This shloka is from Charaka Samhita, Sutra-stana, Chapter 5, shloka 95.
It means wearing clean apparel enhances the Allure of the body, augments the reputation, increases longevity and prevents penetration off inauspicious nature. It brings pleasure of mind, gives grace, promotes beauty and competence to participate in gatherings with good appearance and confidence and enhances recognition in society.
Dressing is not only the matter of looking good by putting on several ‘branded’ layerings. There are much more to know and discover. Your outfit should maintain proper hygiene and staying safe. After learning so many books on Ayurveda, my entire concept on dressing method is quite groomed now which brings me to write today’s post and I guess in current situation it’s the high time to know these particulars from Ayurveda. In this post I’m going to share some aspects of Ayurveda on choosing perfect dress and maintaining hygiene.
The first records of hygiene are clearly seen in Vedas. Starting from the time of sage Atreya and his student Agnivesa (circa 900 BCE), to the redactor of the knowledge, the acharya Charaka, circa 200 CE, specifies of hygiene documented in detail the rules for diverse societies that lived over that millennium. The concept of microbes is described there. They knew dirty clothes can promote illness by keeping the body in contact with harmful factors and need for bathing regularly to avoid diseases. We can see that they specifically advise not to wear clothes that have already been worn.
Ayurveda also nicely describes about the materials of the garments and they have given all the priority to natural fibres. Specific clothes has been selected for specific seasons. Like, cotton for summer as light reflects on soft colours, wool in winter to ward off wind and preserve body heat, silk which is also known as ‘kauseya’, to protect yourself from rain and wind. But when it comes to layers for more warmth using more layers and single layers for coolness. Also linen made from fragments of straw, seeds and fibres, has been mentioned for warding off heat.
There are also specific ways to dressing for the winters. Firstly the cotton, just next to the body, then silk. Garments which are braided with altered wool and silk, is called ‘Praveni’. It advises to use warm, light blankets and rest on bedding covered with ‘Pravara’ (cotton).
Ayurveda also suggests not to wear cut cloth in the hot months between April and October. It was mentioned the use of highly breathable textiles with light weaves which were draped as dhoti, ‘Veshti’, lungi, saree, shawl ,’shot’, and a loose sarong type cover.
On this note let me guys tell you, only after the Muslim and British conquests did women begin to wear cut and tailored blouses with their saris.
So I hope you guys can clearly see maintaining personal hygiene while dressing is quite old in India. In today’s world me might be using hand washes and sanitizers to clean ourselves so often but isn’t it far better to stick into something which is ancient, our own and most importantly, have no side effects? What do you think?
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