Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Here is a question which appeared at: http://nz.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071105220615AA98dcC.

What type of foot-ware did Swamy Vivekananda wore?
My 5 year old son is participating in fancy dress competition. I am dressing him as Swamy Vivekananda, but i dont know what foot-ware did Swamy Vivekanands exactly wore. Can anybody help me please. UNQUOTE

Answer given at the same site:

"... Maybe this pic can give you a better idea. Take a look."


The asker of the question was very much happy. He gave the answer a five star rating.

Well, then what are the facts?


Original prescription for monks was "No foot-wear". The idea was that they should not pamper their bodies.

Later, they started using wooden foot-wear. The assumption is that they are not made of leather and hence are not made by killing animals and the principle of non-violence was respected.

Hindu monks are of two types.

1. Mendicants. 2. Well-fed monks.

Mendicants Mendicants live by alms received door-to-door. In the days of yore they were not expected to stay at a place for more than three or four days. Now-a-days, they stay at a fixed place. The wooden foot-wear originally prescribed for monks are not suitable for moving. Hence they wear ordinary plastic or leather foot-wear thrown out by common man. They may even wear old lace-less shoes found abandoned in streets. They never wear wooden foot-wear.

Well-fed monks

These monks stay at monasteries. In India monasteries are not poor. The traditional monks wear wooden foot-wear inside buildings and on ceremonial occasions. Those who use cars rarely walk much in streets and hence they continue to use wooden foot-wear.

Whenever the monks make longer journeys, they use normal foot-wear like any other citizen, which means shoes are worn.

The photo of Swami Vivekananda commonly available is heavily made up using imagination of the artists. The one which is likely to get mass appeal is heavily repeated, becoming a standard appearance.

Not only Swami Vivekananda, but also his Gurudeva, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (who claimed to have allergy against gold and money of extreme level) have used SHOES quite normally.

Swamy Vivekananda's wearing shoes in cold countries like USA can be justificably understandable.

Then what is ugly? Creating an impression that he toured the entire world or entire India, bare foot is not justified. Children who wear fancy dresses, fed with the impression that Vivekananda was barefooted throughout his life will make them blind worshippers of Vivekananda. They have to understand that Vivekananda was a human being like their father.

Here is a link which shows that Vivekananda was wearing full shoes: http://www.rajkot.com/ramakrishna/vivekananda.htm

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