Be Mean About Being Clean
Today was someone else’s turn at walking the trail. Coming from the same part of India as the previous day’s monk, this monastic remarked favourably about how people are always cleaning (someone was blowing the dead leaves off a yard). This was a compliment, of course. We trekked down a ravine and took the same trail as I did yesterday with the other monk.
Today’s monk remarked, “Oh, the trees are all golden!” as if he had discovered a new planet. He said nothing about numerous dogs being walked by sitters. After coming from the ravine and reaching the normal ground level, we trekked the wet grass of a park. He looked at the tidy nature of the place and remarked that it makes the mind so peaceful.
I mentioned to him that our guru, Srila Prabhupada, liked everything to be neat and that on one occasion he wondered why the temple front yard was overgrown when all the other neighbours had theirs well maintained? In fact he insisted on cleanliness. When you go to Mayapura, our ISKCON headquarters, you see the grounds are kept looking respectable. One year I went to the Bahai Lotus Temple in Delhi. I lined up with the rest of the many pilgrims there. Inside the sanctuary it was rather cavernous and vacant, yet clean and peaceful. I believe many people go to see the grounds and are amazed by the lack of congestion, the openness, and the smooth laid out lawns. It’s pleasing.
This is a mega part of spiritual life – to always endeavour at being suchi, or clean. The atmosphere around bears heavily on a person. If you want to make rapid spiritual progress then work at keeping your interior clean as well as your environment.
I have one more monk to take out on a walking venture for his impressions and this is before I leave for India which I’m looking forward to. There are many places there that are cluttered but I love the people. There is this enchantment about the place you won’t find anywhere else.