Brahmacharya (/ˌbrɑːməˈɑːrjə/; Sanskrit: ब्रह्मचर्य lit.'pure conduct')[1] is a concept within Indian religions that literally means to stay in conduct within one's own Self. In Yoga, Hinduism and Jainism it generally refers to a lifestyle characterized by sexual continence or complete abstinence.

Brahmacharya is somewhat different from the English term "celibacy," which merely means non-indulgence in sexual activity. Brahmacharya is when a person completely controls his body and mind (citta) through ascetic means.

In the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist monastic traditions, brahmacharya implies, among other things, the mandatory renunciation of sex and marriage.[2] It is considered necessary for a monk's spiritual practice.[3] Western notions of the religious life as practiced in monastic settings mirror these characteristics.

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