Paragraph on Cleanliness of Mind and Body

Outline:

  • Cleanliness is a natural instinct with all animals.
  • Man should look to the cleanliness of his body if he is to justify his claim to be higher animal.
  • The mind is oven more important. A dirty thought is worse than a dirty skin.
  • We should aim at “Mens same in corpore sano.”

All living creatures have an instinct that makes them seek after cleanliness. The cat is very scrupulous in its toilet, and is very unhappy if any dirt has stuck to its fur. Elephants, deer, as well as cows and buffaloes come to the rivers and tank to bathe. Even sparrows and mynas will be seen enjoying a bath in a pool of water at times. If man is to justify his claim to be highest of all animals, he must be no less anxious for cleanliness. Yet it is not to be denied that the instinct is not so strong in some men. It is a stock joke with western writers that schoolboys do not like to wash.

in Man breathes through the skin, as well as with the lungs. The natural arrangements for cooling the body and getting rid of waste products from the blood include the skin, which, by means of sweat glands, discharges perspiration or sweat. This can be unpleasant in smell, and, if left on the skin and mingled with dirt, can become a breeding ground for germs. A clean skin is a great precaution against disease; a dirty skin is likely to spread infection and at least often others with whom one may come in contact. It is no wonder that several religions contain obligations to purify one’s self by bathing, especially before prayer. There is an English proverb; “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” In a tropical country, the need for frequent washing is much greater than in the west, for the perspiration is being discharged continually.

There are other form of dirt, however, than that which lies on a man’s skin. The mud which lies on the man or woman who has been labouring in the fields is an honest, healthy, and noble kind of dirt. But lying and impure thoughts in the mind are a stain on the soul of a man, and not to be removed with a little soap and water. The mind can be purified and the soul can be cleansed by prayer, by meditation: and fasting, which are like purifying water in the realm of spirit. The physical part of man is animals-like, and there are frequent temptations to impure thought and sinful actions. The soul musi strive to resist these influences and maintain purity.

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There was an old Latin proverb, often used by Roman writers, when speaking about the idea and desirable condition of a man. This was, “Mens sana in corpore sano.” The meaning of it is, “A sound (healthy) mind in a sound body.” It is an excellent ideal for us all to set before ourselves in life.

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