The beginning of the Doctrine of Chastity, third edition. Before presenting the main subject matter, a few notes of introduction are given for the benefit of the reader.
Firstly, welcome to the Albany branch of the Divine Life Society, formed as of today, March 20, 2017. You are a member if you say you are, so long as you have respect for all our teachings. The original name of this nascent organisation, open to one and all, was the “Gnostic Church of St. Mary,” founded 12 December, 2012.
Alas, it became evident that Gnosis was not our path, and that an adapted form of Hinduism for Westerners to assimilate was much more preferable for various reasons, not least because of the widespread curiosity and respect for Yoga among so many young Australians. Also, the deprecation of and lacunae inherent in mainstream Christianity, so aptly highlighted in Nietzsche’s profound writings, has caused a schism in Western spirituality. We are now witnessing the utter demise of Christian theology, except in certain esoteric circles which it does not behove us to name.
Far from being cabalistic, everything in this book is explicitly obvious and plain. There is no secret doctrine that you must read between the lines here in order to decipher.
The Doctrine of Chastity “spills the beans”; it tells all. Regarding the domain name http://chastity.info I am called into question, and in the interest of elaborating on it, I would like to refer you to Swami Sivananda’s Practice of Brahmacharya. Swami Sivananda himself provides the guidance necessary for us to develop as an institution, a branch of the worldwide Divine Life Society. Consider, if you will, Sivananda’s Brahmacharya to be the standard text for http://chastity.info.
What has been retained and updated in the Third Edition of this book, or, “online disquisition”? A section on Swami Sivananda has been selected to start it off, as his life and teachings are the chief inspiration for my present endeavours, to which end I am including some links to PDF files of his most important writings: Practice of Brahmacharya, and the Spiritual Diary. With these, my dear reader, we are well-equipped to begin a grand new life in the Ātman. The brief chapter on “Solitude” has been retained from the original Doctrine of Chastity and placed shortly thereafter. An excerpt from Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, “On Chastity,” has been added as a section of its own to complement the introductory chapters.
My scathing criticism of the modern church has been retained in the chapter, “The Modern Church,” but I have left off condemning fornication and adultery, since to commit these acts is a matter of personal choice, and people must learn from their mistakes. Still, dear reader, I exhort you to “cease and desist” from committing fornication and adultery, as to do so is not compatible with the ideal of chastity, nor the precepts of oriental Yoga. Popular culture is still fair game for extended criticism and I have lashed out at the same in the chapter on “Popular Culture,” again retained from the original Doctrine of Chastity.
I am adding a section on music for the benefit of the reader who does not currently have access to any good classical music, with my recommendations and advice to those who ought to be weaned from pop music, heavy metal and the like. The rest is highly derivative of Sivananda’s Brahmacharya, and I hope that I will have been able to present the fundamental concepts inherent in his work in an easily comprehensible format for your maximum benefit.
Two Sanskrit words (Ātman and Jñani) are rendered with a macron and a tilde respectively; others of lesser significance are given without diacritics, as they appear in Sivananda’s Brahmacharya and other resources. Most Sanskrit terms are either self-explanatory or their meaning is clear from the context in which they appear. If in doubt, look them up online and you will shortly have an extended vocabulary of the most important Yogic concepts. I encourage every reader to do a little background research, as this short work is far from infallible. Mistakes and inconsistencies will of course be corrected in future editions of Doctrine of Chastity, and I am entirely open to constructive criticism.
Your contributions and feedback are of course most welcome, and will be incorporated into future editions, should they expand on and augment the central ideas of this text. Hope you enjoy reading… OM Sri Durga Devyai Namah!
Swami Sivananda began his career as a medical doctor, but had always a marked tendency towards spiritual life and a great love of the Divinity. In his early thirties he took up the path of Yoga and shone as a brilliant Yogi, Brahmachari (celibate) and saint. He left behind a great body of literature on every conceivable topic of benefit to mankind, from health and diet to Kundalini Yoga.
Sivananda was a great man indeed, but exceptional in his humility. In his autobiography, he writes, “I had no ambition to become world-famous by any extensive tour or thrilling lectures from the platform. I never attempted to be a Guru to anyone. I am not pleased when people call me: ‘Sat Guru’ or ‘Avatar.’ I am dead against ‘Gurudom.’ That is a great obstacle and has caused the downfall of great men in the spiritual path.”
Humble though he was, may his memory and legacy continue to illuminate us today and lead us to enjoy the imperishable happiness of the Ātman, just as he enjoyed it in the heights of Samadhi!
Please feel welcome to read Practice of Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda, available here in PDF format. Do consider it the standard text for this website: references will be made to it frequently in the following chapters. There is also Sivananda’s Spiritual Diary, available here—well worth taking up as a means of self-discipline for the hard-won attainment of the Ātman.
Brahmacharya is commonly taken to mean celibacy, but it can also mean chastity. The chief end of this entire branch of the Divine Life Society is to train young persons in celibacy so that we may shine before all and sundry and blaze a trail to the Ātman. It suits us well to be very private persons… we must keep to ourselves and try not utter a single idle word in the course of our day-to-day activities. “Talks on topics other than Ātman and Moksha are forbidden for a Pranayama practitioner,” says Sivananda in his Science of Pranayama. (See the chapter on Pranayama below.) A worthy goal indeed, never to speak a word out of place!
Let all our thoughts and efforts be directed, then, towards the pure, immortal, sexless Ātman. This is the chief end of our chastity, and the purpose of our lives. Join me, if you will, and become a truly independent young person bent on Yoga and perfect in Brahmacharya. The techniques and methodology I shall outline in brief in this very book. Do keep reading...
Solitude gives us the opportunity to be alone with our thoughts. In withdrawing from the world, a person gains the chance for contemplation and reflection on his or her own life, existence and philosophy. We all have gifts and talents that may, when developed to their full potential, lead us to glory, honour and immortal fame. We learn our lessons in the school of life in interacting with others, but solitude is the matrix in which the Ātman is nurtured and born.
I love the forest. It is bad to live in cities: there, there are too many of the lustful.
Is it not better to fall into the hands of a murderer, than into the dreams of a lustful woman?
And just look at these men: their eye saith it—they know nothing better on earth than to lie with a woman.
Filth is at the bottom of their souls; and alas! if their filth hath still spirit in it!
Would that ye were perfect—at least as animals! But to animals belongeth innocence.
Do I counsel you to slay your instincts? I counsel you to innocence in your instincts.
Do I counsel you to chastity? Chastity is a virtue with some, but with many almost a vice.
These are continent, to be sure: but doggish lust looketh enviously out of all that they do.
Even into the heights of their virtue and into their cold spirit doth this creature follow them, with its discord.
And how nicely can doggish lust beg for a piece of spirit, when a piece of flesh is denied it!
Ye love tragedies and all that breaketh the heart? But I am distrustful of your doggish lust.
Ye have too cruel eyes, and ye look wantonly towards the sufferers. Hath not your lust just disguised itself and taken the name of fellow-suffering?
And also this parable give I unto you: Not a few who meant to cast out their devil, went thereby into the swine themselves.
To whom chastity is difficult, it is to be dissuaded: lest it become the road to hell—to filth and lust of soul.
Do I speak of filthy things? That is not the worst thing for me to do.
Not when the truth is filthy, but when it is shallow, doth the discerning one go unwillingly into its waters.
Verily, there are chaste ones from their very nature; they are gentler of heart, and laugh better and oftener than you.
They laugh also at chastity, and ask: “What is chastity?
Is chastity not folly? But the folly came unto us, and not we unto it.
We offered that guest harbour and heart: now it dwelleth with us—let it stay as long as it will!”—
Thus spake Zarathustra.
The modern Protestant and Catholic churches are purveyors of darkness. They are corrupt to the core. Among the churchgoers, we see gluttons, gossips, bullies, sex addicts, drug addicts, and even the odd homosexual. The priests' sermons are puffed-up, hypocritical and devoid of substance. Chastity is unheard of among the average churchgoer, and if the topic were to be brought up it would quickly be dismissed as pornographic or in poor taste. Sundry abominations exist in present-day churches, such as degenerated music, the perverse "speaking in tongues" practices of the Pentecostals, and insipid drama performances for the entertainment of the riff-raff and rabble.
Of what use is the "transubstantiation of bread and wine" to sinners who do not want to change their own lives?
Study a foreign language; it will make you more refined. Listen to classical music; it will make your mind sharper and more appreciative of beauty. Enough of novels, television shows, pop music and heavy metal. They are not good for your mental health.
Sivananda speaks highly of Kirtan, i.e. singing spiritual songs or hymns. Choral music is very beautiful, especially the missae and chansons of Josquin des Prez, the hymns of Thomas Tallis, Palestrina, William Byrd, John Sheppard, etc. etc. Unfortunately, the Christians—obviously—have the monopoly on choral music, and unless you buy some CDs and sing along to them yourself or in conjunction with other devout and independent persons, you will need to attend a church to have the opportunity to enjoy Christian choral music.
I advise you not to set foot in any church, lest they try and “induct” you into their Pharisaic tradition of annual meetings, fêtes, luncheons, and other unspiritual, excessive, extravagant activities.
In Hinduism, we have a certain great hymn, prayer and Mantra: the Gayatri. It can be whispered, repeated mentally, chanted, or sung. It goes:
Diet plays an important part in maintaining chastity.
Opinions vary as to whether to be vegetarian: Hindu references on Brahmacharya (celibacy) advocate vegetarianism, whereas the five sacraments of Tantra include meat and fish. The Tantric precepts are the ones to follow; it is necessary to eat a certain quantity of meat for the nourishment of the body. The book of Leviticus (Chapter 11) makes a distinction between clean and unclean meats. In brief, one should not eat pork or shellfish, whereas fish, chicken, lamb and beef are acceptable.
Prophets of olden times followed specific diets in order to avoid ritual defilement: Daniel and the three Holy Children refused the royal meat and wine in favour of pulses and water, and the prophet Ezekiel ate and drank very small quantities of mixed-grain bread and water for over a year.
Stimulating, sedating and narcotic foodstuffs or substances should be avoided: tea, coffee, energy drinks, distilled alcohol, etc. are not beneficial. Also unbeneficial is "junk food" high in fat, salt and sugar, although in cold climates moderate quantities of fatty foods are desirable.
A chaste person's diet should consist of lamb, beef, poultry and fish; whole grains; dairy items; and fresh fruits and vegetables. Oats, spelt, barley, rye; honey, yoghurt, milk, cream; almonds, pistachio nuts, dates, sultanas; and tomatoes, spinach and fruits, particularly citrus fruits, are all very good.