Celibate Life or Brahmacharya: Valentine's Day without a PartnerIs a celibate life or practising brahmacharya possible? There are still many things to do on Valentine's Day even without a partner. Read on.
For someone living a celibate life (brahmacharya), February 14 could be viewed like any other day. Men and women with a broken heart or who have yet to experience romantic love may view Valentine's Day with distaste, indifference, or hopeful optimism. Nevertheless, people without a partner can still celebrate this occasion like those with romantic relationships without being envious or lonely.
Things to do on Valentine's Day without a partnerSo what if you are alone on February 14? Millions of people do not have a partner -- and most are not complaining. Only a fraction of the world's population can spend lavishly for this event. What is the best thing to do? Set a date with yourself without necessarily going over the budget. Relish your time alone by:
- Listening to music that you enjoy
- Cooking or eating something you like or have been craving
- Watching movies, especially non-romantic yet highly enlightening and philosophical ones that celebrate human courage (e.g., "Enough," "Shawshank Redemption," "Children of Heaven," "The Kite Runner," and "Not One Less," among many others)
- Reading books or anything that interests or inspires you to improve yourself
- Calling and/or meeting friends -- you can just talk about whatever without worrying about romance
- Having a beauty and wellness day at a nearby (and affordable) spa or perhaps setting an appointment with a home-service massage therapist
- Writing letters or emailing loved ones -- not necessarily to greet them "Happy Valentine's Day" but to simply ask them how they are doing
- Going home exactly after work hours to shop for stuff that you have been delaying to buy
- Playing with your pet (if you have one)
You can also get involved in a charitable cause that you like (e.g., visiting an orphanage, teaching illiterate adults, participating in a medical mission, etc.). You may also want to help a loved one or a friend write a love letter or a poem for the one he or she admires. Kindness to others on Valentine's Day and on a daily basis certainly offers a reward by helping you feel better about yourself.
Having a celibate life -- Benefits of celibacy or BrahmacharyaIn Hinduism, according to Sri Swami Sivananda, celibacy or brahmacharya is the "conduct by which you attain or reach Brahman (God) ... absolute freedom from sexual thoughts and desires. ... It is control of all the senses in thought, word and deed." Such a vow promotes mental and spiritual development.
Though the usual commercial meaning of Valentine's Day highlights merging carnal and material satisfaction, celibates may choose to wallow in self-pity for not having an intimate partner or celebrate the freedom they enjoy for not having one.
Sivananda says that brahmacharya results in having "inner strength and peace of mind. ... It helps to conserve physical and mental energy ... a true celibate possesses tremendous energy, a clear brain, gigantic will-power, bold understanding, retentive memory and good Vichara Sakti (power of enquiry)."
In "Life Without Sex?" (n.d.), Claudia Cummins explains that celibacy is in line with yoga philosophy that teaches the "principles of truth and nonviolence." Abstinence helps transform a human being's "most primitive instinctual energies into a deeper, brighter vitality that promises good health, great courage, incredible stamina, and a very long life." She further writes that celibacy discourages promiscuity that "often leads to secrecy, deceit, anger, and suffering. " The nonprofit organization Celibrate says a sex-free life results in:
- Having "feelings of self worth, empowerment and individuality."
- Socializing and dating "without the pressures and awkwardness of negotiating sex."
- Knowing "someone loves you for who you are rather than what you can give sexually."
- Avoiding "an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy."
- Avoiding "the heartbreak, regret, anger and emotional turmoil that a failed sexual relationship brings. Avoid[ing] giving away something precious, only to be left feeling used and worthless."
- Learning "how to love unconditionally rather than lust."
Vow of celibacy -- Staying true to a life without sex beyond Valentine's DayRecognizing that lust "is difficult to eradicate," Sivananda and Cummins provide measures on how to continue observing the vow of celibacy. These include:
"Diet plays a prominent part in keeping up celibacy. ... A confection of sparrow directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish, and eggs stimulate passion." Sivananda advises then that people should practise moderation and "take Sattvic (pure) food such as milk, fruits, and wheat. Occasional fasting checks passion, calms the emotions, controls the Indriyas (senses), and helps in the practice of celibacy."
- Faith and meditation
"Have faith in God. ... Mere human effort alone will not suffice. The divine grace is needed. ... God helps those who help themselves. ... You must be sincere in your purpose for the sublime life of spirituality." Sivananda says that men should "see mother in all women" and engage in regular meditation to preserve or nurture spiritual chastity.
- Loyalty to life partner
Cummins's interview with Georg Feuerstein, founder of the Yoga Research and Education Center in California, reveals that "chastity at the right time" is how married yoga practitioners define brahmacharya. They only get intimate with their spouse and "abstain from casual sexual contact and casual sexual conversation, like sexual jokes." A celibate marriage then highly values the practice of monogamy.
Choose to be happy even without a partner on Valentine's DayCelibate life or brahmacharya may seem to be an impossible feat for many people. Yet, it can be done. Thus, those without a partner need not be depressed.
Depending on one's belief or perspective, celibacy is instrumental in achieving higher personal goals. For the spiritual, it serves as the way towards holiness or perfection. For others, it helps overcome the fear of being alone. For those who have lived a life without sex because of a broken relationship or a series of sad affairs, celibacy spells freedom from pain. As Whitney Houston sings, "I'd rather be alone than unhappy" -- even on Valentine's Day.
Written by Leann Zarah (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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