Spiritual Dimensions Of Environmental Sustainability
Yuva Bharati|August 2021
A complaint went to Emperor Krishnadeva Raya. The famous Tirupati temple was located within his kingdom and he was a great devotee.
N. Krishnamoorti

11.CLEANLINESS AND GODLINESS

The deity in the temple is given ritual baths very frequently, sometimes more than once a day. Sticky substances such as ghee, butter, honey, curd and fruit pieces were used for Abhishekam, the sacred bath, to the idol. Many substances which remove the stickiness and make the idol clean were used to make the idol ready to wear ornaments and clothes.

The complaint was that the idol was not cleaned properly. The object of worship and meditation of thousands of people every day, the idol had to be washed and brought to the highest level of cleanliness, identifying cleanliness with Godliness.

Krishnadeva Raya consulted the scholars in Vaikhanasa Agama, the text followed in the worship of the Lord in Tirupati. According to their advice, after the ritual baths and washing the idol with clean water, the idol had to be rubbed with cloth pieces and the rubbing clothes were to be examined to see that the final level of cleanliness was perfect.

Seven, eight pieces of cloth, from the coarsest sack-like fiber to the finest type were used. The final cloth resembled vapor that emanates when milk is boiled. When this cloth is held in the sunlight it cannot be seen it is said - It is a perfect see-through cloth.

The priests would rub the idol using the cloths one by one. Finally, the Ravai Salla officer, would take a yard of the finest cloth, tear it into two pieces and give one for rubbing the idol down. After applying the cloth for cleaning, the priest had to show the piece to the officer. If he could find any difference between the piece used and the piece kept unused with him, the priest has to restart the entire cleaning process starting from the coarse sack-like - fiber.

For the ruler and for the Shastra, cleanliness was not NEXT to Godliness. Cleanliness WAS Godliness.

The level of cleanliness was what would be expected in a modern surgical theatre.

Man has come down a great distance from that level of cleanliness. Nowadays personal clothing is fashionable to the extent, it needs no cleaning. Fashion, style, civilization and industrialization - all processes are judged by their capacity to produce waste. The greater the per capita waste, the greater the civilization! Cleanliness also stops with personal cleanliness, leaving the surroundings, the streets, the outskirts of the towns stinking, nauseating waste dumps - One can realize that a village, town, the city has been approached by the stench that rises from the public places, inadequate drainages, imperfect waste removal arrangements, the bad habit of mixing up all types of rubbish, using water bodies, canals, ponds, rivers and seas as waste - dumps.

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