First off I don’t really believe that old aphorism that “cleanliness is next to godliness”. If that were true, I’d be going straight to Hell in a handbasket, I am sure. But the idea fits well with another – and equally implausible – connection to “godliness” I have been seeing around the “interwebs” these days. Numbers. No, not the fourth book of the Torah. Actual numbers. Calculations. Statistics. Percentages. A points system for God’s sake! A friend tells me there is a Buddhist blogger out there who devised a points system for weighing the karmic badness to assign to the killing and/or eating of various types of animals.
If that were not baffling enough, I myself have come across a chart which shows how the “spiritual efficacy of a Gurumantra is dependent on the spiritual level of the person giving the mantra.” The chart goes on to assign a percentage to the “spiritual level” of the guru imparting the mantra, and a percentage to the “amount of divine energy (Chaitanya)” in the imparted mantra.
I don’t understand how one can assign such a value to a person (guru) for starters. The whole idea is highly suspect.
It goes on and on in that vein but the reason I am actually posting this today is because I was recently reminded that I had started it by a comment a friend of mine made asking me “Isn’t cleanliness next to godliness?” another concept which is highly suspect. I responded “Yes but so is filth.” I think many of the sadhus of India would agree. But I suppose it is a question of intent. One can corrupt one’s surroundings with one’s filth. Hell, one can BE corrupted by one’s own filth. Or one can wear it as a sign that he cannot be swayed by the various temptations of either filth or cleanliness. Do you judge godliness based on physical cleanliness when one might be spiritually filthy?
These aphorisms need to go, and the calculations I’ve referred to, though there is always room for discussion of such topics at the table of spiritual discourse, I personally am at a loss for what value they have. Maybe someone can help.
Jai Hari Aum.