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Spiritual Meditations ( 18 Aug 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Cleanliness is Emptiness

By Amrit Sadhana

Aug 18th, 2010

The Osho International Meditation Resort, where I live, is known for its pristine cleanliness. Considering that it is spread over 28 acres of land, and visited by thousands of people, the standard of its immaculate cleanliness is astounding. Every visitor is struck by the attention to detail in cleaning the smallest part. Even a speck of dust doesn’t go unnoticed.

I often give tours to special guests who come here, drawn by the fame of this place. One morning I was showing around a chief justice from a remote state. While walking around he noticed the cleaning spree — every leaf on every tree was being washed, the marbled walkways were being scrubbed sparkling clean. Quite impressed, he remarked to his wife, “Look at the way they are cleaning, how engrossed they are. I wish our offices were like this”.

Pat came his wife’s reply, in the typical “wifely” style, “So, why don’t you manage it in your office?”

“Oh, the Class IV employees don’t clean properly”, he exclaimed.

My step faltered, something hit me: Class IV? What class of humanity is this? Living in the Osho meditation resort for a long time I had completely forgotten about these human compartments and the rigid caste system.

In India it is so common for the Class IV to clean the dirt thrown by the Class I, II and III. In this great spiritual country almost one-fourth of humanity is born as cleaners. This water-tight class system has been handed over to us down the ages. It is taken for granted and nobody looks at it with fresh eyes.

It hurts me to see that the so-called “Class IV” keep cleaning the garbage they don’t throw around; they keep cleaning toilets they have not made dirty and the upper classes keep throwing filth that they will never clean! They don’t so much as blink while littering public places, as if it is their birthright to make it dirty because the “born cleaners” will remove their garbage.

The chief justice’s statement was a jolt, but it answered another question that had been bugging me for many years: Why is this beautiful country so filthy? On one hand there is the height of mystics and their truth, the amazing finery of art and culture, the best brains in the world who make a name for themselves anywhere on the planet, and on the other hand a complete disregard for the surroundings, utter lack of civic sense. Almost as if it is irreligious to keep public places clean!

The thought that someone else will clean for you is playing havoc with our inner and outer environment. If 75 per cent of the population is entitled to throw dirt around and only 25 per cent is supposed to clean it, what will be the quality of cleanliness?

The outer mess is a reflection of the inner mess. Indian mind is a junkyard. It is full of old baggage because it is attached to the old — old ideas, beliefs, conditioning and culture. Osho calls it “garbage”. When there is a heap of garbage within, how can the outside be without it? It is high time we realise that old is no more gold, old is dead.

Osho defines cleanliness as emptiness: “You have to clean yourself; and nothing less than emptiness will be accepted as cleanliness. In the West they say, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’. There is no god so there is no question about that. But I say, ‘Cleanliness is just next to emptiness. In fact, cleanliness is another name for inner emptiness’”.

The outer garbage is a symptom, a reflection of the inner garbage. Although it is true that modern India is changing, and immerging as a cleaner and more aesthetic place, it is still an uphill task to inculcate the habit of cleanliness in everybody.

A teacher was once checking her students’ knowledge of proverbs.

“Cleanliness is next to what?” she asked.

“Impossible!” a small boy replied with great feeling.

At the moment we are in the shoes of this small child.

— Amrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad.

Source: The Asian Age