The Yama Brahmacharya combines the Sanskrit root Brahman, which means eternal truth, ultimate reality, single binding unity, or universal consciousness, with Carya, which means moving toward, going after, following, engaging in, or occupying oneself with. Brahmacharya connotes the active practice and movement toward unity-consciousness. Often yogis equate Brahmacharya with conduct or observances consistent with the path to Brahman, managing energies, extremes, and cravings, especially around sexual abstinence, but we must understand that Brahmacharya entails more than a code of practices or behaviors. Brahmacharya means to actively and consistently pursue spiritual liberation through a lifestyle dedicated toward achieving unity-consciousness.
We must remember too that unity-consciousness depends upon everyone achieving this enlightened state; unity-consciousness by definition cannot be a solo endeavor. The mutuality around our efforts helps emphasize that there is no need to be austere in our earnest enterprise; we can maintain a playful attitude. A favorite teacher of mine likes to imagine that she remains the last person approaching unity-consciousness, and that everyone she encounters each day is actually a Buddha or Guru in disguise, posing lessons for her, and waiting on her to reach realization, that unity-consciousness finally may be achieved.