A Sutra a Day: II-38 – Brahmacharya = Balance

Sep 10, 2012 | Health, Philosophy, Pleasure, Wisdom, XSutras, xTmp, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali | 0 comments

The ancient sage Patanjali comments on the topic of sexual energy in Sutra II:38, and his writing has been variously interpreted to recommend abstinence (Brahmacharya) – but also, moderation or continence.
I think it’s hardly imaginable that modern day humans could be expected to, or want to, practice complete abstinence from sexual activity.
My experience of sexual energy is that it is just another kind of energy. It’s possible to get carried away with it or be aware of and contain it. It seems that Patanjali is suggesting that by being conscious of the powerful energy of sex that this will help moderate all the different sorts of energies that animate us: emotional, sensual, physical, and even thought energies.
We would be amazingly powerful people if we could manage all these energies! And, that’s the prize: “Vitality appears in one who is firmly set in moderation.”*
Bernard Bouanchard in The Essence of Yoga asks some probing questions regarding how we use our energies generally:

  1. Am I in good shape or am I tired or tense?
  2. Do I tend to relax, get bottled up, or waste my energy?
  3. Must I experience expansiveness or intensity in emotional, sensual or sexual relationships before I can live in moderation?*

Bramacaryapratisthayam virylabhah

*The Essence of Yoga – Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.


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