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One problem arises when we place so much emphasis on the externals that they overshadow the internal.


I mention the example of the thief above.I've seen a devotee woman who sometimes wears a sari with tilak, beads etc. and hangs around downtown smoking cigarettes.Looks terrible.I've seen Catholic priests smoking in public also.


Maybe the external expressions should come after some internal change.


As for turning people off,some people will be turned off by Indian dress.Others may be attracted.It seems to me there is room for both approaches.Consistent Vaisnava behavior is where the preaching potency really lays.

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  • 5 months later...

But I just discovered it.


I find devotee dress to be very attractive and it also gives the opportunity to speak to others about Krishna, chanting, Srila Prabhupada because the curious will ask you about your garb.


I live in a very very very tiny redneck western town (not even a town) and used to wear sarees to my ex-job. I would get all kinds of reactions - from extreme distaste to the very interested curious. I even got a few of the local women into sarees and salwar kameez.



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Funny this thread would come back up today. Synchronicity I guess. I was sitting at UC under a tree reading this afternoon, when out of my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse of bright orange cloth flowing by. I looked up and there was this bramacari walking by, bookbag over his shoulder and a book in hand.I said Hare Krsna and he turned and we had a brief chat. He was very young, all shaved up and had that nice glow about him. I really got a lift from just those few moments.


Had he been dressed like me I would have missed out on that exchange.

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caught your attention and gave the brahmacari a chance to discuss Lord Krsna etc with you.


Who knows how many times a day when he walks pass someone - they think or say outloud "Oh there goes a Hare Krsna guy." They say or think the names of the Supreme Lord and even if by accident that is beneficial.


Then there are the bravely curious who will stop him - giving him the opportunity to preach etc.


Devotee clothing is very nice - it causes one to remember Lord Krsna even if by accident.

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if sp said so, then it means that

what is important is to be KC.

any dress is fine as long as you are KC.


a dress/uniform has to be suitable

for the karma one would do wearing it.


dhoti is for brahmins and sadhus

who would not usually use their physical might (if any)

to check any one from doing any adharma. they woudl simply preach (and sometime it may not be of use when action is needed.)


kshatriya devotees need to wear something like police and military.


this age is of terrorism and HK's are sure target of the islamists. so it would be wise to wear something

that helps check any terrorist if a situation demands it.


with dhoti, it is even difficult to run away easily from trouble.


tilak and mala is sufficient to show one is vaishnav.

so i would recommend HK's to put on a dress

that is most suitable to do the job you do for living.


krishna does not discriminate if you do not wear dhoti.

so obviously krishna devotees would not discriminate either.

i do not.


jai radhe!



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<theist prabhu,

are you a prof at UC berkeley?

hare krishna. <


LOL No way. I'm a middle school drop out. I live two blocks from campus and go there a lot. I use it like a park, nice place to read and watch girls. oops /images/graemlins/wink.gif


I meet nice intelligent people up there from time to time and some times pass out leaflets. Mostly just stay to myself and read though.

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Would someone be kind enough to explain what take the essence means.I have seen this on many posts and am wondering at the meaning of it.This shinning all shines it is by this light that man sees it is by this light that man knows it is through this light alone that anything is.Infinite duality is the result of incomplete knowledge of the self this is the world of samsara.Within and without I shine within and without atman shines go back and read the Upanishads many blessings many blessings may the rays of divine effulgence ever shine within and without may all take refuge in the self.

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It is a reference to this letter to Krsnadasa from Srila Prabhupada.Through it he is advising all of us not to get hung up on certain allegories and just take the essence of the scripture. Here is the entire letter to provide context.

Letter to: Krsnadasa



7 November, 1972



My Dear Krsnadasa,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated October 30, 1972, and I have noted the contents. It appears that you are again constantly disturbed by the same nonsense doubts. These things are not very important, we may not waste our time with these insignificant questions. If we are seeking to find out some fault, maya will give us all facility to find any small thing and make it very big, that is maya. But such questions as yours: why there is so-called discrepancy between the views of Bhagavat and modern scientists regarding the moon and other planets, and whether Hitler is good or bad man, these are most insignificant matters, and for anyone who is sincerely convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for him these questions do not arise. Our information comes from Vedas, and if we believe Krishna, that

vedaham samatitani

vartamanani carjuna

bhavisyani ca bhutani

mam tu veda na kascana

[bg. 7.26]

that He knows everything, and ``vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham,'' that Krishna is non-different from Vedas, then these questions do not arise.

But because you have asked me, I am your spiritual master, I must try to answer to your satisfaction. Yes, sometimes in Vedas such things like the asura's decapitated head chasing after Candraloka, sometimes it is explained allegorically. Just like now we are explaining in 4th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam the story of King Puranjana. Just like the living entity is living within this body, and the body is described there as city with nine gates, the intelligence as the Queen. So there are sometimes allegorical explanations. So there are many things which do not corroborate with the so-called modern science, because they are explained in that way. But where is the guarantee that modern science is also correct? So we are concerned with Krishna Consciousness, and even though there is some difference of opinion between modern science and allegorical explanation in the Bhagavat, we have to take the essence of Srimad-Bhagavatam and utilize it for our higher benefit, without bothering about the correctness of the modern science or the allegorical explanation sometimes made in Srimad-Bhagavatam. But this is a fact that in each and every planet there is a predominant deity, as we have got experience in this planet there is a president, so it is not wonderful when the predominating deity fights with another predominating deity of another planet. The modern science takes everything as dead stone. We take it for granted that everything is being manipulated by a person in each and every affair of the cosmology. The modern scientists however could not make any progress in the understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, therefore we do not accept modern science as very perfect. We take Krishna's version:

gam avisya ca bhutani

dharayamy aham ojasa

pusnami causadhih sarvah

somo bhutvah rasatmakah

(BG, 15.13)

``I become the moon,'' and ``yac chandramasi yac cagnau,'' (ibid, 12) ``I am the splendor of the moon,'' and ``jyotisam api taj jyotis,'' (BG, 13.18) ``I am the source of light in all luminous objects,'' so no one is able to give us the correct information than Krishna, that you should know.


Regarding Hitler, so Hitler may be good man or bad man, so what does he help to our Krishna Consciousness movement? But it is a fact that much propaganda was made against him, that much I know, and the Britishers are first-class propagandists. And I have heard that his officers did everything without informing him, just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: ``Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that.'' But we have nothing to do with Hitler in our Krishna Consciousness. Do not be deviated by such ideas ``Jnanam jneyam jnana-gamyam,'' (ibid), Krishna is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, He is the goal of knowledge, and

you mam evam asammudho

janati purusottamam

sa sarva-vid bhajati mam

(BG, XV, 19)

``Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is to be understood as the knower of everything, and he engages himself therefore in devotional service''--this is the understanding of advanced devotee, so my best advice to you is to agree to come to this understanding. Your ever well-wisher,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


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  • 7 months later...

Interesting view points about dress code. Dress is not important for any act of worship. But, for those who wish to create the special mood, or for those who wish to follow the strict tradition, here's my to cents worth :


1) For Hindu rituals, an unstitched garment, without any defect or tear is used. It is analogus to inducing magnetic field in an perfect piece of iron where flow lines are not distorted due to defects.


2) Dhoti as worn in North Indian style is such that the divider presses against certain vertebrae, so control of prana (especially in Kevala Kumbhaka) becomes easier. That makes it easier to control the mind, which is essential in any Sadhana.


3) These are preliminaries. Those who become adept at Sadhana, do not require external props. But, until plant grows into a tree, a little fencing helps, right?


4) Dhoti is worn by those who practice Kalaripayyattu, with it all it's rigours and swift, it's not proved any hinderance, let alone running.


5) Dress, or any other ornamentaion is a Sadhaka's aid to Sadhana, not to show off. Being too attached to any dogma becomes an obstruction to Sadhana, the very reason the dogmas were institued for.


Think about it.




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  • 4 weeks later...

Hare Krishna,


I remember my first time to tye a dhoti, before mangala arotik. A devotee named rejendranatha helped me he was from the Radha Damodhara travelling sankirtana party. It is something that one does not forget, i guess because i in turn years later taught a new bhakta how. Recently a devotee told me that i was the one to teach him how to tye for the first time.


My duties for Prabhupada put me in places that were dusty/dirty sometimes during the morning program. I had this outfit called "overalls" that were just that kind of cloths. When an emergency came up during the MOrning program i would jump into that outfit over my dhoti/kurta and go to work, after done i could get out of those and back into the morning program.

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to wear saree or dothi is taken by indians as a sign that a western is a devotee, because they see that in the west only harekrishnas wear saree and dothi.

So if one behaves as a vaishnava it is very good if he or she wears these dresses and tilak... it is a glory of chaitanya and prabhupada if we westerners can go in the sacred places..


western clothing that cover the body approximately like a saree (skirt) or like panjabi (pants with a long shirt) are IMHO good..... maybe, for a mataji, it is good to have something to cover the head...


(in india there's a lot of pornography with western women, in my opinion western girls have to be very chaste in their behaviour to not increase the idea that western women are all easy and lusty.... let them see at least that devotee matajis are not like that)


in vrindavan (and in western temples too) many devotees or indians wear also "gopi dress" a very simple (but nice) dress similar to a saree, but , as my wife and others say, more confortable and simple to put on.....


..you'll see when you will go!!! /images/graemlins/smile.gif


(a man who's explaining woman dresses.... bah..:))


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Thank you yasodanandana! Hmmmmmm I really appreciate your suggestions/advices regarding these. I have a question though, what is a "gopi" dress? I searched the itnernet and I only found ghagara choli, is this the dress you were referring to? Or is it Salwar Kameez with Pants?




Hare Krishna,




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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...
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I hate wearing dhotis. They are a cultural item and have no bearing on my devotional practice. Anyway, I don't recall them being a limb of bhakti.


Even in Vraja is refused to wear a dhoti. Lets stop pretending to be Indian....


Long live the Anti Dhoti Front!


Join the A.D.F today!



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Western dress is fine if you need to wear this for work reasons and such

but certainly for offering service to your deities it must be unstitched cloth.

This is stated in Nectar of Devotion.

Also note that fabric which is Blue or red is offensive to wear when serving the deities!

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  • 2 months later...
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Should Indians stop pretending to be western and stop wearing western clothing? I dont think so. Should Europeans stop wearing Jeans as they are American? Should I not wear a Karate uniform when doing Karate as I am not Japanese?


This seems to be a bit of a Westen-Centric view. The Dhoti is a very nice piece of clothing amd can help frame the mind to the sadhana at hand.


It does take a bit of time to master it but it is very comfortable. I have been wearing Dhotis for a number of years and tend to wear the Dhoti in a pants style. Whilst I am not a HK devotee I see my self as a yogi and from go to a HK centre and pay my respects and make offerings. I dont see my self as a want-to-be indian.


Hare Krishna



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