“Through the abuse of the sex force, man is more diseased than any animal.”-Nietzsche
“We have never seen diseases produced by chastity.”—P. Mantegazza, The Physiology of Love.
“The original cause of death is carnal desire.”—Hermes.
Last year, a young man with AIDS visited our New Vrinda-ban Community in West Virginia. He asked me how. I’m able to live a celibate life and still be happy. He also wanted to know how to come to grips with AIDS and death.
I answered him as best I could in our short time together. As he was leaving, he suggested that I write a book for people with AIDS based on our discussion.
After some consideration, I decided that there’s no point in writing a book solely for AIDS patients. Everyone in this world is under sentence of death, and everyone is forced to relinquish sex eventually.
So, this is not a book just to teach people with AIDS to give up sex and face death. It’s about living life joyfully, without having to depend on others for happiness.
It’s about addiction, sexual addiction, and how to overcome it.
This book is for “sexoholics, ” people who feel that life without sex isn’t worth living. It’s for those who want to lead a monogamous sex-life, and for those who want to refrain altogether from sex. It’s for those who are worried about catching AIDS, and for those who have already caught it and are worried about loneliness and death.
It’s a kind of “how to” book: how to stop worrying and start living a full, joyful life-a life without bondage to, sex.
It’s also a book about self-control and the power of the mind.
Truly, the mind can make a heaven out of hell, and a hell out of heaven. When the mind is uncontrolled, it is our enemy and is always creating hell for us. But when it is controlled, it is our friend, and we are always situated in heaven, despite material circumstances.
So, we must learn the an of making the mind our friend through discipline. When the mind is disciplined, it finds pleasure in the right things. When it isn’t, it can lead us into most hellish situations.
Above everything else, this book is about finding joy within ourselves. Joy is not what most people suppose it is; indeed, it far differcnt.
People generally think that they are happy in proportion to what they can possess or buy. But experience teaches something different.
A wealthy man can be miserable, just as, pauper can be happy.
Joy does not depend on material things.
“A man is rich,” Thoreau once wrote, “in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” Wise word for a world obsessed with acquisition, sexual and otherwise!
Writing this book has been both a pleasure and a unique experience.
For the past twenty-one years, I have been living joyful life of strict celibacy.
In 1967, I took a vow of renunciation in Vrindaban, India, and was initiated into the sannya (swami) order by Srila Prabhupada, the great world teacher , the Hare Krishna mantra.
At the time, I thought. “Now I’m monk. Now my life of pleasure is over.?
Little did I realize that I was about to experience a greater pleasure, the limitless pleasure of no sex.
This is not a book about becoming a monk–Hindu. Budhist, Muslim; Christian, or whatever.
Celibacy is nonsectarian.
There’s no need to change your religion or become a recluse to relish the joy of no sex.
“Celibacy is not of much value if it is attainable only by retirement from the word,” Mahatma Gandhi once said.
According to Vedic understanding, monogamous sex, restricted for procreation, is also considered a form of celibacy.
A celibate isn’t a coldhearted, insensitive spinster or misogynist but a complete human being whose heart is wide open to God and man.
As such, he experiences love to the highest degree.
Celibacy is a science of engaging the mind, an art that any sincere person can undertake.
As in all great endeavours, God’s help is needed, and strong faith in God is required.
Of all the undertakings known to man, celibacy is perhaps the most difficult. But, correspondingly, the pleasure obtained is also greater.
Some people feel that it would be easier to die than to give up sex. Indeed, practicing celibacy means dying to lust, to the seductions of the material world, even while still in the world.
But once we die to the things of this sensory world, a whole new world of joy opens up. That is the world ot the spirit, a world that is eternal, full of knowledge, and bliss.
Over the years, celibacy has given me many challenges, rewards, and unique perspectives.
In a way, being celibate is like fasting when everyone is gormandizing, staying awake when everyone is sleeping, or remaining quiet when everyone is shouting.
A celibate is separate from the herd. But if the herd is dissatisfied, and also plagued with AIDS, a man would be wise to separate himself. After all, what real joy can be found in an activity that leads to disease and death? Moreover, celibacy can be believe it or not–a joyful experience.
Celibacy didn’t begin with Christianity. It has been practiced by yogis and holymen in India for thousands of years since the dawn of civilization. There, celibacy is called brahmacharya.
India’s ancient culture is based on a system in which the celibate (the sanyasi) is assigned the topmost social position. This is not coincidental.
He’s awarded that post because celibacy allows him clear vision. He has found the way and realized the joy of being in the world, but not of it.
Most books on brahmacharya are written for students in Hindu and Buddhist monasteries. These students have a background far different from that of Westerners.
Furthermore, their approach to celibacy is incomprehensible, impractical, or impossible for the average American or European. But since the need for celibacy is universal, it should be explained universally.
I hope that this short book presents an explanation everyone can understand and a regimen that anyone can practice with enthusiasm.
The knowledge and experience of many sages are given in short space with this in mind.
AIDS is now forcing us to reevaluate the importance of sex in our lives. Indeed, it is frightening many people into curbing their sexual activity. But in this book I am proposing that real health, freedom, and joy are found in stopping unnecessary sex and replacing it with something better.
Being pleasure-seeking by nature, we obviously can’t stop seeking pleasure, but we can find real pleasure in a higher taste.