Man is born free; but everywhere he is in clothes. Woman too.
Woman and man: We were once naked, nude and unclothed; dressed in the attire of God. God created us naked, but we pollute our bodies with clothes.Our bodies were free. Our souls could smell nature without cultural barriers. Then came the clothe, the leaf, the barrier. What made us do it? We wanted to protect ourselves from nature, from the environment, from the world. We created worlds of our own: cultures, religions, myths, folklore, languages, traditions, histories and identities. We were protected. The clothes killed the cold; the clothes repelled the sun. The clothes were armours; the clothes were covers. Then we got addicted; addicted to clothes. We fear when we don’t wear them. Fundamentalists force us to wear them. They feel threatened when we don’t wear them and soil their ‘cultural heritage’. Man creates monsters; culture, history, religion, nation, identity, race, species and technology are the monsters created by man. Man has to destroy it to regain his true self.
Shame was taught to humans and they lost their paradise. Why were we taught to hate our own bodies? Women were made to suffer more due to the ideology of shame. Unnecessary guilt, psychological trauma, social antipathy and even death, suicide, visited them because of this ideology. The ideology of shame needs to end. Human beings should be ashamed of their violence, their greed, their vanity and their hatred of each other; but not of their bodies.
The naked human body is seen by some societies as the wantonness of sexuality. Hide them: they say. Why can’t the naked human body be seen as the natural truth? This is how humans look naturally, without the artificiality of clothes. Sages in India and other spiritual communities see the naked human body as the symbol of worldly renunciation. Akka Mahadevi, an Indian poetess, walked naked throughout her life! Nudity is nature in its true form, unpolluted by artificiality. Jesus Christ says in his famous sermon on the mount:
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ( The Gospel according to Matthew 6)
Yes, clothes are necessary. They give another dimension to your personality. They represent human art and creativity. They protect us from the climate, from external infections and even prevents the mosquito from getting all of you. But, it also should be noted that we should wear clothes and the clothes should not wear us. If we decide to wear clothes, it should be because of our own choice, and not because of the choice of society, culture, tradition or religion. Every human needs the freedom to go naked.
Japanese traditions have understood. Japanese families bathe together. Father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunty bathe in the same large family bath. It saves time and it also help to get the family together. A family that bathes together stays together.
In the Great Bath of the Indus valley civilization, people of the town, men, women and children bathed together.
Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi, India’s father of the nation, used to bathe with his younger female relatives. He did it to prove that he had transcended sexual desire. But, that is not why we should bathe together. We should learn to bathe together so that we learn to respect each other’s bodies from childhood. We kill the ideology of shame. We learn to realise that the human body is not just sexual, but also spiritual. There is God in every inch of our bodies.
19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ( 1 Corinthians 6)
It is not just in other’s bodies. We should learn to see God in our own bodies. Other’s bodies are God’s artworks, so is your own body. Look at yourself, in the mirror, or by laying your eyes on it, in the nude and respect God’s creation.
It would be wonderful if a ‘Go Nude’ day or a ‘Go Nude’ week is celebrated across the world. It will teach us to respect bodies instead of imprisoning it with artificial barriers. We exploit nature to create clothes; when we leave ourselves to nature, nature will take care of us. Nature is the best healer.