When nothing feels filthy, everything may be tidy – or everything may be filthy
Suppose we enter a tidy room. If we cast one thing around carelessly, it stands out as an eyesore. But if the whole room is a mess, whatever we cast around is not even noticed. Thus, if nothing feels out of place, it could be because everything is in its place or because everything is out of place.
What applies to physical filth also applies to mental filth. Suppose we see something impure. Normally, we would feel a twinge of conscience. But if we don’t, it could mean that our consciousness is filled with so many impurities that this particular impurity doesn’t trigger any inner alarm. Thus, if a stimulus doesn’t feel impure, that feeling may arise from two possible reasons: it may not be impure or we may be too impure to sense its impurity. To know which, we need to evaluate not just that stimulus, but also the overall state of our consciousness.
What makes such evaluation difficult is that mental dirt can feel the opposite of repulsive: it can seem attractive. For example, when we expose ourselves to sensuality or violence, we feel more attracted to extreme depictions of sensuality and violence. And this applies not just to cultural depictions, but even to our own actions. The Bhagavad-gita (16.14) states that the demonic – those whose minds are filled with filth – delight in violently eliminating their rivals. Rather than finding the thought of killing someone shocking, they find it exciting. Because everything is filthy within them, they find nothing filthy, not even murder.
To evaluate our purity level, we can’t rely just on whether anything we perceive presently feels impure. We need an objective moral meter best provided by time-honored wisdom-texts such as the Bhagavad-gita.
Think it over:
- How does our perception of filth depend on context?
- What is a significant difference between physical dirt and mental dirt?
- How can we evaluate the purity level of our consciousness?
16.14 The demoniac person thinks: “… He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy.”
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