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Bill Clinton Gets a Bhagavad-gita

Shyamasundara prabhu is a godbrother of my guru. It is therefore with all respect for him that I humbly submit a difference of opinion.
First, to clarify: the term “dhotis are maya” is a term that my friend Nityananda Chandra prabhu (visible on this thread) recently coined - in a joking and friendly way - on my Facebook page.
I do have an issue with the term “dressed like a devotee.” I question whether there is such a thing as a standard “devotee dress.” Garuda and Jatayu are devotees; they are naked. Arjuna is a devotee, and so is Sudama vipra. Surely they did not dress the same way. Similarly, Pundarika Vidyanidhi did not dress in the same way as did Rupa Goswami. Hiranyakasipu wore a dhoti and Kamsa’s wife wore a sari. The “kurta’ that many devotees wear today is a recent import from Afghanistan. Devotees dressed in dhotis and saris also happen to usually wear modern shoes. Are Adidas or Nike shoes “devotee dress”? Are modern cotton sweatshirts part of being “dressed like a devotee?” What about Seiko watches? What about sunglasses? What about stitched socks and winter coats? Not everyone has the luxury to live in tropical countries.
I know many devotees today who never wear a dhoti nor a sari. Yet they are fixed up. In fact, they infiltrate sectors of society to spread Mahaprabhu’s message in a way that a dhoti or sari would make impossible. Are they not “dressed like a devotee” in their clean and respectable modern clothes? How many times did Srila Prabhupada approve devotees dressing like gentlemen?
ISKCON spreads not because of dress styles. ISKCON spreads because of the purity of heart of the ISKCON members. And purity of heat is a non-material consideration. Krishna Consciousness spreads by following the four regulative principles and by taking shelter of the essential practices of hearing and chanting. THAT is what empowers devotees. And THAT is the mystical experience that attracts non-devotees. Our “brand” is not the dhotis and the saris. If there is ANY external symbol that we can claim to be an exclusively “Gaudiya Vaishnava brand,” it is the Tilak and the Tulasi beads; not the dhotis and saris, which a much larger number of non-Vaishnavas than Vaishnavas wear. Even so, our real “brand” is the maha-mantra and Prabhupada’s books. The sooner we stress these essential points, the better we will be.

Your servant,
Chandrashekhara acharya dasa

Comment Posted By chandra On 04.07.2012 @ 10:56

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