Saucha is the purity or cleanliness of the external and the internal of the physical 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 bodily systems – the circulatory system, the cardiovascular system, the central and peripheral nervous 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 the physical 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 body and 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 and external 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 there's strong attachment towards the things that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, and have discrimination 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, while 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 giving rise to a lot of cravings and aversions – that leads to dissatisfaction, disturbs and unhappiness deriving from the aversion towards the things that we don’t like and don't agree with, and deriving from greed, craving and clinging towards the things that we like and agree with.
And so, what is the meaning of cleaning all the internal body systems and the organs but if we continue to have so much likes and dislikes, cravings and aversions, dissatisfaction, disturbs, frustrations, irritations and complains towards the presence of the things that we don't like and don't agree with and the absence of the things that we like and agree with?
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, lust, desire, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, frustration, grief, painful sorrow, fear, worry and unhappiness in our mind?
What is the meaning of sharpening the function of the senses and develop higher sensitivity of the senses to be sensitive towards the internal and external desirable and undesirable energy fields and also being sensitive towards the pleasant and unpleasant sensations in our body but we are always being disturbed by the selfless impermanent 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 so called bad and negative energy, or being so irritated and intolerant with certain sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, emotions, memories, imaginations, affairs, relationships, interactions, things and people?
About the external cleanliness, it is not about the cleanliness of the outer appearance our physical body and the living environment, but it is about the purity of the mind outputs of our intentions, thoughts, actions and speech that we are sending out there. As well as the company that we are mixing and interacting with, of whether they are wise beings (Satsanga) that can uplift us in our practice towards the liberation from ignorance and egoism, or they are unwise beings (Kutsanga) that can pull us down and hinder us from the liberation from ignorance and egoism, especially if we are still being disturbed, affected, influenced and determined by the external good and bad conditions and influences.
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 the mind is not peaceful, unhappy, depressed, negative, selfish, angry, hating, greedy, lustful, prideful, arrogant, jealous, discontenting, dissatisfying, suffering and being ignorant towards the real and unreal, without correct understanding and self-control towards what we should do and shouldn’t do?
The real Saucha is the cleanliness of our intentions, thoughts, actions and speech. And this will give rise to peacefulness, compassion and wisdom in the mind. It is stop doing bad, and do a lot of good, but without attachment or identification towards what we do and don't do, and without attachment, identification or expectation towards the fruit of actions, allowing the fruit of actions being what it is.
Even when we are not doing any so called cleansing exercise for the physical body, but if we have self-control and the awareness towards 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 the selfless mind. The selfless mind that we need to keep clean is about sweeping and wiping away the dirt (the ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness) that is covering the selfless reflective Self even though the selfless reflective Self is being undetermined and uncontaminated by the dirt or impurities that are covering or veiling it, and the selfless reflective Self will be revealed as what it is upon the annihilation of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness of the selfless modification of the selfless mind, and void of the egoistic attachment or identification towards the body, the mind and all the selfless impermanent phenomena in the world perceived through the function of the selfless perceptive, cognitive, intellectual thinking mind.
Even though someone might be very filthy and untidy from his outer appearance, but maybe he is a saint within the mind. The outside appearance really can’t define the purity of a person’s mind. And a pure mind doesn’t need to justify itself, or advertise itself, or to have some sort of external images to indicate that it is something pure and saintly.
May we all attain true cleanliness.