What if my company objects Vaishnava Symbols like Tilak, Sikha and Kanthi mala (Tualsi mala)?
A devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare krishna prabhu, i work at …………………., nd i hav tulsi beats on my neck 4 abt a year now. Now the thing iz they want me to remove them, nd i told them that i won’t remove them AT ALL. Nd i waz promised a dismisal. Pls tel me wt to do.”
This is the problem faced by many devotees in their job. Many companies object their staff coming to job with Sikha, Tilak, the traditional styled dhoti, tulasi mala, etc.
In India, there is a rule in Government offices: The office is common for all religions. So, the staff should not have religious signs and they should not preach their religion in the office campus. Performing homa/ yaga is also prohibited in offices. This is to avoid religious unrest.
In some arab countries, vaishnava appearance is objected. Most of the companies in the world have some dress codes and uniforms. For example, the police personnel should not have long hairs. they should have a close cut of hairs and wear uniforms all the time.
WHO CAN REMAIN IN VAISHNAVA APPEARANCE ALL THE TIME?
So, the following devotees can remain in Vaishnava appearance all the time:
(1) Who are involved in deity service
(2) Who are staying in temples,
(3) Who are retired
(4) Who are unemployed
(5) Who are house wives, OR
(6) Whose school, college, office, or, company permits them to wear religious signs.
WHAT TO DO IF THE AUTHORITIES OBJECT YOUR VAISHNAVA APPEARANCE?
However, those whose office / school/ college/ company objects their wearing religious signs may adopt the following:
(1) They may go and frankly discuss with the highest authority in school/ college/ office/ company and request him to permit you to wear tilak, Kanthi (tulasi) mala, Sikha, etc. Try your best to convince them.
(2) If they do not permit, get their consent only to wear kanthi mala around neck and assure them that you will skip dhoti, tilak and shika.
If they do not accept your request at all, come to office in the dress code expected by them during office hours. After coming to home, change to vaishnava appearance.
(3) As far as Kanthi (Tulasi) mala is concerned, I think, it is like wearing a chain that will not be violation of the rules.
(4) It is stated in ‘Padma Purana’ : “either during morning ablutions or bathing or eating or at any state which is clean or unclean, Tulsi mala has to be worn always; that means mala should not be removed under any circumstance.”
(5) It is said in “Vishnudharmottar” : The Lord says that one who wears the beads made out of the wood of Tulsi in one’s neck, even if he is untidy and ill- charactered, will undoubtedly attain Me only.
So, as said by Padma Purana, Tulasi mala should not be removed if you are an initiated devotee. You may skip other external signs in the work spot if they object and go in their uniform, but, TRY YOUR BEST TO GET SPECIAL PERMISSION TO WEAR TULASI MALA ALONE AROUND NECK.
Or, hide that mala using a high collar shirt closing all the buttons of shirt while at work.
Generally, wearing work uniform and also wearing tulasi mala alone will not look odd for your authorities.
However, if you are initiated, consult your guru and get his special permission for going to job without kanthi mala.
Because, you are wearing karmi dress as they said. But, if they do not allow atleast this kanthi mala, it seems so peculiar, as it is hidden into the shirt. So, they should permit.
However, 99.9% of the employers will permit wearing tulasi mala and hiding that using a high collar shirt. You wear it, but, don’t show outside. Simple.
If all your efforts fail, do not wear any symbols including Kanthi mala. Wear them when you are at home. Because, external appearance is secondary. Only the internal surrender is required more in devotion.
If you are externally look like a vaishnava, but internally not pure, it is cheating. Compared to that, quitting external appearance for job and being pure internally will be better
If you are not initiated, you can postpone wearing Kanthi mala and other symbols till you get initiation IF THE COMPANY/ INSTITUTION OBJECTS.
But, remember, initiated devotees should wear Tulasi mala all the times. though they are in unclean conditions.
Kanthi mala is compulsory for initiated devotees. However, if the need arises o remove, do that with the consent of guru. You can compromise ONLY DURING WORKING HOURS in other symbols recommended for vaishnavas.
If they permit, wear them happily if you like to appear so.
Hope this helps.