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Kesas - the Fort of Uncut Hair

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by Admin Singh, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    The young Khalsa of today is struggling to keep his promise with Guru Gobind Singh. Many, who are tune with their conscience, tie the turban everyday, look in the mirror and get a glimpse of their father - men and women alike.

    He wages a war every time not with anyone else but with his own haunting shadow which keeps pulling him towards his peers, those peers who are more inclined to look similar than different.

    He keeps reminding everyone around that 'Differentiate or Die' might be Jack Trout's defense against the era of cutthroat competition but its true meaning was understood and was thus taught by the Tenth Master.

    At times he suffers because he is different.

    The differentiation was not given to its followers with an aim to bring popularity to its initiator, the way modern gurus have been attempting, every now and then.

    The similarity inherent in your physical programme if preserved, lovingly, as it is, makes you different, while the very annihilation of the similarity made everyone similar. Ironical, isn't it?

    Some youth today colour their body and pierce it with tattoos all over the body. A pierced body may be obnoxiously loathsome but somewhere you cannot ignore the creativity of a tattoo and its ability to scream "Hey look there is much more to me as a person!" But why pierce the divine body? Are the violent impulses within, struggling to be contained, finding an expression in this masochism? It is nothing but an exteriorization of consciousness within!

    The Guru had a different exteriorization in mind. Sirdar Kapur Singh in his monumental work Prasar Prasna (Questions of Prasara) explains the significance of human hair and highlights the superficiality of 'fashion'. The author goes to the very core of human psyche and explains hair-Kesa as an integral part of wholeness of physique- which is an effortless expression of complete human psyche -a psyche which is spiritually uplifted and is healed of psychological fissures and inadequacies.

    PrasaraPrasna- The Blessed of the Uncut Hair P 85....

    Those who are right on the way to the wholeness of the psyche, how do we expect that their mode of appearance as well as the 'fashion' of their cut of hair- an integral and living organ of the body- would tend to express it, instinctively and effortlessly?

    The obvious answer is that the original simplicity of the human nature, the pristine wholeness of the human psyche , during and through its process of healing and restoration, shall exteriorize itself in the 'fashion' of the uncut, untrimmed and unshingled mode of Kesa and the body hair, as enjoined in the discipline of Khalsa.

    The state described by Sirdar Kapur Singh is one which is quite profound and would require serious discipline. There are ample living examples around.

    It's very difficult for them to alter any expression of nature or to put it in Sirdar Sahib's words difficult for them to change or alter any expression of psyche, a psyche which is wholesome and complete. Hence -the unshorn hair and flowing beards.

    The GenX may argue that the path to 'restoration' and 'healing' as may have been followed in the ways mentioned above is not only long and distant but also a bit too complex. The path to reach the wholeness is the ultimate aim of spirituality.

    Can there be a simpler way?


    Celebrated Harvard Professor William James who brought a near revolution in clinical psychology when he proposed that thought was what followed the will rather than the prevailing belief which was vice-versa i.e. will was an expression of thought. He said, "Action seems to follow feeling but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

    What is means is that when a person is feeling emotionally depressed (emphasize "feeling") then by regulating his deed that is just putting a smile on his face (action) or humming a favorite song would definitely alter his feeling inside and would make him joyful.

    Does the thought and will theory hold ground for Kesa as enjoined in discipline of Khalsa. I definitely believe it does.

    If being whole and complete in our psyche right on day one of our spiritual journey seems too much so can we alter our action which will go a long way in altering our feeling and thereby our psyche.
    Can we allow nature to fully take its course and exteriorize itself in our bodies so that at some point this action would complete us from inside?

    This might be a first step towards spiritual upliftment but if William James is to be believed fully then a person who allows nature to express itself in its body is following suit as far as thought and mind are concerned.

    It would unimaginable for him to pierce his body or his soul as he finds both equally divine expressions.

    Did not the Guru initiating spirituality want us to start from our own bodies?

    Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Bihaagraa on page 554 says
    naanak so prabh simareeai this dhaehee ko paal ||2||
    O Nanak, meditate in remembrance on God, and nurture this body. ||2||

    Further the paramountcy of human body is explained elaborately in Bhagat
    Peepa Ji’s Shabad in Raag Dhanaasree on page 695

    kaayo dhaevaa kaaeiao dhaeval kaaeiao ja(n)gam jaathee ||
    Within the body, the Divine Lord is embodied. The body is the temple, the
    place of pilgrimage, and the pilgrim.

    kaaeiao dhhoop dheep neebaedhaa kaaeiao poojo paathee ||1||
    Within the body are incense, lamps and offerings. Within the body are the
    flower offerings. ||1||

    kaaeiaa bahu kha(n)dd khojathae nav nidhh paaee ||
    I searched throughout many realms, but I found the nine treasures within the
    body

    naa kashh aaeibo naa kashh jaaeibo raam kee dhuhaaee ||1|| rehaao ||
    Nothing comes, and nothing goes; I pray to the Lord for Mercy. ||1||Pause||

    jo brehama(n)ddae soee pi(n)ddae jo khojai so paavai ||
    The One who pervades the Universe also dwells in the body; whoever seeks Him,
    finds Him there.

    peepaa pranavai param thath hai sathigur hoe lakhaavai ||2||3||
    Peepaa prays, the Lord is the supreme essence; He reveals Himself through the
    True Guru. ||2||3||

    So let's look at our hair as not only a gift from the Great Guru, which serves to remind us of his presence around us but also a psychological tool which if understood properly has the potential to change us from within. It enables us to be different, still similar.
     
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  3. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    Very true Aman Ji. Guru Amardas has cautioned us by stating, 'kwmix qau sIgwru kir jw pihlW kMqu mnwie ] mqu syjY kMqu n AwveI eyvY ibrQw jwie ] - O bride, decorate yourself with His perfection, after you surrender and accept your Beloved Lord.Otherwise, your Beloved Lord will not come to your bed, and all your ornaments without His fear will be useless.SGGS 788.8.

    Best regards
    Mohinder Singh Sahni
    Kuwait
     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    A post from my dear friend elder sikh sardar gurmit singh ji of australia..

    Dear Gyani Jarnail Singh jee Arshi (Malaysia),

    Waheguru jee ka Khalsa Waheguru jee kee Fateh

    My limited knowledge tells me that all babies are born together
    with body, breath and head hair and it is a complete package.
    With subsequent growth, Hair on other parts of the body also
    grow under God's Divine Command.

    In the very First Stanza of Japp Jee Sahib, Guru Nanak Sahib has
    advised the Sikhs about the concept of "Spirituality & Temporality"
    i. e. to take care of Hair as God's seal just as the Government seal
    on a legal tender coin as well as intrinsic constituents/virtues
    like required metallic values in a coin. Similar to attaining God-like
    virtues to become a "Sachiaar" and to live in accordance with "Hukam
    Razai Chalnaa Nanak Likhiya Naal".

    Thus, unshorn Hair as gifted by the Almighty God are the most
    essential for a Sikh and if this seal is dishonoured/removed, it
    becomes a false coin. At the end of Japp Jee Sahib, Sikh is
    supposed to be minted in "Sachi Taksaal - the True Mint", NOT
    false taksaal where counterfeit coins are manufactured. Hence,
    those Sikhs, who have been dishonouring their Hair, are Khotaiy
    Sikkaiy, not acceptable in Sachi Taksaal. We call them 'Patit' -
    Apostates. Whether someone is a relative or family member or
    close friend, if that person does not honour his/her Hair on
    any part of body, he/she is not a Sikh. This has been made
    very clear under the latest HC Judgment delivered on 30 May
    2009. It is often said that Quality is more important than
    Quantity. The person, who claims as follower of Sikh Religion,
    he/she must maintain unshorn Hair, Beard, Moustaches and eyebrows.

    Perhaps, message from SPN may have virus, which disturbed my
    Computer. I shall be grateful if you could please edit this
    message and pass on to SPN, if considered appropriate.

    Gurmit Singh (Australia)
     
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  5. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Aman Ji, could you please look into the Virus complaint by gurmit singh ji in above post sent to my gmail address. He is alluding to a possible virus in the spn newsletter...??
     
  6. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Gyani ji and Gurmit Singh ji,

    Chances of this occurrence are very slim as each newsletter goes through a sternous virus scan before ever leaving our hosting servers outbox... SPN is hosted on one of the most reliable servers in the world and they would simply terminate our account if we were to send a virus infected email to anyone.

    In all likelihood, i think, it is Gurmit Singh ji's own computer's browser that is infected with a virus as is the case many a times...

    I would advise Gurmit Singh ji to install a free virus scanner like avast! - Download antivirus software for spyware and virus protection. It is Free and it is awesome. :)

    Regards
     
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  7. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    To The Last Hair, To The Last Breath

    Posted by Rubin Paul Singhat 10:34 PM
    http://networkedblo gs.com/p11419502 ?ref=nf

    A few weeks ago, while at the park with my family, an elderly woman dressed in a sari came over to say hello. After a brief introduction, she said to us "wait here for a second" and called out "Alex.come here!"A little boy with light skin and brown hair ran over to us. The lady in the sari bent down and said to Alex, "See.this is what your grandfather looked like. He wore a turban and had a long beard just like him." Alex wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but he forced a quick smile and ran back to the swings.

    As a dastaar-wearing Sikh, I come across these interactions quite often - some pleasant, some not-so-pleasant, and some downright awkward. But because they happen so often, I tend to brush it off and forget all about them quickly. For some reason, this incident stuck with me.

    It made me think about the days in Gurmat camp decades ago when the Uncles would scare us in to keeping our kesh or else keshdariSikhs would become a "thing of the past" and "only be seen in museum exhibits." I never bought that theory, but the incident in the park did shake me a bit.

    Although Sikhi is such a large part of my life, truth is...I really don't think about kesh much. As a matter of fact, when I lead presentations about Sikhi to Sikhs or non-Sikhs, I make a point to downplay thekesh aspect. Not that it is any less important than any of the otherkakaars, but with non-Sikhs, the "mystery" behind the kesh seems to overtake discussions, and we miss some of the most important and central tenets of the faith...equality, self-less service, self-realization, and universality of the message. And even with Sikhs,kesh is made such a focus that many in our community feel that as long as we retain the external image of a Sikh, the rest of maryada and discipline does not apply. It is essentially a "free-pass" and gives us the right to criticize those who do not keep their kesh.

    Being the only Sikh boy in my school in the early 80's was difficult and I always questioned why I needed to keep my kesh in the first place. I was given all kinds of answers - some said it was Guru Sahib's way of giving us a unique identify we "couldn't run away from" after the circumstances of Guru Tegh Bahdur's shaheedi. Some said that hair has traditionally been a sign of saintliness, as many other saints from other religions kept long hair. Others said we should not cut something that grows naturally from our bodies (yes, the finger nail debate would quickly follow), while others gave more "alternative" reasons - that hair served as "antennae" to gather and channel energy from the sun. At a recent seminar I attended, one of the more "scholarly" elders referred to kesh as a "custom" and well, customs after time...do change. I've heard just about everything. Strange how I was so consumed with this question throughout most of my childhood and adolescence, but as I've gotten older and learned more about Gurmat, I've started to wonder less and less about it. Instead, I'm consumed with what I find difficult now - waking up at amritvela, focusing on my paath, being compassionate and forgiving, letting go of my ego, attachment, and anger, seeing Waheguru in everyone...it' s as though keeping my hair is the easiest thing my Guru has asked of me...I mean, I don't even have to try! And for everything my Guru has given me, isn't this the least I can do as an expression of my love?

    In the end, we all have to come up with our own reason. Personally, I keep my kesh because my Guru has asked this of me...and I accept it as his gift - that's it. It is neither a symbol nor a custom...it is a part of me...a part of my history. It is what Bhai Taru Singh gave his life for rather than a strand be cut. It is what Sikhs all around the world reflect upon daily in our Ardas, remembering those who gave their lives, "Kesan Suasan Naal Nibaahi" (with their hair intact, to the last breath). Just like a soldier wears his/her uniform proudly because it reflects the principles and tenets for which the country stands...mykakaars serve much the same...it represents the principles and tenets of my faith...equality, justice, service, compassion. And every time I stand before a mirror I am reminded of those principles and the code by which I live. Everyone around me is aware of it too...I cannot run away from it. And if my appearance means I am excluded from joining my co-workers at the bar after work or I'm randomly selected at airports from time to time...so be it. It is an honor and a privilege to bear the image of the Khalsa. And with my Ardaas and His grace, I shall live up to the ideals for which it stands.

    Just about everybody I talk to or every article I read about the state of the panth tells me much the same...youth cutting their hair, trimming their beards, moving away from Sikhi etc. etc. Although I don't ignore the realities of our situation, I don't dwell in it either...I choose hope instead. I'm convinced through further reflection of our history, our traditions, and inspiration through Gurbani, we (individually and collectively) will reflect the Guru's love and message. I look forward to a day at the park where a mother will bring their child over to us, lean down and say "This is a Sikh family.if you are ever in need.you can always count on them to help!"
     
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  8. Admin Singh

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    Beautiful thoughts, thank you for sharing this... :wah:
     
  9. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    Since kesha are neither a symbol nor a custom...it is a part of me...a part of my history, I wonder why do we permit who are against it, to link it with symbol like janeo as one our member Mr.Grewal always argue and quote despite lot of wisdom available on the internet. I have been observing for the last few days whether it is practical to concentrate and dive deep in the baani with the help of my clean shaven friend. The irritation and itching every time he shaved was almost equivalent to the cold I had. Thus I was not able to concentrate neither was he. Thus to live in harmony with the nature was practical experience of our Gurus.

    Mohinder Singh Sahni
    Kuwait
     
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  10. Tejwant Singh

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    Sadh Sangat,

    Guru Fateh.

    Please allow me to share my personal experience about this. When I used to run, now I walk, I wear a bandana. As I am almost bald, I am not able to wear a patka which I used to before. I tie my hair in a tiny bun at the back and then tie a bandana to cover my head.

    While running when my heart gave up and I had something which is called V Tach, I went to the hospital the same way with a bandana on.

    The doctor who put a pacemaker/difibulator in me, is a Sri Lankan Tamil, a minority who is fighting for its rights in that country. From my last name, Malik, he thought I was a Muslim.

    After 2 weeks when I had my first appointment with him, I was able to tie my turban and visit him because it took that long for the stitches to dry up and the scar left to heal so I could raise my left arm. He was happily surprised to notice that I was not a Muslim but a Sikh. This happened in Janurary 2003. We have become very close to each other since then.

    And the best part is that he has never charged me a penny since then. He only bills my insurance company. As, I have a PPO, my deductable is $2000.00 a year. So, in order to go to a specialist, I would have to shell out that before even entering into any specialist's office.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  11. JimRinX

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    SPN jis
    I learned a long time ago (In an American High School, in fact) that there are two broadly different types of People; Those who will mutilate their bodies with apencil eraser, and those who won't do so. (My English Comp Prof. busted out laughing when he read this at the start of one of my essay projects!).
    It's all just a Fad - a thing to make girls (but not fully mature women!) think that they should 'like you' more than that wussy who won't HARM HIMSELF!
    All a sign of the degeneration that occurs now that all of the Challenges - which once brought out our best - have been beaten back; now that all of the Frontiers have been conquered.
    Your Body and Soul ARE seperate, Sikh friends; and any of the things that you might do to your Body only have an effect upon your Soul through the KARMA of such actions.
    Although I appreciate your adherence to a Noble Tradition that, at least at one time, displayed your loyalties in a bold manner during an age when that was of the utmost importance, I KNOW that The Great Formless One isn't going to penalize those of you who cut your hair or beard!
    What's important is, if you do do so, that the Karma of the act - the motive behind it - be 'pure'; not whether you break a promise that Guru Gobind Singh would probably - in this day and age, and for the kinds of very modern reasons that a Sikh might have for needing to trim things down a bit - gladly excuse you from.
    After all, if trimming ones hairs is truly a 'needful thing' for a Sikh to do, then Guru Gobind Singh would be generating BAD KARMA by insisting that you continue to do so!
    You don't think that, of all people, a Sikh Guru would generate BAD Karma in such a manner, for such a reason, do you?
    I was just reading the 'Christian Watch' thread; and, in it, Satyaban ji talks about the evils of Fundamentalism - and the evil things that fanatics who espouse such philosophies do to all of us; and, while I certainly don't mean to be rude by questioning such a Noble Tradition (look at my Profile Photo - I haven't cut that Hair since it was taken 3 years ago! It would be even longer, but I had to have Brain Surgery!), sometimes it seems to me that you're in danger of having the Fanatics amongst the Sikhi turn these kinds of Fundamental Issues into an excuse to HATE those who aren't as 'Pure' (in their opinion!) in their adherence to the 5K's!:yes:
    Please watch out for this, Friends! The Sikhi are one of the most Noble and True to God People on Earth! I don't want to see you generating all this Bad Karma over something of so little consequence, in Gods eyes! You'd be turning a Noble tradition into an IGnoble excuse to behaive in a DIVISIVE MANNER!!!
     
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  12. spnadmin

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    Where a few months back did I read Tejwant ji that in the large cities of India Muslim men would allow their wives to travel alone in a taxi if the driver was a Sikh?
     
  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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