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Help on This, a Personal Issue (Keeping Hair/Kesh)

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by WhatToDo, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. WhatToDo

    WhatToDo
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    Hi,

    I'm new to this site and was hoping for some advice. Before I inform you of the situation please let me give you some background on myself. Although, you may not like what I have to say I will try to be as honest as possible.


    I'm a 27yr old sikh, and although I do believe in the tennants of our religion I am far from becoming an amritari. I am the youngest in my family and of all my brothers and sister I am the only one to never cut my hair. I've never trimmed my beard and find it strange when I see others with a turban but who are also clean shaven. Although I don't eat meat I do drink alcohol. I often feel like my existence is a contradiction in itself - a sikh who wears a turban, with a full beard who drinks alcohol.

    As well as this I find it very difficult to maintain and look after my hair, because I lead such an active lifestyle (I play several sports and when I'm not working I am studying for professional qualifications) For these reasons I have been thinking long and hard about cutting my hair. I understand that others before and after me have been able to maintain a balance between their social life and looking after there hair, but I am finding it too hard.

    Once my hair is cut, I was thinking of sending it to the "little princess trust", which can use donor hair to help make wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to cancer treatment. http://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/donate/hair.aspx

    The only thing holding me back from doing it is because I believe it would upset my mother. She has done so much for me throughout her life and I don't want to hurt her.

    I am thinking of explaining my position to her by the end of the week. If shes okay with it, then I will cut my hair. However, if after hearing my reasons she still insists that I keep it, I will do so.

    I would be very grateful to hear your thoughts on this, specifically if my approach sounds respectful. I haven't discussed this with anyone and could really use some advice on what to do. Whilst I'm aware that what I'm saying may be shocking to many of you I hope we can keep all comments constructive.

    Thanks
    WTD
     
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  3. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    If you take away alcohol, then too this contradiction would go away.

    Lions living in the wild enjoy much more active lifestyle. Yet they do this without the blessings of Turban and Kangha. Or without the curse of scissor.

    You can learn to die Nihang Dumalla. It is perfect for any kind of physical activity!
     
  4. WhatToDo

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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue


    I agree with this in principle, however personally I don't see anything wrong with drinking. To be honest I enjoy it, however I do see something wrong with someone pretending to be something they're not. Even without the alcohol I'm not a stringent Sikh. I don't go to the gurdwara at the weekends and I don't pray very often. Why do I deserve to wear this symbol which so many others have worn whilst following the Sikh practices more closely than i have.
     
  5. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    True, your appearance must be a reflection of your inner self. But that is why we have been given this Swaroop for it can help in stopping the inner self from failing.

    Before thinking about cutting your hair, give yourself 3 months time:

    Month 1 - go without alcohol
    Month 2 - go to Gurudwara in morning and evening
    Month 3 - Wake up at Amritvela and do Paath

    If after that you feel the need to cut hair, go ahead. Your mom will anyway give in to your wishes. And there is no way you can make it hurt-free for anyone who is proud of you keeping your Kesh, young or old.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
     
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  6. ravindra.saini

    ravindra.saini
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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    My Friend if you dont have faith and Love for your Guru's better you go ahead with your plan. But I think if you will do that possibly you will start doing other things which you are not doing now( eating meat, smoking, drinking etc).
    I am not a Sikh and have all the abuse( tobacco, drinking wine) and I wanted my son who is 3 years now to make a sikh( keep hair). But now after hearing your story I think I should insist more to create faith and Love on Guru rather than just to change the outer.
     
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  7. WhatToDo

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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    I do love the Gurus, and I also love my parents. But I don't believe either of them would want me to do something unless I 100% believe it on the inside.

    I used to eat meat up until a few years ago, but stopped when I came to the realisation that I could never kill an animal when a non meat alternative was available. As such I figured it was hypocrytical of me to eat meat. A few of my friends smoke and the opportunity has been there for me to do it, but frankly I don't like the idea of inhaling smoke.

    I agree with your take on your sons upbringing, and I do feel that emphasis is often leaned towards young sikhs keeping a turban rather than understanding the principles of sikhism.
     
  8. WhatToDo

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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    Thanks again for your thoughts. I like this idea, Its definitely something that I will keep in mind
     
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  9. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    WhatToDo ji you write very well. All the best in your studies and professional endeavors.

    On the question you have posed, it appears you dearly love your mom. Very few don't! She is also your best adviser and sounding board. Talk to her also and ask her to advise you as a son and not what family and friends may think. If this is a strong desire speak from the heart and let your mom speak with love and frankness. Then you will have a choice that is at least coming out of mother-son loving discourse, there is nothing like it. Son's come to mom's and mom's come to son's sooner or later even after some differences. Let love remain the focus.

    Let your decision not come out of hate of Sikhism as that perhaps will hurt your mom the greatest and is also of long term consequence. Keep your love of Sikhi alive. Let your inner love bring you to be in a full Sikh personification as and when. It is important to grow from inside out versus outside in. This is just my opinion as many a fine Sikhs are practising Sikhi extremely better than me through their own paths and choosing.

    Sat Sri Akal and may your good heart help you make good decisions.
     
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  10. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    Whattodoji,

    You are the same age I was when I cut my hair, all the above postings are all sensible and contain some practical advice, however as someone that has done this, and then come back to the fold, it would be hypocritical of me to argue against this point, when I have a fairly good idea how you feel.

    I am sorry to cast doubt on your reasons, but the following line

    "as well as this I find it very difficult to maintain and look after my hair, because I lead such an active lifestyle (I play several sports and when I'm not working I am studying for professional qualifications) For these reasons I have been thinking long and hard about cutting my hair. I understand that others before and after me have been able to maintain a balance between their social life and looking after there hair, but I am finding it too hard.
    "

    does not ring true. My friend if you are having problems maintaining a social life and looking after your hair, then how will you overcome the much bigger obstacles in life that will challenge you. I personally think you are stuck in the middle of two cultures, and you have no idea who you are. You think cutting your hair will define you, you can now choose to be a modern young sikh, with an attractive hair cut that will enable you to do what all 27 year olds want to do ( i know, i was one once). So reading between the lines I will assume that as you will never reach amridhari, there seems little point looking like a man in a turban, when you could look like 'normal', as normal as you feel. Given that your brothers have all taken this route, and you have siblings that you have watched have 'all the fun', why should you deny yourself a free hand to live life without the social and physical restraints of a turban. If I am wrong, and you really want to cut your hair because you cannot look after it, then I would remind you that yours and my ancestors fought for the right to wear that turban to identify themselves as sikhs in the face of much oppression, by all means cut your hair if you want to go on the journey of bloodlust, but be honest about it, and also about how you see yourself.

    Now some practical advice, once you have been totally honest with yourself about what exactly you are trying to achieve , sit in front of the mirror, what do you see, you see a sardar, no its not sexy, and it probably will not compliment certain lifestyles, and worse, if what you see, is not the man you feel inside, then, yes, if you are living a lie, then you must be true to yourself. However cutting your hair is a huge step, you will lose yourself for a while, you will realise that nothing has really changed, women will not suddenly flock to you, instead of having a presence, you will have nothing, you will be just another 'person', and all the things that you thought would change, I am afraid they will not, and it worries me that you could find yourself in a situation where you have caused much hurt to the people around you for nothing.

    I can completely relate to feeling a fraud, its one of the reasons I cut my hair, all I am saying is that the end result is not as attractive as your mind may be telling you.

    If once you have absorbed the various suggestions and advice here, you still feel you wish to go ahead with this, then I beg of you not to cut your hair straight away. You must consider your mother in this, my advice would be to share your misgivings with her, and stop wearing your turban for a while. Keep your hair long, but in a ponytail, give it a month, see how you feel, if after a month, everyone is comfortable, and you feel you are making the right decision, then maybe tidy it up, but keep it long, wait another month, you are now on the road to your goal, if it still feels comfortable, and your mother can see which road you are going down, then maybe after 3 months, do what it is your heart tells you, this will have the affect of your mother not seeing you out of the house one day as a fully turbanned sikh, and return as not, which is a huge shock for any parent.

    Kanwaljitji is correct in what he has said, I would go one step further, in that three months where you are neither sardar nor mona, you are sitting on the fence, you can climb down one way or another, at any time, with little damage, but try and read some relevant pages from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in english. Not parrot fashion, but really understand the message of sikhi, understand the foundations and the point of being a sikh. The point of being a sikh is not wearing a turban per se, it is the union of your spirit with the almighty, and the feeling that brings, would dwarf any worldy desire, but it is a long path, although, like me, you can always jump back on.

    Then there is the realistic side, I cut my hair expecting to look like Dolph Lundgren. After the scissors had finished, I had gone from a very striking sardar, with a fixo'd beard to a chubby, hamster faced person, with a huge bald spot. Think of Superman when he lost his powers to marry Lois Lane, well thats how I felt, ordinary.....

    Even if you do go down this road, remember there is nothing stopping you from being a good sikh, maybe even a better sikh, but only your heart knows, just make sure you are thinking with your heart, and not being blinded by the illusion of life, I hope this has a happy ending for you and your family, god bless
     
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  11. Caspian

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    Re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    Just my 2 cents:

    I don't think any person should commit to keeping their hair if there is even a shadow of a doubt as to why they would want to keep their hair. I mean, you can sit here and debate the pros and cons, but ultimately, if you have even the slightest feeling that you want to cut your hair. Don't let your religion, culture, mother or anyone else try to convince you otherwise. You don't consult them when you need to cut your finger nails do you?

    Having said that, I don't think any sikh should cut they're hair unless they're equally willing to forego their religion, culture, mother, etc. You cannot have the best of both worlds and become a "fairweather" sikh. If you cut your hair, I dont consider you a sikh, most sikhs probably wouldnt consider you a sikh and you honostly cant fault them for that. Thas just how it is. So dont think that by cutting your hair you have relatively very little to loose.

    But ofcourse, I take a pretty hardline position on what a "sikh" ought to be.
     
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  12. Harry Haller

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    Re: Help on This, a Personal Issue

    " don't think any person should commit to keeping their hair if there is even a shadow of a doubt as to why they would want to keep their hair. I mean, you can sit here and debate the pros and cons, but ultimately, if you have even the slightest feeling that you want to cut your hair. Don't let your religion, culture, mother or anyone else try to convince you otherwise. You don't consult them when you need to cut your finger nails do you? "

    Caspianji,

    sometimes we do not know what the grass is like on the other side, all young men want to identify with something relevant to them, so, it is not uncommon to find the turban and hair restrictive to the point that you want to lose it, unfortunately, in the short term, it is not easy to reverse this process, so one needs to think very very carefully, also there are the social aspects to consider

    "If you cut your hair, I dont consider you a sikh, most sikhs probably wouldnt consider you a sikh and you honostly cant fault them for that"

    I disagree Caspianji, you are putting too much emphasis on the physical rather than the spiritual, to me, having cut hair is on a par with any one of the many other things that take us further away from the creator, i have often maintained that I would rather as company a sikhi minded chap with a haircut, than a physically perfect specimen of sikhi who drinks and sleeps around in secret, and has no idea of Gurmatt other than kesh
     
  13. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    WhatToDo Ji.

    I agree with some of the above comments - if you are going to keep or cut hair on advice of someone or please someone - you are on a loser.
    I also had cut my hair and then during finding myself - I realised that I did not know any better than the Lord who has given us the body including the hair. If you go through the history of Sikhi (and other religions too all spiritual leaders kept long hair) - the sacrifices made by the Gurus and millions of Sikhs for the religion I consider this a small contribution on my part.
    You may look through newspapers, magazines, videos, films or general life people without any head gear look ordinary but anyone with a turban stands out - everybody knows he is a Sikh or Indian - without it could be anybody.
    Whenever I have any doubts as to what I as a Sikh should do I tend to take example from our gurus, forefathers, and Sikhs who have achieved something in their life and kept not only their hair and turbans but are practicing amritdharis - there are Sikhs like Fauja Singh who at 100 runs marathons with hair and turban, there are Sikh engineers with patents coming out of their ears and amritdharis, there are writers, doctors etc. list is long.
    Someone said you can be possibly be a better Sikh without hair – possibly, but once you forsake one thing - that is a weakness, after that it is a matter of convenience depending on your strength of conviction. With a turban goes a lot of responsibilities too – you are watched by all as you stand out – if you do any wrong it is the Sikh community that gets the blame, however if you behave as a Sikh majority of people respect you for being able to do your job or jobs and adhere to strong principles.

    You have stood out in your family and I am sure like your mother others are also proud of you – now may be you want to carry it further stand out in society and be an advertisement for Sikhs – you will earn the respect of the community not to mention an example for younger generation and your own children.
     
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