Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
If we call ourselves Hindus we must bear certain external marks, outward
The boy scouts have a uniform of their own. Army and navy men are
distinguished by certain insignia. There are number of divisions in
force. Even though their functions will not change if they wear one
another's uniforms or badges, there is a strict rule with regard to
dress and insignia. The policeman's cap must not be worn by the sailor.
There is a certain discipline and orderliness among all these forces.
This discipline as well as orderliness is essential in religion also.
why different jatis and different asramas have different functions and
signs. According to the dharmasastras we must wear the dhoti or the sari
in such and such a way or apply the mark to the forehead in a particular
manner. All this is not meant for social discipline alone. There is a
purpose, that of purifying our inner life.
The court attendant has a tavali. The officials do not have it. Is it
to why? But we do not take the same attitude with regard to the
signs and marks assigned to the people according to their vocations and
family customs. We make a noise in the name of equality. Even though
we remain divided in the matter of vocations-which indeed is for the
welfare of the entire community-we are of one heart. This is the ideal
behind the social arrangement in which different jatis are assigned
different rites and external symbols, these in keeping with their
qualities and callings. There is no high or low in all this. But we keep
fighting among ourselves imagining that there is.
Now we have come to such a pass that nobody wears any of the external
marks of our religion. At the same time, we are not ashamed of wearing
other types of signs or badges. To wear those marks that bring uplift of
the Self we are ashamed. We dismiss all religious marks and symbols as
part of superstition. But those who want to proclaim themselves to be
reformers don a particular type of cap or upper cloth and these external
trappings are given greater importance than symbols of a divine nature.