Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Naked Body

The news was reported yesterday  in the Indian press,and also  mentioned in the media in the USA. The incident provoked outrage and anguish among the devout Hindus spread all over, so said the report. The Hindus are offended! And beware the hurt Hindu- he sure will unleash his wrath, he will like Siva be irrepressible when angered.
The news that is thought to have the potential of becoming a holy war is a video that has been released by the Playboy magazine in the US. The video featuring Sarah Jean Underwood performing various yoga postures while naked has hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.They felt hurt at the misuse of a revered system by Playboy for mercantile aims. ‘The racy video used the age old technique as erotica has irked the devout Hindu’.
Well, well sure a meaty meal and fodder for the Bajarangdals and Siva Sainiks!
Curiosity got me to surf the Playboy web site to see the video. There it was a sample clip for free, with Sarha Jean Underwood a young and beautiful model with an unblemished body performing a bit of surya namsakar and few other yoga postures. It was nothing more than a dance number by a beautiful danseuse.. It is provocative, offensive and hurting only if one sees erotica each time a nude body is exhibited. To me the beautiful physique and the video as such was not smut ,but a thing of awe. And I can only see more people taking to yoga.
I do not know of any dress code or otherwise that has to be followed while engaging in practise of yoga, besides practical ones and dresses that can be comfortable. However it is also matter of fact that the Playboy video is a gimmick, a merchandising gimmick like many other matters used in commercialisation and marketing.But then what is unholy in practising yoga in the nude? 


Now, the devout Hindus who were offended by what they term, 'the misuse of an ancient and revered system’, must answer a few questions before they further their rage.

How many of these folks practise yoga and are yogic?
How do they substantiate the explicit sculptures of Khajuraho,( a world heritage site)? And the many sculptures that one can see in many temples of south India that show profusely endowed women bearing their bosoms? Has anybody felt aroused when they circumambulate these temples?
What do they say about the naga sanyasis that one can see in many numbers when one venture to north Indian towns of Allahabad, Rishikesh etc? I found them amusing.But to the zealous Hindus who are now offended ought to be offended looking at these pictures in this post.

If the Taj is a thing of beauty, nudity in sublime form is beauty personified. The longing and the urge to feel peeved and offended is a birth right too. I guess so!


Anonymous said...

Its funny how the modern day "Hindu" forces fight for a form of culture that has less to do with Indian traditions and merely a local adaptation of middle age western concepts of social morality.

Balachandran V said...

The crux of the issue is commercialisation of yoga. It is true that religion, like everything, is up for sale. And so long as we are selling ourselves, fine. Look at the ads of ayurvedic resorts in Kerala. The partially nude body of a foreigner woman is displayed being massaged. The USP is the nude body and not the oil or the massaging technique.

There is nothing immoral in offering my mother or my woman for sale, but you ask the rate - now that is an unpardonable offence!

But let us not forget the wily westerners. How would it look if a muslim woman offered prayers in the nude? Imagine her dressed except for a thin veil over her head?

While criticizing ourselves for our hypocritical moral stand, let us not be fooled by Playboy's ploy; yoga can be understood even if the yogi is dressed in leotards!

kavita said...

Whole thing is bit funny -first the idea of Yoga in nude and second the protest .Both will loose its place in headlines very soon .

Insignia said...

Its a gimmick!!! And our poor religious fanatics looking for some meat would savor this news.

anilkurup said...

@ Anonymous

Again I wish you comment in the open.
Middle age western concept and even the Victorian era social ethos were hypocritical. "Lady Chatterly's Lover" was one such example.Modern day Hindu - the term is funny isn't it. Though not frenzied like the Taliban Muslims.

@ Balachandran,

Bals I wish the discussion dose not fall into the topic of hypocrisy. And my post was only at the triviality of this video. And if nude yoga was offensive , because she displayed yogic postures , and would have been acceptable if she did aerobics?
I also did acknolwdge the sales ploy of Playboy.

And sure if they did the picture of a Muslim woman offering namaz in the nude we would have many Salman Rushdies running for cover.

Thanks to the news of this video curiosity doubles and the magazine and video will be pre sold.

By the same token of judgement the naked sanyasis and the beautiful Chandala period sculptures of Khujaraho must be offensive.

One can practise yoga in any dress that is comfortable. Here yoga was not the point, revenue was and the offensive feel of chaste Hindus only comforted that.

@ Kavitha

You are right. Funny and trivial too.

anilkurup said...

@ insignia
Fanaticism or bigotry they were attributes not found in the Hindu way of life. wasn't it so?

dr.antony said...

Thanks to heavy marketing, and advertising, yoga is now a bustling business worth 6 billion dollars a year and featuring a gallery of self-promoting yoga "celebrities" and an endless array of high priced yoga accessories, including sticky mats, CD roms, how to do books, home videos and pricey yoga retreats and vacations in exotic Third World locations.We are part of the business chain as well.We never felt offended by female trainers who were clad in tight fitting clothes,who do not leave any thing for imagination. If it is so offending,may be we could force the Play Boy team to ask Sara Jean to wear a loin cloth.

And what is yoga to Hindutva? If so,people of other religions should not be allowed to practice it.Then,one should restrict it with in the fields of religion and let only Hindus practice it. This is the epitome of hypocrisy. We want to sell it( We currently have only these ancient traditions to sell),and then cry over how it is sold!.

I loved the pictures.Form where did you find them? From my limited knowledge, nudity is not a crime in Hinduism, and so also sex.Most of our temples have the sexiest looking goddesses I have seen.

This is something like Islamisation of Hinduism!!

anilkurup said...

@ doc antony,

I liked your signing off note"Islamisation of Hinduism".
The other points you noted are absolutely relevant too.
I guess a scantly clad body has far more erotica than a full nude figure.
So a Saraha draped in piece of loin cloth will have more punch.
Oh enthoru yogam!!!!!

dr.antony said...

Kochu Kalla,
Aagrahom Mosamilla !!