Cleanliness doesnt Depend on Wealth or Poverty – 27 Mar 10


Yesterday I wrote about people’s experiences here in India and about how they experience dirt or cleanliness in very different ways. I have heard some people say ‘It is dirty of course, there is a lot of poverty!’ Actually this is not really the reason. At least here in Vrindavan it is not like this. We are surrounded by a river on three sides and generally don’t have any water problems unlike other areas of India. So poverty cannot be the reason for being dirty. And I said yesterday already that I know many people who are poor but who value cleanliness very much. It has really nothing to do with wealth.

When we went into one of our children’s homes last year, we saw how clean they keep these two small rooms in which seven people live together. It was so clean you could eat off the floor. And actually they do not have a dining table so they literally eat off the floor.

On the other hand there are many people, especially those who have a lot of things accumulated over the years, whose houses are so disorganized and dirty that you wonder if they cannot afford soap or a broom although they could even pay someone to come daily for cleaning! Cleanliness doesn’t come by birth, it doesn’t come by money. It is your attitude and habit. Keep your home clean and it will be easy for you to keep yourself clean.

3 Replies to “Cleanliness doesnt Depend on Wealth or Poverty – 27 Mar 10”

  1. Ghana, West Africa has a “throw away” culture. For thousands of years people have eaten food out of leaves and tossed it to the side when finished. There are many other habits that are similar. The tools they have traditionally used and thrown away have been biodegradable. When the west introduced plastic to Africa people kept up the same habits, exporting its problems without the solutions. There was no pre-established infrastructure to deal with trash disposal or pickup and people kept throwing things on the ground unaware that plastics take an unfathomable amount of time to disintegrate. There is trash everywhere that poisons earth and water and no education program to warn people not to pick up highly toxic materials like copper and eat off them or use them to cook. When I was in Ghana I held onto my trash until I found a waste basket. Ghanaians would look at me oddly, sometimes even reprimanding me and demanding I through my trash on the ground. Respect for earth and respect for culture can clash. I would be respecting no one by throwing my trash out the window of a bus or over my shoulder. I learned something. If you know it harms the earth and others, be bold. You can stay open to other people and still refrain from following the herd. Trust your heart.

  2. This is an interesting insight. But true… being clean has nothing to do with money, just your preferences and habits. As long as there is water and soap to clean with, anyone could maintain a clean body and living space. I know people who are always messy and have plenty of money. This stereotype is just way off.

  3. If you have a big nose or bowlegs for example, this is no problem. It’s your nature and it is fine. But being clean is not automatically your nature, it is your habit. To me, being clean also means to be respectful to your body and also to your home. Usually people clean and wash those things, that have a certain value.