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What are the characteristics of a celibate (brahmachari)?

A celibate (brahmachari) is much more than just someone who has taken the vow of celibacy.

Let us find out the answer to the question, “What does celibate mean?” from Param Pujya Dadashri, who has given a detailed list of all the characteristics that define celibate.

  • Completely self-sufficient. Is able to take care of themselves financially and otherwise.
  • A celibate is able to fully commit their time and energy towards their chosen cause because they do not have a spouse, in-laws or children to look after.
  • The power of speech is such that they are able to do exactly what they say.
  • Have tremendous will power (manobad).
  • Their mind remains in their control.
  • Is able to follow through on vows and commitments with ease.
  • The inner faculty of knowledge and vision becomes pure so their inner inclinations do not go towards worldly things.
  • By practicing celibacy their immunity increases and as a result they do not get diseases of any kind.
  • Even if they have to accept death, they will happily do so rather than get involved in sexuality. Even if the circumstances of sexuality arise, they will not break the vow of celibacy at all. It is essential to have the ‘strong-ness’ up to this extent. And how does one get the determination for it? This can be attained only by their pure intention to follow celibacy and their wholesome sincerity about it!

All those who have chosen the path of celibacy, will encompass all the characteristics listed above. However, the one who has achieved the highest level of celibacy has these additional qualities:

  • They will not have even a single sexual thought about another person.
  • Even by looking at their face, people become happy.
  • Brahmacharya brings radiance in a person. It does not matter if one is light or dark-skinned; no matter what a person’s color may be, there should be radiance on the face. The light of brahmacharya will even resonate on the wall in front of you! Even if people of other countries were to look at you, they should be impressed and say, ‘My! Here comes a brahmachari!’
  • Is able to retain the spiritual essence of any of the scriptures and books.
  • Their thoughts, inner intent and conduct will be such that they naturally do not hurt anyone even to the slightest extent.
  • Their anger-pride-deceit-greed have become absolutely subservient to them.
  • Even their character is of a very high standing.
  • Morality and sincerity have developed within.
  • Natural humility (sahaj namrata). Natural means they do not have to make an effort to be humble. They will naturally talk to everyone with humility.
  • They would have natural straightforwardness (sahaj saradta). They do not have to make an effort for this. As you direct them, they will follow.
  • They are naturally content (sahaj santosh). Even if we give them a plate with a little rice and kadhee (soup dish made from yogurt) they will not raise their head (ego). Natural contentment!
  • Their forgiveness would also be natural (sahaj kshama).
  • The aura of the presence and influence of someone who has the highest state of conduct in worldly interaction (Sheel) is such that even if someone intends to insult them, they will not be able to utter even a single word!
  • Their acquisition and renunciation (parigraha-aparigraha) is natural and effortless.
  • Possesses a silent aura of sternness and purity.
  • Even the deities bow down to them.
  • They do not have an inferiority complex even in front of God (Bhagwan).

When all these become natural then know that this person has come into the state of the Sheelvaan!

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