Q: Upper body clothing outside temple
Narayan S. Raja
raja at galileo.IFA.Hawaii.Edu
Thu Oct 3 21:47:47 UTC 1996
On Thu, 3 Oct 1996, Jakub Cejka wrote:
> While reading here about the fact that in southern temples removing upper
> clothing is a required gesture of respect, I would like to ask (Indians)
> how has the sense that it is otherwise a gesture of disrespect developed ?
> Whenever in India I removed or only unbuttoned my shirt being unable to
> bear the heat I was always either laughed at or politely or impolitely
> forced to cover my body not by muslims but hindus. When dressed in shorts
> I entered the Sanskrit department in a West Bengal university, I was told
> that it is not good to come "in dhoti". This particularly puzzled me,
> that once shorts are seen as dhoti they are not accepted.
The point here is not bare vs. covered,
but rather, formal/respectful clothing
vs. too informal. Also, it depends who
Dhoti/angavastram is formal. Unbuttoned
shirt is informal/disrespectful.
Even stark naked is acceptable for a Jain
monk or Nanga sadhu, though I shudder to think
of all those hairs being shed on the ancient
palm-leaf scrolls in the Univ Sanskrit department.
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