The Sanskrit Brahmacharya blends two words, Brahma meaning God and Charya meaning to follow. This practice involves seeing everything in this universe as the manifestation of the Brahma, the Primal Source of Being. Some scholars limit this transmutation of desires in Brahmacharya to controlling sexual desires and the practice of celibacy. Although the idea of celibacy and restraint is often associated with Bramacharya, it is not actually the deepest interpretation.
Though, for certain spiritual purposes celibacy may be beneficial, in the deeper understanding of Brahmacarya one sees all desires of the body and mind as manifestations of the desire for the one true Divine Self. all desires are dedicated to Brahma, the primordial Self of all beings. This practice is based on a the fundamental knowledge that all existence is composed of one eternal unending self aware consciousness and that each and every object of this universe from a blade of grass to your body is in its essence composed of this primordial consciousness. All beings long for and return to this state of wholeness where lasting happiness and true fulfillment abide.
But living in this temporal world of forms and colors we become forgetful of this source of being. Our restless yearning for our eternal source gets attached to different forms and experiences in the world that we hope will make us happy. We believe that if only we acquire this or that object or person we desire, then we will be happy. But of course all things change in this world and that which acquiring today brings us happiness, tomorrow becomes the source of our suffering when circumstances change. When we desire something, be it an object, power, a person, wealth or sexual pleasure, the desire for form is an externalization of our deeper yearning for the lasting happiness that comes when we return to our primordial source of being.
We forget that it is the eternal Brahma for which we long. And we fail to recognize that all forms are composed of the one eternal being, consciousness, love Divine. We fail to see that what attracts us in that for which yearn is the true nature of all that is, the infinite primordial Being. Brahmacharya is a practice of remembrance of what we really long for in all of our desires. When we are connected to truth and we practice this remembrance all things change. Suddenly the ordinary world becomes Devine. Brahma, the eternal beloved is everywhere is all things, all people we know, in every act, in all life, in everything that surrounds us. Then we truly live in grace.
So this practice involves transmuting your worldly desires into longing for God. As a practice it entails remembrance the deep divine nature of all that is and thus transmuting desires for worldly things to desires for the Divine. This curbing of the desire mind brings us in touch with our deeper need that drives all desires. The deed for lasting happiness and wholeness of being that we mistakenly believe can be satisfied with temporary worldly fixes.
This deep practice does not involve shrinking from the world or not enjoying life. If you want to share a pizza and a movie with some friends and have a fun evening, do so. But remember the deeper longing that is manifesting the in casual desire. Remember the infinite One Self in the action you are doing, in the pizza, in your friends, in the movie, in everything. As is pointed out by Krishna in a famous passage in the Bhagavad Gita, the one doing the action is Brahma, the one receiving the action is Brahma, the act itself is Brahma and the offering or object is also Brahma. This is Brahmacharya, to truly follow or see Brahma, the primordial essence of being. In this practice the transmuted energy held in our desires propels us towards the infinite truth. Om Madhu, Om Madhu, Om Madhu.
Maetreyii Ma: a teacher of yogic wisdom & practices