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Re: Cleanliness...

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 13:07:03 PDT

Sri Anbil Ramaswamy wrote:
> 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.  ...

As it is, most of our acharyas give commandments about what
AchAram to observe, etc.  Certainly they supervise and police
their sishyas to a certain extent when it comes to such 
ritual purity. I think Sri Sampathkumaran's point is that 
since there is so much focus on ritual purity in our tradition, 
such directives coming straight from the top, why is it that there
is so little emphasis on simple cleanliness and organization, 
as well as Atma-guNas? Why is it that in this respect we pale in 
comparison to Christian and Muslim places of worship in India, 
with little direction coming from our spiritual leaders? 
I think this is a very valid question. 

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

On the contrary, I think the average person is already deathly 
afraid of approaching our swAmis, because of the tremendous emphasis
on ritual purity.  Several devout people (particularly women)
have told me how they are scared out of their wits when they visit
an ashramam or maTham, for fear of violating some unknown rule of
AchAram.  Of course, if they do violate a rule, they are quickly
scolded by some vigilant sishya. This is what makes most people
shy away from contact with acharyas.

I think simple emphasis on cleanliness, and Atma-guNas, will in
no way make anything in our tradition less approachable, and I
strongly disagree that such rules are unwarranted.

Mani