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Brahmacharya: How Abstaining From Sex Benefits Your Spiritual Evolution

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The word Brahmacharya has several meanings. It literally means “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”. This is the way of life through which you understand Brahman (God) when you cultivate the purity of thoughts, words, and actions.

In Yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism it often refers to a lifestyle characterized by sexual continence or abstinence. However, Brahmacharya is somewhat different from the English term “celibacy,” which means non-indulgence in sexual activity. Brahmacharya has a deeper meaning where you do not only control your instincts but more importantly – your mind throughout ascetic means. By practicing Brahmacharya, you increase your life span, strength, radiance, vigor, wisdom, virtue, and devotion to the Truth. Moreover, Brahmacharya is the basis for acquiring immortality.

In this article, I will share with you what Brahmacharya is, why it’s so important for your spiritual practice, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.

What Is Brahmacharya?

The word Brahmacharya consists of two Sanskrit roots:

  • Brahman, which means “ultimate unchanging reality”, “absolute consciousness”.
  • Charya, which means “occupation with, engaging, proceeding, behavior, conduct, to follow, moving in, going after”.

Hence, Brahmacharya can be translated as “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”.

This concept usually includes cleanliness, ahimsa, studies, simple living, meditation, and restraints on certain foods (eating only Sattvic food), intoxicants, and sexual behavior which is no sex and no masturbation.

Brahmacarya is one of the five yamas. It is a form of self-restraint. For a married practitioner, it means marital fidelity, and for a single practitioner, it means celibacy. As stated in Shandilya Upanishad (chapter 1), Brahmacharya is “refraining from sexual intercourse in all places and in all states in mind, speech or body”.

Yogic Celibacy

Yogic Celibacy Image

Now let’s take a closer look at Brahmacharya from the yogic celibacy perspective.

The term celibacy comes from the Latin word “cælibatus” meaning “unmarried”.

Many spiritual traditions see celibacy as the foundation of morality, the gate of liberation, and the path to eternal bliss. Absolute celibacy is an essential condition of the divine life, or higher spiritual life. Many believe that celibacy is the path that leads to Nirvana.

Celibacy means controlling not only your sexual instincts, but also controlling all your feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. This is the key to all the realms of divine bliss. The path to eternal peace begins with celibacy.

Celibacy has two aspects: physical and mental. Physical celibacy is about controlling your body, whereas mental celibacy is about controlling your mind (lustful thoughts do not arise in the mind or even in your dreams when you’re sleeping).

8 Traps Of Lust

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It’s not just sex that prevents you from following the celibacy path but also other actions, thoughts, and desires that keep you trapped in lust. Different spiritual traditions warn about many different mental traps your consciousness can fall into. Here are the 8 most common traps of lust that anyone following a spiritual path should be wary of:

  1. Sexual objectification – seeing a person solely as an object of sexual desire;
  2. Flirting or coquetry;
  3. Lustful thoughts;
  4. A strong desire to perform sexual intercourse;
  5. Sexual fantasies or dreams;
  6. Sexual suggestiveness – visual, verbal, written, or behavioral material or action with sexual undertones implying sexual intent in order to provoke sexual arousal;
  7. Sexual acts based on lower instincts.

It is believed that only those who completely free themselves from all these traps can consider that they observe true celibacy.

The Importance Of Saving Sexual Fluids

Whereas western research on sexual healing doesn’t emphasize the importance of retaining and recirculating sexual fluids, the Eastern systems make a vital distinction. According to Vedic science, one drop of semen is equal to sixty drops of blood in the energy it bestows on the body.

Semen is rich in easily absorbable nutrients and energy that can revitalise mind and body. It’s a treasure house of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, hormones, proteins, irons, enzymes and other vital nutritional substances including calcium, albumin, lecithin, phosphorus and nucleoproteins. It’s been scientifically proven that a weak nervous system, depleted energy and brain function were connected to excessive seed loss.

A New York Times report reiterated “creating sperm is far more difficult than scientists imagined, demanding a diversion of resources that otherwise might go into assuring a male’s long-term health.”

Taoist works claim excessive semen loss causes premature aging, loss of eyesight, damage to the nervous system, poor digestion, muscular weakness, and loss of energy.

It’s not just humans but all species tend to deplete their energy after expelling reproductive fluids. Even plants have greater longevity if they are kept from going to seed. This energy loss explains why many athletes including Mohammed Ali abstained from intercourse before competing, so they’d have reserve strength and energy to compete.

Women are more fortunate than men as they naturally tend to retain their vital fluids since their reproductive organs are internal and they have a yin receptive nature whereas men loose it easily. The fact that women live an average six years longer than men can be explained by their receptive nature and the ability not to waste their vitality as easy as men do.

Benefits Of Brahmacharya

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  1. Alchemical transmutation of base sexual energies into spiritual vigor. According to Ayurveda, semen was considered to be a vital elixir that housed important subtle energies. Ejaculation was said to lead to loss of power, energy, concentration, and even spiritual merit. And conserving it through Brahmacharya was said to help develop rich stores of Ojas, thereby building vitality, character, and health.
  2. Developing control over mind, body, and speech.
  3. Developing the ability to remain stable no matter what life challenges are faced and deal with the situation at hand.
  4. Concentration and grasping power increase.
  5. Will power increase.
  6. Gaining the ability to follow through on vows and commitments.
  7. Immunity increase. Since the energy reserves of your body are much higher now so your body will find it easier to deal with illnesses.
  8. The increase of physical, mental, and intellectual strength.
  9. Gaining the ability to understand the bliss of the Self completely.
  10. The decrease in anger, pride, deceit, and greed.
  11. Eyesight improvement.
  12. It’ll become hard for you to get scared. In a dangerous situation, you’ll be aware of the risk but you will also be able to deal with it calmly instead of panicking and worsening the situation.
  13. Memory increase – you will find it easier to remember things and even dreams that you had a long time ago.
  14. Your mind will become much sharper.
  15. Intuition boost.
  16. Vigor and confidence increase.
  17. Your body will naturally become more supple and flexible.
  18. Gaining freedom from earthly distractions so you can devote yourself more fully to spiritual transcendence.
  19. Overcoming duality and gaining a profound sense of relationship and intimacy with all beings, not just a select few.
  20. Transformation of our most primitive instinctual energies into a deeper, brighter vitality that promises good health, great courage, incredible stamina, and very long life.

Brahmacharya practice renovates the system or constitution, rebuilds the cells and tissues, energizes digestion, and gives the power to face the difficulties in the daily battle of life. A true celibate possesses tremendous energy, a clear brain, gigantic will-power, bold understanding, and retentive memory.

How To Practice Brahmacharya?

Here are some tips on how you can start practicing Brahmacharya.

#1: Perceive people as divine beings

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The key philosophy that will help you to take your lower desires under control is perceiving all people as divine beings.

If women are the object of your lust then learn to see the Divine mother in each of them. When you start seeing the Divine mother in a woman, you won’t be able to project lower instinctive desires on her. All you will feel is pure divine love.

If men are the object of your sexual desires, then, similarly, learn to see God in each of them. The interaction with a man should be based on the expression of pure love, not seduction.

#2: Check your social media

Analyze your behavior and the signals you’re sending to people. Check your social media profile. Maybe you will notice that some of the pictures on your Instagram are sending a double message. What is it for? Attention for masking low self-esteem? Be honest with yourself. You see, sexual energy is sacred and when it gets expressed in a form of sexy photos or videos, it loses its divinity. This goes against the main brahmacharya principle.

#3: Wake up during Brahma Muhurta

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The literal translation of Brahma Muhurta is ‘the hour of Brahma‘ or ‘Creator’s Hour‘.

Brahma Muhurta is a 48-minute period that begins 1 hour 36 minutes before sunrise and ends 48 minutes before sunrise.

The interaction of our planet’s energy with the energies of the Sun and the Moon creates certain physiological changes in the human system at this time. Medical science has even found that the waste material in your body, such as urine, for example, has certain qualities at that time which it does not have at any other time of the day.

Your entire body is immersed in a certain conducive atmosphere. The melatonin level is increased, which boosts the pineal gland’s activity. Therefore it is so beneficial to use this time consciously.

Brahma Muhurta time is ideal for spiritual practices, such as yoga, meditation, spiritual studies, etc. Serious spiritual practitioners all over the world, get up at this time to devote themselves to prayer and meditation.

Performing spiritual practices during Brahma Muhurta time alone will solve more than 90% of the difficulties you may face in the Brahmacharya practice.

Most people find Brahmacharya so hard because they sleep during Brahma Muhurta while all of nature is supporting the awakening of Sushumna, raising up of kundalini and hence, a natural, fast-paced evolution of our awareness.

#4: Practice brahmacharya on mental level

Whenever lustful thoughts manifest, perform some thoughtless awareness technique or 5-10 rounds of Maha Bandha or 3-5 min of Sarvangasana. This will transform the excess energy of lust into intellectual energy by pulling up the nerve currents up the spine towards brain centers, thus giving you more mental powers of thinking, concentration, and memory.

#5: Give you energy creative expression

Sexual energy is a powerful creative power. If not used for procreation, it can be used for creative expression. It doesn’t mean you should express the lower vibrational lustful desires in your art. Just do what you love but let it pass the “divinity” filter first. For doing this, follow tip #1.

#6: Fasting

As you may already know, fasting is an excellent tool to cleanse your body, physically and energetically. Fasting helps to raise your vibration on a level where lust cannot reach. It will help you to see your desires more clearly and realize that their satisfaction doesn’t serve your highest good.

#7: “Detox” your mind

How to practice celibacy image

Think about how lustful thoughts and seductive behavior were implanted into human minds. TV, social media, magazines, etc. made people believe that seduction and sexual objectification lead to success and power. Mass media wants us to sell our sexual energy in any possible form (sexy pictures, erotic videos, flirting, seductive dances, sexual music, etc.) in exchange for success and fame. And we obediently do it without question: “Why?”.

Sexual energy is our most sacred part – the gate to bliss and immortality. And whoever is governing our planet is aware of it. To keep us away from bliss and true freedom, they make us do whatever is most self-destructive for us. When we get so destructed by external reality, we can’t even see what we’re doing and for what. Of course, we get something in exchange – attention, fame, success, promotion, career, etc. But isn’t it too big of a price?

Therefore, it’s so important to start seeing things for what they are. Wherever your sexual energy is used in a demonstrative way – watch out – you could be used as an energy source for some purpose that doesn’t serve you! Don’t let them fool you. You don’t need to publicly demonstrate your sexuality just to prove that you are not ashamed of your body and you are free. This is the most common tool that is used to keep a human mind in the trap of sexual slavery.

Once you let go of these toxic beliefs, you will never waste your sexual energy on meaningless acts of seduction, flirting, or random hookups.

#8: Immerse yourself into spirituality

This will inspire you and intensify your motivation. Only a fully motivated person succeeds in maintaining Brahmacharya.

Try to spend 20 min every day in the morning on spiritual reading. For example, 10 min on brahmacharya and 10 min on meditation and self-realization topics. You can use sacred scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Patanjali Yoga-Sutra, and life-stories of great sages. Sacred texts are a perfect source of “spiritual food” for our minds that provide daily soul-elevating thoughts as much as our bodies need daily the material food for its nutrition needs.

#9: Daily meditations

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Meditation and brahmacharya are two wings of spiritual growth. With more growth of brahmacharya practice, meditative experiences become deeper. With deeper meditative experiences, the mind starts remaining in the state of brahmacharya more naturally and much longer.

Conclusion

When contemplating the idea of taking up the practice of brahmacharya, it’s important to remember to avoid any extremes in hopes of progressing more quickly in your development.

The Middle Path, as described in Buddhism, is a good philosophy to practice such that you do not fall into the trap of escaping one’s life journey by polarizing too deeply into sensual pleasures or entering too quickly into extreme asceticism.

The path of spiritual development and ascension is a journey of raising one’s consciousness or awareness up the vibrational scale of reality until one reaches nirvana. Your actions, thoughts, ideas, and behaviors all determine the center of gravity in which your consciousness holds, anchoring you to your current level of reality that exists within that vibrational scale.

Try to truthfully assess your current state of consciousness and what negative thoughts and behaviors you have that might be adversely holding your consciousness back from ascending higher up along the vibrational scale. Ask yourself, “Is this thought or action in alignment with the highest expression and divine will of God?” If not, what changes must be made in your personality such that you are more aligned?

Instead of trying to do everything at once, select one or two initial negative behaviors or thought patterns, you would like to transmute into a positive. By applying the principles of brahmacharya you will be surprised how quickly you are able to change your thoughts, behaviors, and life!

Main picture credit: https://www.instagram.com/hitesh_desai_11/

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Spiritual Alchemy: Transmuting Into a Higher Version of Yourself

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Spiritual Alchemy is a mystical practice that seeks to free the soul from its attachment to matter. It is an ancient and traditional practice that aims to offer spiritual transformation and growth, yet it has no interest at all in material growth.

Spiritual Alchemy traces its roots in medieval times, where the goal was to obtain gold. At that time, Alchemy was practiced by people who wanted to transform base metals such as lead into gold. The idea behind this was to amass more wealth.

Today, the practice is used to achieve:

  • Personal contentment;
  • Self-awareness;
  • Harmony;
  • And liberation from the inauthentic parts of your life.  

Simply put, the goal is to achieve self-actualization and spiritual rebirth. Let’s have a more detailed look at the concept of Spiritual Alchemy below.

The Stages of Spiritual Alchemy 

There is a journey people go through to achieve their spiritual rebirth. It is essential to know that everyone’s spiritual journey is different. Therefore, the stages of spiritual Alchemy may vary slightly from one person to another. 

Stage 1: Calcination

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This first stage of spiritual Alchemy is also called the black stage. The black represents chaos in which we have buried ourselves. Calcination involves eliminating parts of our lives that prevent us from attaining our happiness. It also entails identifying the elements that no longer serve you and burning them into ashes. 

People focus on being perfect rather than truly happy in the modern world. These societal standards prevent people from exploring themselves authentically.

In the calcination stage, we begin to break free from:

  • Self-doubt;
  • Fear;
  • Self-sabotaging tendencies;
  • Pride;
  • Arrogance;
  • Ego.

Liberating yourself from these tendencies allows you to explore what you are underneath the cover – the authentic you.

Calcination also involves detaching ourselves from world attachments such as the desire for wealth, power, and identity. Note that these are not bad things. However, to achieve spiritual rebirth in occult sciences, you must know where to draw the line.

Stage 2: Dissolution

This second stage involves dissolving the ashes into the water in occult sciences. 

Dissolution involves not associating yourself with the inauthentic you. You have already freed yourself from elements of self-doubt and pride. It is now time to observe the negative and positive traits objectively. 

At this stage, we are more objective. You can therefore pinpoint how your actions affect you and others. In this stage, you can also notice how avoidant you have been. For instance, many people avoid being themselves and hide in alcoholism, codependency, workaholism, social media, gambling, sex, or TV binging.

This stage is also often triggered by severe life events such as divorce, job loss, death, or bankruptcy. We describe this stage as one that allows you to stop, smell the roses, and pay attention to what you are doing. 

Stage 3: Separation

Emotional Healing From Narcissistic Abuse Clear Boundaries Image

The separation stage is written in the air element. The first two stages are associated with fire and water.

In a mystical sense, this stage can involve separation from your thought processes or emotional trigger responses. This separation process allows you to distinguish authentic essence from acquired personality. This is a very liberating stage as it allows you to come free from resentment towards yourself.

Separation is a very satisfying stage where we free ourselves of resentment towards ourselves and others. Liberation from our negative emotions allows us to become more aware of our true feelings. However, the separation only occurs when we no longer identify with the character we have been playing and get in touch with our true selves. 

Stage 4: Conjunction

The first three stages let you get rid of the inauthentic self. What happens to the authentic parts of you that remain? 

You put them into great use in the conjunction stage. In this stage, we combine the tiny bits of our true self to form one harmonized self. This is coming together under the earth element as it is an embodiment process that supports the materialization of the spirit.

In this stage, you begin to feel harmonized in body and soul but still able to point out the different strands that make you a whole.

Stage 5: Fermentation

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This is the beginning of spiritual rebirth. Fermentation describes the decomposing of one’s old self and the renewal of your new true self. The first four stages involved discarding inauthenticity and harmonizing authenticity. However, this stage involves now basking in our authenticity. We can link this stage to a rebirth of the phoenix from its ashes.

This stage can be categorized into two:

  • Putrefaction – the decaying of our former selves
  • Spiritualization – relieves us from the old world and allows us to see life from a new perspective

It is a stage accompanied by inner peace and contentment. 

Stage 6: Distillation

So what next after going through the spiritualization phase? It is time to integrate the spiritual life and make it more permanent. Distillation is a level of purification that furthers the cleansing within ourselves. This purification process results in inner solid transformation and peace. It is a stage where you now understand your spiritual rebirth, self-realization, and enlightenment. 

Stage 7: Coagulation

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This is a stage where you have finally broken free from your mind. Here, you are connected to your soul and higher consciousness. This is like the meeting point of two complete opposites, such as hell and heaven or life and death. At this stage, the core of your existence is self-awareness; we are one body with our spirit. 

However, you must note that we are not separate from the physical universe at this stage. We are one with the spirit but still a reflection of the physical universe.

The Bottom Line

Everyone’s journey is different but will somehow shape itself through the seven stages. These spiritual alchemy steps are a great way to build a new self. The idea behind Alchemy is that you can transform something into something more valuable. Just like the foundation was to transform metals into gold, you too can transform into a higher version of yourself. In addition, letting go of the burdens that hold you back will help you achieve the highest level of spirituality. 

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Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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Human beings are spirits inside a physical body. However, most people live their lives like bodies inside the spirit. Spiritual transformation means transcending beyond the physical body to the level of the soul. As complicated as this sounds, we will explain how easy it is to achieve spiritual transformation. But first, let’s get a bit more practical. 

Common Experiences of Spiritual Transformation

Overcoming trauma

Have you ever shied away from attempting something just because that thing reminds you of your past trauma? Once you overcome such experiences, it’s a clear sign you have transformed spiritually. Like a rape victim finally getting married and enjoying motherhood. 

Letting go of a toxic behavior

Most people can possibly relate to this one. How many weight-loss diets have you tried before achieving your weight goal? Or, how many times did you try quitting smoking before you actually did? See, spiritual transformation is not a walk in the park. But once you get the hang of it, you become the unstoppable hero. 

Becoming Soul-centered

When you experience spiritual transformation, you start journeying back to the center of your being. You echo the advice “be yourself” and now find it easier to apply. Perhaps it’s because you now know who you really are. 

How Does Spiritual Transformation Differ from Spiritual Awakening?

In the past, we have explored Spiritual Awakening. So what is the difference? Now spiritual transformation occurs as a by-product of our spiritual awakening journey. And since spirituality is a never-ending journey, it means if we continue in this journey, we will experience multiple angles of spiritual transformation. 

Enough of the theories, how then do you know that you have achieved spiritual transformation?

6 Signs You Are Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

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Let me start by reminding you that we are all different. A change might go unnoticed for one person yet be painfully unbearable for another person. That means you might notice some of these signs but not all of them. 

#1: Things Start Falling Apart

That moment when you can’t seem to hold anything together. Your partner breaks up with you, you get fired at work, your family becomes a thorn in the flesh, and all you want to do is close yourself up and cry. Transformation can only happen when there’s a space in your life that leads you to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small change. At this point, you need to realize that whatever is lost isn’t necessarily good enough for you and instead open up to new opportunities. 

#2: Heightened Agitation

You start getting emotional at things that would not usually bother you. Like overreacting when you find yourself stuck in traffic. This is a sign of transformation if you wouldn’t normally react this way.

Agitation occurs when we allow fear to drive us. That moment when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea what to do or where you are going. 

#3: Your Desire for Change Is Greater Than Your Fear of Not Knowing

Do you have a strong desire to change, say your career or your body, but the fear of the unknown keeps you off? Well, during spiritual transformation, you realize that this desire grows bigger while your fears diminish. You can quickly draft that resignation letter without worrying about your next opportunity. Or, you can easily break up with your fiancée without worrying about your “biological clock”. 

#4: You Trust Easily and Your Faith Grows, or the Vice Versa

Trust is usually the last chapter of the transformation. After you’ve been through emotional rollercoasters and denial, you are now ready to surrender and accept the will of your creator. It’s also at this point that your world starts turning around for the better. Mainly because your spirit is now open to other avenues. 

A good example is when you can’t let go of a toxic relationship even when all the signs say otherwise just because you can’t see past the relationship. Then after you’ve finally let go, you start wondering why you took so long. Sounds relatable? 

Now, for some people, the lack of trust is what signifies spiritual transformation. You suddenly feel the need to research any information you gather, irrespective of the source. Even though this is a temporary phase, your life can be very lonely. Just hang in there, pal.

#5: New Opportunities Open Up for You

A story goes of a peasant who kept presenting his wishes for the new year, yet nothing changed every year. One day he came to the priest as usual, and instead of giving his wishes, he told the priest that for the first time in 10 years, he saw the miracle he had been praying for. So he asked the priest what had happened? 

The priest simply answered, “your miracle has always been around. Now you’ve experienced it because your old horse died.” 

The same relates to us. You can’t win if you keep betting on an old horse. It would be best if you looked beyond your current limitations.  

#6: You Open Up to New Relationships

At some point in your spiritual awakening journey, you will realize that you no longer fit in your current relationship circles. This is normal. Consider finding like-minded individuals that you can easily connect with and dream even bigger together. When you keep holding onto relationships whose levels you’re past, they will keep dragging you behind instead of pushing you to even greater levels.  

Moreover, note that we begin to experience Christ’s consciousness after the transformation. Instead of feeling resentful to people who have hurt us in the past, we now feel compassion for them. The hatred turns into love and understanding, and in extreme cases, we grieve for their pain.

The Bottom Line

As much as spiritual transformation can get uncomfortable, the most important thing is allowing yourself to grow until you finally feel that part in you that you turned off a long time ago because someone told you to. You also have to be willing to see and accept the things you don’t necessarily want to know about yourself. Be open, and allow yourself to evolve and participate in your transformation journey.

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Family Karmic Connections: What Are They Teaching Us?

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The scriptures say that the most serious impact on our lives is caused by the actions we commit against our parents and teachers. When we criticize, judge, or disrespect our parents or teachers (no matter what their characters are), we create very negative karma that is likely to manifest itself already in the current life and to the maximum extent. This is because it is our parents and teachers who are the souls with whom we have the greatest amount of karma. And therefore, the actions that we do in relation to these people will influence our movement along our spiritual path. In this article, I want to talk about family karmic connections, how they affect our lives, and how to pass these karmic lessons with our parents so that negative patterns don’t control our lives anymore.

But first, let’s take a look at a couple of famous examples of family karmic connections.

Family Karmic Connections in Buddha Shakyamuni’s Life

Let’s take a look at the example of how family karmic connections can manifest themselves. Let’s use Buddha Shakyamuni’s life as an example.

Prince Siddhartha (Buddha Shakyamuni) was a prince from the Shakya family, who lived in ancient India. He was born into the family of King Shuddhodana, who, being frightened by the prediction on his son’s birthday that he would become an ascetic, surrounded him with luxury and wealth so that he would not know suffering and would not embark on the path of spiritual self-discovery.

But not everyone in Prince Siddhartha’s family was supportive of him. For example, his cousin Devadatta envied him, realizing that Siddhartha was his direct competitor in the matter of succession to the throne, and constantly schemed against him. And so from an early age, the prince learned to show compassion not only to those who loved him, but also to those who hated him. And in this sense, Devadatta, without knowing it, was one of the first teachers of Siddhartha.

According to legend, the karmic connection of the Buddha with his cousin Devadatta originated long before their incarnation in the family of King Shuddhodana. Once these two souls incarnated in the body of a two-headed bird. And it was then that a confrontation arose between them. Devadatta (then, of course, he was not Devadatta but one part of the two-headed bird) hated the Siddhartha (that was another part of the two-headed bird) so much that he deliberately ate the poisoned fruit. He wanted revenge so much that he was even ready to destroy himself because, despite the fact that the bird had two heads, the body was one.

It is believed that this was the beginning of the long journey of Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta. Devadatta followed the lower path of development — he alternately incarnated in the world of people, then in the lower worlds. And the Buddha, on the contrary, incarnated in the world of gods, then in the world of people. The world of people was the only place they would meet again.

Once they both incarnated in the world of people, Devadatta was constantly creating obstacles to the Buddha. However, can we really say that Devadatta harmed the Buddha? On the contrary, difficulties allowed Buddha Shakyamuni to develop, because only by overcoming his limitations, could he become better and stronger. Therefore, paradoxical as it may sound, Buddha Shakyamuni needed Devadatta in the world of people, because he was in some sense Shakyamuni’s teacher. And this seemingly difficult karmic connection had an incredibly beneficial effect on the spiritual development of the Buddha himself.

Already in the last (or rather, the last known to us) incarnation of the Buddha, in which he became a Buddha, Devadatta also caused him a lot of difficulties. Once he set an elephant on Buddha, but Buddha was able to subdue him with the power of his compassion. Another time, Devadatta pushed a huge stone from a cliff onto Buddha. But due to good karma, the stone did not harm Buddha. However, a fragment broke off from the stone and injured the Buddha’s leg — it is believed that at this moment the last negative karma that he had was worked out. So, all the obstacles Devadatta was causing made the Buddha only stronger.

Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta Image

The most interesting thing is that from Sanskrit, the very name Devadatta means “given by God”.

Family Karmic Connections in Milarepa’s Life

Another example of an interesting family karmic connection is the karmic connection between Milarepa and his mother.

Milarepa’s life was quite difficult — he lost his father early, and he and his mother became completely dependent on unfriendly relatives. Despite the fact that Milarepa’s father was far from a poor man, his relatives actually appropriated all his father’s wealth and forced him and his mother to drag out a miserable existence. Unable to bear it, Milarepa’s mother demanded that he learn black magic and kill all the relatives who did wrong to them. At first Milarepa refused, but the mother was determined and began to threaten Milarepa with suicide if he did not fulfill her insistent request.

Milarepa was strongly attached to his mother, so he was forced to obey. He learned black magic and, when returned from training, he collapsed the roof of the building so that 35 of his relatives died.

But the story didn’t end there. Realizing what he had done, Milarepa began to look for a teacher who could give him a method to get rid of the negative karma that he had accumulated. There were many years of searching and various difficulties. Finally, Milarepa met Marpa, his karmic teacher, from whom he was destined to learn.

Marpa and Milarepa Image

So, what can we see from this story? The immoral (at first glance) act of the mother, in fact, pushed Milarepa on the path of spiritual development. Yes, the method was quite cruel, but, apparently, there was no other way.

Of course, it may look like a cruel act to sacrifice 35 people for the sake of somebody’s spiritual development. But, in this case, all those people already had such karma — to be killed by black magic. Apparently, in the past they also practiced back magic or did other evil so that they created the karma that was in resonance with the death from black magic.

Some teachers believe that Milarepa’s mother was a Bodhisattva who incarnated in the form of his mother to create the situation thanks to which Milarepa began to look for a teacher, found him, and achieved spiritual self-realization. And, perhaps, if not for his mother’s act, he would never have embarked on this path. Or his path to spiritual quest would have been much longer. This is another example of how family karmic connections helped speed up somebody’s spiritual evolution.

Your Family Members are the Best Spiritual Teachers You Can Find

As you can see, it is the karmic connections in the family that have the greatest impact on our spiritual development. And even if it seems like some of our family members cause us suffering and seem to “interfere” with our development, in fact, as a result, all this leads to our spiritual evolution.

Another thing we should remember is that a very highly developed being can incarnate in our family just to create difficulties for us so that we can learn to overcome our own limitations. Therefore, to condemn your loved ones for misunderstanding or allegedly opposing our spiritual development is a very short-sighted view.

You cannot know for sure whether your mother, father, siblings, or other family members is the Bodhisattva or not. However, you should remember that a Bodhisattva has a deeper vision of reality and karmic intricacies. And therefore his/her behavior may not always be understandable, and sometimes it may seem cruel and immoral. But a Bodhisattva’s soul always knows what he/she is doing and acts solely out of compassion.

Therefore, when one of our family members has a disturbing behavior, judges us, criticizes us, or even betrays us, perhaps, we need this lesson in order to learn how to be patient, loving, and compassionate no matter who is standing in front of us.

Family karmic relationships are the best opportunity to work out our limitations and weaknesses.

Are Our Loved Ones Our Enemies From Past Lives?

Some spiritual teachers say that in Kali Yuga, enemies from past lives incarnate in the same families. Moreover, for example, the killer and his victim can be incarnated in the same family.

Why is it necessary? As always, it’s not so that we just suffer. Again, this is necessary for our spiritual evolution. Because with such close interaction, we will simply have to learn how to build a harmonious relationship with a person with whom there were conflicts in past lives.

According to yoga teachings, if we hate someone, we concentrate on this person and thereby sow the seed in our subconscious and form a karmic connection. What’s interesting is that sometimes hatred can form an even stronger karmic connection than love. That is why in the future incarnation the strongest karmic connection will be with those whom we loved or hated in past lives. Often the people around us are divided into those with whom it is easy, simple, and pleasant for us to communicate, and those whom we cannot accept.

Conclusion

Our family members are the people with who we have the strongest karmic connection. This karmic bond can be negative or positive. Both, negative and positive karmic connections, are beneficial for our spiritual development. No connection is accidental and has its purpose. However, looking at the examples, we can conclude that often negative karmic connections has more positive impact on our spiritual development than any others. Moreover, some of our family members could be incarnated Bodhisattvas who came into our lives to teach us to overcome our egos and be more patient, accepting, loving and compassionate.

In any case, it is important to understand that it is impossible to escape from the manifestations of our karma. The only way out is through. Until we learn our karmic lessons, we’ll be repeating them again and again. You can stop talking to your parents or siblings, divorce your husband or wife, abandon your children, but this does not solve the problem. Whatever karmic lesson you need to learn, you will have to learn sooner or later. Yes, it is possible that we will not meet this or that person again in this life, but if we have not passed the karmic lesson, have not worked out some problem, have not untied the karmic knot, then the situation will manifest itself again and and again until the lesson is learned.

Therefore, be grateful for every soul you meet on your path. Pay close attention to those who project negativity towards you and think about what kind of lesson they’re trying to teach you.

Namaste!

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