By Danavir Goswami

(Vaiñëava Society Vol. 4)


In your letter you have made it clear that you are finding some difficulty with sex desire and have asked guidance from me to instruct you how to handle this problem of the material body.

First of all I think you should know that such problems are not very unnatural because in the body the conditioned soul is very prone to failure. But also we must remember that such failure will not discourage us from executing the most important mission of our life, to become fully in Krishna Consciousness. So whatever fall down has been, you should be regretful about it, but it is not so serious nor is it a permanent disqualification. But you must try to check yourself from such artificial things and take full shelter of the Lotus Feet of Krishna. I think that for such checking marriage is the only solution. It is understood that everyone has some nasty habits but by sticking to Krishna Consciousness, chanting our required rounds loudly, and tending the deities, these items will surely save you. So always be seriously engaged in serving Krishna and pray to Krishna to help you with your frailties. But I think that marriage is the solution with no other alternative. If you are married you can continue to practice all the items of worship and with more peace of mind, so such solution, along with redoubled efforts to serve nicely and be very pleasing unto Krishna, these things will help you. I have always known you as very good, sincere boy so with utmost seriousness you must consider these points and act upon them. I shall hope to be hearing again from you soon on this matter. (Letter to: Upendra — Los Angeles 9 December, 1968)




Prepared by HH Danavir Goswami for the GBC


The brahmacari asrama is the first spiritual order of life wherein celibate students are trained in the science of Krsna consciousness at the place of the guru (brahmacari guru-kule). The Vedas enjoin all male members of the three higher social divisions, namely brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas who are five years of age and older to be trained in the brahmacari asrama (kaumara acaret prajno).


Along with living simply, practicing celibacy and studying the Vedic literature, brahmacaris are meant to assist the spiritual master as menial servants (acaran dasavan nico gurau sudrdha-sauhrdah). Practically a brahmacari should follow the four regulative principles (no meat, fish or eggs eating, no intoxication, no illicit sex and no gambling or frivolous sports), chant at least sixteen rounds of japa daily, attend morning and evening temple programs and engage the rest of his time under the direction of his guru and ISKCON authorities.


ISKCON educates its members to become Vaisnavas and a Vaisnava naturally demonstrates all the good qualities of brahmanas. Therefore all male devotees should receive brahmacari training as early as possible.


A brahmacari—A) is authorized to use the title brahmacari [i.e. Krsna dasa Brahmacari or Atulananda Brahmacari], B) is entitled to wear saffron dress as was done during Srila Prabhupada’s presence. C) may choose to remain in the brahmacari status of life without being canvassed to change, D) may choose to enter either the grhastha asrama or the sannyasa asrama with the blessings of the spiritual master and under the guidance of the Vaisnavas.


A brahmacari—A) should not associate closely with women, but when relating with women, he should see them as mother, B) should be cautious about associating with men addicted to mundane sexlife, C) should wear a shaved head with a sikha and kunthi mala, D) should not be inclined to possess things or earn profits for himself.


Some new devotees are already married when they join the movement. Such devotees, like other restrained grhasthas who follow the rules and regulations of married life, are to be considered, in Srila Prabhupada’s words, “householder brahmacaris.” They are, in effect, receiving their brahmacari training in conjunction with their grhastha training.


One time, for example, an article came out saying that brahmacaris should become grhasthas and then maybe they think about taking sannyasa. Srila Prabhupada became very angry saying, “What is this? This is not according to sastra! Brahmacaris should become sannyasis. Why should they become entangled in material life?” (Bhaktisiddhanta II by Bhaktivikasa Swami: p. 18)

A prominent disciple at the time was Paramananda Vidyaratna Prabhu, who was brought, by his father, to the Math in Puri as a pilgrim, while still a child of around twelve. Unfortunately, his father died at Saksi Gopal (a village just outside Puri, where the famous Saksi-Gopal temple is) and no one knew of the young boy’s family or of anyone else to care for him, so Sarasvati Thakur had him brought up in the Math and gave special attention to him. He became very dear to Sarasvati Thakur, but after many years in the Math, aged just over thirty, he wanted to marry. This came as a surprise to Sarasvati Thakur who said, “I have brought you up just as a hen brings up its chicken. So many years you have been with us and now you want to marry. This is very bad. I brought you up to become a preacher, but now you are spoiling your life by getting married.” He was very distressed by all this and wrote him a letter saying, “I had hoped you were going to be a good man but now you’re getting married. I brought you up for preaching.”

Sarasvati Thakur liked brahmacaris and said preaching was essential. “Brahmacaris can preach but grhasthas are tied up,” he would say. (Bhaktisiddhanta I by Bhaktivikasa Swami: p34)

After taking diksa, or second initiation; not at the time of harernama, or first initiation, all the brahmacaris living in the Math could wear saffron coloured robes, but if they became implicated with women, Sarasvati Thakur said they had to wear white. Many brahmacaris wearing saffron, later on got married, that wasn’t forbidden. (Bhaktisiddhanta I by Bhaktivikasa Swami: P.39)


Gauòéya Vaiñëava çikha is an inch and a half across—no bigger. Bigger çikha means another sampradäya. …And they have to be knotted. (Srila Prabhupada Lélämåta Volume V p. 93)

Once in 1973, Nanda Kumara Prabhu, the personal servant of Srila Prabhupada told me that Srila Prabhupada had just told him that devotee’s sikhas should be the size of a silver dollar (corresponding to an inch and a half in diameter), not more.” (His Divine Grace by Danavir Goswami)


Before entering household life, one should be trained as a brahmacäré, living under the care of the guru, whose place is known as the guru-kula. Brahmacäré guru-kule vasan dänto guror hitam. From the very beginning, a brahmacäré is trained to sacrifice everything for the benefit of the guru. A brahmacäré is advised to go begging alms door to door, addressing all women as mother, and whatever he collects goes to the benefit of the guru. In this way he learns how to control his senses and sacrifice everything for the guru. When he is fully trained, if he likes he is allowed to marry. Thus he is not an ordinary gåhastha who has learned only how to satisfy his senses. A trained gåhastha can gradually give up household life and go to the forest to become increasingly enlightened in spiritual life and at last take sannyäsa. Prahläda Mahäräja explained to his father that to be freed from all material anxieties one should go to the forest. Hitvätma-pätaà gåham andha-küpam. One should give up his household, which is a place for going further and further down into the darkest regions of material existence. The first advice, therefore, is that one must give up household life (gåham andha-küpam). However, if one prefers to remain in the dark well of household life because of uncontrolled senses, he becomes increasingly entangled by ropes of affection for his wife, children, servants, house, money and so on. Such a person cannot attain liberation from material bondage. Therefore children should be taught from the very beginning of life to be first-class brahmacärés. Then it will be possible for them to give up household life in the future. To return home, back to Godhead, one must be completely free from material attachment. Therefore, bhakti-yoga means vairägya-vidyä, the art that can help one develop a distaste for material enjoyment. (Garden Conversation — June 10, 1976, Los Angeles)


“I do not know why you should work at all if you want to remain brahmacari. Here is an ideal brahmacari with me. He works day and night with me. Why don’t you become a brahmacari like him and come here? One who is a householder, he has to work because he has to maintain a wife and children at home. But for a brahmacari, why should he take the botheration of working simply for the matter of satisfying the belly? So far as belly satisfaction is concerned, that is already arranged by Krishna. Krishna is supplying food to the birds and beasts, so why should He not supply a brahmacari? Food is not a problem.

So my advice to you is that either you become a regular householder, giving 50% of your earnings to Krishna, 25% for family, and 25% for savings, or else you strictly follow the principles of brahmacari life. A brahmacari has nothing to do except serve his Spiritual Master. That is the injunction of the Bhagavata. A brahmacari is supposed to work as a menial servant of the Spiritual Master, and whatever collection he gets, it becomes the Spiritual Master’s property, not the brahmacari’s. That is real brahmacari life. If a brahmacari earns money for his sense gratification, that is not brahmacari life. Better one should become householder and live peacefully. (Letter from Srila Prabhupada: June 29, 1969) LessengerArticlesBrahmacariDanavir GoswamiBy Danavir Goswami (Vaiñëava Society Vol. 4)   In your letter you have made it clear that you are finding some difficulty with sex desire and have asked guidance from me to instruct you how to handle this problem of the material body. First of all I think you should know that such...