1. Not a nice way for a woman to dress

    From: Umapati Swami, My Days with Prabhupada, pp. 186–87. [Available on Amazon]

    [Setting: shortly after the first initiation in 1966]

    The Swami looked over at Janaki as she walked up to his lecture seat to talk to him one morning. “That is not a nice way for a woman to dress,” he said.

    Janaki’s pants — plain corduroys, not tight or sexy — may have looked all right for the Lower East Side but not for the world the Swami was taking us into. Meditation in Krishna Consciousness was outward as well as inward, seeing the outer world in terms of the inner vision. It made sense. One could stay focused on the inward while living in the outward, but it demanded a complete surrender of the mind. I would have to accept the Swami’s preference for an old-fashioned society where there was a standard for almost everything including women’s clothes: a long skirt or a sari or a long tunic over pants. I preferred the modern do-your-own thing society. Nobody cared what you wore.

    I caught the value of the Swami’s idea, though, when I saw Janaki in a sari. She looked elegant. I had never seen a Western woman in a sari before, and I had to admit it looked a lot more feminine than corduroy pants. It made a woman look like a woman.