Brahmacharya ashrama is the first of the four ashrams, or stages of life, outlined in the Hindu scriptures and discussed in our post on Varnashrama Dharma. The others are grihastha (householder), vanaprastha (retirement), and sannyasa (renunciation). In the Brahmacharya ashrama or stage, a person is celibate and focuses on learning. This is the period of a person’s life when they are a student.
The word is made up of Brahma + Charya. Brahma(ब्रह्म) means the supreme consciousness and Charya(चर्य) means following a particular path, from this Charya also arises the word, Acharya. This is the first stage in an individual’s life according to the Vedic ashrama system. Others are Vanaprastha, Grihastha, and Sannyasa. This ashrama is the student life of a Hindu as described according to the Vedic ashrama system.
What is Brahmacharya ashrama?
Brahmacharya ashrama is the first stage or ashrama of an individual’s life according to the Vedic ashrama system. In this stage of life, a person attains knowledge while living in the Gurukul. He is called brahmachari and focuses all his energies on achieving the ultimate’s knowledge.
The Brahmacharya ashram is a time for learning and growth. It is a time to develop self-control and to learn about the world and one’s place in it. This is the time to develop relationships with others and to learn how to be a good human being.
Brahmacharya Vs Brahmacharya Ashrama
Brahmacharya ashrama includes brahmacharya in its entirety. Let’s first understand each separately:
Brahmacharya means celibacy in wider sense. This doesn’t just mean abstinence from sex. It includes but is not limited to the virginity of 8 types of maithuna(sexual pleasure). Controlling your senses to channel your energy in a particular direction would be an appropriate translation.
Brahmacharya is the principle of moderation in all things. It is the principle of controlling the senses and the mind and redirecting their energy into positive, creative pursuits. It is the principle of living a balanced, harmonious life in which all of our actions are in alignment with our highest values and aspirations.
The practice of brahmacharya requires that we become aware of the subtle promptings of the mind and the body, and learn to respond to them in ways that are in keeping with our goals and our deepest desires. It asks that we become conscious of the impact our choices have on our lives and that we make choices that will lead us to the life we truly want to live.
Benefits of Brahmacharya
The benefits of practicing brahmacharya include increased clarity of mind, more excellent physical and emotional health, and a deeper sense of well-being. When we can control our senses and our mind, we are better able to focus on our goals and achieve them. We are also better able to enjoy the present moment and find true peace and contentment in our lives.
Brahmacharya Ashrama is the stage in an individual’s life in which he attains knowledge and follows the path of tapas or austerity. Brahmacharya ashram is the foundation of the life of a Hindu. A Hindu’s life starts with Brahmacharya Ashram in which he learns about the world around him as well as prepares for the challenges of the future.
A Brahmachari lives with Acharya and gives his services to the Acharya in exchange for the knowledge he imparts. The Acharya teaches Brahmachari everything he knows as well as Hindu Shastras.
But the education is not limited to the ritualistic nature of the Vedic system. The Brahmachari while living with other Brahmacharis and gains knowledge of all the subjects the Acharya knows of.
The meaning Acharya is the one who leads by example. The one who lives his life and teaches by example. The Brahmachari also learns while performing all the daily chores like cooking, cleaning, etc. This makes the Brahmachari independent in his approach to life.
In addition, he will be learning other subjects like Geography, History, Mathematics, Science, and much more.