1. Srila Prabhupada instructs about brahmacari life

    A brahmacari, from the very beginning of his life, he is trained to act only for guru. That is brahmacari. It is enjoined that a brahmacari live at the shelter, at the care of guru just like a menial servant. Krsna also, although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He was living as brahmacari at His guru’s house, Sandipani Muni, He was collecting wood, fuel, from the jungle. He was going daily. It is not that because He was Personality of Godhead, therefore He should not go. No. You will find in the Krsna book, that when Sudama Vipra met Him, he was talking with Him about His childhood stories. Krsna reminded him, “Sudama, do you remember that one day we went to collect fuel for our Guru Maharaja, and there was storm and rain, and we could not get out of the forest? We had to live overnight there. Then on the morning Guru Maharaja came with other disciples and they recovered us from the jungle. Do you remember?” So Krsna had to do this. This is training. A brahmacari is trained up from the very beginning how to become a sannyasi at the end of life. How he is trained up? He is trained up to collect for guru alms. Everywhere the brahmacari would go to householder, and they ask, “Mother, give us some alms for my Guru Maharaja.” And the ladies would give him. Because everyone’s son goes to the gurukula. So there was no hesitation. And the brahmacari would collect and bring it in the asrama, and then he should live just like a menial servant. He may be a king’s son or a very learned brahmana’s son, but when he lives at gurukula, he has to work. It is said in the sastra… you will find the duty of brahmacari, the duty of grhastha, the duty of vanaprastha, the duty of sannyasa. Everything is there. So a brahmacari is trained in such a way that although he has collected everything, but he does not claim anything. He does not keep anything with him. Even though he has to eat in the asrama, but that he will eat upon the calling by the guru, “My dear such and such, please come and take your prasadam.” It is said if the guru forgets to call him one day, he will not take his food. This is called brahmacari, means strictly following. And they used to call every woman from the beginning of life “Mother.” This is training. Matrvat para-daresu [Canakya Pandita]. From the very beginning of life, all women they are treated as mother. That is the system, Vedic system. Everyone will call a woman as “Mother,” never mind whether she is younger or older. It doesn’t matter. Woman has to be addressed as “Mother.” That is Canakya Pandita’s instruction. Who is learned scholar? Who has got three qualification, he is learned scholar. What is that? Matrvat para-daresu: “To treat all women as mother.” Nowadays it has been introduced in India, “Bahinji.” No. This is not the etiquette. The etiquette is to address every woman, never mind whether she is young or old, as “Mother.” This is brahmacari. This is brahmacari. The brahmacarya is very strictly enjoined in the Vedic sastra. Brahma…, to maintain brahmacarya, it is advised, matra svasra duhitra va naviviktaMatra svasra duhitra va [SB 9.19.17]. [One should not allow oneself to sit on the same seat even with one’s own mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so strong that even though one is very advanced in knowledge, he may be attracted by sex.] So one should not sit down with woman in a secluded place, even though the woman is mother, sister or daughter. So much restriction. And why? Balavan indriya-gramah: “The senses are very powerful.” Vidvamsam api karsati. “Oh, senses may be powerful for the fools and rascals.” No. Vidvamsam api karsati: “Even one is very learned, advanced, still, senses are so powerful that it can be agitated even before the mother, sister and daughter.” This is Vedic injunction, brahmacarya. Tapasa brahmacaryena damena samena [SB 6.1.13]. These are the human life: to accept brahmacarya life, tapasya, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, tyagena, by giving in charity whatever you possess. These are the different processes. But if you take to bhakti-yoga, then all these processes become automatically accustomed. That is the profit of bhakti-yoga.

    Srila Prabhupada, Talk on Bhagavad-gita 4.16 — April 5, 1974, Bombay