What is celibacy? || Acharya Prashant, on Jesus Christ (2016)

Acharya Prashant
3 min readJun 20, 2024


Question: Tell us, why Jesus pray celibacy for his followers?

Acharya Prashant: What is meant by celibacy? When Jesus or any other teacher talks of celibacy, what is meant by celibacy? What is the meaning of celibacy?

AP: That is the only meaning of celibacy.

One point commitment; only one lover — that is celibacy. To be committed only to God. To be determined in one’s loyalty towards the Truth.

For celibacy, India has a beautiful word — Brahmacharya, to operate in Brahma, to operate in Truth; to live in Truth. Do whatever you want to do; go here, go there, wander, roam, eat-drink, rise-fall, left-right, whatever you want to do, but within Truth — that is Brahmacharya — celibacy. It has nothing to do with one’s physical activities or sexual orientation.

L2: We can understand also that when you are in a couple, you are also very buzzy with body-mind. It’s not so easy to open yourself to God when you are so busy with the body-mind.

AP: It depends on the partner. A completely different thing may also happen.

L2: I was talking about women.

AP: Yes, but there could be a woman who could become a vehicle to bring you to the Truth. So, a very paradoxical situation is also possible — that the company of a woman makes you celibate.

“How are you a celibate?”

“Because of this woman, she brought me to celibacy. “Even that is possible, rare but possible.

Saint Tulsidas, in India, is a very good example.

L2: Who?

AP: Tulsidas — the author of The Ramcharitamanas. He was quite a lusty husband, so his wife was somewhere far in another village and he had to cross the Ganga and it was the rainy season, so the Ganga was swelling, and it was the middle of the night, but in the heat of desire he swam through the river and it was all clouded and raining. The wife lived on the second floor or the third floor of the house.

He wanted to go to her room. He found some kind of a thick rope hanging from her room; caught hold of that; used it to climb up, entered her room. She asked, “How did you manage to come up?” Because either you or providence had sent down that rope. She went to look and found a thick snake. And she banged her head against the wall. She said that “The kind of commitment, the kind of attraction that you are displaying for this body of flesh and blood, had you displayed a similar commitment to the Truth, you would have been liberated by now.”

And upon these words, it is said that Tulsidas received such a shock that all his energy of lust transformed into a divine energy. He returned and became the composer of the Ramcharitmanas.


So you can have a wife like that who turns you into a celibate. Very few wives, most wives would celebrate, “See, how much my husband loves me. He has come braving the river, the cold, the rain, the snake.” They would be proud.