Cleanliness and purityWhen I see sincere, devoted disciples in front of me during meditation, it gives me tremendous inspiration. It is like this. Before we invoke the Supreme or a cosmic god, the power that they have remains dormant; it does not increase or expand. But when it gets inspiration, it can roar like a lion. Sri Ramachandra, our first Indian Avatar, inspired Mother Durga to bring forward her own qualities and then she conquered all the undivine forces. Similarly, the members of an orchestra can come and inspire their conductor. It is like a father with his children. When the children play, the father can come and inspire them and, similarly, when the children are playing, they can give tremendous joy and inspiration to their father and mother. So it is absolutely true that when you people come with aspiration, it helps me a lot and makes it easier for me to give. Otherwise, it is like trying to give to a solid wall.
But when I see that disciples have not taken a proper shower, I forget all about their inspiration and aspiration. A few days ago I blessed the mothers in one of our Centres for Mother’s Day, and how they cursed me! I had to ask the Centre leader to bring me hot water and a towel to wash my hands. I said to these disciples, “I bless you and you simply give me all your impurity and physical dirt.” If they had come to me with purity, they would definitely have inspired me.
Some of my spiritual children are very bad in this respect. The Centre leader can scold them, but even then they will come back the next week, like naughty children, without having taken a shower. On the one hand, these disciples are really devoted and dedicated. How they give when it is a matter of selfless service or love-offering! But on the other hand they do something that creates a most deplorable problem for me. And this has been going on for a long time. It is a real shame.
God-realisation will not come from taking a shower ten times a day. No! There are fishermen who spend all day in the water, but will their God-realisation come before ours? I don’t think so. But again, if we keep our body very clean, the soul gets more of an opportunity to come forward. A shower cannot take more than ten minutes. It is simply a matter of wanting to please me.
On rare occasions, when I bless people on their birthdays, for example, as I gaze at them their impurity enters into me like an arrow. If a person is impure, I feel as though somebody is attacking me with an arrow. I don’t even have to look at the person. I may be looking this side or that side, but I keep myself absolutely open on all levels so that everyone and everything can come to me, to attack me or receive from me.
Now, on weekdays if you cannot take a shower before coming to the Centre because of your office work or your other activities, I won’t blame you. But please at least wash your face and hands and sprinkle water on your arms; you can easily do this. It would be good if the young men would buy one extra white outfit which they will keep only for meditation. Then it will keep a purer vibration. It will be like a costume. You should not wear to meditation the same old clothes that you wear every day. This place is like a temple. When you come here, your body and your clothing should be fresh and clean.
In our consciousness, our spiritual consciousness, there is always purity, but when we are dealing with the physical it is a different matter. It can happen that somebody may be inwardly spiritual but physically dirty. Tradition says that Ganges water is the purest, but now you cannot even go near it, although higher — near Rishikesh — it is a little cleaner. When the physical is dirty, it is like offering poison to the Master. Instead of that poison, people can offer something really divine. Again, sometimes a disciple’s consciousness may be bad but physically he is clean. Perhaps in the inner world he is cherishing jealousy or other undivine thoughts.
When my disciples give me food or water, I don’t use my occult power to protect myself as I do when I eat in a restaurant, because I expect that my disciples will give me the purest food and water. But one or two times when I was giving lectures at universities, you can’t imagine the kind of water my disciples gave me! My expectation is my mistake. Many times I have suffered in this way. Sometimes at the Centre, when people give me the food that they have prepared, it is beyond my capacity to eat it. I may take one spoonful, but many times it happens that I can’t even touch the food I am given, although I may be really hungry. If they were cherishing undivine thoughts when they were cooking, all these forces will be in the food and their food will be like poison to me. If they haven’t cooked with love, devotion and surrender, their whole day of cooking is wasted.
When I go to disciples’ houses, forgive me, there are a few places where I really suffer. I have two disciples — a husband and wife — of whom I am most fond, but once when I visited their home, how difficult it was for me! It was not the poverty of the place, but the uncleanness. If I hadn’t accepted their food, they would have been really sad, so I said, “All right, although it is unclean, I will eat it to give them joy!” I ate it; then I suffered like anything. In India also I used to suffer. It is not always true that birds of a feather flock together. Very unspiritual boys used to eat beside me in the dining hall and give me their impurity. It would all enter into me; then I would smile at them and throw it into my Universal Consciousness. And if I didn’t sit beside them, they would feel I was indifferent. You can’t imagine how spiritual Masters can suffer in this way.
Usually when I travel or go to new places, I have several close disciples with me. One of them always goes to see if the place is clean. While I was travelling by car to Canada recently, there were two or three places on the way where I literally could not enter because of the uncleanliness. Believe me, disciples have to protect me; I need protection. And since I need protection on the physical plane, disciples should be more pure when they give me anything.