Vivek: What is Brahmacharya?
Maitreya: What do you think it is?
Vivek: Some ideas or words pop into my head. Celibacy. No vulgar thoughts. No sex. Probably no masturbation. Asceticism.
And these concepts are accompanied by a lot of doubts. Isn’t it an innate human tendency to think about sex or have thoughts about it? What’s so bad about having sex? What are these ideas of purity?
Maitreya: Right. Lot of confusion, correct?
Vivek: Yes. It’s more like just confusion. Why did I even step into this? I could just quietly sleep around and enjoy my life.
Maitreya: Then why not do it? Why this chase for ‘Brahmacharya’?
Vivek: I don’t know. The Buddha was a celibate. Hinduism (if at all there is an ism) speaks about it. I think even Christianity and probably all religions emphasize on celibacy. There must be something to it!
Maitreya: True, it’s a big thing. Like someone told me, what’s the four most basic things in us? Hunger (bhukh), Sleep (nidra), Desire (kaama) and Fear (bhay). Look at the nature of these. They are there. In all of us. There is nothing good or bad about it. But this entire quest or abiding in that calm is to move beyond the clutches of these. It is like living in slumber. When in slumber you’d go around sleeping with everyone but now you’ve woken up to something which tells you again and again that this is all just momentary pleasure. It is possible to go beyond it and enter shunyata or atman or bhrahman or god or whatever you call it.
This is a state of absolute equanimity, the state of Buddha. Here, there are no ups and downs within. Only compassion flowers. Only love. There is no passion, there is no self. The personhood has disappeared. It is this ‘I’ that wants to engage in the pleasures of the skin, it is the ‘I’ which wants to devour food.
‘Bhramacharya’ is a state where there is no suppression, ‘celibacy’ is not an idea It is natural. It is the true nature of atman. The literal translation of Brahmacharya is ‘conduct consistent with Bhrahman’ and the word ‘Bhrahman’ may evoke images of a caste in our current context but in ancient language of India, it was used to refer to the ultimate reality. In this state, only love flows, overflows! Love for every being, love for life, love for oneness. Infact, only love remains. Rather, there is only love.
Vivek: This is beautiful but what is the problem with ‘I’? Why does it have to disappear?
Maitreya: It doesn’t HAVE to. This ‘I’ we’re referring to is primarily the cause of all suffering. If one doesn’t see a problem in it, the ‘I’ doesn’t have to disappear. But if one finds after inspection that there is so much suffering everywhere, the inquiry will eventually come to knowing the nature of this ‘I’. And if and when one realises this nature of ‘I’, the ‘I’ disappears. And then Brahmacharya becomes effortless.
There must be some research on this… there must be some chemical which is released when we crave for a food and eat it, when we desire for bodily pleasures and enjoy it. In Brahmacharya, levels of this chemical must be multifold as per my little experience. Brahmacharya isn’t just restricted to sex. It is a much more wholesome state of being. A state of oneness.
Vivek: So, you never enjoy bodily pleasures?
Maitreya: I do. I am nowhere close to Buddhahood. But I have a glimpse and the experience of this glimpse promises this. That eventually, in this lifetime or the next, the last vestiges of ‘kama’ will be erased and this ‘I’ would completely dissolve.
I’d also like to say here that a person for whom this ‘I’ is completely dissolved (some may call it enlightenment) may also engage in bodily pleasures. Like the stories of the Divine Madman of Bhutan but this is a very sensitive topic and there’s a huge scope for misconception. And hence, all religions recommend celibacy. It is a very very long journey after which one can say that this ‘I’ does not remain. And for a person for whom this has become a reality, he or she wouldn’t say it because there wouldn’t be any ‘I’ left to speak of. Maybe one in millions. But there are such people in our midst or hidden in the mountains or forests, at all times.
Maitreya: Yes, these scriptures were written from a very elevated frame of being. I’d just ask, why are you curious about kamasutra? If you just want to have sex, go ahead and have it.
Vivek smiles, Maitreya smiles and blesses.