Today the subject is ‘The Brahmacharini’. There are many young ladies and older ladies, who have lived the family life through the lives of other people and decide not to participate in the family life. They take the vow to transmute the vital energies into higher spiritual realms.
In the Catholic Church, they would be called nuns. In the Buddhist religion, they would be nuns. But in the Hindu religion, it is a little broader concept, they take the position in life of the widow. This is a self-imposed, spiritual discipline. They become widows and and follow the protocol of the widow. This means, they wear white, they relate only to the women of the household, not the men. They always remain in the background. This means, if guests come into the home they retire to the kitchen. In the temple, they sit behind all the married ladies and single ladies, so that the married and single ladies don’t see a lady in white, which would then make them worry that maybe their husband would pass on.
Brahmacharinis are part of the family community unless they choose to enter a monastery run by a Guru, who is a brahmacharini. Then of course, they are part of her family. The brahmacharini being part of the family community, the men of that community would only speak to them through their wives. They don’t attend samskaras, religious ceremonies, social events. They do simple service for the religion and are respected as very saintly people by the family community.
The exact same protocol of the brahmacharini is observed by the brahmachari, the man who has taken celibate vows. He relates to the men of the community. The exact same protocol exists for the brahmachari as for the brahmacharini.
Aum Namah Sivaya!