Word of the Week "Brahmacharya"

26/09/2014 10:12
Brahmacharya (/ˌbrɑːməˈɑrjə/; Devanagari: ब्रह्मचर्य behavior that leads to Brahman).  The word brahmacharya is also understood broadly in yoga as "sexual continence," which is understood differently depending on the appropriateness of the given situation. For a married practitioner it means marital fidelity; for a single person it means celibacy.  According to the Yoga Sutras, the end-result or fruit of Brahmacharya practised to perfection is unbounded energy and vitality. 

Brahmacharya can also be interpreted more generally in a variety of ways, such as:

  • generally striving for excellence in all domains of activity and relationship
  • pursuing 'virtue' however defined. Brahmacharya understood in this sense is similar to the classical Greek concept of arete (excellence)
  • clearing underlying personality conflicts and centering oneself and ones spiritual journey in clear, well conceived and sustainable values (that is, thinking of Brahmacharya as an ongoing practice of 'clearing' analogous to resolving personality complexes and conflicts in psychotherapy)
  • refining one's 'energies' (prana/chi/aura etc.) in relation to other people generally, to become aware of more subtle energies and to take one's energies or 'vibration' higher