Is It Mandatory For A Spiritual Seeker To Refrain From Marriage?
Just as there are always more than one ways to reach from one location to another, there are many different spiritual paths that lead us to moksha or the final liberation. Sometimes, there are numerous overlaps in the doctrines of these paths, but often, there are glaring differences which startle the seeker with their obvious opposition.
One such point of difference is the importance and requirement of celibacy
Many spiritual paths declare celibacy to be a key prerequisite towards attaining moksha; and many others say it is not mandatory. Now, for those who are new to the journey, such discrepancies in approach may confuse and even bewilder.
Therefore, for the benefit of everyone, today, let’s understand from Gnani’s perspective whether or not it is mandatory for a spiritual seeker to refrain from marriage.
According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan,…
while refraining from marriage is encouraged for a speedy progress on the path of spirituality; it is not mandatory! But if ever the forces of past life’s karma are such that one does marry, then he/she must ensure that they remain complete faithful to their partner. Furthermore, if there is a steady opinion of the spiritual seeker in favour of celibacy it does not hinder one’s progress at all. Over time, when the force of karma calms down, one will eventually be able to easily lead a celibate life even if they are married, without hurting/upsetting their spouse.
Brahmacharya (celibacy) is certainly a favourable component in one’s journey towards moksha.
Param Pujya Dadashri explains that abrahmacharya (non-celibacy) causes harm to millions of lives directly or indirectly. Moreover, when one engages in any form of sexual conduct, one identifies with the physical body and sees the other person also as the physical body and thus misses out on maintaining the awareness of the Pure Soul, which is imperative to achieve the spiritual goals. In other words, when one identifies with the external circumstances, one goes farther away from the internal real truth. While trying to seek external happiness, the internal happiness is automatically obscured. Thus, one ends up traveling in the opposite direction from their goal of attaining eternal happiness.
Moreover, any form of sexual behaviour is an attempt to satisfy the desires of the senses, and giving in to such impulses weakens the individual and drains their strength. As Pujya Dadashri explains:
“So it is with abrahmacharya (incontinence of sexual impulses), the body becomes weak. All the diseases in the body are due to abrahmacharya.” – (Brahmacharya : Celibacy Attained with Understanding, p.2)
Thus, in many ways, and for a number of reasons, abrahmacharya could delay the spiritual seeker in reaching to his desired destination.
Nevertheless, one cannot avoid the karmic obligations or deny the fruits of previously sown karmic seeds
If our karmic obligations require us to marry someone, we may not be able to avoid it.
The law of karma states that one experiences the effects, in appropriate proportions, of all the karmic causes sown in previous lifetimes. Marital partners are also decided based on these karmic seeds. This means if the spiritual seeker has sown the seeds of celibacy in the previous life, he / she shall be able to refrain from marriage and remain celibate; and not otherwise.
Does this mean a spiritual seeker who has the karmic obligations to marry cannot progress spiritually?
Param Pujya Dadashri explains that even married people can pursue spirituality in the same manner as the celibates. But on the path of spirituality, it is of utmost importance that one remains totally faithful to their spouse and never engages even in sexual thoughts with anyone else.
In this day and age, remaining faithful to one’s marital partner is also considered brahmacharya!!
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