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
you are.

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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