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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

3. Brahmacharya, Tantra

(Darshan given on January 13th, 1996.)

A visitor: What is brahmacharya?

Swamiji: Brahmacharya is the art of sublimating the energy in spiritual contemplation. Suppose a person says “I am a brahmachari” but goes on thinking some nonsense, then he cannot be called a brahmachari. So actually, one can know whether or not a person is a brahmachari by knowing what the person is thinking in the mind. Even if the person is a celibate, not married, but his mind is thinking of sex, he is not a brahmachari. This is very important to understand. Because it is a very difficult subject for ordinary people to grasp, in India there is a systematic scientific discipline chalked out for handling this energy. For the first twenty or twenty-five years, a person lives a life of total 100% self-control. That is called the brahmacharya period. After that, he becomes a householder. He marries, but he lives a very disciplined life. He marries not because he wants sex but because it is necessary to handle it in a very harmonious manner for social life. After that life is over, he renounces. Though he may live with his wife, there will not be any attachment, one to the other. That is called vanaprastha. Then finally, he lives alone. That is called sannyasa. This is the systematic development of the disciplinary process as declared in Indian cultural pattern.

Visitor: Some yogis here in India, they use ganja.

Swamiji: No, that is very bad. It is not good.

Visitor: In some parts of tantra they use sex. Is this correct? I want to know something about this.

Swamiji: Do you want to practise tantra?

Visitor: No. I want to know about this, tantra and sex.

Swamiji: It is like saying that you want to know how to make an atom bomb. You should not ask that question when you cannot understand those things. Tantra is a great science which is known only to the Guru and the disciple. It cannot be told to the public, in the same way as everyone should not know how to make an atom bomb. These questions should not be raised because they are capable of being understood only by two persons: one Guru, one disciple. A third person cannot understand it.

But this practice is not suitable for Kali Yuga because, in this age, everybody's mind is weak. So we should not practise tantra.

Another visitor: What is our spiritual relationship with our ancestors?

Swamiji: You have got a relation, correct, because you have come from your ancestors; therefore, the relation continues. The genes of the ancestors are present in our body even now. Therefore, we have a connection.

Visitor: What is our spiritual approach, our connection with our ancestors?

Swamiji: You have to be very grateful to them, and pray for their spiritual welfare.

Visitor: What is the technique for control of the mind, mind control?

Swamiji: Thinking of all things as God, and not thinking only something. If you think something, the mind will go out, but if you think all things at one stroke, the mind will not go anywhere. This is the same as thinking of God.

Visitor: Swamiji, in our country now there is so much violence.

Swamiji: I think it is everywhere, in all countries.

Visitor: Yes, they also speak about this. In the world there is so much violence now. What can we do for that violence to become less?

Swamiji: Whatever you can do socially, within your own circle, that you do, and what you cannot do by social contact with people, that can be done only with prayer to God. You have to try to lessen violence by either political means or by social means. If none of them works, then only God's grace is the remedy. But, as far as possible, it is everyone's duty to see that something is done by social means to reduce this attitude of people. Always applying political means is not good. Social means are better. And finally, pray to God.

Visitor: Why does God permit this difference of races in the world? People are black, people are white, people are different in the world.

Swamiji: Otherwise, there will be no world. If these things do not exist, there will be only God but no world. So when God creates the world, He has to create variety, because the world is nothing but variety. When variety goes, there is no world also.

Visitor: What is your suggestion for starting on a spiritual path?

Swamiji: When you get up in the morning, sit quietly for half an hour. Don't suddenly jump up from the bed. Sit quietly. On the bed itself, sit up and close your eyes for half an hour. Then deeply think in your mind from where you have come. You have come from your father, and the father has come from another father. So many fathers are there, so who is your real father? Finally, you will find that there is only one father, who is the Universal Existence. That is God. He is the real father, because all other fathers came from Him only. So close your eyes and meditate on that all-pervading Father.

Are you Christians?

Visitor: Most of us are Christian.

Swamiji: Then you can pray to God through that great prayer in the New Testament: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” Chant that prayer every day. “Thine kingdom come…. Thine is the kingdom and glory and power for ever and ever. Hallowed be the Father in heaven.” Like that you pray.

So for half an hour sit and meditate, and also offer this prayer, called the Lord's Prayer. If you have time, you can increase the half hour to a little more, but if you have no time, half an hour is sufficient. This is one aspect, one form of spiritual practice.

The other form is the study of a holy scripture. You may read the Bible, you may read the Upanishads, you may read the Bhagavadgita, whatever you like. One chapter or a few pages of this great scripture you read every day. This is the second thing.

The third thing is, take the name of God. Do japa. The fourth thing is, keep only good company. Be in the midst of people who are good, and not disturbing to your mind. And because of certain necessities in life, if you are working in an atmosphere where people are a little disturbing, don't interfere with them too much. Mind your business. For you this is sufficient.

Visitor: Is it necessary to read the Bhagavadgita with a Guru, or can we read it alone?

Swamiji: A Guru is necessary, but if you cannot find a Guru, read it alone at least. If you cannot find the Guru, have the Gita. That is sufficient.

Another visitor: What is the difference between the subconscious mind and the emotions?

Swamiji: The emotion arises from the subconscious. The subconscious is the reservoir of desires, and emotions arise as desires only. So practically, you may say they are one and the same thing. Just as clouds contain water, the subconscious contains desires. The clouds are full of water; likewise, the subconscious is full of desires.

Another visitor: The inner Guru, what can you explain about this?

Swamiji: The internal master is the Guru, and that is God Himself. The God inside is the internal master, and that internal master tells you always what is proper and what is not. This is called conscience. There is a thing called conscience, which tells you what is proper and what is not. That is the voice of God from within.

Visitor: How became the fanatic way of living?

Swamiji: Too much of egoism makes a person fanatic.