from Light on Yoga by Mr. Iyengar
image of Mr. Iyengar from here
According to the dictionary, brahmacharya means
the life of celibacy, religious study and self-restraint.
Patanjali lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind.
This does not mean that the philosophy of yoga is meant only for celibates.
The concept of brahmacharya is not one of negation, forced austerity and prohibition. According to Sankaracharya, a brahmachari is a man who is engrossed in the study of the sacred Vedic lore, constantly moves in Brahman and knows that all exists in Brhaman.
In other words, one who sees divinity in all is a brahmachari.
Without experiencing human love and happiness,
it is not possible to know divine love. Almost all the yogis and sages of old in India were married men with families of their own.
There ya go. So, if you are a hard-core Classical Yogi and the sun rises and sets with Patanjali, yes, you might take the strict dictionary definition to heart. Your choice, of course. But I like Iyengar’s definition a lot. It allows for more of a grey area which of course…we get plenty of in this funny life. ❤
One thought on “Brahmacharya: It doesn’t mean “moderation””
Thanks for sharing this. I have also written about brahmacharya in a similar light on my blog. I hope you like my view point (check out the Yoga tab -Review on Hatha yoga Pradipika).