Our culture tells us that women should wear full clothes. But in the history also we see that many Apsaras slightly covering their bodies living in societies. What are your views on that? Some modern women argue that its my choice my freedom and my comforts. Thank you.

—Harish, India


Dear Harish,

Thank you for your question. I wasn’t really sure what an Apsara was, so I had to look it up….

“…In Indian mythology, apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god….There are two types of apsaras; laukika (worldly), of whom thirty-four are specified, and daivika (divine), of which there are ten…”

So the divine apasaras are outnumbered more than three to one by the worldly apsaras. Isn’t that often the way? The good qualities of humanity are precious and should protect them, lest they be overrun by latent and numerous worldly tendencies. I couldn’t find much mentioned on the divine apsaras in my cursory investigation, so I don’t know their attributes, or how they dressed.

In general, it is best if young women dress modestly yet attractively. Hopefully, parents can give some suitable guidelines, especially regarding extreme fashion trends. I believe this basic tenet would help young women attract true love or romance rather than lust. Sometimes it has to be pointed out to a girl that even though they have freedom, a certain type of clothing will attract more lustful glances from men. Most girls don’t want that leering reaction.

Fashions do change so what was once considered modest in the past may be considered overdressed now, except in formal settings. But the principles remain the same. What is the goal and likely reaction of certain forms of dress? Can something be modified slightly so as to still be beautiful but a bit more modest? It also varies in different societies and cultures. If you disagree with how our own culture is going, then try to be part of the solution.

A parent can do their best to instil virtue in their sons and daughters while they are young. I describe some of this in my free e-book Finding God in Your Family. Once the child is grown, there is not much you can do except pray, and advise them if they ask you for it.

For the men who are distracted by the freer forms of female dress these days, it can be helpful to think Divine Mother within all female forms, no matter how they are clothed. Keep an uplifted mind as much as is possible. Wish them well. If you feel that some are in error, send a prayer thought and blessing their way. People respond to positive thoughts and prayers.


Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry