The proverb “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is well known in Judeo-Christian cultures, and its teaching and supporting belief systems have had a profound impact on our lives. In the casteistic culture of old India, too, cleanliness was observed to an almost inhuman degree. Traces of the same were evident in the old Talmudic Jewish tradition, with their very strict bathing, grooming and dressing practices associated with piety and devotion. These attitudes may have arisen out of a narrowly focused understanding of these scriptural values.
The practice of Sahaj Marg challenges individuals to look within themselves and find this idea of separateness from God as the main reason for suffering. The separateness can result from many things. One is a simple sense of ‘I’-ness: of thinking ourselves to be separate from God. It does not matter if we do this egotistically or ignorantly. It could result from our thinking of desires, whereby we stray away from the thoughts of devotion and remembrance of the Lord as a potential of our consciousness. Another reason is the set of impressions these desires and their actions leave behind. These layers form our personality and bring us farther and farther away from our potential of godliness. So, in Sahaj Marg we undertake this practice of cleaning.
This is one of the unique features of Sahaj Marg. First to recognize, without any prejudice, that we have formed impressions that hide our true divine nature. Hence, they are hiding our godliness. Then we accept the need to clean these impressions. These impressions are cleaned daily by our evening practice and by SRCM preceptors and the Master, using their will and yogic transmission.
Kamlesh D Patel, the current President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (www.srcm.org) and the Spiritual Master of Sahaj Marg and successor of Chariji Maharaj, says, “When complexities are removed, we become simple, and when impurities are removed we become pure.” If God is defined as simple, and is pure, through this practice we can reach, experience, and exist in the height of simple and pure consciousness akin to Godliness.
So, in Sahaj Marg too we can say with confidence, Cleanliness is next to Godliness! If we think of Godliness as an aim of existence, then all the need for limited belief systems also drops off. The simplicity and purity of one’s psychological, emotional and intellectual existences are the states of being of joy, peace and bliss.