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The Issue Of Hair


Guest Ranjit Singh

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Guest Ranjit Singh

Hey All,

I am a young Sikh about 18 years old. I keep long hair, and my whole life I have been questioning this practice. Sometime I would forget about the issue, sometimes I would think about it a lot and for a period I didn't think about it at all. However, now the thoughts have returned and I can't stop thinking about it. I have been reading up on Sikhism, and am currently reading The Sikhs by Kushwant Singh, some of you may know it.

I am quoting this from the book, pp 39,:

"Several theories have been advanced to explain the innovation of growing hair and the beard. It has been suggested that this was not an innovation at all and that Guru Gobind Singh's predecessors had all conformed to the tradition of Indian ascetics, who never cut their hair or beards. By making it obligatory for his followers, the Guru intended to emphasize the ideal of ascetic saintliness which he enjoined his followers. He wanted them to be soldier saints. Another version is that, prior to launching on this venture, Gobind had spent a long time invoking the blessings of Durga, the Hindu goddess of destruction. Since she was always portrayed with long unshorn tresses, the Guru believed that in deference to his patron goddess he and his followers should also leave their hair unshorn.

A simpler and more plausible explanation is that in preparing his men against the Muslims, Guru Gobind Singh had to take account of the somewhat awesome aspect of the hirsute (means hairy) tribesmen from the North-west Frontier, who kept their long hair loose on their shoulders and let their beards grow. He made it a rule for his followers to do likewise sot hat appearance would no longer terrify. It is also likely that by having his followers wear emblems which made them easily recognizable, the Guru wanted to raise a body of men who would not be able to deny their faith when questioned, but whose external appearance would invite persecution and breed courage to resist it."

Another paragraph relating to the issue of hair, pp 63,

"The affinity with Hinduism explain both the Sikh drift away from Islamic associations and the pattern of Sikh reformation movements, which sought to maintain Sikh identity distinct from the Hindu. It also explains the Sikh attachment to external forms and symbols, which came progressively to have a more sociological than a religious significance. They became symbolic of belonging to a group and not necessarily of observing its religious ordinances"

The paragraphs quoted above, tell me that the issue of hair was a matter of necessity of the time, and where it was required in those times is no longer needed. We are no longer in war, and sorry but I don't need more problems in my life "by inviting persecution", you don't need locks of hair to breed courage. Religion comes from inside, not from how you dress. Furthermore, these paragraphs tell me that the maintaining of long hair was a social construction rather than a religious "ordinance". Moreover, it was implemented because Sikhism was drifting towards Hindu practices, and the Guru wanted to make sure that we were distinct externally, but in practice during those days Sikhs were following many Hindu practices, which is why he wanted to make us different.

Unfortunately, this has confirmed my belief that hair is not needed in Sikhism. I was looking for reasons to keep long hair, but this only tells me otherwise. My Dad has told me that if I want to cut my hair I have to give him a 1 year notice, I think I will. During this time I will research more on Sikhism and talk to Sikhs, to make sure that my decision.

Please, everyone, share your thoughts on what I have said, and on the paragraphs I have quoted. This is a difficult decision for me.

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Fatehji...Forget what the book say...look at what guruji says

roim roim rivAw hir nwmu ]

rom rom raviaa har naam ||

The Lord's Name permeates each and every hair of mine.

siqgur pUrY kIno dwnu ]1]

sathigur poorai keeno dhaan ||1||

The Perfect True Guru has given me this gift. ||1||

nwmu rqnu myrY BMfwr ]

naam rathan maerai bha(n)ddaar ||

The Jewel of the Naam is my treasure.

Agm Amolw Apr Apwr ]1] rhwau ]

Agam amolaa apar apaar ||1|| rehaao ||

It is inaccessible, priceless, infinite and incomparable. ||1||Pause||

Hair is not need in Sikhi? Bhaji do you know who Bhai Taru Singh ji is?...They gave shaheedi, but not cut their hair. They did rather die then removing those precious hair. There are more examples of these kind of heroes, who gave shaheedi but not their hair, because it was this important to them. Sir Jaavey Ta Jaavey Mera Sikhi Sidak Na Jaavey! Its Natural. If we cut our hair, it grows back again. Don't you think it is suppose to be there, if it keeps growing back? Guruji gave us an Identity Dastar, Baana...far far far away, with one million people surrounding us, We will be identified because of the identity Guruji gave us.

The Lords hair permeates each and every hair of mine...If gurbani says that, who are we to remove those hair.

More Shabads...

ਤੇਰੇ ਬੰਕੇ ਲੋਇਣ ਦੰਤ ਰੀਸਾਲਾ ॥ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਲੰਮੜੇ ਵਾਲਾ ॥

Ŧėrė bankė lo­iṇ ḏanṯ rīsālā. Sohṇė nak jin lammṛė vālā.

Your eyes are so beautiful, and Your teeth are delightful.

Your nose is so graceful, and Your hair is so long.

.......

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰੋਮਿ ਰੋਮਿ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥੨੭॥

Gurmukẖ paviṯar param paḏ pāvai. Gurmukẖ rom rom har ḏẖi­āvai. Nānak gurmukẖ sācẖ samāvai.(27) The Gurmukh attains the supreme, sanctified status.The Gurmukh meditates on the Lord with every hair of his body. O Nanak, the Gurmukh merges in Truth.

Bhaaji Hair is so important in SIkhi..so important. Bhaji, ask a Singh, a charidkala Singh, how important their hair is for them?. How will you answer Dharam raj, when they say "Where is your long beautiful hair?"

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You yourself do not have a Bibek Budh so you need Sat Sangat to help you understand Truth which you should gone to find instead of listening to people with impure mat and abibek budh and coming to this decision. Let me explain the Truth about the Power of Hair and its importance to whoever wants to reach Vaheguru. Gurbani states that the human body is a temple of Vaheguru -

hir mMdru eyhu srIru hY igAwin rqin prgtu hoie ]

har ma(n)dhar eaehu sareer hai giaan rathan paragatt hoe ||

This body is the Temple of the Lord, in which the jewel of spiritual wisdom is revealed.

So, by deforming it by cutting our hair we are calling it imperfect to Vaheguru, which means we are calling Vaheguru imperfect. Guru Sahib teaches us that we have to keep the external and internal self pure. So, we are given external rehits such as keeping our hair, wearing bana, panj kakaars etc and given internal rehits such as amritvela, naam abhiyaas, gun gayee abhiyaas etc.

In the previous yuga, before this yug (kalyug where doubt and untruth reins), everyone kept their hair even though they werent sikhs, as it had spiritual significance and it is the will of Vaheguru to keep it. It was seen as shameful to remove it and whenever a person committed a paap their hair was removed by superiors to put them to shame. In this yug every manmukh removes it due to their Abibek Budh and very small amount of gyan of truth so they are all putting themselves to shame. As for the spiritual significance, Dasam Granth says that by cutting your hair it disconnects you from Spiritual Gyaan, Truth and Power, which means it disconnects you from Vaheguru. Prophets have very little gyaan of truth thats why they never preached all the Truth which Guru Sahib did. However, Guru Sahib is the same as Vaheguru and has all the perfect and complete gyaan of Truth and True Bibek Budh.

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There seems to be more to this situation than simply "I don't think it is necessary." I think you are trying to justify cutting your kesh for a specific reason, and I would like to know what it is.

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@ Ranjit Singh - Keep on learning with an open mind. It's good that you're trying to come to a decision based on facts from various sources instead of being lazy and taking a pair of scissors to your hair without putting much thought into it. The fact that you're going to these lengths to read-up on the issue suggests that there is a degree of uncertainty on your part about whether you're making the right choice.

I'd be curious to know if you recite Gurbani. Is it something that interests you? If you're not doing paath or anything like that, try it but not because you wish material gain but try it just for peace of mind. See how a dedicated, prolonged period of Gurbani recitation makes you feel. Like I said, go into it with an open mind, and then see whether you feel any change within yourself. Of course it won't be a sudden epiphany (it might if you're lucky :biggrin2: ) and it might take some determination on your part to really discover whatever it is you want the answers to.

The late teens are a very curious, confusing (even if you don't feel it) time in our lives. Best not to make any life-defining decisions during these years as I personally think any choices are heavily influenced by the impetuousness of youth even if you feel you're quite calm and logical.

One final thing: Why does your father need a year? Is it to prepare and console himself or what? Sounds a bit ominous... :biggrin2:

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Hey All,

I am a young Sikh about 18 years old. I keep long hair, and my whole life I have been questioning this practice. Sometime I would forget about the issue, sometimes I would think about it a lot and for a period I didn't think about it at all. However, now the thoughts have returned and I can't stop thinking about it. I have been reading up on Sikhism, and am currently reading The Sikhs by Kushwant Singh, some of you may know it.

I am quoting this from the book, pp 39,:

"Several theories have been advanced to explain the innovation of growing hair and the beard. It has been suggested that this was not an innovation at all and that Guru Gobind Singh's predecessors had all conformed to the tradition of Indian ascetics, who never cut their hair or beards. By making it obligatory for his followers, the Guru intended to emphasize the ideal of ascetic saintliness which he enjoined his followers. He wanted them to be soldier saints. Another version is that, prior to launching on this venture, Gobind had spent a long time invoking the blessings of Durga, the Hindu goddess of destruction. Since she was always portrayed with long unshorn tresses, the Guru believed that in deference to his patron goddess he and his followers should also leave their hair unshorn.

A simpler and more plausible explanation is that in preparing his men against the Muslims, Guru Gobind Singh had to take account of the somewhat awesome aspect of the hirsute (means hairy) tribesmen from the North-west Frontier, who kept their long hair loose on their shoulders and let their beards grow. He made it a rule for his followers to do likewise sot hat appearance would no longer terrify. It is also likely that by having his followers wear emblems which made them easily recognizable, the Guru wanted to raise a body of men who would not be able to deny their faith when questioned, but whose external appearance would invite persecution and breed courage to resist it."

Another paragraph relating to the issue of hair, pp 63,

"The affinity with Hinduism explain both the Sikh drift away from Islamic associations and the pattern of Sikh reformation movements, which sought to maintain Sikh identity distinct from the Hindu. It also explains the Sikh attachment to external forms and symbols, which came progressively to have a more sociological than a religious significance. They became symbolic of belonging to a group and not necessarily of observing its religious ordinances"

The paragraphs quoted above, tell me that the issue of hair was a matter of necessity of the time, and where it was required in those times is no longer needed. We are no longer in war, and sorry but I don't need more problems in my life "by inviting persecution", you don't need locks of hair to breed courage. Religion comes from inside, not from how you dress. Furthermore, these paragraphs tell me that the maintaining of long hair was a social construction rather than a religious "ordinance". Moreover, it was implemented because Sikhism was drifting towards Hindu practices, and the Guru wanted to make sure that we were distinct externally, but in practice during those days Sikhs were following many Hindu practices, which is why he wanted to make us different.

Unfortunately, this has confirmed my belief that hair is not needed in Sikhism. I was looking for reasons to keep long hair, but this only tells me otherwise. My Dad has told me that if I want to cut my hair I have to give him a 1 year notice, I think I will. During this time I will research more on Sikhism and talk to Sikhs, to make sure that my decision.

Please, everyone, share your thoughts on what I have said, and on the paragraphs I have quoted. This is a difficult decision for me.

Hi,

I understand what you are going through, and how difficult it can be to question the importance of kesh and the role it plays in our lives.

I have a lot to say about this, but will have to post a little later as I don't have the time at the moment to give the response that I'd like to.

But I think it's great that you brought up this issue, as it's something which needs to be discussed. So many young Sikhs go through the same struggles.

I will respond in full length soon.

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Gurbani states that all of Guru Sahib's teachings are Truth and No matter what you believe, keeping uncut hair will always be part of sikhi. The truth of the matter is that one who denies keeping uncut hair is too weak to keep it so makes excuses.

sy Bgq sy qqu igAwnI ijn kau hukmu mnwey ]6]

sae bhagath sae thath giaanee jin ko hukam manaaeae ||6||

They are devotees, with the essence of spiritual wisdom, who obey the Hukam of His Command. ||6||

The above shabad states that only they are devotees of Vaheguru who obey his Hukam. Vaheguru's Hukams are given through Guru Sahib and Gurbani states all the Gurus are one and same. Also they are no different from Vaheguru as Guru Sahib is Vaheguru. One of Guru Sahib's Hukams is to keep un-cut hair as stated by Bhai Nand Lal Jee of what Guru Gobind Singh Jee stated:

"My Sikh shall not use the razor. For him the use of razor or shaving the chin shall be as sinful as incest. . ."

Also, Bhai Desa Singh Jee Rehitnama states:

"God created the whole universe and then he fashioned the human body. He gave men beard, moustaches and hair on the head. He who submits to His Will stead- fastly adheres to them. They who deny His Will how will they find God in this world?"

So, according to Gurbani one who does not keep Hair is not a True Devotee of Vaheguru. You need to read about True Devotees of Vaheguru such as Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Jee, Bao Mal Singh Jee, the Rangla Sajjan Gursikhs who Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Jee has written about, Baba Harnam Singh (rampurkhera walay), Baba Nand Singh Jee, Sant Attar Singh Jee, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee etc.

For further info on hair you can read: http://www.sikhiwiki.../index.php/Kesh

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਿਰਖੁਥੇ ਸੈਤਾਨੀ ਏਨਾ ਗਲ ਭਾਣੀ

Nānak sirkẖuṯe saiṯānī enā gal na bẖāṇī.

O Nanak, the shaven-headed ones are devils. They are not pleased to hear these words.

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Guest Ranjit Singh

@ Ranjit Singh - Keep on learning with an open mind. It's good that you're trying to come to a decision based on facts from various sources instead of being lazy and taking a pair of scissors to your hair without putting much thought into it. The fact that you're going to these lengths to read-up on the issue suggests that there is a degree of uncertainty on your part about whether you're making the right choice.

I'd be curious to know if you recite Gurbani. Is it something that interests you? If you're not doing paath or anything like that, try it but not because you wish material gain but try it just for peace of mind. See how a dedicated, prolonged period of Gurbani recitation makes you feel. Like I said, go into it with an open mind, and then see whether you feel any change within yourself. Of course it won't be a sudden epiphany (it might if you're lucky :biggrin2: ) and it might take some determination on your part to really discover whatever it is you want the answers to.

The late teens are a very curious, confusing (even if you don't feel it) time in our lives. Best not to make any life-defining decisions during these years as I personally think any choices are heavily influenced by the impetuousness of youth even if you feel you're quite calm and logical.

One final thing: Why does your father need a year? Is it to prepare and console himself or what? Sounds a bit ominous... :biggrin2:

I don't read the Gurbani nor can I speak or read Punjabi. I have very little knowledge about Sikhism, which is why I have taken up to reading, researching and trying to talk to people about this matter.

My father needs 1 year in order to prepare my uncles and people in my community, and more importantly, that I have time to think about it and research.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Bhaji, I wonder you asked yourself questions, The only solution I can see is find Saad Sangat, Join kirtan ransbabiee, programme, or camps! I recommend You to go to Khalsa camp or Sikhi camp this Summer, May you get your answers! Fatehji

http://www.khalsacamp.com/uk/ Khalsa camp Website.

http://www.sikhicamp.org/ Or Sikhi Camp...

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It has nothing to do with war, or durga or whatever other nonsense Kushwant Singh writes about. It's about keeping yourself the way that God meant for you to be. This is accepting His Hukam.

Hairstyles come and go. What was "cool" 20 years ago is now ridiculous. If you saw a lion with a spiky, gelled mane, you would laugh. You're a lion, why are you trying to look like a fudu? Just be what you were meant to be.

That being said, keeping hair is only one aspect of Sikhi. Being a good Sikh also means cultivating your inner spirituality. Having hair without spirituality is like having an expensive sports car without an engine in it.

You can be a good person without kesh, but at the end of the day we should all strive to be complete gursikhs. Inside and out.

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