I remember as a small boy meeting my Mum many times in the Civic Restaurant Kitchen where she was manageress just after the war (WWII). On the wall was a sign in black, white and red showing a pair of hands being washed under a running tap. The words underneath the picture read, “Cleanliness prevents disease”.
All grown up and after my foray into Engineering, followed by Cheffing, then through different catering equipment manufacturers combining the two trades, I went into Training of staff in new catering installations, and naturally fell into the business of Health and Safety as Kitchens can be risky places to work unless you are aware of and take precautions against the hazards of hot, sharp and extremely cold appliances.
One of the many tasks of keeping the place up to scratch against disease apart from personal hygiene was the correct maintenance of the equipment, which over the years became more and more sophisticated. However, one of the more mundane tasks was to ensure that the copper cooking pots, the best for even heat distribution to the food being cooked was to ensure that the lining, or tinning as we called it, which wore away with use, did not wear through to the copper base.
Look how Sai Baba uses this fact in his analogy below:
External cleanliness, devoid of internal cleanliness is nothing short of deceitfulness. Internal cleanliness is more essential than external cleanliness. Though a cup may be clean and attractive outside, we cannot drink water from it, if it is unclean inside. Food cooked in copper vessels turns poisonous, if the vessel does not have a silver coating inside. Hence, observe internal cleanliness with meticulous care. Strive to remain free from the diseases of hatred, bad thoughts and vicious practices. God has gifted you this human body for achieving excellence in your daily life and attaining proximity with Divinity. Cultivate spirituality, acquire spiritual traits, attain proximity to the Divine and merge in Him. This must be your firm resolve. You can achieve this by sanctifying your body with sacred actions, until your last breath.
– Divine Discourse, Oct 10, 1997.
Having been told by some well known TV and Internet Doctors that we wash too often, thus destroying the natural colonies of good bacteria on our bodies and that washing in minimal amounts of cold water is just as effective as gushing hot water and also saves water and energy at the same time as keeping us adequately clean, saving on soap too, we have re-evaluated our daily ablutions on the outside of our bodies. Sensible, logical and ecologically sound wouldn’t you say?
Internally: Well, back to the small boy, not that the parent went but I was sent to Church – Sunday School, Choir and Youth club, so I gleaned a basis of internal what shall I call it, religious anticepticism that showed me the way to the door if not the key to open it. Since then of course like so many I have imagined the door to be a wall, but …
Do you remember the semi-psychological party game where you were asked a few questions like:
1. You are in a wood and there in the leafy ground cover is a key. What sort and size of key is it?
2. You come out of the wood and there is a lake that you have to get across. How do you cross?
3. Once across the lake there in front of you is a wall that stretches as far as the eye can see. What sort and height is the wall?
There were a lot more of course, but so as not to give the whole game away, the sort of key is your concept of the opportunities you see for yourself in your life and the height of the wall is an indication of your fear of death.
Well my answer to the latter was an old stone wall about the height of a metre meaning I could easily get over it and therefore my fear of death is minimal!
It made me wonder why I see in my psychological searches in my mind so many walls that are in fact doors. It is a fact that we create and accumulate rubbish in all aspect of our lives. House, garden, car, but worst of all upstairs, no not in the bedroom or bathroom, but in our heads!
There is no doubt that the greatest help comes when we go into our HPT and ask for the Trinity to meet up for that essential conversation that ensures that a) we are on the right path and b) we are carrying out the right spring cleaning and cleansing of the consciousness. Our daily rituals of blessing all food and drink, blessing each other with the sign of the cross on the forehead each night before sleep, prayer and meditation morning and evening, plus of course our exercises, all add to the arsenal of ascension to the Lord.
It matters not what ritual you use, what faith you follow or what prayers you use to praise and thank the Lord. A mental attitude of simple gratitude and cleanliness of Body, Mind and Spirit in the forefront of your thoughts and actions are the best way forward.