“Cleanliness is next to godliness” is a phrase that was first recorded in a sermon by John Wesley in 1778.
The first thought about it is related to spirituality itself. What would you think about a place of worship littered with dirty plastic cups and garbage? Would you feel like worshipping there? Would you feel the presence of God there? The simple answer is No. Without maintaining a clean environment it is not possible to have a meaningful spirituality.
The second thought is about health. Maintaining good physical and mental health is closely related to cleanliness. A sound mind can only reside in a healthy body. To have a healthy body cleanliness is a must. Think about it this way. A hospital is a place where patients are treated. What if hospitals are not maintaining proper cleanliness? The very place that is supposed to bring health and healing and wholeness will become the place where diseases and epidemics spread from. So it is very evident that cleanliness is an absolute must as far as health is concerned.
Now let us turn our thoughts to children going to school. They come in uniforms; don’t they? What if a huge majority of children come to school in dirty uniforms? That will be total lack of discipline and self-respect. Children and teachers when they come in neat and modest dress create an atmosphere in school where study becomes a joy and not a burden. There is a general sense of well-being. As we stretch this example, one of the impacts created by the armed forces as they march during the republic parade is the absolute clean dress codes they maintain. What a sense of pride in the nation they give to us!
Again, cleanliness in our surroundings is a civic responsibility. Each citizen of India is responsible for keeping our streets and open spaces clean. Most people have a selfish thought that they can dirty their neigbour’s place in order keep their own compounds clean. But that it a bad attitude. We need to work together to achieve cleanliness on a nationwide scale. We need to clean up our homes and neighbourhoods, residential areas and public places, streets and highways, and places of cultural heritage and tourist importance as well.
Let me now conclude. Would you like to visit a beach that is fully littered with plastic waste? I am sure you along with other visitors would prefer a place with clean surroundings; isn’t it? Again, when you travel and enter a wayside hotel or restaurant what if you are served food in an unwashed plate and the hotel itself has not been cleaned for days! Would you eat food there. NO. So it is very clear that cleanliness is next to godliness and those who wish to succeed in life should make it a discipline and habit to maintain cleanliness in life. Thank you.