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Hair Today. Hair Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

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    Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow
    Nanak Singh Nishter
    The theory of evolution infers tht every species adapts in its anatomy, changes advantageously to itself in its struggle for survival against the set of challenges it has to confront. It retains the characters which give it an edge and discards those which are either of no use or a liability. The fact that human hairs have been retained and evolved through the grim battle of human survival for millions of years is a definite pointer to they being of a genetic asset the significance of which is not yet perceived by us.

    At a time when the Sikh community is celebrating events like the Mr Singh competition and the newspapers have carried pictures of young Sikhs sporting dazzling turbans, it is all the more necessary that we focus the debate on why an increasing number of Sikh children, particularly young ones, are preferring to lose their hair. Why do our youth cut or destroy kesh or prefer pigmentation?

    Some of the less informed Sikhs are carried away under the influence of dominant trends in society or fashions and deprive themselves of this most invaluable boon by God and become apostates and irreligious in the eyes of other, religious persons irrespective of any faith.

    Unmindfully they become instrumental in degrading the sanctity of Sikhism. Surely there must be some purpose of nature in endowing the highest creation on earth, the man, with longest hair on the scalp coupled with biggest brain (cerebrum). No other animal living being has such a big cerebrum in its skull. Nor this crown of glory to adorn its head, as well befits the King of all creation of this globe.

    The man is decidedly a hairy animal with distinctive and specific regional distribution of his hairy coat. His whole body surface is studded with hair excepting only palms and soles. It is the human being alone who possesses the longest hair over his head and so on his face, among the whole animal world. There is little hair on face to the fair sex but she has got longer and denser hair on her scalp than her counter-part, the man.
    Baldness is the usual of man whereas females seldom get bald.

    Here, I am discussing the essentiality. And indispensability of growing uncut hair of whole body without doing any harm to them in any way and without changing their natural colour by dyeing according to the decree of “Sikh Rehat Maryada” (Sikh Code of Conduct). I will try to focus on the importance of wearing, caring, protecting and preserving the wholesome existence of naturally grown hair.

    According to Sikh belief and practice, it is the long hair which is essential coupled with turban, and as you all know, the Sikh apostasy begins with cutting, trimming or shaving hair, and then the turban on the head disappears. The long hair and turban on head speaks volumes of the identify of a Sikh, just on sight even from a distance.

    God has been attributed with thousands of descriptive names in Hinduism (Sanatan Dharam) and with ninety nine descriptive names in Quran. Sikhism believes that God is without name and has innumerable Names. Sikhism endorses all the names and has given another name as numerical One. That is how, Shri Guru Granth Sahib starts with the digit One for God, but not with any particular name of God.

    The Sikhs do not have any problem with the people of other faiths, who do not follow the footsteps of their founders in keeping hair and destroy the God given gift. Sikhs do not question the matters of the faith of other religion, whatever they may be. The behavior of the civilized society demands that they in turn should learn basic ethics not to interfere, question or create problems for the Sikhs, who vehemently follow their founders in keeping hair.

    Kesh is the Sanskrit word for hair. Keshava is also one of the names of God in Hinduism, which means “having beautiful hair.” In Hinduism, hair has been attributed as the most important part of the body, which could be sacrificed instead of offering sacrifice of the self. Now a days, hair is kept to be sacrificed at the occasion of pilgrimage of temples.

    Only in Andhra Pradesh, there are three famous temples where men and women devotees from all over the world come to offer their hair. 1-Shri Vekateshwara Swamy Temple at Tirupati, in Kadapa district; 2- Shri Narsimha Swamy Temple at Bhongir in Nalgonda district; 3- Shri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Temple at Vemalwada in Karimnager district. These temples get an annual foreign exchange income of crores of rupees by exporting the offered hair. This indicates the sanctity and worth of keeping and sacrificing the hair in Hinduism.

    Sikhism — a new way of life

    Sikhism is a new way of life based on humanism and enhanced with spiritualism. It is the latest religion which got recognized among world’s major religions. Sikhism does not believe in any segmentation of human race in the name of caste, creed, religion, country, race and gender.

    It believes that Humanity is one religion. Shri Guru Nanak Sahib initiated this mission about five centuries ago and it was collectively structured by the genius and living of the Ten Gurus during a span of their Guruship tenure of 239 years. Sikhism stood for protection of religious freedom by sacrifices and even by using force. It believes that all religions and scriptures are equally good and different paths to approach to God. It does not believe in converting people into its folds, and do not refuse to entertain if any person wants to embrace Sikhism. Even then it has attracted more than 30 million people as staunch followers. This is a new record that during such a short span of time no other religion could voluntarily attract so many followers. The reason is obvious and simple because it has the potential to meet and overcome the challenges of human life in all adversities. As any innovation is the result of the experiences and shortcomings of the prevailing practices. It does not infer that all the other religions are in any way inferior or incomplete. The basic teaching of Sikhism is that all the religions and their Scriptures are equally true. A person who does not reflect over it is false. (Page No. 1350 - Shri Guru Granth Sahib)”.

    At the same time we cannot deny the thumb rule that every later innovation is improved and advanced in concept and advantages in all respects. That is why people always may opt for the later superior commodity.

    Modernisation


    For example, take liquor and gambling. It is banned in some religions. But Sikhism has developed the idea by prohibiting intoxication in any form and earning without doing any earnest labors. No religion prohibits tobacco, but Sikhism strictly banned consuming of tobacco in any form. I need not remind that today tobacco has been proved to be the most deadly killer of the human race through cancer, hypertension and a number of cardio respiratory diseases requiring most expensive treatment. No religion of the world gives equal religious and social status to women. Whereas Sikhism, grants complete equality at par with men. It also allows them to perform religious rites in the Gurdwaras even during the period of menstruation which is a natural biological process. Shri Guru Nanak Sahib has declared her supremacy saying that how do you call her impure, who gives birth to saints and kings and responsible for growing the human lire. Only God exists without a woman. It has abandoned all religious rituals and liberated the masses from the clutches of priestly class and any need of mediators between human being and God.

    Pilgrimages and fasts for a few days a year are prescribed in most of the religions. But Sikhism does not endorse pilgrimages and advocates forever remembering God, minimum eating and minimum sleep throughout the year and all through the life. Wearing turban over the head protects from hot and cold weather and fatal head injuries for which helmet is invented now and made necessary for the riders of horses and two wheelers all over the world. But the Sikhs are exempted, because they already posses ways and methods earlier than this technology.

    The Muslim invaders faced a problem as the conquerors and the conquered both were keeping hair and wearing turban. To distinguish by appearance they ordered that no Hindu should keep the hair and wear the turban. This had made the high caste Hindus to keep a bunch of little token hair over the head, hidden in the shaved hair of the head as Choti.

    Take a weapon. Only responsible officers of the government agencies are allowed to carry a weapon, that too on official duties. But in the aircrafts, no body is allowed to carry any weapon, whereas the Sikhs are allowed to carry a Kirpan of six inches blade in the domestic flights. This keeping of Kirpan (weapon) for men and women is another glorious tenet of Sikhism for maintaining self-respect and self-confidence as a sovereign person of Wondrous God (Wahguru Ji Ka Khalsa) to serve the society.
    Some three years ago, on 23-9-2006 at Madurai in Tamil Nadu State, a person met the President of India Dr. A.P J. Abdul Kalam at Circuit House. The women sub-inspector was suspended for allowing him to see the President along with a plastic razor in his possession on the charge of” dereliction of duty. In contrast, on 2-11-1996 at Rashtrapathi Nilayam at Hyderabad this author though at that time undergoing trial under TADA, was allowed to carry Kirpan for receiving the State Literary Award to be given by the President of India. When the security people objected, the Military A.D.C. to the President HE Shankar Dayal Sharma, came to receive me at the entrance.

    This is an example of a bearded Sikh commanding the dignity and respect from the First Citizen of the Country which no other citizen is entitled to. My intention in quoting these examples is just to project that Sikhism is not an orthodox or outdated religion as told by the people who want to condemn Sikhism without giving any justified reasons. Whereas it is established that it is the religion relevant for all circumstances and ages and that its tenets are the most scientific and helpful for healthy, secured and dignified life.

    Founders of other religions

    We have to admit that there are certain disparities in all religions and their ideology. But at the same time, there is a much similarity between founders of all religions that they kept long hair and flowing beards. For example, take Zoroaster the founder of Zorastrianism, Abraham founder of Judaism and Moses, Jesus Christ founder of Christianity and Hazrat Mohammad founder of Islam and his Khalifas were having long hair and flowing beards. The images of Gautam Buddha founder of Buddhism and Mahavir founder of Jainism are also seen with long hair tied as a knot over the head. All the Greek philosophers, rishis, munis, sadhus, saints, all religious and pious persons of every religion throughout the world including Tolstoy and Rabindra Nath Tagore kept long hair. We can observe on television screen everyday, female and male with long flowing hair moustache and beard are taking part in thrilling fights of Free Style Wrestling and other games and the hair do not cause any inconvenience or obstruction in playing their games and making them victorious.

    Hair - not a mere identity

    The theory of evolution infers that every species adapts in its anatomy, changes advantageously to itself in its struggle for survival against the set of challenges it has to confront. It retains the characters which give it an edge and discards those which are either of no use or a liability. The fact that human hairs have been retained and evolved through the grim battle of human survival for millions of years is a definite pointer to they being of a genetic asset the significance of which is not yet perceived by us. Any artificial interference in the scheme of nature by destroying them may prove to be a hazardous move the consequences of which can be catastrophic.

    One of the main cause of today’s stressful life is an induvidual’s desire to artificialy look good. And the tragedy of today’s fashion is that it is carved by the businessmen for promoting their income. By any means they want to make the money. They mould the men folk to look like a woman and they also mould the women folk to look like a man for meagre gains, destroying their separate identities blessed by God. They are trying to become wiser than the God by interfering with the nature.

    Sikh — a role model


    The Sikhs do not have any problem with the people of other faiths, who do not follow the footsteps of their founders in keeping hair and destroy the God given gift. Sikhs do not question the matters of the faith of other religion, whatever they may be. The behavior of the civilized society demands that they in turn should learn basic ethics not to interfere, question or create problems for the Sikhs, who vehemently follow their founders in keeping hair and Kirpan. Actually speaking, the Sikhs should have been taken as a role model.

    If anybody asks me, why I keep hair? I say you are asking a wrong question. We neither keep nor it is in anybody’s reach to keep hair. It is the law of nature, and we
    faithfully abide by it. It is better for you to see the mirror and ask yourself, what has made you destroy the God given gift? You will get the answer that the Sikhs’ appearance is God Made, and not barber made.

    Now the majority community of the slaves and sycophants of those days is enjoying the fruits of freedom today, but for the Sikhs, only the rulers have changed from the Mughals to the British and then to the present indigenous ones. The difference for us is that then we fought for the nation and others, and now we are struggling for our right of honorable existence. The circumstances have not changed for the Sikhs. We should therefore be ever prepared for everlasting struggle for self-respect and separate and independent identity. Let us pledge, preserve and protect our dignity and individuality from assimilation into the ocean of majority.

    Hair are a boon and this body coverage could not be a meaningless exercise for God. He is our creator and caretaker. Nobody else could be more concerned for our betterment than Him. When He has given this body, He lakes care of it for proper maintenance and upkeep to meet the physical requirements. This is His foolproof mechanism. He is not a manufacturer of any commodity or car, where the responsibility of maintenance lies with the purchaser. God takes care of each breath and every moment of our life. He is not negligent of His creation. Our problem is that, we do not have full faith in Him and His Will for keeping this body healthy in every manner. This is because of deficient knowledge that, we do not understand the importance of His boon, nor we ever tried to know something about it. On the other hand, we take it as a bane and curse on our body. We work on a simple formula, “Whatever is beyond our understanding is wrong and useless.

    You might have observed ships sailing in the water with the wind. The crew just opens the sail and the ship sails without any effort with added speed with the wind. Whereas, to sail against wind, the crew has to make tireless efforts. The Sikhs happily allow the hair to remain in the most comfortable and natural manner, which does not require any hard effort or expenditure for living according to the will of God, like sailing with the tail wind. To sail against head wind and live against the law of nature one has to remove or to cut hair according to his own wish and size for that purpose one has to spend thousands of rupees and thousands of man hours of his life. People get tired of this exercise, but God does not stop growing the hair, each day and every moment He constantly grows the hair on our body according to His Will.

    Why to keep hair?


    The right question is why shall we cut our hair? There is no convincing answer for it. But there is a logical answer for “why are the Sikhs religiously asked not to remove the hair?” The basic tenet of Sikhism is to abide by the Will of God. (Shri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji - Jap — page No.3 — Shri Guru Granth Sahib). The God in his Will and wisdom has created the complete human being. To interfere with the God given body by circumcision, puffing a hole in the ear or nose and cutting or dyeing the hair are prohibited and treated as disobedience to God’s Will. A God fearing person can never prefer his will and wish to prevail over the God’s Will and can never make any alterations in the God gifted boon, which could attract His displeasure.

    After this explanation, another typical question may be posed. Then why do you cut the nails? Nobody cuts nails of the wild or stray animals. Generally people cut nails of the pets. Nails and hair grow up to a particular size, after that growth is stopped. The nails by constant use, wear out which keeps them trimmed automatically by nature. If the human being also does not cut nails, it would not grow indefinitely as some people preserve and protect them for a show. The nature maintains its size acceding to individuals’ requirement. In the name of cleanliness people do not tolerate the size it grows to. And moreover the dead part of the nail is removed as dead hair is also atomically removed by combing. So the comparison between cutting the hair and nails is not logically correct.

    The hairs keep us protected from the hot and cold weather and maintain the body temperature according to the individual’s body requirement. You can observe the people living in cold countries and hot countries, and they keep moustaches and beards and long hair covered with some or other headgear. Generally a Sikh does not receive any sunstroke as he is fully protected from any fatal injuries, vicissitudes of the climatic extremes due to these both natural hair and artificial protection of turban.

    Hair- a symbol of sovereignty

    The Muslim invaders faced a problem as the conquerors and the conquered both were keeping hair and wearing turban. To distinguish by appearance they ordered that no Hindu should keep the hair and wear the turban. This had made the high caste Hindus to keep a bunch of little token hair over the head, hidden in the shaved hair of the head as Choti or Shikha, which is visible even today among the orthodox upper caste Hindus, They cannot give any justification or reason for keeping it. Actually, as far as the historical fact is concerned, the position is that shaving the hair was mark of slavery for the Indians in those days. They were also not permitted to hold any weapon and ride on the horse.


    The 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, has pulled out the Sikhs from the concept of slavery and declared that, the Sikhs henceforth shall be called Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa (People of the Wondrous God) and shall not shave the hair, and will ride the horse and keep a Kirpan (weapon). He took on the mighty Mughals and declared that the Sikhs (disciples) are a sovereign people and can never be conquered by any human force. The Sikhism had thereafter sowed the seeds of independence and nurtured it with their sacrifices. Now the majority community of the slaves and sycophants of those days is enjoying the fruits of freedom today, but for the Sikhs, only the rulers have changed from the Mughals to the British and then to the present indigenous ones. The difference for us is that then we fought for the nation and others, and now we are struggling for our right of honorable existence. The circumstances have not changed for the Sikhs. We should therefore be ever prepared for everlasting struggle for self-respect and separate and independent identity. Let us pledge, preserve and protect our dignity and individuality from assimilation into the ocean of majority community through keeping Kesh (hair), Turban, Kirpan and suffixes of Kaur and Singh with our names.

    See pictures and read at this link http://worldsikhnews.com/2 December 2009/Hair Today Hair Tomorrow.htm
     
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  3. Sinister

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  4. spnadmin

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    Why do you want to put these posts to an end once and for all? :confused::confused:
     
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  5. Sinister

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    hmm... im not sure...but the fact that this subject has been debated endlessly on several hundred other threads on this site and others and always led to bickering might be the reason i feel like putting an end to it early (although i doubt i have such capacity...Carlin might just do it)

    :inca:

    the video sums it up nicely. :wink:
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Sinister ji

    Thanks for your quick response. Hair must be an important to many or it would not be so extensively debated. Interesting: It is not as hotly debated as meat v veg. :happykaur:
     
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  7. Astroboy

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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Thanks
    :happykaur:
     
  9. gurbanicd

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    dear all
    [​IMG]
    The whole idea of keeping kesh or no kesh revolves around the order or hukum of the guru sahib.

    Human intellect cannot go beyond a limit.

    Guru says this is our turn to meet lord. You cannot meet the lord without the help of guru and

    since we are following guru nanak sahib and all ten guru had long hairs, all on spiritual path had/have long hairs.

    Our guru want us to have long hairs. we should trust him, as we trust our family and friends when we ask them for direction to reach our destination.

    sometime faith and trust should be given preference over reasoning

    bhulan chukan di khima

     
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  10. parvin100

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    Sat Sri Akal,

    I have gone through your writing on the importance of keeping long hair, i am not very knowledgeable on this subject. I fully agree that the nature has bestowed us with long hair for protecting us. I fail to understand, how and why we become patit, just by cutting our hair. We may be harming ourselves by cutting hair, but the humans have done many things against nature e.g. 1. we cut trees and make paper to write, this is also against nature,why we not become patit by doing so. 2. we release green house gases or emission by using cars,why we don't become patit, if we use cars and so many other things. If any Sikh becomes patit by changing the way the God has designed the human hair, then there are so many things, we are doing, which are interferring in God/Nature's ways of the life on this earth. I think, it is the values, which counts. We are alienating the youth by overemphasising on keeping long hair. The way, our preachers give lectures at the different forums, that cutting hair is like becoming patit and aliented from waheguru, are making clean shaven Sikhs/trimmed hair Sikhs to stay away from religious functions. I think, the best way is to focus more and more on teachings of Guru Granth Sahibji, and let the people learn and take guidance from it. The importance of hair can be taught in a more subtle manner, as the God's design to protct humans and not only Sikhs. The Sikhs can be guided on the importance of hair for protcting the body and Skull , and they should be taught the glorious past of Sikh warriors, and the decision to keep long hair or cut it should be left to their individual wisdom. Kindly reply, if possible.
     
  11. spnadmin

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    parvin100 ji

    The Sikh Rehat Maryada guides all Sikhs against dishonoring the hair. Technically, however, one does not become "patit" unless one is baptized, taken khande ke pahul. At that point dishonoring hair requires a penalty by the panj pyaare.

    In India because of the way the constitution is written, it is true that the legal definition of a Sikh requires that one keep kesh.

    The best advice I have read here on the subject comes from forum member Tejwant Singh ji who advised that all of us read Sri Guru Granth Sahib and try to find its meaning in our lives. Then wait to see if keeping hair becomes the logical choice for anyone to make based on a sincere connection the Guru.
     
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  12. parvin100

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    Thanks. I fully agree with you and Tejwant Singh ji to study Shri Guru Granth sahib to find its means in our lives. The God has given us hair, as well as to many other animals for protection. there is no doubt that the God's design is perfect, and altering it is an abberration. When Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji ordained his disciples to abide by all the five "K", there must have been some beneficial meaning to it. Over the years, the hair has become important than the other four "K". I don't see many kangas, kirpans even with Keshdari Sikhs. Many Keshdari sikhs wear Kanga and Kirpan in a symbolic way as a necklace than as real ones. Why the hair also can't be kept in a symbolic manner. I really do'nt intend to offened anybody's feeling and extremely sorry, if any one is hurt, but my understanding is that Guruji wanted all the K togather. He wanted Hair and Kanga, so that the hair can be combed and give a good apperance. Kirpan was to defend,Karha and Kachera was to remind one to not to do anything immoral and bad. All these were the requirements of the time, and are requirements of time. I have seen many keshdari Sikhs, who have unkempt hair under the turban, and they smell, when the turban is removed, and they wash their hair once in a week only. I know, it is a very senstive matter and close to Sikhs hearts. Please enlighten me on this.


     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Well parvin100ji, I do not see anything offensive in what you have written. I do feel that Tejwant Singh ji has given advice that makes it possible to take the sting out of the discussion of hair -- assuming that there are people who are interested in sincere discussion and do not want to engage in angry exchanges on the issue. As long as there is animosity -- or at least decisions we make as individuals are taken as insults and worse by the "other" side -- then no one is living as the Gurus ordained, hair or no hair.

    This part imho is describing personal laziness and nothing more. You are only one individual and cannot arbitrate whether another person is going to address matters of personal hygiene or not. Or whether another person is going to live as a hypocrite or not. Too much would be on your shoulders. That is the reality of human nature.
     

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