There is a saying which goes “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. However, in my dictionary and in my world and in Hinduism it is the other way around Cleanliness is Godliness. There are some basic things we can actually learn from Hinduism and follow them to make sure Cleanliness is indeed Godliness.
The very basic thing we learn as kids from our parents is to take shower as soon as we wake up. That’s cleaning the body as well as the mind since after taking shower we go straight to the prayer room, light the lamp, sit and meditate.
No matter which part of the world I have lived, this morning ritual has been a part and parcel of my life. If I have to travel 2 hours and be at a client at 8.00 AM, I wake up at 4.30- 5.00 AM, take shower, go downstairs to my prayer room, light the lamps, recite all the stotras, do namaskaras and than have coffee.
There are many reasons people give me for not taking shower/bath in the morning. I try to educate them, and if I cannot I always use the phrase ” Where there is a will there is a way, where there is no will, there is a hill“.
The next basic place where I have seen too many arguments going on is cleanliness while cooking food. I have talked a great deal about cooking. If you missed them, below are the links for the same:
Keeping your Kitchen, utensils and hands clean while cooking is equally important. Without which you will be creating a bad environment for the whole family. Make sure you clean you Kitchen, the gas stove and utensils after each and every meal. And this is indeed a must in our religion as well.
We as Hindus have many rituals to follow. We follow some, we don’t follow a few others right? I have not seen a single soul in this entire world who is following all the rituals as noted down by the scriptures. Yes, there are religious people in the Muttas and other temples like great Swamijis who follow, but I am talking about people like you and me.
So, when we are ourselves at fault, don’t blame other people who are following a little bit less than what you are doing. I have seen this happens in many places which have caused severe fights between Mother-in-laws and Daughter-in-laws, between brothers, siblings, and even spouses.
Don’t ever criticize other people. Don’t ever point fingers. No one is perfect. This is where we all need Cleanliness of our minds. I have seen ladies performing great festivals like Vara MahaLakshmi Vrata and other festivals, and for few simple reasons criticizing their daughter-in-laws or mother-in-laws. You think Goddess Lakshmi is going to bless you when you hurt others feelings? Take a step back and don’t judge anyone’s faith just because they are not following exactly like you are.
For those of you who missed another post on this, read here:
Just as important it is to keep your body and soul clean, it is also important to keep our thoughts clean. We all know the famous song by our Purandara Dasaru right? Acharavillada Nalige Ninna Nicha Buddiya Bidu Nalige. If you haven’t listened to it, listen here:
There is one and only one thing I can say here ” STOP GOSSIPING”. If you cannot say good things about a person, stay quiet or change the conversation. This is very important. We all say we believe in God, right? How can you say you are faithful to God, and gossip. The two don’t work together. If by stopping gossiping you have less friends, so be it. That is exactly the logic I follow.
Keep your surroundings clean. I am amazed by how much our Prime Minister Modi is doing for cleaning our country. This is not a job of our Prime Minister, or Sachin Tendulkar or even Amir Khan. This is something which each and every one of us should participate in. So, make sure the surroundings around your house is clean. Talk to the person who is throwing the garbage outside. Make them realize it is wrong.
Let me tell you an incident which happened at my place here in USA. Our neighbor(not Indian or even American, you can guess by knowing that they are India’s neighbor as well :)) was throwing food items which we don’t consume( non-vegetarian) into our backyard. Because of the food, there were several eagles, crows, vultures and hawks surrounding our house everyday. The person who does the lawn kept complaining that he was scared to go back because of all these birds. Sneha and I saw the lady throwing food every day in the night. I wanted to go talk to the neighbors and told Sneha not to tell her Father because he gets really upset, not realizing that he had already talked to the neighbor 3-4 times and warned them.
As we were walking during the summer, the neighbor couple crossed our path. My Husband stopped them, told them politely that he had given them several warnings not to throw food in our backyard, it was getting ugly day by day, had recorded video of the lady throwing food, and would give the video to the police if she continued throwing food in our backyard. The husband turned to his wife and asked her why she was throwing food in our backyard, she responded by saying that she wanted the food to be eaten by birds so on and so forth, making many many excuses. That was last, from that day onwards there is no food in our backyard, nor are there dangerous birds.
The point I am making is, sometimes you need to confront people and ask them to clean up. It is our responsibility. And like they say, when nice words aren’t enough, “दण्डं दशगुणं भवेत्” Dandam Dashagunam Bhavet. Doesn’t mean you have to beat up someone ten times,right? In our case talking to them and making them realize we care for our backyard was helpful in our case. And most importantly telling them we had proof and were willing to give it to the police was the trick.
Last but not the least, teach your kids cleanliness. I owe it all to my parents. My Mom was clean freak. I learned everything from them. So, be a role model for your kids. Don’t just say things, do it and show to your kids. A post about being a role model follows sooon.
Until than, remember “Cleanliness is Godliness”. Share your thoughts about what it means to you about being clean.