[Advaita-l] Do Hindus have self-respect?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jan 12 23:54:46 CST 2005

On Tue, 11 Jan 2005, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> Jaldhar, I put a bit of vibhUti on my forehead and went to a grocery
> store in the US, and people looked at me as though I came in from Mars!
> A few even commented on "something stuck on my forehead". I'm talking
> about just a tiny stripe, and even that generated reaction. Needless to
> say, I haven't repeated that action for a long time now! Of course this
> depends on how self-conscious one is, and one's capacity to handle
> comments from passers-by.

I do the full tripundra only in shravana and during utsavas (it is the
family tradition to do it this way) and normally I just have a round
tilaka of kumkum.  I spend most of my time in New York where people see
ten times more weird things everyday :-) But even in rural areas where
there is no Indian community I can't say it's been a problem.  Sure,
people are curious but that's hardly the same thing as hostile.  Actually,
the question I usually get is "does it mean you are married?"  Apparently
many people know that Hindu women wear kumkum when they are married.
Which reminds me, why does the so-called "weaker sex" not feel so

I also often see people wearing urdhvapundra (the vaishnava tilaka)  They
are Gujarati followers of Swaminarayana sampradaya.  Their attitude is
this is what Bhagavan wants so the rest of the world be damned.  An
attitude we could learn from.

> In India, that's quite all right, but not so in the West.

Kartik, I must take you task for this insult to what are overall some of
the most tolerant and generous people in the world.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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