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Sunday, November 8, 2009

About Saucha - Purity




Saucha is the purity or cleanliness of the external and the internal of our body. But what does it really means? Does external cleanliness means keeping the environment clean and wash our body until it is clean and wear neat and clean clothing to cover up our body – maintaining good hygiene and good health? Does internal cleanliness means cleaning our body systems – the circulatory system, the digestive system, the elimination system, the reproductive system, the hormonal secretion system and all the organs?

From the surface, yes, this is what it means and there are many Yogic practices to help us to achieve that.

But there are more deeper meanings in Saucha beside all these practices of purification of the internal and the external of our body.

When we were told to clean our eyes, ears, nostrils, tongue and skin, it is not just about cleaning the physical side of the sense organs but it is asking us to purify the inputs and outputs of these five senses, and then followed with the purification of the thoughts in the mind as well. That is what real internal cleanliness or purification is about.

If we have clear eyesight, good hearing, good sense of smell and taste, and good sense of touch and thinking, but if we are attached strongly to the things that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, and have differentiation of comfort and discomfort, and have categorization of good and bad, and we are generating likes and craving towards things that we feel comfortable and agreeable with, but generating dislikes and aversion towards the things that we feel uncomfortable and disagreeable with, then these good functioning of the senses is not conducive to us at all, instead they are bringing us a lot of cravings and aversions – dissatisfaction and unhappiness for the things that we don’t like, and greed and addiction to the things that we like.

And so, what is the meaning of cleaning all the internal body systems and the organs but we continue to have so much of likes and dislikes, cravings and aversions, dissatisfaction, irritations and complains about the things that we don’t like?

What is the meaning of doing so many yogic cleansing exercises maintaining the good functioning of the organs and the senses but continue to have so much anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance, frustration and depression in our heart or our mind?

What is the meaning of sharpening the function of the senses and develop higher sensitivity of the senses to feel the internal and external energy fields and also being sensitive towards the sensations in our body but we are always being disturbed by the phenomena of the energy fields within and without our body, and generating strong likes and dislikes towards the sensations that we feel, and being so sensitive all the time towards energy and sensations until we feel the need of protection or runaway from bad and negative energy, or being so irritated and intolerant with certain things and people?

About the external cleanliness, it is not just about the cleanliness of our physical body and the living environment, but it is about the purity of our intentions, thoughts, actions and speech that we are sending out there. As well as the company that we are mixing with is whether they are wise beings (Satsanga) that can uplift us morally and spiritually or they are unwise beings (Kutsanga) that can pull us down, if we are still being affected by the outside conditions of good and bad.

There is a teaching from from our ancient Gurus saying that – if there is no good company (Satsanga), then it is better to be alone (Asanga) than to be with bad company (Kutsanga).

What is the meaning if our body is clean and healthy, our house and the garden is clean and beautiful, but inside our hearts and the mind is not peaceful, unhappy, depress, selfish, angry, hatred, greedy, arrogant, jealous, discontent, suffering and ignorant of the real and unreal, of what we should do and shouldn’t do?

The real Saucha is the purity of our intentions, thoughts, actions and speech. And this will bring us peacefulness, compassion and wisdom in the heart. It is stop doing bad, and do a lot of good but not identify with what we do and not do, and not attach to the fruit of actions.

Even when we are not doing any so called cleansing exercise for the physical body, but if we have self-control and the awareness of what is pure and impure, which is real and unreal, then we are really cleaning and purifying the internal and the external of this temporary physical body.

The house and the temple that we need to keep clean and beautiful is our hearts or the mind. The body that we need to keep clean is the inner self, wipe away the dirt (the ignorance) and we will be back to our original pure Self and be free from all the attachments towards the body, the mind and all the phenomena in the world.

Even though someone might be very filthy and untidy from his appearance, but maybe he is a saint in his heart and is pure in his mind. The outside appearance really can’t define the purity of a person’s heart. And a pure heart person doesn’t need to justify himself or advertise himself or to have some sort of images to clarify that he is pure and saintly.

May we all attain true purity.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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