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What Is Holiness? – Vedanta Kesari Answers

What is holiness? Does one become holy by externally giving up all worldly ties and objects, dressing in a particular way, having a specific name, eating sanctified food, living in an ashrama and following a specific style of living? Of course, these traits do indicate that a person is different from others; he is living differently and is perhaps holy. These are external marks and, in a larger scheme of life, they have role to play. They indicate something sublime is in the offing. And person endowed with these is likely to be on his way to holiness. These marks can protect him from many temptations, safeguarding him from the dangers of certain demands of the world. They may also be a reminder to him that he is treading a holy path.

A holy person ‘belongs’ to God. His dress and other traits tell others that he should be given all the liberty and opportunity to practice his spiritual ideal. A bell is rung when one sees him—that one should also try to live a holy life. But holiness is more than external marks, though these marks work as preventive measures against pitfalls and temptation which spiritual path is beset with.

Holiness, however, lies in the mind. It comes as a result of inner purity and an unworldly state of mind. Holiness lies in our motives and intentions; it comes from within, from a person’s state of inner evolution.

Unselfishness, thus, is the core of holiness. A holy person is free from selfish calculations and actions. He does not want to devote his precious energy and time to selfish and pleasure seeking pursuits. He seeks to give a higher turn to his energies. And succeeds.

SourceVedanta Kesari November 2011 editorial