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The concept of "Shuddhi" (Cleanliness)  


Many of Baba's disciples and devotees were conflicted about this concept. People from different backgrounds and cultures had their own way of interpreting shuddhi or spiritual cleanliness as we are brought up to understand it in India.

Many devotees and disciples, especially women, asked Baba at various times on how to reconcile shuddhi with their daily work and worship.

Baba always stressed that motive and intent is more important than form. Mere ritual bathing and a change of clothes without corresponding sentiments rising in the heart, is fruitless, He stated unequivocally.

To illustrate this Baba recounted how Mother Yashoda would serve her Gopal lovingly even though He was perpetually covered in dust and cow-dung. She would not hesitate to pick Him and embrace Him and feed Him, even though she used to have her monthly periods.

Similarly, Nimai used to deliberately go and play amidst sullied utensils and cover Himself with soot and grime, which greatly distressed Mother Sachi, who was very conscious of shuddh and ashuddh. But He endeavoured to teach her the importance of right sentiment and bhava (feeling) over ritual habit.

Baba used to stress that monthly periods etc., are just natural phenomena and unless one is ill or in pain, one should not stop doing ones's duty to God and family.

One can be lying in bed and thinking deeply about the divine lila or saying one's mantra with total concentration. This is better and more effective than bathing and sitting in front of the diety and absentmindedly hurrying through one's prayers.

It is alright to say the mantra / shlokas without bathing or even brushing.

Paramount is Bhava.