Giving Up Illusion
A young student was considering becoming a brahmacharin celibate for three years. The teacher told him that when combined with the yoga practises, it would give increased intelligence, energy, happiness, and inner serenity.
“You cannot just say no: it must be part of the system of disciplined practise.”
It happened that the class was reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and they came to a passage picturing temptations that the brahmacharin has to be able to face. “Here is a girl so beautiful that she seems to have been carved out of the moon, whose glances light up the world wherever she looks, whose lips are honey,” and so on. Afterwards he sought the teacher. “I doubt if I could give up a girl like that,” he confessed.
“You are not asked to,” replied the teacher. “This is a fantasy. Girls do not seem carved out of the moon; their lips are not honey. You are asked only to give up the fantasy.”
“But there are girls—well, not perhaps exactly like that, but just as attractive. And I am being asked to give them up.”
“You are not giving them up at all,” rejoined the teacher, “assuming what you say, and that you might meet such a girl. You are asked to give up not her but the illusion that someone like you or I could hold the attention of a beauty like that even for a minute.”