The youth of the world craves for guidance which is often not forthcoming from the parents, teachers or society. It is hoped that this book of holy Master Swami Sivananda will fill the above-mentioned lacuna and offer the youth of the world the knowledge and guidance which they so richly deserve in a vital area which affects their physical, mental, ethical and spiritual well-being.
We pray that the blessings of the holy Master may pour on all those who may chance to go through the following pages and open up a new chapter in their lives. May all be healthy, happy and spiritually blessed.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu! O loving Lord of Compassion! Give light and purity. Let me get established in physical and mental Brahmacharya. Let me be pure in thoughts, word and deed.
Give me strength to control my Indriyas senses and observe the Brahmacharya Vrata. Protect me from all sorts of temptations of this world. Let all my Indriyas be ever engaged in Thy sweet service. Wipe out the sexual Samskaras impressions and Vasanas subtle desires.
Annihilate lust from my mind. Make me a true Brahmachari, Sadachari and Oordhvareta Yogi. Let me be chaste in my look. Let me always walk in the path of righteousness. Forgive all my Aparadhas offenses. There is a great illusion in front of man. It troubles him in the form of woman. There is a great illusion in front of woman. It troubles her in the form of man.
Analyze this world of phenomenal experience. The sex instinct is the greatest urge in human life. Sex energy or lust is the most deep-rooted instinct in man. Sex energy entirely fills the mind, intellect, Prana, senses and the whole body. It is the oldest of the factors that have gone into the constitution of the human being. A man has a thousand and one desires. But the central strong desire is the sexual desire. The fundamental desire is the urge for a mate.
All hang on this central basic desire. The desire for money, the desire for a son, the desire for property, the desire for houses, the desire for cattle and other desires come later on. Because the whole creation of this universe is to be kept up, God has made the sexual desire very, very powerful. Otherwise, many Jivanmuktas would have cropped up quite easily, just as graduates from universities.
It is easy to get university qualifications. It demands a little money, memory, intelligence and a little strain. But it is an uphill climb to obliterate the sexual impulse. He who has completely eradicated lust and is established in mental Brahmacharya is Brahman or God Himself. This world is nothing but sex and ego. Ego is the chief thing.
It is the basis. Sex hangs on the ego. If the ego is destroyed by Vichara or enquiry of "Who am I? Man, master of his destiny, has lost his divine glory and has become a slave, a tool, in the hands of sex and ego on account of ignorance. Sex and ego are the products of Avidya or nescience. The dawn of knowledge of the Self annihilates these two enemies of Atman, the two dacoits who are plundering the helpless, ignorant, little, false Jiva, the illusory "I".
Man has degraded himself to a great degree by becoming the puppet of passion. He has become an imitative machine. He has lost his power of discrimination. He has sunk into the most abject form of slavery. What a sad state! What a lamentable plight indeed! If he wishes to regain his lost divine state and Brahmic glory, his whole being must be transformed, his sex desire must be completely transmuted by sublime divine thoughts and regular meditation. Transmutation of the sex desire is a very potent, efficacious and satisfactory way to realize eternal bliss.
Passion reigns supreme in all parts of the world. The minds of people are filled with sexual thoughts. The world is all sexy.
The whole world is under a tremendous sexual intoxication. All are deluded and move in the world with perverted intellects. No thought of God. No talk of God. It is all fashion, restaurants, hotels, dinners, dances, races and cinema. Their life ends in eating, drinking and procreating. Passion has introduced new fashions not only in London, Paris and Lahore, but even in Madras amongst the Brahmin girls of orthodox families who apply Cherry Blossom Powder and Hazeline Snow to their faces, instead of the sacred turmeric powder, and dress their hair like the French girls.
This sort of vile imitation has crept into the mind of our boys and girls in India. The sacred percepts and teachings of our ancient sages and Rishis have been totally ignored. What a lamentable state! They will accept anything as true only if a Johnson or a Russel brings something by way of the theory of evolution, motion, atom, relativity or transcendentalism. Their brains are all clogged with foreign particles. They do not have the brain to absorb anything good in others.
There is a miserable degeneration in the present young men and women in India. This is the age when they cannot walk even a short distance without a Rickshaw, a car, a tram, a bicycle or a carriage. What an awful artificial life! Bobbing of the hair amongst the ladies in India has become a severe epidemic and has invaded the whole of India.
This is all due to the mischief of passion and greed. Young men of the present day indiscriminately imitate the West and this results in their own ruin. Men are swayed by lust. They lose their sense of righteousness, and of time and place.
They never discriminate between right and wrong. They lose all sense of shame. Lust is at the root of all this. It may be lust for money or lust for carnal pleasure. Lust ruins life, lustre, strength, vitality, memory, wealth, fame, holiness, peace, wisdom and devotion.
Man, with his boasted intellect, has to learn lessons from birds and animals. Even animals have more self-control than men.
It is only the so-called man who has degraded himself much by indulgence. At the heat of sexual excitement, he repeats the same ignoble act again and again. He has not a bit of self-control. He is an absolute slave to passion. He is a puppet in the hands of passion. Like rabbits he procreates and brings forth countless children to swell up the numbers of beggars in the world.
Lions, elephants, bulls and other powerful animals have better self-control than men. Lions cohabit only once in a year. After conception, the female animals will never allow the male animals to approach them till the young ones are weaned and they themselves become healthy and strong.
Man only violates the laws of nature and consequently suffers from innumerable diseases. He has degenerated to a level far lower than that of animals in this respect.
As a king is no king without a treasury, subjects and an army, as a flower is no flower without fragrance, as a river is no river without water, so also, a man is no man without Brahmacharya. That which differentiates a man from an animal is Dharma, Viveka and Vichara Sakti. Jnana and Vichara can be secured only by the preservation of Veerya.
If a man has not got these qualifications, he should really be reckoned as a veritable animal only. If lust, which is the source of all enjoyments in this world, ceases, then all worldly bondage, which has its substratum in the mind, will cease.
Even the most virulent poison is no poison when compared to lust. The former defiles one body only, whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive births. You are a slave of passions and desires, emotions and attractions. When are you going to rise up from this miserable state?
Those persons, who, in spite of the knowledge of the non-existence of happiness, both in the past and in the present, in the baneful objects of the world, do yet entangle themselves in them with their thoughts clinging to them, deserve the appellation of an ass, if not a worse one.
If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your best for salvation, if you spend your lifetime in eating, drinking and sleeping, you are a horizontal being only, having to learn some lessons from those animals, which possess far more self-restraint.
The sexual degradation that has overtaken mankind today is due directly to the fact that people have assumed that there is a natural "sexual instinct" in human beings. It is not so. The natural instinct is the procreative one. If men and women restrict sexual indulgence to mere procreation, then that itself is observance of Brahmacharya.
As this is found to be impossible in the vast majority of cases, total abstinence is enjoined on those who seek the higher values of life. As far as the Sadhaka of burning Mumukshutva is concerned, celibacy is a sine qua non , as he cannot afford to waste his vital energy at all.
The gratification of every worldly desire is sinful; the flesh should be the abject slave of the spirit intent upon divine things.
Man was created for a life of spiritual communion with God, but he yielded to the seduction of evil demons who availed themselves of the sensuous side of his nature to draw him away from the contemplation of the divine and lead him to the earthly life.
Moral goodness, therefore, consists in renouncing all sensuous pleasures, in separating from the world through discrimination and dispassion, in living solely after the spirit, in imitating the perfection and purity of God. Sensuality is inconsistent with wisdom and holiness. The great business of life is to avoid impurity. Real culture is the establishment of perfect physical and mental Brahmacharya. Real culture is the realization of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul through direct experience.
For a passionate worldly-minded man, the terms Self-realization, God, Self, Vairagya, renunciation, death and burial ground are very revolting and terrifying, because he is attached to objects. The terms singing, dancing, talks about women and so on are very pleasing. The attraction for objects will gradually vanish if one begins to think seriously of the unreal nature of the world.
People are burnt by the fire of lust. All measures that are calculated to eradicate this dire disease should be initiated and put through. All people should be made fully conversant with the different methods that will help them to root out the dire enemy lust. If they fail in one method, they can take recourse to another.
Lust is a brutal instinct in unregenerated men. One should be ashamed to repeat again and again the sensual acts when one is fully aware that the goal of life is Self-realization through the attainment of purity and the practice of constant meditation. An objector may say that these topics should not be dealt with openly, but should rather be talked about secretly.
What is the use of hiding things? Hiding a thing is a sin. In these days of modern culture and new civilization, in this era of scientific advancement, these lines may not be relished by some people. They may remark that some of the terms are jarring, revolting, offending and indecent and will not suit the people of refined tastes.
They are entirely mistaken. These lines will produce a very deep impression in the minds of thirsting aspirants who are longing for liberation. Their minds will be entirely changed. There is no real spiritual culture amongst the people of modern society. Etiquette is mere show. Everywhere you can see much show, hypocrisy, pretended politeness, meaningless formalities and conventions. Nothing emanates from the core of the heart. People lack sincerity and integrity. The utterances of the Mahavakyas of the sages and the valuable teachings of the scriptures will not produce any impression in the minds of passionate, worldly-minded persons.
They will be like seeds thrown in rocky soil. They will be like pearls thrown before swine. If one clearly understands the serious damage that comes through an impure life and determines to attain the goal of life by leading a pure life, he must keep his mind busily engaged in divine thoughts, concentration, meditation, study and service of humanity.
Lack of spiritual Sadhana is the main cause for all sexual attractions. Mere theoretical abstention from sensuality will not bring you good results. You must mercilessly cut off all formalities in social life and lead a pious life freed from the business of bodily existence. Leniency to internal lower tendencies will land you in the region of suffering. Excuse will be of no use in this respect.
You must be sincere in your quest for the sublime life of spirituality. Half-heartedness will leave you in your old state of misery. Wake up, friends, from this mire of illusory Samsara now. Passion has wrought great havoc in you as you are drowned in Avidya. How many millions of fathers, mothers, wives and sons you have had in previous births!
This body is full of impurities. What a shame it is to embrace this filthy body! It is mere foolishness only. Give up Moha for this body. Also, give up identification with this body by meditating upon the glory of the Suddha Atman. Give up worship of the body. Worshippers of the body are Asuras and Rakshasas. Remember that you are not this perishable body of flesh and bones. You are the immortal, all pervading, Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman. Thou art living truth. Thou art absolute consciousness.
You can attain this supreme state only by leading a life of true Brahmacharya. The spirit of Brahmacharya must pervade your entire life and all your actions.
People talk of Brahmacharya, but practical men are rare indeed. A life of continence is really beset with difficulties. But the path becomes smooth for a man of iron determination, patience and perseverance. We want real, practical men in the field, men who are practical Brahmacharis, men who can impress people by their strong physique, ideal lives, noble character and spiritual strength.
Mere idle talk is of no use whatsoever. We have had enough of idle talkers in the field and on the platforms. Let some practical men come forward and lead the youngsters by their exemplary, lives and spiritual aura.
Let me remind you once more! Example is better than precept. The average life of mankind has shrunk to forty years as against the natural hundred years. Every well-wisher of the country must think over this most disgraceful and disastrous state of affairs very carefully and apply the proper remedies in time. The future well-being of the country rests entirely on the youth. It is the duty of the Sannyasins, saints, teachers, professors and parents to reintroduce the life of celibacy in youngsters.
I pray that the educational authorities and the elders will pay their special attention to this vital subject of Brahmacharya for the uplift of the future generation. Training of the youth means nation-building. The future well-being of India rests entirely on Brahmacharya and Brahmacharya alone.
It is the duty of Sannyasins and Yogis to train students in Brahmacharya, to teach Asana and Pranayama and disseminate the knowledge of Atman far and wide.
They can do a lot in improving the situation as they are whole-time men. They should come out of their caves and Kutirs for Loka-Sangraha. If our motherland wants to rise high in the scale of nations, her children, both male and female, should study the important subject of Brahmacharya in all its bearings, understand its supreme importance and observe the great Vrata strictly. A true Brahmachari is the real mighty emperor of this world. My silent adorations to all Brahmacharins! May you be seated firm as the Mahameru in your Satchidananda Svarupa without any impure, lustful thought!
May God bless the aspirants with strength and energy for keeping up Brahmacharya! May you, with a pure, stainless mind, unintermittently be in the cognition of your Atmic Reality!
May you, without worldly desires and ambition, rest in That which ever is in the midst of the enjoyer and the enjoyed! May the divine splendour shine in your face! May the divine flame grow brighter in you all!
May the divine power and peace abide in you for ever! Man wishes to have children to maintain the race or line. This is the reproductive instinct. The desire to copulate proceeds from this sexual instinct. The strength of the sexual desire depends upon the sexual impulse.
According to the Gita, impulse is Vegam or force. Lord Krishna says, "He who is able to endure here on earth, before he is liberated from the body, the force born of desire and passion, he is harmonised, he is a happy man". Impulse is a mighty force. It exerts influence on the mind. It is a force suddenly communicated to the mind. Just as petrol or steam moves the engine, the instincts and impulses move this body.
The instincts are the prime movers of all human activities. They give a push to the body and move the Indriyas to action. The instincts create habits. The instinctive impulses supply the driving power by which all mental activities are kept up. These impulses are mental forces. They operate through the mind and the intellect.
They mould the life of a man. The mystery of life lies in them. The attraction towards women in men is born of Rajas. That unknown attraction and happiness in their company is the seed of the sex impulse.
This attraction, which is like a bubble in the beginning, later on assumes the form of a formidable, uncontrollable wave of strong passion or sexual appetite.
Generate the spiritual wave of devotion through Japa, Satsanga, meditation and Vichara and kill this attraction in the bud. You must understand the psychological working of the sex impulse. When there are itches on the body, mere scratching of them is a pleasure.
The sex impulse is only a nervous itching. The satisfaction of this impulse begets a delusive pleasure, but it has a disastrous effect on the spiritual well-being of the person.
One arrow causes fascination in young men when they see a beautiful form. Another arrests their attention. The third intoxicates them. The fourth arrow causes intense attraction towards the form. The fifth arrow inflames and burns their heart.
It pierces their cardiac chambers deeply. No one on this earth, nay, in all the three worlds, has the power to resist the potential influence of these arrows. These arrows pierced even the heart of Lord Siva and many Rishis of yore. These arrows induced even Indra to molest Ahalya. Cupid directly shoots an arrow through the bewitching eyebrows and piercing glances of a young lady with tender waist, rosy cheeks and red lips. Moonlit night, scents and perfumes, flowers and garlands, sandal-paste, meat and liquor, theatres and novels are his mighty weapons to delude the passionate young men.
Reason and discrimination take to their heels the moment their hearts are filled with burning passion. They all become absolutely blind. Cupid makes intellectual persons, great orators, ministers and research scholars, doctors and barristers, as pleasure deer or pet dogs in the laps of young ladies.
Reason has temporarily taken its seat in the dry intellect of a learned pundit or a professor. He has no real stamina. Cupid knows his strength. Cupid reigns supreme everywhere. He penetrates the hearts of all.
He knows how to tickle their nerves. Within the twinkling of an eye he destroys reason, discrimination and understanding by simply inflaming the passion of young men.
Even in dreams Cupid has full sway, even when all the Indriyas are silent. Ladies are his infallible agents! They are always at his beck and call. Cupid operates through their smiles, bewitching glances and sweet words, through their melodious songs and ball dances. Young girls work quickly the ruin of men and can disturb the peace of even the minds of sages.
Cupid can make the nervous system of Brahmacharins quiver in the delirium of imaginary pleasure even when they think of the pictures of young, beautiful ladies, even when they hear the gentle sounds of their bracelets and anklets, even when they think of their blooming faces. What to speak of touch then? A sexual act produces a Samskara or impression in the subconscious mind or Chitta.
This Samskara raises a Vritti or thought-wave in the mind and the Vritti again causes a Samskara. Enjoyment thickens the Vasanas. Through memory and imagination, a revival of the sexual desire comes in. Remembrance of the image of a woman unsettles the mind. When a tiger has once tasted human blood, it always runs to kill human beings.
It becomes a man-eater. Even so, when the mind has once tasted sexual pleasures, it always runs after women. From the bed of Samskaras and Vasanas in the mind emanates Kalpana or imagination through Smriti or memory. Along with imagination, emotion and impulse manifest. Emotion and impulse exist side by side. The irritation and burning in the mind percolate into the physical body, just as the water inside a pot percolates into the surface of the pot.
If you are very vigilant, you can drive off the bad imagination in the very beginning itself and avert the impending danger. Even if you allow the thief imagination to enter the first gate, keep a careful watch at the second gate when the sexual irritation manifests.
You can stop the burning now. You can stop also, easily, the strong sexual impulse from being transmitted to the Indriya itself. Draw the sex energy up towards the brain through Uddiyana and Kumbhaka. If you still find it difficult to control the mind, immediately seek Satsanga and do not remain alone. When the strong impulse manifests suddenly and is transmitted to the organ, you forget everything and become blind.
You become a prey to lust. Later on you repent. Even in a blind man who is a celibate who has not seen the face of a woman, the sexual impulse is very strong.
This is due to the force of Samskaras or impressions of previous births that are embedded in the subconscious mind. Whatever you do, whatever you think, are all lodged or printed or indelibly impressed in the layers of the Chitta or subconscious mind.
These impressions can be burnt or obliterated only by the dawn of knowledge of Atman or the Supreme Self. When the sexual Vasana fills the whole mind and body, the Samskaras assume the form of big Vrittis or waves and torment the poor blind man. It is easy to control the conscious mind. But it is very difficult to control the subconscious mind. You may be a Sannyasi.
You may be a moral man. Mark how the mind behaves or conducts itself in dreams. You begin to steal in dreams. You commit adultery in dreams. The sex impulses, ambitions and low desires are all ingrained in you and deep-rooted in the subconscious mind.
A man who is established in mental Brahmacharya can never have even a single thought of evil in dreams. He can never have a bad dream. There is a lack of Vichara or Viveka in dream. That is the reason why you get bad dreams, even though you are pure in the Jagrat state through the power of Viveka and Vichara. Sometimes they are so strong and formidable that I am bewildered as to how to check them.
I am not perfectly established in truth and in Brahmacharya. The old habits of lust and of speaking lies are still lurking in me. Lust is troubling me vigorously. The very idea of women agitates my mind. My mind is so sensitive that I am not able to hear or think of them.
As soon as the thought comes in the mind, my Sadhana gets disturbed, and also, the peace of the whole day is spoiled. I advise my mind, coax it, frighten it, but it is of no avail. I do not know how to control this passion. Irritability, egoism, anger, greed, hatred and attachment are still lurking in me. Lust is my chief enemy and it is a very strong one too. I request you to be kind enough to advise me as to how to destroy it".
When the impurities emerge from the subconscious mind and come to the surface of the conscious mind with formidable force, do not try to resist them. Repeat your Ishta Mantra. Do not think of your defects or evil qualities much.
It is enough if you introspect and find out your defects. Do not try to attack the evil qualities. Then they will show their long faces. Do not worry yourself often: Through meditation, and by the development of positive qualities, through the Pratipaksha Bhavana method, all the negative qualities will die by themselves.
This is the right method. You may become old, your hair may turn gray, but your mind is ever young. The capacity may vanish, but the craving remains even when you have reached advanced senility. Cravings are the real seeds of birth. These craving-seeds give rise to Sankalpa and action.
The wheel of Samsara is kept revolving by these cravings. Nip them in the bud. Then only will you be safe. You will get Moksha. You will have to dig them out properly in various corners and burn them beyond resurrection. Then only your efforts will bear the fruit of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. One student writes to me: I am very lustful.
I try to develop mentally the Bhava of mother in all women. I prostrate before a lady mentally, thinking that she is an image of Goddess Kali, and yet my mind is extremely lustful.
What shall I do now? I desire again and again to have a glimpse of a beautiful lady". Obviously, Vairagya and discrimination have not dawned in his mind even a bit. The old vicious Samskaras and Vasanas are very powerful. Even a pure Brahmachari will be troubled in the beginning by curiosity. He will be curious to know and feel what sort of happiness the sexual enjoyment will give. Then I will be able to root out this sexual impulse and desire completely.
This sexual curiosity is troubling me very much". Fellowship is the extent it believes in the equality of every human being in the eyes of their creator.
AA does, many religions do not. Anything less than total equality is a matter of personal judgment. Any personal judgment is based upon what the individual believes to be their personal relationship to that creative power. It is self-evident that this is a power which is greater than themselves.
The belief system of any individual may be one of superiority to others. Be it as an individual, or as the ethnocentric belief that "our group is superior to any other group".
Whenever a belief in superiority is established, then equality is lost to that individual or group. A concept of "a power greater than ourselves" is impacted accordingly. Conflict is created with the decision to believe that "my concept of God is superior to your concept of God". Resolution of the conflict is found in "how well it works" rather than arguments of "how well it would work if only others would do it my way".
This author believes that, as children, anyone is capable of being taught to believe just about anything which the dominant adults in their life present to them. As they mature, their own minds are then free to accept or reject what they have been taught.
This then becomes a power struggle over a matter of personal choice. The maturing child either accepts or rejects themselves, as equal human beings. Eventually a belief system becomes a guiding force in life. Unfortunately there are frequently errors which require correction. Almost any religious interpretation of "a power greater than ourselves" can be accommodated within the AA program.
With most traditional religions, that same mental condition of open mindedness is not necessarily encouraged. AA seeks to understand and cooperate with all of the Great Reality. Most religions attempt to define it and induce conformity to their limited concept.
This, they do to the exclusion of anything outside of their own definition. Herein lies the potential for conflict within the individual alcoholic. This author believes the AA program offers them an intelligent method for resolving such conflicts by enlarging and improving their conscious contact with that infinite source of new knowledge and power.
It is proposed here, that if any particular "religious conception of God" were really "the only valid path to recovery" then no alcoholic could or would ever recover without it. World-wide experience has indicated that any alcoholic can and many frequently do recover without conformity to any particular "idea of God".
The inescapable fact still remains that, at the very beginning of AA , there was the suggestion made of:. That idea of mental freedom was presented and accepted. The success of utilizing that approach with alcoholics will speak for itself. Alcoholics Anonymous continues to cross the borders of diametrically opposed religious belief systems to produce successful results in recovery.
While AA accepts any alcoholic with any fundamental idea of God, not every religion is willing to accept alcoholics with "concepts of God" which do not conform to their own well-defined and exclusionary belief system. When following the AA program of recovery, the alcoholic is not expected to "throw out the baby with the bath water" and abandon their religious belief system.
Whatever works does not require fixing. No religious belief system relieves the alcoholic from the consequences of their own personal ignorance. The power of necessary new knowledge comes from some "greater intelligence" which is the source of all knowledge and all power.
The AA program offers each individual alcoholic a " tailor-made personalized approach to the reduction of their personal ignorance of reality ". This is considered preferable to accepting on blind-faith the " second-hand belief system of traditional religions" which often have some other " primary purpose". Not everyone agrees with this observation.
For those alcoholics who desire to be happy, joyous and free in sobriety, they must decide if it is to be their own version or that of some other "second hand belief system". This author recommends that any alcoholic honestly seeking recovery to approach both religion and AA in the same manner.
There is increased public awareness of Alcoholics Anonymous as an available method for recovery from alcoholism. With the increased speed of communication, alcoholics seeking recovery can more easily locate A. There is also an increase in the erroneous interpretation of what AA is and is not. Some views are that AA is opposed to drinking alcohol by anyone. Others suggest that a particular " concept of God " is required for participation. Still others assume that the AA program is an arm of the local judicial system.
Fortunately none of these is accurate. While each member is qualified to speak from their own personal viewpoint, as an individual, no member is qualified to speak for AA as a whole. That specifically includes the comments provided by the author of this Study Guide who is merely attempting to point out what one single member has found in the basic text of recovery.
Hopefully it will be of value and usefulness to others who are seeking happiness, joy and freedom in their own recovery from a once seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
Foreword to First Edition. Because the focus of this Study Guide is upon spiritual considerations, anyone experiencing resistance to the word or idea of "God", may benefit from the approach, presented to him. This is a fundamental approach to recovery. It has opened the door for recovery from alcoholism to all who suffer.
Because conformity and agreement with any particular interpretation of the meaning of the word "God" has been excluded, the AA program has been able to transcend the finite limits of traditional religions.
It also avoids the conflicting boundaries of a multitude of different religious beliefs. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book.
Understanding the depth and weight of this message can be enhanced by referring to page 34 in the AA publication "As Bill See's It". The significance of the non-alliance of AA to any particular religion is officially clarified for all to see. This is what co-founder Bill W. It is as valid for you as it was for him. As, with many, your own spiritual experience may be of " the educational variety", as referred to in Appendix II.
Conformity is not and never has been required for recovery. Tradition 3, - the long form. You, the reader, have made a decision to consider the ideas, emotions and attitudes being presented by the author of this Study Guide. If so, consider them for their possible benefit to your own recovery process. From reading the Preface and Forward to the Study Guide you will probably have recognized some idea of the personal bias of the author,. If so, you discovered the concept of " Sponsorship " was addressed.
Also, that there is a separate section in this Study Guide offering a viewpoint on that subject. It includes possible implications to your own recovery. You would do well to read it before continuing. That was a time when a handful of alcoholics discovered a solution to their seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Changes continue to occur up to and including this present time. Placing the contents of the AA Big Book into the context in which it was written is significant.
It is a step toward understanding the intent of what was written, when it was written, and why. As of this writing, a Fourth Edition is in process of being published. It is well to recognize he was simply another human being. One fully equipped to fall into the pit of despair from his own alcoholism and to experience the fulfillment of recovery from that once seemingly hopeless state.
If you allow yourself equality, as a human being, his message of recovery is and can always be available to you - if you want it. This author's primary suggestion is to give priority to the message of recovery.
The messenger, being a human being, is subject to human error. No individual has total awareness of that Ultimate Reality of Life which some refer to as " God ".
If you wish to disagree with the messenger, you will find areas for disagreement. However, there are also similarities.
They are found in the message itself. It is a message which may contain useful information to enrich and improve the quality of your own life. That choice to give that message your thoughtful consideration is your own. Conformity was not and is not a requirement for recovery. However, some concept of a power, greater than that of the individual, is essential.
The co-founder was free to choose his own concept of what the word "God" meant to him. That message was valid then, for him. It is equally valid now, for you. The single most significant message is, that there is hope for recovery, if you want it. The first thing you will hear read at many meetings is the Preamble of what AA is. AA's own definition of itself includes the simple statement:. No one else really knows if you do or do not desire to stop drinking.
Therein lies the secret of their success and your own freedom to choose the direction you take. Either you want what they have, or else you do not. What they have is recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind a body, called " alcoholism ". Is that what you really want? We are people who normally would not mix. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action.
The AA concept of alcoholism, as an illness, is presented on page Though incurable, by traditional methods, the ex-problem drinker with a solution, is able to accomplish quickly, what professionals have failed to do, with any comparable degree of success. This appears to be the common bond that has held the fellowship of AA together. It is based upon mutual desire and enlightened self-interest.
It includes recognition that none has all the answers. Each individual example of recovery contains elements of value and usefulness to some, though not necessarily all others who wish to recover. This is an attitude, embodied in the AA approach to dealing with a newcomer. However, it should be noted that not every individual who identifies themselves as a member of AA reflects that attitude in their own personal dealings with newcomers.
One approach allows other solutions to exist which you may wish to consider. The other implies that "my way is the only way". The latter attitude is difficult to reconcile with any claim to open-mindedness. The reader will note that, as AA members, none make a sole vocation of working with others page This is sometimes confusing to those who have encountered hospitals, treatment programs, or social service activities which use the AA program.
Usually, there is money involved in those programs, and many have attempted to incorporate AA into their activities. Where money becomes an object of primary interest, the reader should be aware that.
Many of the professionals have their own personal AA experience which enables them to be more effective in their chosen field of work. Similarly, it is well to remember that, as AA members , no individual alcoholic lays any claim to professional qualifications, "we merely have an approach that worked with us" with alcoholism.
There is a different and more practical reason AA members try to be helpful to the alcoholic who is still suffering from the malady. Occasionally some AA members consider themselves qualified to offer advice in professional areas where they have no expertise. A newcomer would be well advised to exercise caution and intelligence when deciding who has experience to produce the kind of results they desire.
Some help others as a profession for money. Others, with no professional qualifications, try to help others in order to help themselves. The important element for attention of the alcoholic is the result which is produced. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous has produced successful recoveries, which are unsurpassed by the professional community.
If you are interested in what you have to do in order to have those results produced by AA, be aware that is this is the purpose of the AA "Big Book". The purpose of this Study Guide is to point out what the author has found in that basic text. Other interpretations may have equal or better value and usefulness to individual readers. If so, you are encouraged to utilize whatever may be helpful to you. Pay particular note to the need for mutual assistance in the recovery process.
Then consider the significance of ignorance and misunderstanding. Particularly when directed to differences between moderate drinkers and the alcoholic. Remember that many different ideas, emotions and attitudes about drinking get developed in a society where the majority react physically to alcohol in a different way than does the alcoholic.
The thoughtful reader will recognize a thread of ignorance and misunderstanding running through many of their old ideas. Especially those concerning their personal relationship to " a power greater than themselves".
Some will come to recognize there is an infinite source of all knowledge which they may eventually describe by use of the word " God ". The moderate and even the continuous hard drinker is different than the alcoholic in one notable way. Unlike the real alcoholic, the average drinker does not lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink. The inescapable conclusion remains, that once an alcoholic takes any alcohol into his system, it is virtually impossible for him to stop, on his own!
This reflects the "phenomenon of craving" which separates the alcoholic as distinct from other drinkers. Not everyone who drinks, even to excess, is necessarily an alcoholic. Opinions vary as to why some are different.
However, it is certain that some are. Either you are one of them or else you are not. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition. Successful recovery by those first members is meaningful.
It is important because it has allowed countless others to find a solution before reaching that stage. They recovered earlier in the progression of their personal problem with alcohol. Demonstrated results since then are a tribute to the effectiveness of the AA program. When evaluating your own problem with alcohol, it is suggested you consider similarities. Does any part of their experience apply to you and your drinking?
Your attitude and what you believe about your own drinking will become a determining factor in your own recovery process.
While others may point out to you what they see needs changing, it is only when you see something you desire to change that you will voluntarily take action to do so.
A relatively simple formula exists for changing your life, where alcohol is concerned. This is what is available in AA.
Individual members share their experience, strength and hope with you. You decide if you do or do not want some part of what someone else has to offer.
The choice is yours. No one else can, nor will do your wanting for you. That recipe for change may, at your own discretion, be used to make changes in other areas of your life as well. Any responsibility for making a choice of what to accept or reject is your own. It is individual and personal. The only valid measure of success is in how well it works - for you. The consequences of any choices made will also be your own. Either by a conscious selection, or by default by choosing not to choose.
Therefore, you, the individual, are ultimately responsible for the results that follow the choices you do make. The proposition is clearly stated, that " the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than his body". Any physical reaction to alcohol is not operative until alcohol is introduced into the body. For whatever reason, a choice got made to pick up a drink.
Short of being forced down his throat, it is the mind of the alcoholic which decides there is some "desirable element" connected with the choice. As an illustration, substitute a different substance. After a hard day of work, few would decide, to treat themselves to "a nice cold glass of bleach".
They consciously recognize the consequences as being totally undesirable. Accordingly, they have little difficulty refusing this option. It is clearly understood that "drinking bleach" will make them sick, quick, and there is no temptation. However, because alcohol has produced something desirable, in the past, they have a different attitude. They may attempt to temporarily recapture a condition that is now gone from their life. This is the insanity of alcoholism. Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
You may recognize the role of ignorance and misunderstanding about reality. While it may be obvious that the main problem of the alcoholic is a mental one, consider the significance of taking the first drink. Particularly with a demonstrated inability to stop, once started. It is undeniable that some individuals get a physical reaction which is different from others, when drinking alcohol.
Volumes of medical literature have been written about differences in body processes among individuals and the way they react to different substances. Those uniquely individual physical differences are not significantly changed by the use of will-power. Neither is there any medical "cure" available at this time. So, where is the problem? Is not" "lack of power" the dilemma of most alcoholics? The alcoholic lacks the power of choice where taking the first drink is concerned. If the alcoholic already knew how to stop drinking, and stay stopped , then that knowledge could and would be utilized by choice.
It seems self-evident a need for the power of new knowledge is required. The problem is a mental one, impacting the power of choice. The message of AA is not "how to change the physical condition" which is a matter of interest to the scientific community.
The message of AA is that if you are one of those who is bodily and mentally different, there is a solution. You either know the truth about yourself, or you do not. If you have doubts, then try some controlled drinking.
Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent, We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink. You may, at this point, be consciously aware of some ignorance and misunderstanding concerning your relationship to alcohol where choice is concerned.
New knowledge of the truth i. Power is something you cannot utilize until you have it. There are others who had solved their problem and their solution continues to be found in a deep and effective spiritual experience. They offer any alcoholic " a simple kit of spiritual tools" which will be effective if you want to utilize them. Be cautious about confusing or equating the term "spiritual" with "religion".
It may be helpful to consider some universally accepted synonyms used to describe what that three-letter word " God" means to the mind which encounters it. One is " omniscient " - or " all knowing ". Another is " omnipotent " or " all powerful ". Those terms, and meanings will be utilized with frequency in this Study Guide. While you, as an individual, may disagree in the use of those terms for yourself, they are commonly used in communication by others and have been chosen by the author to illustrate the message found in the basic text of AA.
The reader who dares to question traditional religions or their claims to special knowledge of other characteristics about the word "God", may find it useful to substitute those synonyms. Consider the extent you are " all-knowing " or " all powerful " in your ability to both control and enjoy your own drinking.
It may be beneficial for the alcoholic reader to seek the power of new knowledge from the source. This may help clarify your own answer to yourself. It embodies a fundamental principle related to recovery from alcoholism and the way the mind of an alcoholic works. The author of this Study Guide strongly recommends that anyone interested in recovery from alcoholism give those comments serious consideration.
Do not skim over them lightly. It is recommended you give intense thought to the significance of displacing and rearranging the ideas, emotions and attitudes which are the guiding forces in your life. It may well be the essential ingredient to freedom from the bonds of alcoholism. The reader will find it on pages 26 and 27 of that book. Here is outlined the plight of one alcoholic individual who availed himself of the best medical and psychiatric help available at that time.
Jung As an alcoholic, his acquired self-knowledge was useless. He was dominated by ideas, emotions and attitudes which were self-destructive. The doctor had tried and failed to produce an emotional displacement and rearrangement of those guiding forces. Those mental processes dominated the life of the alcoholic.
He was considered a hopeless case. The only known exception to that otherwise hopeless state of mind and body were found in those who had a vital spiritual experience which displaced and rearranged the ideas, emotions and attitudes which had previously been the guiding forces in their lives. The individual seeking help felt relieved because he considered himself to be "a good church member".
That, however, was not the necessary vital spiritual experience required for recovery. It was also necessary that he remained "willing to maintain a certain simple attitude". A multitude of ways exist by which individuals have successfully recovered from alcoholism in the AA program. This has occurred both with and without association with some religious body. The AA program does not embrace one in preference to any other.
Therefore, caution should be used when it is proposed that there is only one valid path to a vital spiritual experience in AA. This simply is not so. If it were, no one could or would recover without it. For the person approaching AA for the first time, there may be a critical difference in what that word "God" means to you now, and a new idea you may acquire as you continue. When the AA program began, the co-founder Bill W was presented a novel idea now used by many other alcoholics.
It was the suggestion. The reader of this Study Guide is equally free to willingly "maintain that same simple attitude". Most traditional religions have some finite boundaries about what they do or do not believe. This defines them as a group. You either do or do not accept their definitions when the word "God" is used.
By contrast, a concept exists of the word "God" within AA which does not have those limitations which embrace some alcoholics while excluding others. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God.
We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. In order to be a legitimate member of any traditional religious group, the personal belief structure of the alcoholic is inside the limits of that organization.
It is not outside of those boundaries for those who are honest with themselves about it. Embrace a particular idea of God and it is yours. However, recognize that your idea may not be the only valid one.
For those who are open minded, it is inescapable to recognize the existence of other versions. Some of those other ideas about God may possibly have desirable qualities not included in your own chosen belief. Willingness to "trade up", whenever and wherever another version produces superior results will enlarge the "fundamental idea of God" which has been a guiding force in the life of the alcoholic.
That willingness allows a new freedom to consider new knowledge beyond the finite boundaries of old ideas. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
Many alcoholics encounter the AA program of recovery with a disbelief in the fundamental idea of God. This is not unusual. It is an arrogant claim that what they now believe about the word "God" is all there is to be known.
This attitude can be applied to "believers" and "non-believers" equally. Such a "belief system" can be a guiding force in the life of that individual. Fortunately, those old ideas, emotions and attitudes also can be displaced and rearranged. That thought can have particular importance to someone encountering other alcoholics who proclaim "they know the only true version". Different interpretations of the word "God" are available to those who recognize equality in their relationship to the source of all life.
Those troubled by the pronouncements of religious alcoholics may ask another simple question:. The author of this Study Guide has discovered and is presenting to the reader a fundamental idea for consideration about the AA program.
Some AA members may disagree with this approach to recovery from alcoholism. It is the basic premise of this Study Guide that the program of AA is sufficiently broad and flexible to include any religion. None incorporates the entire potential of the AA program.
There is always more new knowledge to be learned and understood by anyone who seeks it. The author of this Study Guide has found this fundamental idea of God to be consistent and compatible with the basic text for recovery.
The alcoholic reader may wish to refer to the basic text of "Alcoholics Anonymous" pg 55 for emphasis. Comments in officially approved AA literature explain why AA is not allied with any religious belief system.
Suggested reading - "As Bill Sees It" - pg It provides comments written by the co-founder of AA. An alcoholic who has learned the truth about his condition and an option for recovery may still choose to continue drinking. However, the understanding of that truth has set him free from what previously was a seemingly hopeless condition.
There has been a revelation of truth syn: With it there is produced enlarged freedom of choice to use that new knowledge. There is an endless supply of more truth available for anyone.
The new knowledge is recognizably " a power greater" than previously possessed. At a conscious level of understanding, there is more truth , hence more God available for anyone to seek and use.
That is something recognizably infinite and beyond the capacity of any finite human mind to understand. However, more can always be revealed. However, the reader should be "quick to see where religious people are right". Most traditional religions were developed because their human founder had discovered some truth. However, accuracy about one area of infinite knowledge does not mean accuracy in all other areas as well. Many religious alcoholics have erroneously assumed their chosen belief system embodies all truth.
For purposes of this Study Guide, improved conscious awareness of new knowledge is the essence of a "spiritual awakening". A new awareness and understanding of the Ultimate Reality of Life syn: Understanding that new knowledge provides an enlarged range of choices, with new power to improve the selection of what is available to be used. Therefore the very process of seeking more truth from an infinite source becomes a practical means of "seeking God".
In the last analysis it was only there that He may be found. What does the word "only" mean to your mind? Education occurs in the mind of the individual. There is a thinking process involved. One which confirms, that an idea is valid to the mind of the alcoholic.
An idea is believed to be true because it stands up to the light of the intelligence inherent within every individual. Anything else will be a "second-hand belief system" based upon the unthinking emotional acceptance of the beliefs of other equal human beings. Many "religious alcoholics" will disagree.
Recognition of a human capacity to learn new knowledge can be equated with an educational variety of a spiritual awakening. Furthermore, an expanded awareness of the Great Reality syn "God" - pg 55 can be equated with the option to "improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him. To illustrate the inherent ability to improve conscious contact with reality, the reader is asked to consider the following:.
This author suggests that things you believe are guiding forces in your life. They form the ideas, emotions and attitudes upon which your life operates. Unless your belief system includes all knowledge, and the power of that knowledge , " a huge emotional displacement and rearrangement " may be required for "the necessary vital spiritual experience" which is essential for recovery from alcoholism.
The alcoholic reader is challenged to contemplate their finite limitations from a lifetime of learning as a single individual. Moreover, consider the ultimate and finite limitations of all human awareness acquired thus far. The only understanding possible is that conscious awareness of the Ultimate Reality which is synonymous with the word "God". It should be self-evident there shall always exist more which is to be known.
While the alcoholic reader may not know how to make personal changes, there is ample evidence from AA that other alcoholics i. The reader of this Study Guide has the capacity to learn what others have learned. Using the power of that new knowledge then becomes a matter of personal choice. Obviously no one can use knowledge they do not possess. Edgar Lilienfeld, who invented the transistor in , but after a decade had made no headway against disbelief, and finally retired and gave up.
Two decades later Bell Labs stumbled upon the modern Bipolar transistor when trying to find some way to get around the expired Lilienfeld patents on the Field Effect Transistor. Heh, not part of official transistor history! Want a free online book referencing some of this? The s edition of Beveridge "The Art of Scientific Investigation" has a whole section on Difficulties in science, including resistance to new ideas. And about Scientific Concensus, Thomas Gold points out a serious instability in the peer-review process , almost guaranteed to produce false concensus which halts progress for long periods.
Arrhenius ion chemistry His idea that electrolytes are full of charged atoms was considered crazy. The atomic theory was new at the time, and everyone "knew" that atoms were non idivisible and hence they could not lose or gain any electric charge.
Because of his heretical idea, he only received his university degree by a very narrow margin. Another article , and More. Hans Alfven galaxy-scale plasma dynamics Astronomers thought that gravity alone is important in solar systems, in galaxies, etc. Alfven's idea that plasma physics is of equal or greater importance to gravity was derided for decades. Baird television camera When the first television system was demonstrated to the Royal Society British scientists, they scoffed and ridiculed, calling Baird a swindler.
Robert Bakker fast, warm-blooded dinosaurs Everyone knows that dinosaurs are like Gila monsters or big tortoises: And they're all colored olive drab too! Shockley nixed their idea for a non-FET "crystal triode" device.
When they started investigating it, he made them stop. They were supposed to be working on FETs instead. Whenever the boss was scheduled to check up on them, they could shove it into an adjacent unused lab. His crime was to insist that enormous amounts of evidence showed that, in Eastern Washington state, the "scabland" desert landscape had endured an ancient catastrophy: This was outright heresy, since the geology community of the time had dogmatic belief in a "uniformitarian" position, where all changes must take place slowly and incrementally over vast time scales.
Bretz' ideas were entirely vindicated by the s. He was attacked viciously by his close colleague Sir Arthur Eddington, and his theory was discredited in the eyes of the research community. They were wrong, and Eddington apparently took such strong action based on an incorrect pet theory of his own. In the end Chandra could not even pursue a career in England, and he moved his research to the U.
Others rediscovered Black Hole theory thirty years later. He won the Nobel Prize in physics, major recognition only fifty years. Never underestimate the authority-following tendency of the physics community, or the power of ridicule when used by people of stature such as Eddington. Chladni meteorites in The scientific community regarded Meteorites in the same way that modern scientists regard UFO abductions and psychic phenomenon: All the eyewitness reports were disbelieved. At one point the ridicule became so intense that many museums with meteorites in their geology collections decided to trash those valuable samples.
Sometimes hostile skepticism controls reality, and the strongest evidence is edited to conform to concensus disbeliefs. Finally in the early 's Ernst Chladni actually sat down and inspected the evidence professionally, and found that claimed meteorites were entirely unlike known earth rocks. His study changed some minds. At the same time some large meteor falls were witnessed by scientists, and the majority who insisted that only ignorant peasants ever saw such things were shamed into silence.
The tide of disbelief shifted But they were instructed to drop their research. They continued it as "bootleg" research. Doppler Doppler effect Proposed a theory of the optical Doppler Effect in , but was bitterly opposed for two decades because it did not fit with the accepted physics of the time it contradicted the Luminiferous Aether theory.
Doppler was finally proven right in when W. Huggins observed red shifts and blue shifts in stellar spectra. Unfortunately this was fifteen years after Doppler had died.
Folk existence and importance of nanobacteria Discovered bacteria with diameters far below nM widely present in mineral samples, able to both metabolize metals and to create calcium encrustations.
Proposed their large role in creation of "metamorphic" rock and everyday metal corrosion. These ideas were rejected with hostility because the bacterial diameter is too small to include enough genetic material or ribosomes, and they seem immune to common sterilization techniques. Galvani bioelectricity "They call me the frogs' dance instructor. Krebs ATP energy, Krebs cycle Galileo supported the Copernican viewpoint It was not the church authorities who refused to look through his telescope.
It was his fellow scientists! They thought that using a telescope was a waste of time, since even if they did see evidence for Galileo's claims, it could only be because Galileo had bewitched them. Gauss nonEuclidean geometery Kept secret his discovery of non-Euclidean geometry for thirty years because of fear of ridicule. Lobachevsky later published similar work and WAS ridiculed. After Gauss' death his work was finally published, but even then it took decades for Noneuclidean Geometery to overturn the Greek mathematically "pure" view of geometery, and to win acceptance among the professionals.
Its discoverers won the Nobel prize in , which went far in forcing an unusually rapid change in the attitude of colleagues. Goddard rocket-powered space ships Everyone knows that rocket-powered spacecraft are ridiculous and embarrassing "Flash Gordon" ideas. Cleator's "Rockets in Space", NATURE, March 14, "This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists.
Bickerton, physicist, NZ, The other rocket experts, von Karman's group at Caltech, avoided ridicule by judicious use of lying: Another article Goethe Land color theory T. Gold deep non-biological petroleum deposits T. Gold deep mine microbes J. Lister sterilizing James Lovelock Gaia theory Discovered that Earth's biosphere is analogous to a living organism with homeostasis: This was dismissed and Lovelock attacked mostly on the grounds that evolution forbids such planetary organisms Maiman Laser Not ridiculed, but his boss said no to his 'optical maser' idea.
Maiman received funding only after threatening to quit and pursue the laser in his garage. Even so, ongoing research was a battle, and his funding was pulled twice. Lynn Margulis endosymbiotic organelles In Margulis was not only denied funding but also subjected to intense scorn by reviewers at the NSF.
But they make no mention of the barriers erected by the biological community against these new ideas. Even today Margulis' ideas about cooperation in Evolution are not widely accepted, and are only making slow headway against the assumption that Evolution exclusively involves absolute selfishness and pure competition.
Mayer The Law of Conservation of Energy Mayer's original paper was contemptuously rejected by the leading physics journals of the time. Marshall ulcers caused by bacteria, helicobacter pylori Stomach ulcers are caused by acid. All physicians knew this. Marshall needed about 10 years to convince the medical establishment to change their beliefs and accept that their confident knowledge was wrong; was nothing but a widespread belief, and that ulcers are actually a bacterial disease.
Toward the end he gave up and produced ulcers on demand by dosing himself with H.