A view of a naked human body — even a very beautiful one — causes violent emotions of indignation in many people educated by the modern Christian Churches. Who are they? Who are these people living constantly in the emotions of condemnation, hostile and intolerant to everything unusual to them, including the really beautiful?
If they believe that they are given too little or that they are not helped in the “right” way, then they are ready to kill those who self-sacrificially help them. When they happen to be in nature (went for an outing or picnic in the forest, for example), they cannot enjoy its beauty and calm, but can only drink, yell, defile, kill living beings. In their private life and in work, they conflict with each other, lie, steal without being aware that they are committing a crime: they worry only about the possibility of being caught. When they develop a sexual passion (lust), it may become so wild, especially in men, that they are ready to kill for the sake of satisfying themselves. Have you recognized them? This is the tamas guna in its worst manifestation.
For other people, a view of a beautiful naked body is a sign of sex only. But their attitude to sex is different from the tamasic one: sex is not something filthy, but enjoyment for both; beauty and harmony are familiar to them. This is rajas.
People of the sattva guna view the natural beauty of a naked human body as an opportunity for aesthetic enjoyment, attunement to subtlety, tenderness. To them it is an opportunity to become better, closer to God. Sexual passion in this case does not arise, and no thought about sexual intercourse comes. This is not always understandable for people of the rajas guna, and completely incomprehensible for representatives of tamas guna.
As to the erotic fine art — it possesses the qualities of its author and can be very different. In other words, from a work of art one can see to which guna the author belongs: tamas, rajas, or sattva. The qualities of the artist's model can be seen as well — also according to the gunas.
And what about people who have advanced in their development above the gunas — what is their attitude towards the sattvic nude beauty? They, having evaluated it, affirm: yes, it is wonderful, I am glad for people who possess such qualities, who understand them, contemplate them. But the one who knows Living God, who aspires to communication with Him, is not tempted to enjoy contemplating this beauty for a long time, because such a person has cognized that which is superior to it. “Those who have come out of the world cannot be seized... Now they are above passion… and fear.” (The Gospel of Philip, 61)
Nudism exists in the form of art: photo, painting, sculpture, erotica of ballet, cinema, or theater.
But it exists in the “living” form as well, for example, naked sunbathing on a beach. Of course, some people come to nudist beaches with the purpose of making new contacts. Why not? There is nothing bad in it if they do not harass others. (Such harassment, by the way, is characteristic of the representatives of the tamas guna).
But the majority of those who swim and sunbathe on nudist beaches do not relate it with sex. They just seek natural harmony, simplicity, and purity of relationships with people and nature. (People of the tamas guna, the guna of hell, cannot understand this).
Moreover, nudism may become a special component of spiritual work for those who achieved the sattva guna: it helps to strengthen sattvic qualities in people. They indeed become “like children”, as Jesus preached (Matt 18:3; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17), — in their open and pure relationships with nature, God, and with each other. Sexuality then is replaced by a fond, tender, careful attitude towards each other. This emotional situation is very auspicious for the mergence of subtle and loving consciousnesses with each other and with the Holy Spirit, which is very valuable on the spiritual Path.
… One may ask: how is this subject related to Christianity? Very directly, because Jesus talked with His disciples about it (though, very briefly in the scriptures available for us). I just need to give a quotation:
“When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and ‘trample’ them, then you will see the Son of the (eternally) Living One!” (The Gospel of Thomas, 37).
And more: “To the pure all things are pure…” (Titus 1:15).
And the last remarks on this topic:
First: nudists should not behave “glaringly” towards people who do not like nudism. Of which guna these people are is not important. If this is unpleasant to them, then behaving this way means causing them harm, violating the principles of ethics by the nudists. So, nudists have to choose secluded nooks of nature or “legitimated” places on beaches.
Please do not take the content of this chapter as a call for everyone to undress. A person has to enter the sattva guna, at least, so that nudism may become an element of spiritual work for him or her.