Osho on Brahmacharya - Celibacy

Osho – You can observe people on the surface and you can decide about their inner beings. More or less you can conclude and you will be on the right track: whatsoever they are on the surface they must be the opposite of it in their innermost being. The so-called brahmacharins the so-called celibate people — think continuously of sex and nothing else.

That is bound to happen, that is natural, because celibacy has not arisen out of meditation. It is imposed, it is cultivated; it is not even skin-deep. Hence they are always afraid of women. The Jaina monk, the Buddhist monk, the Hindu sannyasin, they are all afraid of the woman. A great trembling arises in them just from seeing a woman. Hence the Buddhist rule: Don’t look beyond four feet.

Mahatma Gandhi has written about one of the incidents that happened in his ashram. He was reading the Ramayana, the story of Rama, ant in the story of Rama there comes a passage where he became a little puzzled. The passage is that Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana are going into the forest; they have been expelled by their father for fourteen years. Rama is the first, behind him is his wife Sita, and behind Sita is Laxmana.

This way they roamed in the forest for years. Then Sita was stolen by Ravana. When Ravana was taking her away she wanted to leave a few clues for Rama to find out where she had been taken, so on the path, unnoticed by Ravana, she dropped her ornaments one by one. She was a queen and she had many ornaments, so she dropped ornaments all the way, and of course they were the clues.

Rama found those ornaments, but he was in such a state of shock and his eyes were so full of tears that he looked at those ornaments but could not recognize them. He was almost going crazy. He was asking the trees, “Trees, tell me, please, where is my Sita?”

He asked Laxmana, his younger brother, “Can you recognize these ornaments? Do they belong to Sita? If they belong to Sita, then this is the route she has been taken away by and we have to follow this route.”

Laxmana said, “I can recognize only the ornaments that she used to wear on her feet because those are the only ornaments I have ever seen.”

Mahatma Gandhi became very puzzled: “For years they have lived together, wandered in the forest, and Laxmana has not seen another ornament — of the hands or the necklace or something else. He sees only the ornaments of the feet. Why?”

Vinoba Bhave, one of his great disciples, suggested, “Laxmana must have been following an ancient rule not to look at any woman, because looking at a woman may create desire in you. So he was simply focusing on the feet; he was not looking up. And of course, the ornaments of the feet he could recognize because for years he had looked only at the feet. He must have touched her feet, bowed down to her feet, must have seen those ornaments.”

And Mahatma Gandhi was very much impressed by Vinoba Bhave’s interpretation — this is a great revelation! Laxmana was following the rule of celibacy, he was following Brahmacharya.

When I read about this whole incident, I said that if Laxmana was so much afraid even to look at Sita’s face, then one thing is certain: that he was not a celibate. The elder brother’s wife is almost like a mother — and he could not look at her face? could not look at her whole figure? What kind of fear is there, what kind of paranoia? Is this something healthy? Does this show a man of understanding, of awareness, or only a man fast asleep?

And if he was forcing himself to look only at the feet, could he avoid the desire to look up at the face? You may not look, but can you avoid the desire? In fact, the curiosity will become more and more, bigger and bigger. You may become obsessed with it: “How does she look? The feet are so beautiful, so impressive — how must her whole figure be!”

Then she will start entering into your dreams. Then more fear will arise. The fear can be so much that there are stories in India that there have been saints like Surdas who destroyed his eyes because he saw a beautiful woman and became allured, fascinated. Obviously he concluded, according to the Hindu tradition, that these eyes were leading him astray, so he destroyed his eyes, became blind.

But can you see the stupidity of it? Do you think the blind person has no sexual desire? Do you think just by becoming blind you can avoid sexual desire? But Surdas is respected for this act, tremendously respected: “What sacrifice and what a great character! What great morality! What purity!”

But I don’t see any purity in it or any greatness in it. I see simply something idiotic, something utterly silly. You can destroy your eyes or you can close your eyes, but your mind will still continue. In fact, the woman is never so beautiful when you look at her as she is when you avoid her. When you forcibly distract yourself from her she becomes more beautiful. Ant the same is true about the man, because nobody in fact is o beautiful as your fancy can make them appear.

That’s why psychoanalysts try to penetrate into your dreams, for the simple reason . . . it is a condemnation of humanity. Nobody has thought about it that way, that the psychologist, the psychoanalyst, is trying to know about your dreams, not about you while you are awake. Strange!

He should ask you questions about while you are awake. He never bothers with what you do while you are awake; he wants to know what you do when you are asleep Why? — because he has come to know one thing absolutely and certainly, categorically: that man is false when he is awake. Centuries of outer imposition have made his so-called awakened state absolutely false and pseudo. If you want to know about the real, authentic man you nave to know about his dreams; only in his dreams will you find him.

And then you will be surprised: the man who has renounced all money, in his dream goes on counting money and he does nothing else. The man who has renounced the woman — the woman he loved, the woman he wanted to love — goes on dreaming about the same woman or maybe about thousands of other women. His dreams will be full of women.

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