Is wearing dhoti, Sari and Kaupin as underwear compulsory for devotees?
A male devotee (name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna ! Please can you explain the science behind Kaupin. Why Indian sadhus and brahmacharis wears Kaupin. Why one should wear Kaupin. Who can wear Kaupin. If there is any rules and regulations to wear Kaupin. A grihstha should wear Kaupin. And when Kaupin should not be wear (in night wear or not.) How to wear Kaupin and what are the benefits of wearing it. Thank you.”
You have asked about the science behind the kaupin, a piece of cloth worn by males as underwear.
Many may say many thing about it. But, the reality is different.
There is no major science in kaupin.
Kaupin is used to keep the male organ intact and less disturbing. Now a days, the underwear solves this problem.
And, there is no major scientific benefits in wearing dhotis also.
In those days, ie, thousands of years ago, there were no sewing machines to prepare pants, underwears, panties, etc..
So, they used dhotis and sarees as the main outer clothes. They did not give any shape for their clothes. They were just like the piece of clothes that can be kept intact surrounding their body.
They used a towel around their chest. That too, only the higher caste men wore towels around their chest. Not others.
The women wore the saree itself in such a way that it hides their breasts also.
The sewing of blouse, panties, underwear, pants, shirts, etc., came only after they invented sewing machines.
So, we can’t imagine the clothes like underwear during vedic period, ie, about 5000 years ago.
So, both the men and women wore a piece of cloth to hold the male and female private organs safely and tightly. The women used piece of clothes even for managing their monthly menstruation (periods) also. Usage of napkins came to practice just 30-40 years ago.
This is the reality behind the clothes used hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Do not develop imaginations seeing the drawn Pictures in the media/ books.
Now, about kaupins and dhotis for the present days.
The devotee communities are still giving importance only for the dhotis even in the days in which the clothes can be sewed to the desired size and model.
This is to be changed and will change in future.
In fact, wearing dhotis is very difficult and exposing.
Pants are safer than dhotis.
Whenever I wear dhotis, I always fear when it will slip out of the waist. So, I frequently check it or wear a belt around it.
When I board the bus, the dhotis expose the body.
Since the dhotis are very thin, even our legs and underwear are visible outside. So, I have to wear a costly and thick dhoti that is very difficult to wash and maintain because of big size and weight.
I feel safe whenever I wear pants and shirts.
Dhotis and saris can be used only when we go to the temples, festivals and functions.
Why should we still use the dhotis in leisure time also even after we have modern sewing technology?
The ancient people were using them because they did not know how to stitch faster using machines.
Sewing machines are the very useful technique found by the men. No doubt in it.
The women are allowed to wear even salwars/ chuditars.
It is very safe for them compared to sarees.
Why should we insist on sarees when safe salwars and chuditars are available?
We should accept healthy and useful developments of science. It makes our work easier.
That is why, I wear dhotis only when I go to the temples because they won’t believe me as a good devotee if I do not wear dhoti (!!!!).
During other times, I am in casual dress depending on the situations.
I pray to Krishna to make changes in these systems as early as possible and educate them to allow some useful facilitiesavailable now.
They use smartphones, mike, car, planes, etc.
But, they ban or discourage the pants in temples. How useful product the pant is that hides the entire body and makes us free from the tension of keeping vigil on the dress to avoid exposing.
So, let us accept good facilities given by the science.
Kaupin is used by only a few people now days. Others wear underwear only.
So, nothing wrong in skipping the kaupins and wearing the underwears available in the market.
If you wear a right size of underwear, it will hold the organs better than the kaupins do.
So, embrace some healthy changes and do not be over old fashioned.
I strongly believe that today’s spiritual organizations will allow such changes in future. I forecast it even now. These unwanted and blind codes and practices can not stay for a long period because the people are no longer ready to hear impractical suggestions. Particularly, I won’t do that blind approach and I always accept good and harmless facilities developed now and then.
All we need in our devotional life is the following things and I WILL NEVER ALLOW ANY LIQUIDATION IN THE FOLLOWING SEVEN:
SEVEN ESSENTIALS FOR DEVOTEES
(1) Chanting from heart, not just from the lips.
(2) Following four regulative principles is compulsory for every devotee, not the kaupin or dhotis or sarees.
(3) Offering food to Krishna and then homouring prasadam is logical and meaningful because it is the good show of our love towards Krishna and a way to free the food from karma.
(4) Humbleness and Respecting other vaishnavas/ devotees is compulsory because satva guna is the symbol of every devotee.
(5) Reading as much as possible about Krishna is important because it keeps us connected to Krishna without dilution.
(6) Associating with the devotees is also important to keep up the spirit of devotion.
(7) Performing all our assigned duties in our life is very important, because it is the first advice given by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.
These seven are COMPULSORY.
Other things, ie, these kaupins, dhotis, sarees, panties, etc are just local factors that can be followed by everyone according to his situation and background.
These local external factors will change from time to time.
Do not get confused with these external factors.
Follow the above seven. Krishna will be with you.
This is my daring opinion after getting vexed with the trend of giving importance only for external things in the devotee circles.
Become pure inside. Wear a dress that is decent and does not induce others. It is my humble view.
Go to the temples in the uniforms they expect from others.
Never wear any dress that expose your body. This is important.