The following was from a discussion on the declining use of the sari. See the original article here.

Dandavat pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada.

Indians are undoubtedly and, imho, most unfortunately imbibing an ever increasing number of modern/western secular life style choices, including non-devotional dress, because they are now thinking sense gratification is the goal of life. Yet, as you and others mentioned, the mode of dress, for instance, still varies greatly depending on where you are in India.

For instance, Phalini devi and I just returned from a two month tour around India and in Udupi, the birthplace of our Madhavacarya Maharaja, and in the outlying areas, you will see some men, albeit a small percentage, wearing lungis, as mentioned by Gaura Keshavaji.

Yet, almost ALL the women there will wear saris only. Not only do the ladies wear saris daily, their hair is braided and decorated with fresh flowers. We regularly took local buses to visit devotees in areas outside of Udupi and it was hard to find any women, young or old, without fresh flowers in her hair. The exception was when you go through nearby Manipal, a university town 10 kilometers from Udupi. There, most of the college age young ladies worn jeans, untied hair and occasionally a salwar kameez. Young men wearing a dhoti/lungi are hard to find, even in a very nice, small city like Udupi.

We found a somewhat similar situation in the villages of Assam in Northeast India. Almost all the ladies worn saris and quite a few of the village men wore either a gamsha or a lungi folded at the knees and tucked in or tied at the waist. The men are mostly farmers who plow their paddy fields, which are flooded with water from the monsoon rains, with beautiful oxen. No farmer there plows his field wearing pants, as his legs will sink halfway to his knees in a muddy paddy field.

The ladies focus more or less entirely on all manner of domestic arts and services, centered around raising the children and grandchildren and assisting their husbands as needed, much like Mother Yasoda, who never commuted daily to nearby Mathura to a job.

Kindly see enclosed photos of village life in “Awesome Assam.” :-)  We plan to return to Assam soon to observe and spend time learning the time tested art of simple living from the villagers there. And depending on how that goes, we are considering the possibility of establishing a daivi-varnasrama village project there. The idea we have is to gather together a relatively small core of ISKCON devotees, mostly grihasthas, who are committed to living very simply in a non-electric, traditional village setting (mud/bamboo homes with thatched roofs).

Instead of following the modern day concept of working to make money to then purchase one’s necessities of life from stores, we will focus entirely on personally producing, from the land and our cows, all our basic necessities, namely food, shelter, cloth, herbs for medicine, etc. Srila Prabhupada referred to it as “living in the lap of material nature, depending on Krsna.”

Along with these routine daily activities centered around cow protection and farming, we envision cultivating loving relationships with the local villagers, based on advocating the principles of pure devotional service to Lord Krsna and steeped in constant Harinam sankirtan. Our plans include holding many Vaisnava festivals throughout the year at our central village ashram and traveling regularly in ox cart processions from village to village, distributing books and prasadam, and having always ecstatic kirtans wherever we go. Rather than importing many Vaisnavas from far away places, we think it more reasonable to preach to and encourage the local villagers to take up devotional service on a regular basis. Hopefully, what we establish will be able to be duplicated in many other locations throughout the world.

Being endowed with free will and realizing that our quality of life hinges, to a large degree, on the choices we make, Phalini devi and I have decided to relocate to India and try to please Srila Prabhupada by establishing Vrndavan villages. Your blessings, of course, would be most welcome. Haribol.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,

Haripada dasa

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