Tuesday January 21, 2020

Does visiting a temple in western attire cause disrespect to God?

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By Pratyasha Nithin

Thousands of people visit temples every day for variety of reasons though the primary purpose of the temple is to allow people to offer their devotion to the Gods. Most women in India wear saree or salwar-suit to the temple. But, some women do wear casual tops and jeans, or skirts to temple as they are more comfortable in those clothes.

Such women who visit temples in western clothes may sometimes be subjected to stares and unnecessary attention from other people inside the temple. The elder generation often advises girls and women to wear only saree or salwar-suits to the temple.

Well there is nothing wrong per se in wearing Indian dresses, but it is often suggested, sometimes explicitly and most times implicitly, that going to temple in western attire amounts to disrespect to the deities who reside there. But does this suggestion hold any real value? Or is it just a mere superstition? Does it have any meaning from the standpoint of dharma?Grand_Palace_dress_code

Let us examine few hypothetical scenarios to understand the matter.

Scenario 1: Let’s say a woman gets ready in a traditional attire to visit temple. When she reaches the temple, she hastily takes darsana of the deity and then sits right next to her traditional friend who had arrived a few minutes ago. Then instead of doing japa or meditation or simply praying the deity, they sit there and gossip about their neighbors, daughter-in-laws, mother-in-laws, cousins etc. Is it respectful to do so?

Scenario 2: Now, take a situation where the same woman sits in her house in a traditional dress to do puja, but in the middle of the puja, instead of concentrating on the deity, she starts thinking about her problems, her conversations with her husband, and her arguments with her children etc. Now these thoughts will make her angry and frustrated and then she starts thinking about finishing the ritual as soon as possible because now what she is doing does not interest her anymore. Is keeping such anger and frustration in mind during the puja, and thinking about finishing the ritual with no more interest respectful towards the deity?

Scenario 3: Let’s now assume that this traditional* woman does not do any of the things mentioned above. Instead, she is very keen about doing the rituals properly. When she is in a temple, she sits silently and tries to concentrate on the deity. But suddenly another woman in a western outfit, may be a jeans or a skirt, arrives. As soon as the traditional woman sees the modern woman, she thinks – “Oh she has no sense of dressing in a temple. Why on earth temple authorities allow such women in the temple? It is so disrespectful.” At this point, the traditional woman’s concentration gets diverted. Instead of thinking about deity in front of her, now her mind is irritated and thinking about the western-attired woman whom she considers as culture-less. Is this attitude also not disrespectful towards the deity? Irrespective of the attitude of western attired woman, our traditional lady who had come to offer worship to the deity, has sidelined the deity and is now concentrating on another woman which also amounts to disrespect** towards the deity.

Scenario 4: Let’s now consider the modern woman. When she arrives at the temple, she is in a good mood. She takes darsana and is waiting for the priest to give her thirtha and prasad. But suddenly she finds a few ladies sitting there, pointing towards her and gossiping about her dress etc. This, of course, makes her uncomfortable. She thinks, “Why on earth these ladies cannot mind their own business? They are sitting here gossiping about my dress. Couldn’t they spare the temple? Oh, what a cheap mentality?” Now, two things can be observed here. First, the gossiping traditional ladies not only showed disrespect to the deity by gossiping, but also by diverting and distracting others. Secondly, this modern-attired woman was also no better than the traditional-attired woman in terms of devotion and mind-control. She did no better than the gossiping group. She easily became distracted and became angry at those who were gossiping about her dress. Also, now her thoughts were more concentrated on her own dress and on the gossiping women, than on the deity in front of her. Hence, in this case, the traditional-attired women and the western-attired woman, both were disrespectful towards the deity.

Scenario 5: Now consider a second traditional woman, who regularly goes to temple, sits and meditate. She does not care about the world around her. All she knows is that the temple is there to concentrate and meditate on God. After a few moments, a modern woman comes. She sees this woman and thinks, “Wow, what a dedication. So many people are around here and she is still meditating. If only I could meditate with such dedication.” Well, to be inspired with other people is good. To think about our own faults is good as well. But, it should not end with thinking. If it ends with only thoughts, as it has happened with this western-attired woman, she is committing the same mistake as people in previous scenarios. This western-attired woman is again concentrating on what other people are doing, instead of focusing her mind on the deity. Hence, she commits same disrespect.

Scenario 6: Now what if a western-attired woman sits and meditates in the temple. And a traditional woman sees her. This traditional woman can either be impressed with the western-attired woman’s devotion and dedication, or she may find it as a drama and show-off. In either case, if this traditional woman is only thinking about western-attired woman or about what others are doing, then she is also committing same disrespect as in the case of western-attired woman in scenario 5.

Scenario 7: Now, consider another woman who is crazy about her dressing sense. She may be traditional or modern. Before she leaves her house, instead of thinking about the deity or doing japa she keeps admiring her looks. She wants to look perfect. She puts on full makeup, wears her best outfit and goes to temple. Even in the temple, her concentration is on her looks. She does not want to touch or take anything that would ruin her looks. Her mind is stuck on herself. Irrespective of the attire she is wearing, she is disrespectful towards the deity, as her mind is elsewhere.

From all the above scenarios, it is clear that it does not matter how one dresses, it’s the thoughts and devotion that matter. The deity is not human to think about one’s materialistic appearances. He/She/It is far above that. The truth is, even if one covers every single inch of his/her body thinking that the nakedness will be offensive to the deity, even then all his/her efforts are wasted, as there is nothing hidden from the deity.

So even if one sits naked in front of the deity, it cannot be disrespectful to the deity. God knows what one thinks and what one does, he sees only dedication and not appearance. And most importantly, he gives one only what one deserves.

God would not prefer a person wearing traditional outfit but with zero concentration and devotion over a person wearing western outfit, but with strong dedication and devotion. If one worships God devotionally, he will be spiritually elevated. If one indulges in gossiping and is solely concerned about dresses, one will be more bounded to the mundane world. So it’s better if people stop arguing about dress codes and dressing sense, and wear whatever they are comfortable with and put their best efforts towards developing devotion and dedication towards the deity they adore.

Note:

* I have used the term “traditional woman” only in the sense of someone who considers herself very traditional and devoted just because she wears sarees and adheres to normally accepted outer ways of life. (She may not be truly traditional in the sense of rooted in traditional values of dharma)
** Actually, a deity does not get offended by any of our actions. He is the giver of fruits of our actions. When we say we are showing God disrespect, it does not mean God is getting offended. It only means, that our actions are improper and our attitude towards God disrespectful.

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Follow these Home Decor Trends in your Homes in 2020

Technology to meet nature in 2020 homes

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Home decor
You need to adopt these modern home decor trends in your homes soon. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

The new year brings with it new decor trends, and what better place to start than your home.

Improve the look and feel of your home with these 2020 Home Decor Trends, suggested by interior designers, architects and home decor experts.

Say yes to plants

1. Indoor gardening will see a big push as an effort to purify air while beautifying the living quarters naturally. There are already vertical gardens in apartment balconies, and people give importance to designing their garden with ornaments and interesting pots, to bring in natural sources of oxygen. – Syed Habib, Danube Home

Home plants
Do not forget to decorate your home with indoor plants. Pixabay

2. With the 2019 pollution menace, city homeowners will incorporate nature into their home design. It is not only restricted to bringing in plants but also using more natural materials like wood and stone. If one does not want the added effort of upkeeping plants, a different way to bring in flora into your space is using floral printed wallpapers. – Sameer A.M., Bonito Designs

Earthy tones are in

3. Taupe, forest green and clay colours like terracotta create a serene environment for unwinding after a long day. Colours and textures of wood, metals, clay, rich forest greens and foliage found in nature will be used to create a natural look. Home is all about comfort and well being, cut out to perfection. – Sonal Tayal, Livspace

Technology rules

4. An oasis of serenity and self-care, bathrooms are quintessential to every home and they are integral to the overall aesthetic appeal of the house. In 2020, smart showers with automatic temperature controls and sensors, self-cleaning and bidet-style toilets, showers with LED lighting, motion control and voice-activated lighting will be in vogue. – Sanjay Kalra , Brilloca Ltd.

5. Think about a house where appliances talk to each other and they operate basis the usage and also helps consumers save energy. Intelligent devices across a range of products such as water purifiers, water heaters and air conditioners will gain widespread adoption in 2020. – Rakesh Kaul, Somany Home Innovation Ltd

Nod to neutrals

6. A big yes to the neutrals this upcoming year! We should never underestimate the power of neutrals. Whether it is about walls, furniture or bedding, neutrals always spell sophistication at its best. The warm tone of grey, beige and white will make their way in for 2020. – Heena Jain, WoodenStreet Modern, stylish kitchens

7. The year 2020 is going to see a lot of matte finishes and bold, patterned backsplashes. Bohemian, Scandinavian and rustic styles of design are going to rule kitchens. Colours like turquoise blue, rich emerald and bold yellows will trend when it comes to kitchen cabinets. Classic subway tiles and Moroccan patterns will continue to be a rage. – Sonal Tayal, Livspace.

home kitchen
Your home designing is incomplete without modern and stylish kitchens. Pixabay

Modern, stylish kitchens

8. Homeowners don’t like to see appliances sticking out everywhere anymore and that’s the new face of luxury. From a design standpoint, the modular kitchens are now being customised to suit one’s need. Auto clean chimneys are now a mainstay as Indian cooking uses oils and masalas and it helps in keeping kitchens smoke and grime free. – Rakesh Kaul, Somany Home Innovation Ltd.

Decluttered homes, please

9. A trend we expect to see is the use of clever furniture to declutter homes. Decluttering homes and bringing in furniture pieces that have both a functional and aesthetic appeal is the way forward. Pieces which can double up as a bed or sofa or seating with a storage unit has seen high demand in the last few months. Ready-to-be-assembled products – smart products that can be stored in smaller spaces will take over the shelves in the coming time. – Syed Habib, Danube Home

Also Read- Here are 5 Ways to Boost your Immunity in the Winter Season

A welcoming cocoon

10. 2020 is the year to flaunt the house and welcome more guests over. Homeowners will feel the need to focus on making their home environment more sociable. Design elements that inspire conversation are to be incorporated into the space. To create a sociable vibe in a limited area, pair one sofa with a chair and a footstool that doubles as a coffee table or an additional seat. – Sameer A.M., Bonito Designs. (IANS)