Srila Prabhupada in a lengthy talk about womens' dress, hair, etc.
Posted on July 20, 2017
Prabhupada: The lusty desire is so prominent that whenever they will get some opportunity. Therefore it is ordered that you should not remain alone even with your sister, with your daughter, with your mother — and what to speak of others. Sastra says, matra svasra duhitra va naviviktasano bhavet [SB 9.19.17]: "Don't keep yourself alone even with your mother or sister or daughter," what to speak of others. This is prohibited. And those who have taken this brahmana, celibacy, for them to see even one women and appreciate, "Oh, she is very nice," that is also subtle sex. Eight kinds of subtle sex. Therefore according to Vedic civilization, woman is allowed to dress herself very nicely only before the husband. On the street, they will not go out. They will not go out. Even they go out — covered. That is observed strictly by the Muhammadans. Nobody can see the bodily structure.
Siddha-svarupa: The Chinese, they are also like that. Conservative.
Prabhupada: Hindus, they did not do. Even my mother; my wife also. Now, from our daughter's time they are going to. Going to next-door neighbor, so my mother used to go there in car — next door. Not walking; by car, carriage, because next door simply one step. So there was no horse. The coachman, by hand he... But still the carriage must be. Otherwise... And there was palanquin going from this house to that house. A palanquin man, four men, carried. Four carriers. And they would charge maybe five paisa. That was the situation, even our mother's time. My mother, my wife also was taken in. My wife never gone in bus, tram. No. They would travel...
Bali-mardana: During the time you have been living, you have seen such vast changes.
Bali-mardana: We have grown up in this degraded culture.
Prabhupada: Nobody would see the face of woman. Veil. Who is going, nobody knows: "Some women is there." That is Oriental culture. I have seen in Iran, even nowadays, nobody can see.
Siddha-svarupa: Didn't the Japanese have something like that too, where they require them to be covered?
Bali-mardana: They had just palanquins, too, but covered palanquins. The Chinese, too.
Prabhupada: The Japanese, say about forty years ago... One of my friends, he had a Japanese tenant in Calcutta. Not tenant... He was working with the distribution at a big office, so he was assistant cashier. So during Christmas he gave some presentation, and went to his boss's house. So the servant came to receive the presentation, and when he asked about the lady, his wife, the servant replied that "In the absence of her husband, she does not see anybody." That I have seen. Not that she came to received, "Oh, Mister, you have come to Mr. Such-and-such's house. All right." No. It was done by the servant. And when he asked about the Mrs., the servant said that "In the absence of the master she does not see anyone."
Bali-mardana: When the husband was away, the Japanese women, they painted their teeth black — there was some dye — to make them look ugly.
Prabhupada: This is Vedic civilization. This is called prosita bhartrka. By dress one would understand what she is: whether she is married, whether she is not married, whether her husband was out of home, whether she is widow, whether she is prostitute — everything, by dress. One hasn't got to ask what she is; by her different dress people will understand. This, it is called sita. What do you call this?
Govinda dasi: Part? The part?
Prabhupada: So the prostitute would keep their part...
Bali-mardana: Right side.
Prabhupada: ...like that, not in the middle.
Bali-mardana: On the side.
Prabhupada: Then everyone will understand, "She is prostitute." And married means the red, vermilion. And unmarried means no vermilion. Widow means white, and prosita bhartrka, when husband is not at home she will not dress at all — not comb the hair, not dress, no ornaments. In this way, simply be seeing woman what is her dress, one can understand. Just like with the Japanese. This is Oriental culture.
The Britishers, they peacefully killed the Vedic culture. The Muhammadans, they were sometimes fighting, by force pushing meat to the mouth, and they became Muhammadans, and sprinkle on him. They did not know how to peacefully turn the whole culture. The Britishers, they knew how to convert them peacefully. And that they did. They would not take any forceful action. Muhammadans, they used to take some forceful actions, that's all. Britishers avoided that, but peacefully they injected poison. The school, college, society. In the Government House when there was some function, they created a rich man class: zamindars, landlords. So if some invitation would come to somebody from the Government House, he would think himself that he has become demigod. In the Government House, the drinking and talking with others' wives — naturally they studied this, and they adopted it. This is "civilization."
June 16, 1975, Honolulu NB talking with others' wives was also considered as "poison" by Srila Prabhupada