Lakshman brother of shri Ram chander always treated Sita as his mother. When he was asked to recognise the ornaments of Sita, he replied that he could only recognise the ornaments which she used to wear on her feet, because he used to bow his head at her feet and never looked at her face.
Success in spiritual practice depends upon formation of pure character and good conduct. It is the first mile-stone on the road leading to spirituality. Therefore, all the Great Souls emphatically stressed the need of maintaining lofty character. They described it as the basis of all austerities. Virtues, truth, meritorious deeds, strength and prosperity all originate from good moral character.
A person who cannot escape himself from the influence of lust does not deserve to be called a true devotee. the person who indulges in the genital organs or pudendum must born through genital organs. Nobody can escape from them. He alone who escapes from them is a true devotee.
Nature has given us the instrument of sex for the perpetuation of life upon this planet. If sex instruments are used for legitimate purposes, they need not become instruments of degradation. But when we fall into the trap of self-indulgence, we begin to descend towards the animal plane. It blinds our mind and dulls our wits. It becomes the cause of our moral degradation and destruction.
This is the sad state of affairs which is prevalent now-a-days in the world. The lustful persons are advised to procure their shroud, keep it handy and then do whatever they like. The relationship of man and woman is not to enjoy sexual pleasures. Their relationship is to produce the desired number of children in accordance with the medical advice and the teachings embodied in the Shastras and other holy scriptures.
As embodied in the Shastras, the husband and wife should have marital relations only once a month with a sole objective of producing off-spring till a child is conceived. They should completely avoid co-habition during pregnancy and also after the birth of a child till such a time the child is fed on mother's milk i.e. upto a period of two and a half years or so.
Three or four such contacts in the whole life for the sake of producing children are not harmful. They do not retard spiritual progress. It is also quite appropriate and desirable that a man should have two or three children to whom he may be in a position to look after properly. The children born of such parents are generally wise, obedient and of good conduct.
The aim of human life is not to enjoy sensual pleasures. Its sole purpose is to unite the soul with God. We should, therefore, always lead a pure life. The married couples should live together as if they were not married at all. They should have pure thoughts for each other. They should bring up their children properly and impart good education to them. Such people, though married, are as good as a celibate.
In ancient times, population growth did not pose a problem as it does today. Indeed, the need then was to increase the population. It was a moral imperative that a person should have as many children as possible. A man without a child, particularly a son, was considered sinful and inauspicious and was looked down upon. On the other hand, a person with a large progeny had a respectable place in the society. People had a high moral character. They lived according to the instructions of the wise men and the teachings embodied in the Vedas, Shastras and other holy scriptures. They were of the opinion that proper and legitimate use of the instrument of sex was vital for perpetuation of life on the earth. They preferred to have one or two virtuous children instead of large number of good for nothing ones. They considered it as their moral obligation and sacred duty to nourish their children properly, to provide them good health and education, and to build their character. Observance of celibacy was held in high esteem as the bestower of healthy, happy and long life. This had an indirect effect on the growth of population.
However, now-a-days, married or family life has become the arena for enjoying sensual pleasures. The result is that population is increasing day by day. The lustful persons are losing their health by falling a prey to a large number of diseases. They are unable to look after their children properly. The new generation is generally found to be weak, lean, wicked and characterless. A large number of families are engrossed in miseries.
It is the moral duty of the parents to nourish their children properly, to provide them good health and to build their moral character. If the parents fail to perform their duties, they commit a great blunder. Generally, the parents pay little attention towards their children. The newly born infants contract a number of diseases due to excessive and illegitimate sexual indulgence by the parents. It has already been mentioned in the foregoing pages that the parents should discontinue their martial relations during pregnancy and upto the end of the lactation period i.e. upto a period of about three years. In case, the married couple continue to lead a life of sexuality, the mother's milk would be poisoned and the infant would contract a number of diseases. Sexual indulgence during pregnancy impairs the health of the child. The off-spring of lustful parents is generally wicked, characterless, lean and weak. Frequent sexual intercourse during pregnancy is also the cause of several female ailments. This may result in abortion and death of the child before birth or at the time of birth or soon thereafter. There is no other remedy for these ailments except to lead a life of restraint and to observe celibacy.
Saint Paul advised the people of his country and said, "Love your wives as Christ loved the Church." In other words, they should lead a pure life. However, they did not fully understand the meanings of this precept. They continued to lead a life of sex and sense enjoyments. Saint Paul again wrote and said, "Love the Lord as if you have never had any wives."
Mahatma Tolstoy says, "One should preserve one's vital fluid. He should not only abstain from evil action, but should also keep his thoughts pure and clean and should not besmear the soul with the dirt of sins and evil ideas. He should, in other words, be a true and perfect celibate. The husband and the wife both should lead a life of restraint and suppress their sexual urge. With the birth of desired number of children, they should give up their relationship of husband and wife and engage themselves in the development and education of their children, who should be given proper guidance on the path of virtue so that they, in due course, may turn out to be true devotees of God."
Swami Ram Tirath says, "As long as men and women do not learn to live as brothers and sisters and lead lives of purity, they cannot hope to make any progress. Lives of persons who have tasted purity of existence have been happy, healthy and without worries. To consider our elders as mothers and others as sisters or daughters will raise a man to a high moral ideal and will relieve him from many troubles of the world. It also increases his mental and physical strength. Others remain weak, unhealthy and are victims of many troubles."
Celibacy does not mean merely to control lust and sensual instincts. It means to withdraw oneself from all the sensual desires. If we continue to listen to sexual talks with ears and see things with our eyes which stimulate passion and still try to avoid sexual urge, it is like putting one's hand into fire and to hope that it will not be burnt.
Celibacy (Brahmacharya) is very essential for gaining spiritual uplift. However, it is very difficult to control lust (Kam). Sri Shankra Acharya says, "The most difficult task for us is to control Kam (Sex passion)." Therefore, everybody cannot be a celibate (Brahmachari), especially in this iron-age (Kal Yug) when character assassination has touched the lowest ebb. That is why the Saints have been preaching, from time to time, to preserve the vital fluid even while leading house-holder's life, with a view to gaining spiritual development.
A sufi Saint, namely Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Garjoi says, "It is quite legitimate for a man who has a strong sex instinct to get himself married. By doing so he can save himself from evil deeds and other catastrophes." He further says, "I would have also got myself married had not the wall and the woman looked alike."
Viewed from this angle, married or family life is the path of high order. But it is regretted that we have little knowledge about it. All the great souls (Mahatmas) were householders. Kabir Sahib, Guru Nanak, Ravi Das, Sri Nam Dev, Raja Janak etc. all were householders. Out of those Saints who renounced house-holder's life, hardly a few could achieve success in spiritual practice. Otherwise, most of them were overpowered by lust (Kam). Saints like Shringi Rishi, Vishwa Mitter, Prashar, Machhander etc., all had been the victims of lust. Had they got themselves married and led householder's life, they would have not indulged with other women which is a great sin and hurls one straight into hell.
We should, therefore, detach our attention from all such things which stimulate passion, because where the mind goes the body also is dragged in that direction. In this manner, we can observe continence. the lust is not confined only to put the sex organs in action, but all the pervertions of the mind which stimulate passion are included in lust
In fact, it is a sin to read, talk or even listen to discussions about sex topics, even though it might be with a view to subduing it. A true celibate (Brahmachari) is one who treats a man and a woman alike. He is always absorbed in contemplating the Lord's Name with Love and devotion.
How Lust entangles a Man ?
Once an old man of about fifty narrated that he used to play with a little girl. Whenever he met her, he cut jokes with her. After a period of ten to twelve years, the girl grew young. But he continued to make fun and frolic with her. By and by with the passage of time, it so happened that his mind became wicked at her.
The instinct of sex consoles a man that youth is primarily meant for eating, drinking and merry-making. If he does not enjoy sensual pleasures in youth, the human life will be wasted in vain and he will not get the opportunity again. It holds out the false promise that recitation of Lord's Name can be practised in the rest of life. Fortunately, if he is inclined to worship and devotion and endeavours for the liberation of the soul, his parents and relatives make arrangements for his early marriage. As soon as he is married, he considers it as his duty to have marital relations with his spouse. The thought that youth is the only golden time for sexual indulgence, he crosses the legitimate limits and feels restless for its enjoyment at all times of the day and night. It degrades him and retards his spiritual development which he might have at his credit. It clouds his perceptions and dulls his wits. He does not feel ashamed of himself and cares little for others. He always looks for an opportunity to satiate his sexual urge.
Once Rishi Daya Nand was sitting in a state of deep contemplation. A woman came to him. She bowed her head at his feet and went away. When he got up, he came to know about this incident. He repented and walked hither and thither throughout the night and engaged himself in the recitation of the Lord's Name. He did not take rest at all with a view to avoiding any possible repercussion upon him so that his chastity might not be affected even though he had not seen the woman
Hasan Basri, a sufi Saint says that to observe celibacy (Brahmacharya) is far better as compared to keeping fast and offering prayers (Namaz) for thousands of years. To keep good character in every stage of life is useful. Observance of celibacy, especially in youth is approved in the Lord's Court. However, such a celibate is very rare. Another Muslim Saint says, "Observance of chastity in youth is a mark of Apostleship."
Once a young man asked Socrates whether he should get himself married or not ? Socrates replied, "You will repent, if you marry and also if you won't marry." This is how one repents, if one is married and also if one is not married.