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Ironing T-Shirts With Spiritual Images On Them

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 / Published in Blog thoughts / 2,567 views

Kesava Krsna Dasa: We are taught that photographs of the Lord’s deity forms and the spiritual masters are non-different from them. Devotees are very fond wearing similar spiritual images on T-shirts and bead bags. They get washed and ironed. Does the thought of putting a hot iron on such images deter anyone from wearing such things, or are such images different from the form of depiction?

We have our wonderful paintings that are described as “Windows to the spiritual world.” Are these artistic depictions of the Lord engaged in various pastimes different from the object of vision? Many badges with images of Lord Jagannatha and others easily get lost or are knocked about. Should we be concerned to treat them carefully, or are they just cool fashionable embellishments?

I once noticed how a disciple entered a room where his spiritual master was. He paid his obeisances, placed his bead bag on a nearby table, before sitting down. The bead bag was placed behind a small framed photograph of Srila Prabhupada, but the counting beads rested atop the picture, partially hanging down to dangle on Srila Prabhupada’s image. The sensitive spiritual master requested the disciple to remove the bead bag or at least move the counting beads.

If we compare this sensitivity with the need say, to wash a T-shirt with an image of Srila Prabhupada, then to iron it – does this display insensitivity? Then what to speak of ironing imprints of Sri Sri Radha/Krishna or other similar images? Are there differences between photographs and paintings or prints of Srila Prabhupada and the Lord in His multi-forms?

While in the UK I heard many devotees say that Srila Prabhupada said, “Never to cut butter with a knife…” Devotees avoid making commemorative cakes with images such as cows, to avoid even the perception of ‘cutting’ a cow. Some conscientious devotees often advise that if when designing Krishna conscious jigsaw puzzles, to avoid having the form of the Lord or Srila Prabhupada, among the separate pieces – better leave them whole. Is this overdoing it?

Seeing the pros and cons of how to treat such images when the vast supplies of paraphernalia our gift shops and budding entrepreneurs sell of images imprinted on various key rings, lockets, calenders, clocks and more, would it be spoiling the fun even to think too considerately about such things? Let the devotee jury decide…

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.


  1. 0
    scooty.ram says:

    Few more points to ponder :

    1. Can we enter toilets and other unclean places with picture of deities and acharyas on the shirt?
    2 Can we eat while wearing those those shirts- when there are chances that some food items may fall from the mouth on the picture ?
    3. Can we let the pictures get soaked in our sweat ?

  2. 0
    bhakta piyush ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yes, this seems to be one of those things that is not really given that much attention these days in the age of easy printing and production of anything within a few days or even seconds.

    Even many years ago in a temple compound I saw poster pictures of Sri Sita Rama Laxman Hanuman on the ground and later I was surprised to see pamphlets of SP on the ground, but how to reconcile this with preaching, perhaps taking a “not so easy” method of broadcasting a program through television or radio or word of mouth through street preaching. Maybe we don’t have the time these days?

    Nowadays it is more and more prevalent. Alot of printing and pictures all over the place. I have seen key-rings with spiritual images tossed around, put in back pockets and sat on, dropped on the ground without touching to ones head after. Ironically I see immediate touching to the head if any Laxmi or money is dropped, why not the same for the Lord’s other paraphernalia?

    If you put an image on a commonly used item or article of clothing it becomes a case of familiarity breeds indifference. Not ideal at all. However on “flip” side I have heard that the Mahamantra being distributed on popcorn packets being approved by Srila Prabhupada, as well as Krishna’s name in a newspaper article even though it was “unfavorable.”
    Here in India the images and names are in newwspapers etc virtually everyday.. Just as we speak, in Mayapur there are ads by a certain company for “underwear” with Radha-Krishna images, simply put there for commercial advertising.

    In many temples we see the images or the holy names used on incense packets and throw-away prasada packaging. I once witnessed a temple visitor absolutely livid about “us” in temples using the images in this way. Perhaps some careful consideration on our use, overuse or even abuse of the Lords name and paraphernalia. How can one do this to someone who is dear to them? It said that “Attention to detail is sign of love.”

  3. 0
    ListenToHisSong says:

    I do not consider myself in anyway to know the correct answer, but remember the story of when a guest brought bhoga to an early Sunday Feast, not knowing it contained eggs (or that there was something about it that could not be offered), and Prabhupada said, “We are not fanatics.”

    This is what I think of in my head any time an issue like this pops up.
    I try to simply think of myself in Krsna’s family and strive to give Him the purest love I can muster everyday.

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