You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1999

Re: Cleanliness...

Ramanbil_at_aol.com
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 12:24:24 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas
In a message dated 10/14/1999 7:42:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
sampathkumar_2000@yahoo.com writes:

"Why Vaishnava sampradyam cannot specifically articulate or stipulate
cleanliness like it does other things like importance of wearing 
"urdhvapundram" or "samAshrayanam" or reading "sri-bashyam" or going on 108 
DD tour once in
lifetime?"

Vaishnava Sampradayam does emphasize cleanliness through what is known as 
Anujnaa Kainkaryam. One of Bhagavad Ramanuja's injunctions is to keep the 
premises of temples clean.

He further writes-
<< Similarly why some of our "achAryA-s" like even HH Azhagiyasingar and 
Jeeyar
 also cannot insist that those who come to ashram must compulsorily show that 
they have spent so many hours cleaning the surroundings of some DD or some
 madapalli, or sweeping mutt rooms, removing cobwebs, washing clothes of 
vaideeka-bhagavatha-s etc?  >>

It is not that our Acharyas do not care about cleanliness. They cannot be 
expected to lay down such rigorous conditions as suggested because this 
involves supervising, policing, punishing for non-compliance etc which is not 
their domain nor is it practicable and they have better things to do.

It will be like the story in which a SannyAsi became a SamsAri, for rearing a 
Cat! 

And, such unwarranted strictness will scare away even those who wish to 
approach 
them for spiritual enlightenment.

Before asking what Acharyas have done or not done, it would be a better idea 
to ask ourselves what we have done or propose to do in this regard.

Like "Satyam Vadha"- "Tell the truth", "Dharmam Chara"-"Do what is your 
duty". Keeping the environment clean is an unwritten law which every sane and 
sensible person (not only Srivaishnava) is expected to observe. It is we, who 
go to AchAryas, who should form a band of volunteers to implement this in 
letter and spirit.

He further writes-
"Why "achAryA-s" are not in the habit of specifically
talking about "cleanliness" of temple, mutt, ashram
surroundings?"

I do not know whether other AchAryas do it or not.  But, Srimad Andavan of 
Poundarikapuram Ashramam insists on certain basic requirements like-
not entering the premises without washing hands and feet at the temple tank, 
not spitting or littering in the Ashramam premises, not making the place 
unclean by keeping handbags, luggage etc in spots earmarked for keeping the 
sacred Dravyams etc. 
Besides hanging bill boards in the relevant places with promises which when 
read would appear as if uttered by the visitor himself like - "I promise not 
to come in without being clean", " I will not desecrate this place in any 
manner" etc. 
he makes sure by personal inquiry whether these have, in fact, been observed.

Sorry if I have offended any in presenting my two cents worth.

Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy