Only in India has this unique experiment happened that before a person could begin to pursue the outer and be caught by the crowd, we would send him away to the forest university of a spiritual master. There he would be in the company of those who were focusing on the inner world. In that atmosphere, he also would start moving inwards. When he had become a little aware of the inner world, when he had heard the music of his inner being, only then we would send him into the world and then there would be nothing to fear.
In India we had divided life into four stages. The first stage of life we called brahmacharya. This word is unique: it means living as the divine would live, behaving as the divine would behave. This word does not mean what people have ordinarily understood it to mean. Ordinarily, people think that brahmacharya is the conservation of semen. This is a very limited definition. The conservation of semen happens spontaneously: if life is lived in godliness then the conservation of semen follows like a shadow. This control is not in any way fundamental. When one moves outwards his semen will also start moving outwards. If one starts entering within the movement of his semen will also become introverted.
To live a divine life means that consciousness is constantly turning within. And brahmacharya happens when the consciousness starts moving towards the center. A consciousness that is moving outwards, towards the other, is called abrahmacharya, non-brahmacharya. When consciousness moves towards the other it becomes sexuality. Only when consciousness is moving towards oneself is it brahmacharya.
We would send our young children to the gurukul for the first twenty-five years of their lives so that they could learn how to turn their focus within. So before they have experienced the pleasures of the outer world, they will have tasted the divine. Then there was no fear that they would become lost in the world. The memory of that glimpse of the divine would remain with them always. Then the inner call would persist, that inner music would continue. Then howsoever strong the pull of money might become, it would be very difficult to totally suppress the inner voice. Then howsoever strong the attraction between a man and a woman, it would remain only faint. For the one who has seen his inner woman or her inner man even once, all men and women on the outside become like shadows, just forms, but with nothing real. Then the pull of outside attraction has disappeared. Only at that point was a person considered ready to go out into the world.
It is such a beautiful idea to first experience the inner and only then go into the outer world. It is a very valuable insight. Then even when the person has gone into the world, the world will not enter in him – because one who has acquired some understanding of the inner will be able to pass through the world untouched. He will pass through this river of life but the water will not touch his feet. He will pass through all the same places that you are passing through but he will pass through them as if he is just a guest. For him, his house is an inn, a caravanserai. For him, the family has no more importance than a drama would have. He can do all the necessary things but there will not be a craving that can become like a madness. And in the second stage, the man becomes a householder.