Celibacy is one of the cornerstones of many spiritual disciplines. Gandhi practiced celibacy beginning at an age of 36 till he lived. Monks practice celibacy. What is it, spiritually and physically? Is it simply not getting married or abstaining from sex? In english language a celibate is someone who hasn’t married. But in Yoga, a celibate is someone who is Urdhvaretas.
Now who is a Urdhvaretas? A urdhvaretas is someone in whose body sublimation of seminal fluid has started happening. The element which is used in sexual act can’t flow upwards in most of the bodies, but in case of yogis it starts going upward. Spiritually speaking, their energies are spent mostly on path of self-realization. Physically the seminal fluid starts going upward and becomes an important ingredient which nourishes body, mind and senses.
Retas is the element which is consumed in the act of coitus. Rati is the Sanskrit term for the act of sex. Retas transforms into Ozas when a yogi becomes Urdhvaretas. Ozas is the element which gives more energy to speech, thinking and action, acting as a fuel. Prefix Urdhva means upside. In yogis the conduit which takes seminal fluid upward becomes activated. This conduit is also known as Kundalini. It’s an intelligence-a microcosmic form of macrocosmic creatrix, working to dissolve illusion of separation. It works on transformation of material as well as psychic bodies into different forms. The process of awakening or integration needs different body and mind where light of self can shine forth. This process, at a material level uses the fuel of Ozas. Urdhvaretas or sublime personality is true celibate. It doesn’t matter if act of sex happens or not. Unless a yogi is a Urdhvaretas, a mere abstaining from physical act of sex doesn’t make him a celibate. When sustained contemplation of divine, prayer and meditation is practiced, the heart gets purified and in such a native the sublimation of seminal fluid starts happening. This is celibacy.