H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


By Matsyavatara Dasa

Undertaking a project for our life and following it with coherence means funding ourselves and our existence on solid basis, which will resist to the many crisis that after all we all must face and that only in this fashion they can be transformed into chances to elevate ourselves through the recognition and overcoming of our limits by accelerating ever more our work toward objectives that value our journey in the world. We have a year, a life, an eternity in front of us.

Undertaking a life project and working on it with continuity will stimulate us to know ourselves deeply. It will help us discerning between our historical ego and the true Self, between illusory objectives and valuable ones, between ephemeral relationships and relationship propaedeutical to the awakening of the conscience. This would favor the great journey of every human being toward the most elevated consciousness and the realization of the inner and outer Divine. With every thought, desire, word and action we can express with intensity and every day with renewed freshness our deep instance to know and love ourselves, others and God, by loving God in every being and every being in God. In this way, inside ourselves and in every person that we meet we will put the seeds of pure love, that pure and universal sentiment that can satisfy the soul completely.

To develop this supreme love we must develop the qualities of the soul such as fidelity, loyalty, chastity, transparence, cleanliness, truthfulness, sense of responsibility, reliability, compassion, courage, friendship, determination and perseverance, by impressing them in our mind and mainly in our heart. We must not use a sterile willpower and cold rationale which will risk to makes stubborn or harsh. We must use the vital impetus of the soul, which makes us even stronger but flexible, determinate, however sweet, enthusiastic and patient at the same time thanks to the faith realized in the infinite potentialities of the inner Self and to that developed capability of dynamic balance that holds us straight even when we are pushed or when someone provokes us or disturbs us with an offensive behavior.

If we would follow the impulses of our mind we would reach with rage, with anger by using the worse part of ourselves, but, thanks to the practice of a lifetime discipline, we can transform these drives, by channeling them in a constructive fashion their energetic potential. Rage is then transformed into words that shake people from illusion without hurting them or making them lose their hopes, but giving them the vision instead.

This dynamic balance is indispensable to be developed all the way to the highest spiritual realization. The Indo Vedic tradition recommends the sadhana-bhakti method, which has been tested for millennia and its effectiveness has been experimented by countless people. It is a great level of inner discipline for the achievement of the highest endeavor in human life, self-realization. This necessitates of all of our commitment and a sure orientation because every great deed must undergo great challenges. If we desire valued relationships, many people will try us, with temptations and provocations. However, if we maintain our mind focused, the ephemeral pleasures will gradually lose any attraction, received offenses will seem to us as great chances to overcome our limits. The Lord of our heart, Shri Kamadeva, Who speaks to us from His heart to ours, will satisfy every most intimate desire of our soul, every aspiration, every joy that we wish to offer to the service of God.

He who desires to become ascetic, will become a true ascetic, he who desires to be a good head of the family, will become a good head of the family, he who will want to produce wealth for the benefit of all will develop the intelligence and the resourcefulness to do so if he behaves in accordance with the cosmos-ethical order of divine origin who sustains every being of the whole universe. However, he who grabs for himself will never produce anything, nor for himself, nor for others. He cannot be happy if he is not in a stable evolutionary trend.

To undertake this evolutionary trend we must commit ourselves to overcome our limits. Those limits that are genetically structured and are the consequences of the environment in which we lived and those that are the result of mistakes that we have made.

We can be successful if we invest in faith in ourselves, in our intrinsic qualities and in the qualities of others by rediscovering that treasure that hides in each one of us and that matches our deep essence. The defects, the conditioners and the limitations that we are suffering for are layers that cover our true identity.

Do not get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. In reality these results are already structuring themselves at a subtle level even if you don’t perceive them with physical eyes. However, who is expert and knows how to look inside his heart, can see them.

Since everything in this world is inseparably connected and due to the universal law of reciprocity all that is done is returned, to value ourselves we must value others and we can do it if we put trust in their qualities by expressing the persuasion that they can do much more than what they believe they can. We must be always ready to offer words of comfort in time of need, so that the memory of us will help even when we are no longer with them and they are no longer with us. We need to ensure that our words and our life example help them facing the hardest moments, the toughest trials, by offering that energy and faith that is needed to proceed even when the road is uphill, to maybe later discover that, after the curve, the uphill road ends and la downhill one begins. Many of us may already have had this comforting experience.

Every individual can realize himself if he undertakes constructive activities toward spiritual realization, the only ones that deeply satisfy us by allowing us to express our creativity for the best. He can realize himself if he entertains relationships that have evolutionary purposes, those that fill the heart with joy and can be shared by all because true love is not exclusive. Most of all we should privilege our relationship with God, however, since every creature is an expression of the Divine, respect, attention, appreciation and affection should be given to every being.

The destiny of the body is uncertain, we could die suddenly for a serious illness, an accident or who know what. We don’t know what could happen to this structure of the matter in which we live, but we have a great certainty. If here and know we undertake an evolutionary journey it will continue even after we depart this physical body and what we have sow here will bloom elsewhere and will make our progress happy and fast.

We will come back in a favorable environment, from parents that will educate us with love and we will meet special people who will orient our journey.

Let’s try to live in the most humble way possible by engaging our energies that the Lord has given us to serve Him for the wellness of all. Let’s not complain if we are called to sit on a throne or on the floor. If usefulness is the principle and usefulness is functional to an evolutionary purpose, we must be available to do anything that we are asked to do, beyond our egoistical preferences. The Katha Upanishad explains that true pleasure that lasts and satisfies completely comes from duty.

Talking of subjects like these with those that are dear to our heart and those that are mostly receptive, means exchanging love gestures. These are the true effusions of true love, the expressions of the most noble among the sentiments.

Love, act with your heart, with playful spirit to favor the great evolution project of life. This attitude will give you every joy and will allow you to develop all perfections.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


By Matsyavatara dasa

The quality of any relationship is guaranteed only if we know how to appreciate the qualities of others and the quality of realization per se. The lack of such appreciation produces lack of relationships. To overcome this, the first indispensable step is learning how to recognize the value of others.

What to say, when and to who is not always easy to understand or guess. Human relationships are a complex universe. Sometimes we put our hearts into a relationship; we try to develop it at the best of our capability; however we are not successful in building with the counterpart what was within our intentions. We should commit ourselves to do the maximum with the intention to evolve, with joy and desire to grow together, however without expectations. We should always be open to answer to the other person in respect to his freedom. If we really want to learn to love others, we should not lay passively on them by developing unhealthy relationships, depending on others by loading them with our expectations and egoistical claims thus suffocating the chances for interaction and operate favorably for the well-being of all. He who cannot practice this basic principle falls with the falling of the relationship. He loses height and falls on the ground without having the chance to realize it.

Let’s invest our best energies, all of our intelligence and our heart into our relationships. Let’s do it however without falling into perfectionism, thus being humbly conscious of human limitations (ours and others’). Even this will help us appreciated the value of what we are building.

To build a relationship, whether a love one or a friendship, with relatives or between Guru and disciple, you must consider three fundamental principles that were established by Vitruvio as priority:

  1. stability

  2. functionality

  3. beauty

A building must be stable, sturdy and strong enough to withstand the collision of time and of natural events. The same is for a relationship. We cannot build on a frail soil that doesn’t hold. We must necessarily choose solid grounds. If we deal with frail grounds, we must first of all begin with solidifying the ground itself before we initiate the construction. We cannot solidify the ground and at the same time begin the construction. It won’t work. Certainly the building will not stand, just like a relationship will not withstand the collision with time and trials of life if it is not well based, well prepared, cultivated, enforced and matured.

To enable the manifestation of our and other’s talents and qualities, develop the siddhi, or perfection in relationships, and make them ever shiner, in all their expressed potentiality, we must build on solid basis. To do this we must operate with continuity, without intermittence, distractions or dispersion of energy. Vice versa, our chances for development and realization will remain unaccomplished and feeble like little fireflies that turn on and off in the darkness of the night. Discontinuity and consequent mood swings ruin relationships and everything that we do. They are the Minotaur that must be dealt with and overcome if we want to pursue our goals.

Other than operating with continuity to favor the vigor, the uphold and the stability of our relationships, we must set up our relationships based on what is most functional. Functional to what? To our and other’s evolution.

The relationship could be stable and beautiful per se, but if it is not functional for the high purpose that we have pre-defined, what would be its value?

To learn to set up our relationships in accordance to the principle of functionality, it is important to develop the qualities of flexibility, ductility and elasticity that allow us to choose, in accordance with the situation that we find ourselves in, the proper behavior for that time (kala), place (desha) and circumstance (patra) in relation to the values that we have undertaken and that we intend to pursue.

Lastly, other than being stable and functional, a building, in accordance with Vitruvio must be also beautiful and the same is for a relationship.

As much man has made all kind of efforts in establishing aesthetical standards, the sense of beauty has always remained outside of strict schemes or pre-defined categories. Beauty is proportion, harmony, perfection of the form, but also that certain “don’t know what” that represents the charm of a certain thing, person or relationship, its uniqueness. Therefore if we sharpen our look, elevate our conscience and purify our hearing, we can discover charm and beauty in every being and relationship by realizing that beauty is beyond mere appearance. It corresponds to the intimate essence of what it is. In the tradition, in fact, beauty was inseparable from goodness and from the qualities of the soul. Engaging in affective relationships based on superficial aesthetical criteria, the deceitful criteria of the forms, means settings ourselves up for sure failure. “Don’t be fouled by the width of the entrance”, said Minosse to Dante and also “Pay attention to who you trust”. This is important so we do not get into relationships that come from sudden choices which only result in frustration, suffering and many times depression and desperation.

Let’s commit ourselves to interact with others with the constant and unique desire to benefit them, to pursue their success, the true one, which is of spiritual nature. This would represent the best protection for our life, ourself and our relationships. It would be the powerful principle, even though invisible, that will lead in the evolutionary way every choice that we make and will orient us always toward the right direction at every crucial intersection of our life. Let’s learn to relate always by leaving to others the chance to accept or refuse our offer of love, because love lives of freedom.

Let’s listen to our inner voice when we act and operate in the world and we entertain relationships. If this voice gives us advice, if it urges us to be cautious, let’s pay attention to it and let’s act carefully. Let’s not jump into situations or relationships that could be dangerous and that could harm us or others more than what our little intellect could understand. The gradualness in establishing and entertaining relationships is essential. Once you have made your decision with reflection and farsightedness, do not change plans suddenly, by following indiscriminately the impulses of your mind or senses and letting instinct take over and overcome the basic principles of stability and coherence. Unfortunately the predominant setting of modern society leads to act in superficial and sudden mode, regardless of times and relationships. However, if we want to build valuable relationships, we must invest in time and attention, sensibility, maturity, care, preoccupation, sense of responsibility, coziness, tolerance, capability of open ourselves to others to communicate and listen deeply.

Lets avoid to entertain those relationships or actions that are not coherent with our life project that we intend to realize because, without a project and without following with continuity the method that will lead us to its realization, we would only start every time from scratch, wasting time and energies and showing to ourselves and to others the worst side of our personality.

Friday, 11 September 2009

La India del Auto-Conocimiento

Inauguracion Viernes 11 de Septiembre de 2009 20:30 hrs.
hasta el domingo 20 de Septiembre de 2009 Casa de Cultura de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico.


Logos: Conarte - Casa de Cultura - Artes Visuales

NL Estado de Progreso

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

AKINCANA (devoid of material possessions)

By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings: not searching for material objectives, simple, non-possessive

We find this principle in an important passage of Patanjali's Yogasutras1, where it is said that in order to attain perfection or samadhi, the yogi must renounce two attitudes: asteya and aparigraha, respectively misappropriating things we do not own and cultivating a sense of possession towards things or persons.

Many psycho-pathologies are not very explicit; in the name of affection some people morbidly control others, something that is absolutely not favorable to anyone's growth, development or maturity, including one's children, spouse, patient or disciple. When there is a sense of possession, the carrier of this sensation is unable to grow and remains on a childish stage for the rest of his life, frivolous and incapable to cope with the needs and problems of everyday life, unable to think with his own brain.

We should never desire to deprive others of their ability to reason and decide, of their intellectual faculties, by blocking and inhibiting them. On the contrary, we should favor the development of such abilities and potential.

Someone could think that if we seriously consider Krishna's words in Bhagavad-gita we could remain conditioned by them, but this would be an excellent conditioning: it would be an honor to depend on the words spoken by Krishna or by the Spiritual Master; only when the Master is blocking us in our development we need to understand that we are not facing a Guru but something else.

The Guru is a friend and facilitates the expression of all potentials, virtues, qualities and talents. He rather tries to offer some orientation and to purify the qualities that are often covered by innumerable anarthas.

A person who is culturally and spiritually immature will think he needs to keep a distance from everything and everyone lest he compromises the principle of akincana; actually we need to keep our distance from the sense of possession, not from the utilization of what is useful. The money that we need to live in a healthy, honest, sattvic way is called lakshmi and is a blessing, while the extra money, that serves vice and mere sense gratification generate attachment, and we should be wary against it. To own warm clothes for the winter does not break the virtue of akincana; possessing a collection of overcoats does. Having a pair of sandals to walk and spread the glories of the Lord is very good, while having wardrobes filled with shoes produces confusion in the mind.

In order to be in harmony not only with the principle of akincana but also with the principle of ahimsa, we should avoid purchasing leather clothes or shoes: they are not required to protect ourselves from cold and rain. Fur coats are much better suited to the animals: killing animals to get clothes or food belongs to a barbarous and unevolved mentality.

If for some reason we had to live at the North Pole and there was no other way, then eating fish or meat would be acceptable, but in the place where we live there is no need to inflict violence to other beings.

The sense of possession blocks, inhibits, dulls our consciousness. Even persons who have serious personality disturbances still have intact talents deep in their consciousness, but they do not know how to activate them any more, because they are not even aware they have them. Our intention is to operate in such a way that our interlocutor rediscovers it and reclaims his natural talents.

Akincana is an important virtue; one who possesses it does not desire anything for himself, he only wants to have the instruments to benefit others and be useful. He finds satisfaction in awakening others and because he is not interested in their body, their possessions or their minds, he can be trusted. Such a person sees others as traveling companions, helpers to spread his mission. Abstention from material and psychic possessiveness helps us to unblock our complexes.

This is why dhana (donating) has a crucial importance in the culture of classic India. One can donate things and eventually oneself; we must remember that if we are not trained to donate objects, we will never come to the level of donating ourselves.

The beautiful prayer called "Gurudev" asks the Master to liberate us from the desire for personal honors: this is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most important acts of renunciation. In fact, as stated in Isha Upanishad, we are not owners of anything, nothing belongs to us in this world and the proof is that at the time of death we must leave everything. So for what reason should we desire honors? The radiant path of bhakti rather asks us to respect and honor all creatures, not to feed our thirst for personal honors.

Some people make important choices for the life of others, thinking that in this way they will be possessing them; this is a very widespread phenomenon. Instead, we should start from the concept that our interlocutor has his own personality and the right to decide. We can offer some perspective but we cannot demand anything from anyone. In some relationships, such as between parent and child, Guru and disciple or therapist and patient, there is naturally a pact or we make a pact by which the one who is responsible for the other can have a justified measure of authority, but he should always use it very cautiously. There is also a pact between parents and children, by which parents have the duty to educate the children, but we need to make a distinction between educating and controlling choices.

A head of State in a dictatorial regime decides by himself also for the others, disregarding the will and wishes of innumerable persons, creating discomfort, dissatisfaction, fear and resentment.

Some foolish and ignorant people read the stories of the Puranas, Mahabharata2 and Ramayana3, and confuse the Vedic kings with the modern kings, but the monarchs of the classical Indian times used to take care of their subject as their own children. Kings of this type have disappeared long ago, and considering the trends of the present kings, the disappearance of monarchy has been a blessing.

Nobody can have dominion or possession on the lives of others. We must teach people to think with their own head, to take care of their own needs, to respect others and to express genuine sentiments. This is the purpose of a master, a therapist, a parent. Being surrounded by capable and self-sufficient persons is a great satisfaction; on the other hand it is very painful to be around people who move like robots, without any creative ability.

If we do not re-establish our spiritual health we will simply chase mirages, because it is precisely this loss of connection that caused the pathology. The disconnection on the ontological level where we belong is the origin of alienation. When we say we care about someone we should demonstrate it with what we do to wake him up spiritually. Even those who will not listen to deeper, metaphysical discussions can be offered unlimited information and be greatly influenced by our personal behavior. A person can pretend he is not watching, he may act as if he is not interested, but in time the model will become ingrained because it is already engraved into the heart, because it is Truth, Reality. For example, everybody knows that animals have the right to live; simply they pretend they do not know.

The model has an archetypal function. We can make good sculptures only when the model has penetrated deep within ourselves, thus we first need to absorb it. This is why it is important to have a relationship with the Guru, to work with him and perform activities that enable us to be corrected; this helps us proceed towards perfection.

Akincana is the practice of detachment, a sort of vairagya, it means renouncing what is unfavorable to spiritual realization and immediately utilizing all that is favorable.

1 Author of the famous aphorisms on Yoga (Yoga-sutras) and codifier of the Yoga Darshana. Tradition also ascribes to him a study on Panini's Sanskrit grammar and an authoritative treatise on medicine.

2 Famous epic poem of ancient India, the greatest ever written by mankind, constituted by more than one hundred thousand stanzas in classical Sanskrit, a vast catalogue of divine and human personalities, an encyclopedic poem expressing the spiritual, ethical and social values of Indo-Vedic society. Also called "the fifth Veda", Mahabharata is traditionally ascribed to the great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

3 Literally, 'Rama's journey'. Epic story (Itihasa) composed by Valmiki in 24.000 stanzas in splendid classical Sanskrit. It narrates the descent and the divine deeds of Rama in the role of the perfect monarch.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

SHUCI (clean, pure)

By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings:morally and ethically whole

Shaucam means cleanliness, whiteness, purity: all terms that apply to one concept. Cleanliness refers to the physical body and purity to the mental body, but they are the same principle, also because cleanliness and purity are strictly connected. We cannot speak of spiritual purity because the soul is pure by definition, constantly and intrinsically, and therefore there is no need to purify what is eternally pure. Rather, it is the mirror of the mind that becomes contaminated, and it must be carefully cleansed.

The soul is imprisoned in a psychic bubble, a fake mental structure, a hallucinating vision of the world; it is the crystal of the mind that needs to be purified.

As an attribute of the atman, consciousness can be altered and create a series of mind distortions, but there is also a super-consciousness. Western psychology only considers mental pathologies, only conditioned consciousness, but it does not consider the reality of pure consciousness.

The purity of consciousness is obtained by eliminating what contaminated it in the first place. Water is tainted by the penetration of organic particles; the bad smell that emanates from a pool of stagnant water is not due to the water itself, but to the deteriorating suspended particles. Just like there is pure water and putrid water, there is also pure consciousness and consciousness that produces psycho-pathologies because of the waste matter it carries.

The great majority of the physical and mental diseases can be avoided with a healthy life by applying the twenty-six virtues we are talking about. We become and remain healthy by good habits, not by using medication. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada used to say that disease is generated by three main factors: uncleanliness (physical and psychic), anxiety and imbalanced diet. Thus the principle of the application of shaucam in our lives is essential to remain in psycho-physical health and to proceed on the path of spiritual progress.

The discipline of sadhana bhakti primarily serves to inner purification, that automatically also produces external purification. What happens to the body is thus the result of what happens in the psychic structure; any action that is performed by man in the world basically depends on the level of purity or impurity of his own mind, and the results are evident. Our mental shape makes us dirty or clean, pure or impure.

The two great enlightened spiritual Masters, Christ and Shri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprahu, to whom their contemporaries attributed a divine nature, taught that besides law there is forgiveness, a deep innovation introduced by these two revolutionary figures in religion. Forgiveness purifies, while betrayal and resentment contaminate. There can be no justified resentment: from the human perspective we can justify many things, but nonetheless some dynamics remain a source of contamination. One who is able to forgive is situated on a higher level of consciousness, but those who wish to forgive don't always have the strength or qualities to do it. What do these qualities depend on? On the development of the personality - on how shuci one is. By feeling resentment, envy, jealousy towards someone we live miserably, we pollute our psyche and the others' psyche, and when we face acute suffering our immune defense drops, like in a mourning person who has lost a dear one.

Imagine the benefit, just simply on the level of general health, of attaining a level of consciousness where we are not contaminated any more by losses or betrayals. These are all masks for the ego: it is the masque ball of the ego - these disasters affect the ego, not the self. In his essence, the being does not see persons who betray or die. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna tells Arjuna:

"Although you are saying wise words, you are lamenting for what is not worth of lamenting. The wise do not lament either for the living or for the dead"1.

People are so absorbed into the mirages of the world that they give too much importance to who comes and who goes, as if those who take birth were beginning to exist and those who die were ceasing to exist - this is not so. The wise sees these individuals in a cycle of births and death called samsara. Having big celebrations for one who has come to take a body and will eventually have to die is not a big demonstration of wisdom, just like despairing for one who has gone away, who has put down a dress that has become too worn out and painful to wear. Thus people come and go, but the wise do not see this as a tragedy.

Shuci is the result of wisdom as well as the path and the means to attain it. The purification of the mind produces vision, clarity, discernment, and in turn all this produces mental purification. A purified mind keeps the body healthy; hygiene is much more effective than medication against diseases, this is confirmed by the fact that the great epidemics have disappeared not so much because of the pharmaceutical discoveries, but rather thanks to the use of running water.

Diet, too, is important in order to remain clean and pure: those who eat fresh, healthy, non-preserved foods, cooked simply and consumed within three hours from preparation, can attain psycho-physical well-being. Bad habits, the use of alcohol, tobacco or bad foods aggravate and shorten the duration of life.

The ancient Indian medical science, Ayurveda, informs us that the proper utilization of food becomes an instrument of purification and that nutrition becomes treatment, therapy. The issue of food is at the center of a wide speculation: the reflections of many sages fill entire pages of sacred texts such as the Brahmanas, Upanishads, Aranyakas, the Veda itself, because the Vedic rishis had understood that through food we can become contaminated or purified, and that they were aware that there is a food for the body and a food for the mind2, that is mostly accumulated through impressions.

Of course attention and sensitivity towards food should not become an obsession. In fact virtues can also be lived in a distorted, neurotic way, conditioning the individual and leading him to believe he has become a benefactor of mankind.

In average, human beings eat three times a day, so every day they have three opportunities to become contaminated or purified. Thus we need to be careful about what we put into our mouth and what comes out of it, because an offensive language can be very contaminating. The Mahabharata informs us that hurtful words penetrate the heart worse than sharp arrows and they don't come out again, often leaving permanent scars.

In order to become or remain shuci we thus need to be careful in choosing thoughts, desires, emotions, actions and words that must be pleasing, mridu, or sweet. We should always meekly encourage everyone to care for their own good and the good of others.

The morning practice of the Harinama japa is a supreme method for the purification of the heart and the mind. These two words, heart and mind, refer to the unconscious and to the conscious part of the personality. In symbolic language, the mind corresponds to the karmashaya3 or unconscious. There is something that lies deep into the maze of the psyche, and something that is on the surface. This practice purifies both levels, which for study purposes are described as two categories - one the category of sentiments, feelings, emotions, consistent and stable affection attitudes, and the other, the category of the ripples on the restless mind: an inner mind and an outer mind.

In Vedic psychology treatises these levels are explained and called with different names. The method of Harinama japa is a practice of repeating a transcendental sound vibration, a mantra in the japa4 mode. For innumerable generations the Acaryas, the spiritual Masters, have stated that the divine name of Hari5 is an extremely powerful bija mantra, capable of purifying the mind in the most unfathomable depths, where the conscious ego cannot reach.

The Vedic sages guarantee that through the Harinama japa one can reach all levels of the psyche, from the external sensory level that is connected to the phenomenal world to the deep psyche, the seat of the samskaras, the latent recordings that are emotionally charged with psychic contents that are not accessible any more by the conscious ego. While water and soap are sufficient to wash the body, water is not sufficient to wash the samskaras from the deep levels of the consciousness. We need a special detergent, a method that can reach those depths, that is able to penetrate the mind and cleanse it from the waste of negative impressions that constitute the complexes. I would like to highlight the important connection between external and internal cleanliness. Among the two the most important is internal cleanliness, but we should not neglect external cleanliness, that favors internal cleanliness and is often its evident symptom. External uncleanliness, and especially untidiness, creates inner disorder.

According to the teachings of Yoga, the mind takes the form of the objects it contemplates; if it contemplates lack of order in a room, a wardrobe, a desk, a laboratory, an office, or untidy persons, it will take the same shape. For this reason, before going to sleep it is better to tidy up the house, so that our resting period is influenced by the last recorded impressions. Before going to sleep, try not to give any bad news to others, no to scold anyone, even if they deserved it and especially children, because they will not have the time to elaborate the punishment and thus the negative impressions slides into the depths of the consciousness and often it cannot be removed for years or decades. Do not have arguments with your husband or wife in the night before going to sleep, before going to sleep everything must become harmonized; it is better to discuss everything on the next day. This, too, is tolerance, patience: postponing the discussion to the appropriate moment, because the mind is an extraordinarily sensitive film that is impressed very easily and those impressions remain. Fragile individuals and tired persons should not be disturbed because one who is tired does not have the ability to elaborate; one who carries on some big responsibility or a heavy load should not be engaged in mental speculations or difficult abstract evaluations: first they need to rest. A sick person must not be punished or forced into important choices; one who is tired, depressed or saddened should not be subjected to any further aggravation.

The best way to keep cleanliness is to avoid becoming dirty. In daily life we will accumulate a little dust, so the body must be washed every day and the mind must be washed, too. This could seem obvious, but many people do no do it - however taking bath is important because it re-establishes a good level of consciousness, it changes and improves it. Sensory perception does not work very well in a dirty body; a person who does not take bath and lives in a cloud of bad smell becomes unable to perceive bad odors and therefore he can expose himself to many dangers including contaminated foods, because uncleanliness and contamination are very similar.

Bhagavad-gita informs us that tamasic persons eat tamasic foods; persons whose intellectual functions have been reduced to the minimum also eat rotten food and their taste develops in that direction. Some typical specialties consist of practically putrid food that attracts the mind and the sensory apparatus of persons who are subjected to the influence of that particular guna. At that level it becomes impossible to understand higher concepts, truths that due to their nature are situated beyond sensory perception because they disappear; what remains is only the physical objects that can be touched and seen. Everything that produced the physical world becomes a fantasy, and these people remain excluded from spiritual realization.

To implement or maintain shaucam, the Vaishnava tradition prescribes a morning practice consisting in meditating on the name of Hari, on the Divine names. This practice has the power to purify the mind at all levels. Also the daily study of the Scriptures, svadhyaya, puts us in contact with our own self, with the most intimate part of our personality, with our ontological identity rather than with the transient, impermanent personality donned by the historical ego.

It is not easy to attain shaucam. External cleanliness is more accessible, while internal cleanliness is more difficult. Those who are contaminated by kama, or lust, can take bath many times, but all their interests focus on some particular dynamics and therefore they remain dirty inside. Washing and purifying oneself to evolve spiritually is a totally different thing, thus the practice of taking bath in itself is not a great merit unless it is supported by a meritorious motivation. Cooking for friends, relatives or lovers is not a merit in itself, but it becomes a merit when we cook for God and offer the food in sacrifice, applying all the rules of purity, cleanliness and kindness to that cooking that does not violate norm and nonviolence, dharma and ahimsa.

Prayer, meditation, diet, worship, good company, everything must rotate in the sphere of cleanliness and purity and be shuci. Economy too, should be ecological, as well as what we read and write, the words we use to express ourselves. The clothes we wear should be clean: elegance is secondary. We should be vehicles of purification, not of contamination; one who attains this level of awareness wants to live in cleanliness, so his gestures, words, actions become first of all consistent and then this extraordinary energy of consistency enables us to penetrate inside the hearts of the people we meet. Our speech must correspond to our actions, we need to move in a consistent, harmonious way, when everything we say, think and do has this rigorous consistency the message becomes penetrating and moves the mountains, it becomes the sword inside the rock described in many myths.

1 Bg, II.11.

2 See the article (with the same title) by Marco Ferrini, available from Secretary, CSB.

3Karma reservoir’; the part of the psyche that is not accessible by the consciousness, where all the experiences of this or of previous existences accumulate. The unconscious.

4 The word japa means ‘chanting softly’ and also indicates an individual and concentrated manner of praying.

5 Literally, ‘He who takes away [the obstacles]’.