Brahmacharis & Brahmacharinies: Junior Monks of Amma

Brahmacharya, student life

Inspired by Amma’s life and fascinated by the Universal Love and Compassion which she radiates, disciples of Amma come from all over the world to stay with her and live in her ashram. Some come and stay for a short period. But there are quite a few of them who have decided to stay with Amma for the rest of their lives. They come from all walks of life — engineers, doctors, nurses, businessmen, carpenters, artists —most of them are young, some of them have become old.

These celibate disciples who have given up the pleasures of a material lifestyle and who are engaged in the life long discipline of putting Amma’s teachings into practice in their own lives are called Brahmacharis. The girl celibates are called Brahmacharinies

Brahmacharis are spiritual disciples who take the vow of brahmacharya and wear the yellow robe as a sign of belonging to spiritual order. ‘Brahmachari’ means one who abides in Brahman (the Absolute Reality) or one who lives for realising Brahman.

The formal initiation into Brahmacharya involves the donning of yellow robes and the acceptance of new names suffixed with Chaitanya (consciousness). The yellow colour of the robes indicates the beginning of the flame of renunciation, which the brahmacharis are supposed to nurture and nourish.

Amma giving Brahmacharya Deeksha
Amma giving Brahmacharya Deeksha

The brahmacharis undergo regular classes on scriptural texts like the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam, Ramayana etc. The subtle spiritual truths hidden in these texts are brought to light in these classes. This enables the students to have a true perspective about the spiritual life. The classes are conducted by Sannyasis and senior brahmacharis of the Ashram.

The brahmacharis are also taught to chant Vedic mantras in the traditional manner. Eminent Sannyasis from other ashrams and reputed scholars also conduct classes for the benefit of the ashram residents. They are also taught to do ritual worship like pujas and Homas. The spiritual and material benefits accruing from the performance of these rituals are explained in depth in these classes. After learning the theoretical aspects in class, the brahmacharis perform Homas guided by seniors.

Homa conducted before Brahmacharya Deeksha

After mastering the art of performing homas and pujas the brahmacharis conduct the same in the Brahmasthanam temples and, upon request, in the homes of devotees.

The brahmacharis give classes for devotees at various ashram centers conduct regular value education spiritual camps for kids, youth and adults at various centres and schools. The classes vary from Gita, Management techniques, Cultivating values, Teaching Meditation and Yoga according to the need and capacity.

A brahmachari giving meditation class
A brahmachari in puja at Brahmasthanam temple
A brahmachari in puja at Brahmasthanam temple
Brahmacharis doing Homa
Brahmacharinies doing Homa
Brahmacharis giving a yoga demonstration