Cleanliness is the Beginning of Yoga


When Patanjali the father of Yoga listed the eight parts of yoga in his founding text on Yoga, the first thing he mentioned that a human needs to do after rejecting his animal and inhumane tendencies such as violence (yama) is cleanliness. He described the five rules or Niyams required for evolution after giving up animal characteristics like violence, stealing etc. These five rules were – cleanliness, contentment i.e. giving up on greed, tap i.e. order and discipline, self assessment to weed out weaknesses and finally trust in the Lord.

When this author interpreted Yoga from a modern point of view he had coined the term Entropy Yoga described in an earlier post and cleanliness is the first step here too.  Civilization in the Indian subcontinent appears to have begun in the Indus valley and this civilization as evident from its ruins was a highly clean civilization. The people of this civilization invented the sewerage system and covered drains. However in the millennia that passed since the time many cities and towns of India have become some of the dirtiest of cities in the world. A lot of inhabited India has become hugely messy and the messiest of places are its public places like markets and religious towns. The cleanest parts are the areas largely untouched by man as in the Himalayas and the countryside.

It is heartening therefore that the new Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has realized this and stressed on restoring cleanliness to the country beginning with a five year campaign on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi who too used to stress the same on the second of October 2015. India is now fortunate to have got a leader that is taking this message across the length and breadth of the country and this blogger wishes much success for this campaign.

PS: When I shared this link on facebook, a friend and former Professor of mine, Professor S M Yahya from IIT Delhi and former Pro VC, Aligarh Muslim University, pointed out that in Islam there is a great stress on Cleanliness and in Arabic there is a saying that cleanliness is half of belief.


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