From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Jit Majumdar
- residing in Brahman; following the mode of Brahman; living and acting in concordance with the creative aspects of Brahman
- following the mode of (self) expansion; one who strives for excellence in all domains and spheres of life and human activity; one who pursues virtue, excellence, and divinity; one who aims at expanding one’s consciousness to embrace the totality of Reality in all its facets and spheres; one who strives to centre one’s spiritual development in sustainable, consistent and tested values; immersing in higher awareness or cosmic awareness
- in the age-based social system of Brahminical Hinduism, the first of the four āśrama, or stages/ phases in an individual’s life, covering the period from pre-pubescence to youth, where one’s main occupation is the practicing of religious, spiritual and intellectual disciplines, acquiring of knowledge and moral codes of conduct, development of individual skills and talents, studying under a preceptor, and maintaining bachelorhood and celibacy. Traditionally, this phase is marked by strictly disciplined or rather restricted lifestyles, wherein frugality, shunning of material pleasures or luxury or sensory indulgences, with an excessive and overt stress on sexual abstinence both by the laymen as well as by religious figures and interpreters of religion and spirituality (so much so as to render the term practically synonymous with sexual abstinence in common definition, mass culture and popular imagination), though that is nor the literal, technically or contextually correct meaning, neither at all an essential prerequisite for being a brahmachārī and performing the roles that define this phase.