Kaam, as described in Gurbani, is one of the five vices and means lust.
ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਤ ਜੰਗ ।Guru Gobind Singh Ji
“The Khalsa is the one who daily engages in battle (with their internal enemies, i.e. the five vices)”
ਇਸੁ ਤਨ ਮਨ ਮਧੇ ਮਦਨ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨੁ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੀਨ ਮੋਰ ॥ਮੈ ਅਨਾਥੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਹਉ ਕਾਹਿ ॥ ਕੋ ਕੋ ਨ ਬਿਗੂਤੋ ਮੈ ਕੋ ਆਹਿ ॥੧॥And 1194, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
“(Because of my fickle mind, now) within the body and mind are thieves like sexual desire, which has stolen my jewel of spiritual wisdom. I am a poor orphan, O God; unto whom should I complain? Who has not been ruined by sexual desire? What am I? ||1||”
If you suffer from kaam, you’re not alone. We all have lustful thoughts and feelings whether we decide to act on them or not. Here are some tips for controlling kaam.
- Pray daily, ask for the gifts of Naam, that which will strengthen you against temptation. Pray fervently and out loud when the temptations are the strongest.
- Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. The exercises reduce emotional tension and depression and are absolutely basic to the solution of this problem. Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.
- When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell Waheguru to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a pre-chosen Bani or Paath (Mool Mantar, Japji Sahib, Chaupai Sahib or Sukhmani Sahib etc) or sing a Shabad. It is important to turn your thoughts away from the selfish need to indulge.
- Set goals of abstinence, begin with a day, then a week, month, year and finally commit to never doing it again. Until you commit yourself to never again you will always be open to temptation.
ਨਿਮਖ ਕਾਮ ਸੁਆਦ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਕੋਟਿ ਦਿਨਸ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥
ਘਰੀ ਮੁਹਤ ਰੰਗ ਮਾਣਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਵਹਿ ॥੧॥
“For a moment of sexual pleasure, you shall suffer in pain for millions of days. For an instant, you may savor pleasure, but afterwards, you shall regret it, again and again. ||1|| (Ang 403)
- Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved through a changed self-image. Spend time everyday imagining yourself strong and in control, easily overcoming tempting situations. Maintain your Sikhi Saroop and wear the 5 Ks. Look and focus on your Kara, Kirpan or looking in the mirror at your Sikhi Saroop to remind you that you are the son or daughter of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and what character the Guru expects from us.
- Begin to work daily on a self-improvement program. Relate this plan to improving your seva, simran,sangat, to improving your relationships with your family, God and others. Strive to enhance your strengths and talents.
- Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be in the company of good people and learn to enjoy working and talking to them. Avoid Sangat,company, with those who talk or act in ways that promote lust and sexual desires or stimulation.
- Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely, bored, frustrated or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the desire to masturbate as a way of escape. Plan in advance to counter these low periods through various activities, such as reading Gurbani, reading a Sikhi book, going to the Gurdwara and doing seva, visiting a friend, doing something athletic, etc.
- Make a calendar for a month. Carry it with you, but show it to no one. If you have a lapse of self-control, mark the day black. Your goal will be to have no black days. The calendar becomes a strong visual reminder of self-control and should be looked at when you are tempted to add another black day. Keep your calendar up until you have at least three clear months.
- A careful study will indicate you have had the problem at certain times and under certain conditions. Try and recall, in detail, what your particular times and conditions were. Now that you understand how it happens, plan to break the pattern through counter-activities.
- In the field of psychotherapy there is a very effective technique called aversion therapy. When we associate or think of something very distasteful with something which has been pleasurable, but undesirable, the distasteful thought and feeling will begin to cancel out that which was pleasurable. If you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it will help you to stop the act. For example, if you are tempted to masturbate, think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eating several of them as you do the act.
- Wear a Kachhera at all times including the shower. As per GurMaryada, when putting on a fresh Kachhera, take one leg out and put the other leg in, etc. During your shower, leave the bathroom door or shower curtain partly open, to discourage being alone in total privacy. Take cool or cold brief showers.
- Arise immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an enthusiastic activity.
- Keep your bladder empty. Refrain from drinking large amounts of fluids before resting.
- Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food. Eat as lightly as possible at night.
- Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.
- Avoid people, situations, television programmes or commercials, pictures or reading materials that might create sexual excitement.
- If you an Amrithdhari, then hold on to your Kirpan with both hands when going to sleep and keep thinking of the commitment to a higher principled way of life.
- In very severe cases it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bedframe with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be broken. This can also be accomplished by wearing several layers of clothing which would-be difficult to remove while half-asleep.
- Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big reward. A quarter in a receptacle each time you overcome or reach a goal. Spend it on something which delights you and will be a continuing reminder of your progress. Maybe donate it to a charity or good cause.
- Do not let yourself return to any past habit or attitude patterns which were part of your problem. Be calmly and confidently on guard. Keep a positive mental attitude.
You can win this fight! The joy and strength you will feel when you do will give your whole life a radiant and spiritual glow of satisfaction and fulfillment.