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Kesh: Dreadlocks

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Gobinda, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Gobinda

    Gobinda
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    VJKK VJKF

    As someone planning in the near future to request Amrit, I have discovered that dreadlocks are unacceptable. And if I have plans of receiving Amrit, I should be prepared to undo them. So that the Amrit may reach the hair. This is what I have been told. I am perplexed and confused. Not to mention disenheartened by this.

    I created and I have maintained my dreadlocks for the last 3yrs. I know the misconception of people who have dreadlocks, is that they are dirty. Well it is a very untrue thought. I'm a stickler about being clean: hair, body, house, etc. I have even cut a few off and spliced them open, to make sure I was through with cleaning. My hair is at its healthiest (and fully in tact) since my 30 years of life.

    I have super thick-wave/curly-medium/course hair. I'm of multiracial background: Comanche&Apache, African-American, Mexican, and a little down the line Caucasian. All the woman in my family have heads full full of hair. Different ranges of thickness and hair texture. My head is the thickest out of the bunch, hair upon hair. Seriously Amrit has a better chance of hitting all of my hair while style in dreadlocks vs. loose unraveled hair.

    So why are dreadlocks so frowned upon and dislike within Sikhi? Is it the question of wearing and using the khanga? I hardly ever combed my loose hair, far too damaging to my hair. Honestly, I don't understand. Is it a question of being able to clean the hair? My dreadlocks are rocking clean.

    Where does one go from here? I have refused all other doors and I have come to His door. Am I to remain practicing Sikhi without the right to Amrit Sancher? As long has my health head of fully intact hair remains style dreadlocks? I'm feel quite down today after making this discovery.

    Has anyone else experience this problem? If so, what are your thoughts and suggestions? Or just your thoughts about the subject?

    Thanks
    VJKK VJKF
     
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  3. kggr

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    I don't understand why people want to take Amrit.
    Not that it's a bad thing.

    I just don't get it.
     
  4. Ishna

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    Gobinda bhainji

    First, it's awesome to hear about your commitment to Sikhi. Second, welcome to SPN :)

    Regarding your question, Sikhs (especially amritdhari Sikhs) are to maintain a distinct identity. In India, dreadlocked or matted hair are associated with some Hindu holy men. When a Sikh receives the amritdhari initiation they are entering the Khalsa Fauj (Khalsa army). Essentially it is exactly that, an army, with strict discipline and a uniform. When you become amritdhari you're giving up your own identity and adopting another one.

    This is why you can't keep your dreadlocks if you want to become a member of the fauj.
     
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    #3 Ishna, Nov 20, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  5. Gobinda

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    I don't expect an Agnostic to understand at all. I just don't. Nothing wrong with being an Agnostic. Personally speaking, I am FAR from Agnosticism. It is not my intention to explain the way of my desire for Amrit Sanchar, Guruji does that quite well within Gurbani. My question is one of detail involved with the act.

    However, if it is your desire to understand the why of those who seek Amrit. May one better than I come along to explain that to you.

    Ishna, your explanation is the best one yet. That I can understand.
     
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  6. Brother Onam

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    Gobinda ji,
    You asked why dreadlocks are frowned upon in Sikh faith. You have to understand the environment which prevailed in India during the time of the Gurus. During the times that Sikh identity and purpose were being crystalized, India was full of "fakirs" and "sadhus", who, then as now, were probably on the balance more glorified beggars than genuine adepts. As a visible sign of their feats of renunciation, they wore their hair in "jat" or dreadlocks.
    So as to draw a clear distinction between these sadhus, who prided themselves on being no part of the "world" and rather begging for their food, and the family of lions that the Gurus were raising up, it was perscribed that Sikhs would keep their "kesh" combed, clean, and unshorn. For a Sikh, renunciation has no place, as we are very much hard-working and active members of the "world", but experiencing holiness in everyday activity.
    Having said this, princess, it is also a fact that the regulations concerning kesh were given to a largely North-Indian peoples. The spread of Sikhi into communities around the world necessitates reconsidering some practicalities. In my dealings with African Sikhs (few, but proud!), it has become clear that keeping African hair uncut becomes increasingly more difficult and impractical, because kinky hair can indeed become virtually un-combable after a point. In my esteem, and that of the African lions I know, the only real option eventually becomes dreadlocks. But these must be worn in a conscious spirit of Sikhi, without allowing any implication of renunciation or hindu tapas to intrude.
    More power to you on your journey into deeper and deeper Sikhi! Sat Sri Akal!
     
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  7. Ikk Khalsa

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    Gobinda Ji,

    Whoever have told you about Amrit reaching your hair is misguiding you. Amrit is not some Holy Magical water rather a promise to live your life certain way. Sikhi is more about cleaning your soul than body. Having said that keeping clean and staying healthy is also very important part of Sikhi.
     
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  8. kggr

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    Ikk Khalsa ji well said.

    Thats the Amrit I believe in the Spiritual Amrit.

    I never visited a gurdwara or drank Holy Water to take that Amrit.
    That Amrit comes from the heart.
     
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  9. Gobinda

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    Brother Onam Ji, I was hoping you would chime in with info! So now it comes together, this stance against dreadlocks. Thank you for that piece of the historic puzzle. Again, I can understand that being a point of focus during that time of building the Khalsa and the Sikhs. Yes, I agree that "The spread of Sikhi into communities around the world necessitates reconsidering some practicalities." And this would be my pleasure, "But these must be worn in a conscious spirit of Sikhi, without allowing any implication of renunciation or hindu tapas to intrude."! Wrapped in the most beautiful dastar, which is in the mail on the way.


    Yes, Ikk Khalsa I am aware that Amrit is not just about it reaching your hair. It is about giving your head to Guruji. And following Hukam. I understand it is not magical holy water. This person was replying exclusively to my question of why can't I have dreadlocks. Honestly, I don't think the person has much knowledge about dreadlocks outside that of the sadhus of India. So he was answering the best that he could while defending the rehat. So I sought answers elsewhere, for I know of a few Amritdharis who do have dreadlocks. I'm unsure of when they grew them, before or after Amrit. I do agree with your thoughts.
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    Gobinda ji

    Beautiful thinking from you. You rightly chose Gobinda for your name.
     
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  11. Luckysingh

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    Omanji has explained that very well.
    Just to add, - Back in the days of the gurus, the people that kept unshorn hair and were considered holy were these Sadhus of lord Shiva.
    They would NOT use any combs for their hair and i'm not too sure about whether they washed them or not. If one lets the hair grow and does not comb them either, then quite naturally the locks will eventually form.
    Guru Gobind Singh ji wanted us to keep the unshorn hair but he didn't want any confusion with these renunciate's. Therefore, he made the KANGA mandatory as one of the Kakkars. A sikh is to keep his/her hair combed and washed and wrapped in a Jurha under the turban.
    This is what differentiates us between the Sadhus of Shiva and the Sikhs of Guruji.

    From what I gather in your situation is that you maintain your hair with cleanliness and make sure it is kept healthy and nourished unlike the matted and neglected versions mentioned above.
    Therefore, i don't think it matters if you have the well cared for, self styled dreadlocks in order to become amritdhari. Because you clearly don't fall into the neglect and don't touch category.

    Good luck and proceed as planned without letting others confuse you !
    Problem with sikhi and most other faiths is that there are too many ''Self-righteous'' sikhs with a ''holier than thou'' attitude.
    I have slowly learned to distinguish and ignore these types.
     
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  12. Harry Haller

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    As Jesus is famous for saying 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone',

    Please do not allow yourself to get disheartened by foolish people that talk of physical penetration of Amrit, that is a very surface view and must be taken with a pinch of salt.

    No one has the authority to tell you what to do or what it takes to be a good Sikh, invariably many of those that feel they do have this authority, have a 100% physically perfect Sikh appearance but sometimes questionable mental facets. Sikhism is about encouragement, unity and learning, after all, we are all here to learn (c Tejwantji).

    There are some, like myself, that would not even consider Amrit until we feel we are Sikh enough to do it, which invariably means the day gets pushed back and back while we wrestle our shortcomings, while there are others, like yourself, who wish to jump in and grow and learn and embrace, out of the two of us, I have a huge respect for people like yourself, people who see Amrit as the beginning and not the end,

    Sikhism is and should be more concerned with affairs of the heart and mind, practicality and pragmatism are way more important than hard and fast rules, but both are more important than convenience. I personally see nothing wrong with dreadlocks, in fact, thinking back, my hair resembled worse when I was in my teens, it took my mum nearly an evening once to unravel all the knots!

    welcome to the forum sister.
     
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  13. Harry Haller

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    thats because you live in Amsterdam lol lol lol lol (btw I love the steak houses with the cowhide seats)

    ok on a more serious note, which bit don't you get? The ceremony itself is just ceremony, the crux and often overlooked facet is how you live your life and by what code of conduct, if taking Amrit encourages you to live your life by the absolute truth and to spread the love everywhere you go, then all is good!
     
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  14. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    ALL this is what you get when words are MISUSED. "AMRIT" is one of thsoe words MOST MISUSED by SIKHS.

    SGGS declares it quite transaprently and clearly.."AMRIT is ONLY ONE TYPE...and its found in GURBANI ONLY. PERIOD. Obviously SGGS is not a WELL/River/lake/OCEAN...so "amrit" to DRINK/SPRINKLE etc is not inside there.

    The CORRECT WORD for what the PANJ Prepare and give to the Abhilakhees is PAHUL....as is written in :pEEVOH PAHUL KHANDEDHAAR HOVEH JANAM SUHELA"...in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib Guru Gobind Singh Ji placed FRESH WATER from the SATLUJ RIVER..into a Sarb Loh batta and stirred it with a Sarb Loh KHANDA. This was the Very First PAHUL.

    PAHUL is an INITIATION CEREMONY to enter into the KHALSA FAUJ/BROTHERHOOD. Its called Khandeh batte dee PAHUL. PERIOD. Calling this water "AMRIT" is grossly wrong.

    FROM this slippery slope Many Sikhs have SLIPPED even LOWER...Now we ahve TAP WATER in BOTTLES placed under the SGGS...being called "AMRIT"....water used by some scumbag in a big chola and dirty feet to wash his feet..also being called "AMRIT" ( A video is viral on the net showing this...the Holy scumbag was in MALAYSIA at that time). The POOLS of flithy water filled by rain along the potholed roads leading to various deras..esp Sirsa Dera of ram rahim Sacha Sauda saadh is also called "Amrit" and ladies can be seen drinking from those poy holes like STRAY DOGS !!

    To Conclude..SIKHS may soon be slipping deeper...who knows what next ??

    1. AMRIT is NAAM IN GURBANI...SGGS ONLY.
    2. The Panj give you PAHUL.
    AMRIT of SGGS is available to All and every single person regardeless of creed caste religion colour height wieght whatever.
    3. PAHUL is a COMMITMENT to the Principles of KHALSA. Its VOLUNTARY and only those of proper AGE of CONSENT should COMMIT to it.
     
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  15. kggr

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    If I'am not mistaken Khalsa means "Pure" right?

    I don't know how someone can join Khalsa with taking part of a ceremony.
    I think everyone with pure heart is Khalsa him self.
     
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    #14 kggr, Nov 20, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  16. Harry Haller

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    but if other people do not know you have a pure heart, how can they ask you for help?

    Look at it like a marriage ceremony, except you are making vows to Creation!
     
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  17. kggr

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    So by taking part of a ceremony others will know that you have a pure heart?

    Also about marriage I also don't get that.
    I mean what difference does marriage make.
    It's still same like cohabiting.
     
  18. spnadmin

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    kggr ji

    Is marriage the same as cohabiting? Before the conversation becomes stumped by a number of different 'philosophical' takes on how to live as a Sikh, let me interrupt with this thought.

    The practice of any organized faith system involves the creation of norms which adherents are expected to follow. Taken as a faith system, Sikhism is no different. Sikhism prescribes anand karaj, the marriage ceremony, one of only 2 sacraments within the faith.

    No one has to get married. Marriage is a way that culture regulates sexuality, and regulates other things as well. Religion is the part of culture that blesses its own cultural norms through practices like the marriage ceremony. For some, yes, that is tyranny.

    Your question appears more about spirituality than religion or adherence to a faith system. The big mistake we can make is to confuse "religion" the formal way of a faith system with spirituality as adherents describe it. Religions after all are the invention of flesh and blood people, who over time devise a common experience, and share a culture, share norms. Getting married is one of those common experiences. In "Sikhi," the ethical path of Sikhs marriage takes place on 2 levels: the actual ceremony of anand karaj of a man and a woman, and the journey men and women take as individuals toward union with God through ShabadGuru.

    So the thread is not about marriage. Let's stick to dreadlocks, the kakkars and chande de pahul - their place in Sikhism and in Sikhi
     
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  19. Kamala

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    Dreadlocks aren't really frowned upon ALL Sikhs.

    If you look at Sri Chand, son of our Guru: Sri Guru Nanak Sahib, he has dreadlocks and has gained Mukhti.

    Out of my personal opinion, if you live alone, in the jungle.. it is okay to do so. But if you don't keep it clean and visit a Gurudwara, it isn't so good.
     
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  20. spnadmin

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    Kamala ji

    1. What is the evidence that Sri Chand had dreadlocks?

    2. His dread locks not withstanding, Sri Chand bolted from the path taught by his father, Guru Nanak, of his own volition. Bhai Gurdas ji considers Sri Chand an excellent example of someone who missed the point. He is not a figure one would use to shed light on this conversation. You have gone off-topic on other threads today. Actually to bring him up is off-topic. Please desist. Thanks.
     
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  21. Ikk Khalsa

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    Sri Chand's contribution to "Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji" (which is our Guru forever) is ZERO. If he was born in Guru Nanak Dev Ji's house, doesn't mean he was a Sikh.
     
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