“Cleanliness is next to godliness”, this aphorism is with us since ages. It is an indirect biblical statement and countless people have commented upon it, orally as well as in text I have gone through the pages of history to get to the bottom of statement. I turned pages of dictionaries to know it meaning. But no clear explanation and meanings are found. Some regarded it mere physical cleanliness of thing and some even went on to say. “l cleaned my hands but didn’t get closer to God”. Some famous writers like PJ.
O’ Rourke aid: “Cleanliness becomes more important when godlessness is unlikely”. Many indulged in the battle of words of godliness and godlessness. Diversity, diversion and delusion of meanings damned this adage. So, it is matter of prime importance to get to the real meaning of cleanliness, godliness and the whole statement. Godliness denotes state of being pure, virtuous and holiness thus getting close to God. And cleanliness means an act Of purification leading to the level of sanctification. The whole statement means cleanliness takes a common man to the proximity of God.
This journey starts from cleanliness of clothes, body and surroundings. Everything around us should be clean and beautiful. For which, Addison says “Beauty produces love, but cleanliness preserves it’. Then, there is the cleanliness of mind. Mind should be clear off from all the feelings of hatred, harm and haram( sinful). Buddha’s eight fold path emphasized much in the cleanliness of mind. When the dirt of sinfulness is obliterated from the screen of mind, noble, lovable and pious actions come into action.
The tongue sings sweat song of love, fraternity and kindness. When actions and words are clean, purity of soul and spirit is an ultimate product. When soul is soaring sky high in morality; purity, piety and piousness of God is not far away. So cleanliness means cleaning of clothes, body, mind, heart, gossip and soul. It is a multistage process and elevates one closer to God. Perhaps, it is the level of cleanliness for which The Holly Book says “God loves the clean” . That is why! The core and crux of all the religions is “cleanliness” of all kind.
Bacon said, “Cleanliness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due everence to God, to society, and to ourselves”. Look at the globe, you will find two categories of countries. In one group of countries, you will find cleanliness of all forms and these are the countries which we call ‘advanced’. While in a group of countries where there is lack of cleanliness, they are languishing behind in every field . So, the progress of nations is interlinked with the cleanliness.