Phallus in the Practice of Brahmacharya

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
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This article focuses on the place of phallus/penis in the practice of brahmacharya, the Hindu concept of celibacy. Contrary to the supposed irrelevance in the ascetic sphere, the article argues how brahmacharya seeks to embody the potent concept of the phallus. In following the ontological turn, this article seeks to move away from the notion of phallus as only a representation or a symbol; to rethink the concept in its relation to penis in order to argue for an embodied idea of phallus and the theoretical possibilities it garners in the sphere of asceticism. Engaging into an ethnographic study in the “ascetic” spaces of bayam samitis (traditional gyms) and akharas (place of wrestling), the article seeks to understand the phallus through the everyday bodily practices of brahmacharya in an attempt to argue how men’s efforts to embody the phallus is aspired for and constantly undermined in these austere everyday practices.

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