Hayagriva Dasa: I put on a black summer suit and tie, the last remnants of my teaching days at Ohio State. I was wearing the same suit in my office at Denny Hall when my colleague, Dr. Mohan Lal Sharma, convinced me to go to India. That was in 1965. But during that 1965-66 India trip, I wore only dungarees and plaid shirts. Hippy years. Now it’s back to the black suit. Prabhupada requested that I come to India wearing a suit. "I will introduce you as Professor Wheeler," he said.
In the suit, I look like a Bible preacher, especially in India, where only missionaries wear black suits. The surprise comes when I turn around and display my Hindu sikha, that little telltale tuft of long hair. Hare Krishna! Of course, I’m less sensational in the suit than in robes. Now, Prabhupada’s "dancing white elephants"—the shaved-headed, saffron-clad American and European devotees—are shocking India, just as they shocked the West. It’s crossing cultures that’s taboo, possibly dangerous.