What is celibacy?

Acharya Prashant
3 min readOct 22, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: Tell us, why does Jesus talk of celibacy to his followers?

Acharya Prashant (AP): 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?

Listener (L): To only belong to God.

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, do whatever you want to do, but within Truth — that is Brahmacharya — celibacy.

Celibacy has nothing to do with one’s physical activities,

or sexual orientation.

L: We can understand also that when you are in a couple, you are also very busy 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.

L: 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.

L: 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.

Acharya Prashant