22.The System of Invitation

The head of a family, or the spouse, or their brothers/sisters, or in their absence the sons and daughters, are the proper representatives of a family to invite their guests. As far as possible, the invitation should be extended at a person’s residence. If the inviter happens to meet the person to be invited outside the latter’s residence, the invitation can be delivered then and there.

If someone desires to offer gifts in response to an invitation, the best gifts are flowers, but even flowers are not essential. If someone has an intense desire to offer a special present, it should be done either in the absence of the other invited guests or on some other day, otherwise it will be considered an antisocial act.

1965, Jamalpur

23. Dress

You should wear dress according to your own preference and convenience. It is proper to always wear clean clothes so that others do not unnecessarily form a poor impression about you.

While going out of their house, women should wear simple and decent clothes and cover their bodies properly. Dress norms for women may be slightly relaxed during festivals, or when they are accompanied by male guardians, or when good security arrangements have been made. The same norms apply to the wearing of ornaments also.

1956, Jamalpur

24. Social Relationship between Men and Women

Men and women are human beings having equal dignity. As the physical strength of women is less than that of men, the latter should always endeavour to save the prestige of women. As the mothers of men, women can claim this much as a right. Special attention should be paid to the comforts of women during festivals, at spiritual conferences, and on other occasions.

When necessary, men and women can mix together, sit next to one another and participate in meetings and conferences, but they should not engage in gossip as its results are not beneficial. It should be remembered that a woman’s friend is a woman and a man’s friend is a man. The more distant the relationship between men and women, the greater should be the courtesy maintained in mutual conversation and behaviour between them.

It is proper to address a woman not related to one’s family as “Mother”. But where such an address sounds unpleasant to the ears, one should use respectful words such as “Sister”, “Daughter” and the like. Unrelated men and women should not touch one another as far as possible, except during illness or in special circumstances (during salutation, administering medical care, etc.).

Except for professional actors and actresses, men and women should not jointly participate in theatrical performances. Under special circumstances this rule may be relaxed for faultless characters, with the permission of a purodhá. An ácárya/á or a purodhá cannot actively participate in any acting, but individually they can cultivate the fine arts. An ácárya/á can even act in special cases or in special dramas with the permission of a purodhá.

1956, Jamalpur