develop around them. Saints can see this aura. If an intruder confronts them, the powerful aura will act as a protection and will immediately throw the assailant back. In times of danger girls should at once repeat the Mantra and call for God's protection. If they develop this power, they will know that they are not as weak as others think they are. Remember that God's unfailing divine power is the only power in the whole world that never fails. You cannot have the physical presence of your parents, guardians and friends at all times, but you can have the glorious divine protection of God at every moment of your life, even when physically alone. Always make use of it for your safety and strength.
The Sex Urge
The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, India, was one of the greatest occultists of recent times. Here is what she says about the sex urge:
There are also lots of little entities, quite repugnant, in very large numbers, which originate from that wretched sexual desire. If this desire-with its corresponding entities-is not dissolved at the time of death, these entities continue to exist and they come and settle in the atmosphere of sensitive persons to goad them, to egg them on. These entities feed upon the vital force emanated at the time of the act and naturally, their only desire is to get as much nourishment as they can. I have seen people enringed by dozens of these beings. It is a concrete thing.
I don't know if you have heard of Maurice Magre, the writer who had come here (Sri Aurobindo Ashram). He says in one of his books that people who have a strong sexual instinct are surrounded by a swarm of these small beings, who plague them to satisfy themselves, to feed upon the vital force. He knew the thing quite well; he had observed it. Even those who are tormented very often feel that the impulse comes from outside-it arouses something in them, but they feel that the excitation actually comes from outside, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, for unfortunately it is one of the greatest difficulties of mankind, it is a terrible slavery.
* The above article entitled: The Sex Urge has been reproduced with the permission of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
What are the benefits derived by taking the vow of Brahmacharya and preserving the most precious semen in the body?
1. You will have a wonderful memory, like that of some great saints. You will perform well in your school lessons as you will be able to remember facts well.
2. You will have strong will-power. You will walk like a king or queen. You will find it easy to turn a deaf ear to the taunts of others and will not succumb to peer pressure. You will have the strength to say "no" when friends tempt you to do wrong things.
3. You will have a strong, healthy body which will not fall a prey to diseases easily. It will be able to ward off diseases.
4. Your nervous system will be strong. You will not be afraid of anything. Even if an intruder appears before you, you will not fear. There will be no fear of darkness, thieves or thugs.
5. You will have a charming personality. Brahma Tejas will shine in your face due to practice of Brahmacharya. You will attract people. Physical beauty is nothing compared to the beauty in one who practises Brahmacharya. We see this in the case of saints, how like a magnet they attract people.
6. You will always progress on the path of virtue and towards God. More love for God will develop in your heart, as also more love for all those around you. You will enjoy peace of mind and bliss. Your habits will be pure and noble. You will lead a rich and fruitful life. You will love all, and all will love you in return. All those who come in contact with you will be influenced by your radiant personality.
7. When you take up any kind of work in later life your earning capacity will be high as you will have good concentration and application to your work due to practice of Brahmacharya. You will be able to achieve more in much less time than others.
8. Once the semen or vital force is lost, it will not be easy to recoup the same. Saints say that the semen that is preserved is taken up to the brain where it is stored. Great personalities utilise this stored up power, called Ojas Shakti, for high and noble purposes, like seeking God, for art and music, for serving the poor and needy, etc. Saints accomplish great things mainly through the power of the Ojas Shakti. The Ojas Shakti is indeed a marvellous power.
Gurudev Swami Sivananda had a wonderful memory. During the first year of his medical career he could answer the fifth year papers. Many years later, when he became a well-known saint and lived in his Ashram in Rishikesh, he exercised his great memory power to the astonishment of visitors and inmates of the Ashram. Hundreds of names and addresses of his disciples and devotees living all over the world were lodged in his memory. All this was due to the power of his Brahmacharya.
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.
This section on Brahmacharya is specially prepared for the youth of today-the Spiritual Darlings of God. A great and wondrous duty lies with you. You should lead a pure and exemplary life. You should be loyal to God, to your religion, to your Guru, to your parents and to your teachers. You should courageously come forward and set the pace for the youth of today. This is true heroism. This is the real challenge before you. The path is arduous, difficult, toilsome and full of pitfalls and dangers. Are you prepared to take the plunge?
The saints of all religions, both of the past and of recent times, have always spoken about the glory of Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is a Sanskrit word. Its true meaning is control of the senses. In a limited sense Brahmacharya means celibacy, or control of the sex urge.
1. The sense of taste has to be controlled by not taking foods that make the mind restless. Onions, garlic, highly spiced dishes, too much sweets and sugar, too much tea and coffee, non-vegetarian foods-all these make the mind restless. Alcohol, drugs and smoking are bad as they cause great harm to the mind and body.
2. The eye must be controlled by seeing only that which is pure and good, like colourful flowers and birds, inspiring pictures of saints and sages, of heroes and heroines. Birds, animals, insects and reptiles, as well as natural scenes like mountains and landscapes delight the mind and soothe it. Vulgar dances, scenes of violence, love and sex on TV, and reading magazines that deal with violence, love and sex, pollute the mind and body and awaken base feelings in one.
3. Listening to classical music, devotional songs and chants at Satsang and in the temple, soothe the mind, elevate it and fill one with love and devotion to God. Listening to disco music, on the other hand, makes one restless and brings base feelings in the mind. Also strictly avoid drugs, smoking, places of gambling, and evil company where abusive words are used.
4. Girls should avoid using perfumes and other items that go to beautify the physical body. They should dress modestly and not put on such garments as will awaken carnal feelings in males. Artificial decoration of the body in this manner will make one think too much of the body, and when one falls ill, the suffering will be greater because of increased body consciousness. Remember that the physical body is a sacred abode or temple of God and should be kept pure, strong and healthy. In any case, in time to come it will be discarded when the soul departs from it.
The main aim of our one day monthly Yoga Camp is to teach children and adults how to lead a pure and moral life, a life that will enable them to meet all the challenges of this extremely stressful and modern life. Even this aim is perhaps not enough. The aim is realisation of God. According to our Hindu Dharma, this precious human birth is meant for the realisation of God and nothing short of it. This is the final goal the Divine Life Society tries to place before all devotees and those who attend the Yoga Camp. Needless to say, the ideals taught are the ideals set out by our Master in his books and his life.
Teaching our Spiritual Darlings and also adults the importance of observing Brahmacharya (celibacy in a limited sense), is a unique feature of Divine Life Society of South Africa. Perhaps the Divine Life Society is a pioneer in this respect. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, was one of the few saints who wrote a whole volume on the practice of Brahmacharya.
At the Yoga Camp our Spiritual Darlings from Standard 4 upwards have to take the vow of Brahmacharya till such time as they get married. The vow must be observed in accordance with the teachings of our Master.
A beautiful and informative booklet has been specially prepared for the younger Spiritual Darlings, in which clear explanations are given of the importance of conserving the vital force, how to get about it, precautions to take, etc. Many children have remarked that they had never heard such instructions before. So they readily take the vow. Senior Spiritual Darlings and adults have their own textbooks in which the practice of Brahmacharya is dealt with more elaborately.
Brahmacharya for the Youth
Spiritual Darlings attending the Yoga Camp may not indulge in drug habits, smoking, etc. The males and females may not socialise. This is not at all difficult for them, as their daily spiritual practices and our Divine Master's teachings effectively guide them and give them strength to follow the right path.
Visitors, some even from foreign countries, are struck by the remarkable sense of discipline in our Spiritual Darlings. Even during long satsang sessions of 2-3 hours they do not exhibit any sign of restlessness. If children are given alternatives like those at our Sivananda International Cultural Centre, they do not find it difficult to keep away from undesirable habits. There are a variety of facilities to develop the physical and mental capacities. Camp teachers treat all spiritual darlings with great love and understanding.