What is Purity?

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Purity is something that does not exist. Purity is an idea of a sattwic state in life that can be achieved and attained. Life revolves around rajasic and tamasic behaviours. The qualities of rajas and tamas create a corresponding change in the mind and personality. If one is subjected to a rajasic state, there will be aggression and assertion. If one is subjected to tamas, there will be stagnation and lethargy.

Purity, in this context, means to first establish oneself in the sattwic nature. After all, if one wants to construct a house, one needs to have the right tools and materials for construction. If one wants to build a citadel of purity in life, one needs to have the right tools and materials. The tool is the movement from tamas to rajas to sattwa. The material in which this purity can be built and developed is the sattwa nature in all dimensions and strata of life.

Until and unless sattwa becomes established, one should forget about purity. Until then, purity is only a fantasy or an ideological concept. Effort has to be made to move to the sattwic state. After one has reached sattwa, one can discuss how to develop purity, not before.

—5 May 2006, Ganga Darshan, Munger