The principle of purity

THE PRINCIPLE OF PURITY
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VICTOR KANNAN inspires us to cultivate our original state of purity and simplicity.


I am intrigued to see new brands of clothing, nutrition and perfume called ‘Purity’ and ‘Pure’. Despite this trend, I feel that the idea of purity is repugnant to many people. It has a religious or moral connotation, and people cringe and their minds close. They withdraw and avoid the conversation, for they feel uncomfortable with any ritual or worship that focuses on purity. They don’t associate purity with the presence of love, forgiveness, empathy and compassion that could inspire them. Instead they feel judged because of their impurity, and dislike the self-righteousness of those who preach purity. Also, in many people’s minds the idea of purity is limited to fidelity in the conjugal relationship of marriage. Lack of purity in relationships creates separation, feelings of guilt, and other complications of insecurity, disappointment, anger and loss of discernment. No one is perfect, and yet the idea of cheerful acceptance of each other is farfetched.

Adulteration of any kind causes impurity, not just in relationships or in the mind. Can we mix oil and water? Do we rear goats and lions in the same cage? When everything is in its own space and time, in character and content, we can say there is purity. In other words, when there is no adulteration there is purity.

This leads us to explore the idea of simplicity. Simplicity is related to purity, while complexity is not. Everything in its own nature is pure and anything pretentious is not. Don’t we say ‘pure and simple’ all the time?

Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur says, “Be simple to be identical with Nature.” Is Nature simple? It has so much variety and grandeur. Its origin is fascinating and its sustenance mind-boggling. Still we say that to be simple and in tune with Nature begets happiness and joy in living.

Natural forces can be powerful and awe-inspiring. They may be simple, yet when unleashed they can create huge disasters and also sustain the creation on an enormous scale. The sun shines daily and sustains the life of trillions of life forms. It is a blind force. It is majestic and serene at the same time. What is this character in Nature that makes it simple in spite of being so majestic?

In Nature there is predictability. The laws of nature operate inexorably. There are no double standards or pretention. In other words, there is no complexity. Nature is diverse and yet it has no complexity in its character. It is pure and simple.

Looking at human beings through the same lens, we can say we are physiologically complex, with so many organs, connections and signals passing through us, with extraordinary interdependence, yet the human body works like Nature. Where we find the most complexity is in the mind.

When we describe people as simple on one side and complex on the other, what is the characteristic that defines that spectrum? Let us look at it from the same standard of viewing Nature. Are we the same externally as we are internally? Do we exhibit trustable, predictable behavior?

Think about the distinction between man-made versus natural. Even in shoes, the label distinguishes manmade materials from natural leather. So simplicity and complexity, too, may have to be understood from the point of view of what comes from nature and what is man-made.

When the mind creates things for the sake of itself or its identification, it ends up complex. Such complexity is adulteration or impurity. It is not simple addition but complex accumulation that takes us away from our true nature of purity.


When we become pure:
We see the interconnectedness of being.
We respect and cherish each other.
We contribute to the communal and collective well-being.
We begin to weave our destiny.


Our intuitive appreciation of purity drives us to value purity, while we also struggle with the tendencies that make us impure. It took time for us to become impure, so it’s reasonable to think that it will take time to become pure once more, when we are awakened to the possibility. If we have impure thoughts and actions, we need to examine them and reverse them, like rewinding a tape in forward motion, for the past is the past. A conscious process will take less time than the unconscious one that resulted in our current state.

The true nature of our being is to be pure. As Nature is also pure, it becomes our ally once we undertake a conscious journey towards purity. Nature cooperates: when we head in the wrong direction, there are obstacles, pain and suffering. When we head in the right direction, we feel happy joyful and expansive, and that is also Nature cooperating. We can also augment our level of purity by acts of kindness and generosity.

When we become pure:
We see the interconnectedness of being.
We respect and cherish each other.
We contribute to the communal and collective well-being.
We begin to weave our destiny.

If we accept that purity weaves destiny, then our destiny is here awaiting us. We shape our existence so that our life is infused with purity – and this shaping is in the proper learning, doing and becoming. We weave it into our existence by becoming pure and simple as Nature intended us to be.



Article by VICTOR KANNAN


Victor Kannan

About Victor Kannan

Victor is a Director for Heartfulness Institute, USA, a non-profit organization educating, researching and spreading the values of yoga, meditation and overall wellness. He has been an avid practitioner of Heartfulness Meditation and a trainer for more than 30 years. As a career CFO he has been able to combine the benefits of meditation in the everyday management of his duties and responsibilities. He lives with his wife in Atlanta and has a daughter.

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