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Sikhism Why Do Sikhs Keep Hair?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by panja, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. panja

    panja
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    A: This question is asked a lot “Why do you keep hair?” Hair is a gift from God, therefore why should anyone throw it away by cutting it? Sikhs live the way God made humans and never cut their hair. For Sikhs hair is the symbol of love for God and the respect for everything He has given us. The way God made us is the most beautiful of all. To Christians, even the Bible says, “God loves us and cares so much about us that even all the hairs of our head has well counted” (Matt.10:30).

    One argument heard often is that if you do not cut your hair, it keeps growing and will eventually reach the ground. Sikhs never cut their hair and it does not touch the ground, their eyebrows grow to a specific length, their moustaches grow to a specific length, and their beard stops at a specific length. Our body has a natural way of shedding and regenerating hair, thus after a period of time hair seems to stay at a consistent length.

    Millions of Sikhs do not cut their hair and their hair grows to a specific length depending on their individual characteristics. Even if you still believe that hair do not stop growing and will eventually reach the ground, you should first consider whether to believe the one who has never seen hair growing or the millions of people who have never cut their hair? The answer is obvious.

    Another important point is that Sikhs are not to use razors or any other such devices on their bodies, from the time of birth, for they do not cut their hair from any part of their bodies. In order to keep hair neat and clean Sikhs roll the hair on the top of their head. The hair is then covered by different types of turbans.

    From the scientific view, keeping hair is practical because hair has many functions. It traps an insulating layer of still air just outside the skin, and thereby reduces loss of heat by radiation, hair absorbs harmful radiations from the sun, hair follicles can make androgenic hormones and Axillary hair provides larger surface area for evaporation of sweat. Although Sikhs do not need scientific explanations to keep hair, it is important to note that scientific explanations do indeed exist.
     
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  3. FireStorm

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    Thank you Panja for the very nice post.

    I would like to add my own two cents worth.

    I think the single most important concept in sikhi is of recognising and following the divine will. A person who recognises the divine will, does so after he is rid of ego or haume.

    Till one is full of ego or haume, one fails to recognise the divine will. One folows what we would call as manmat, i.e. what the mind recognises as the correct thing to be done, as per its own understanding while not recognising the divine will.

    Hair, by far I belive is the most widely discussed topic in sikhi. It is a question that is of paramount importance to the sikhs, especially teenagers - perhaps due to to fact that hair make them stand out from the crowd.

    I am always of the belief that in Gurbaani, the reasons for doing something or not doing something remain the same throughout the time. Why ? Because Gurbaani is 'Atal'. It will remain the same throughout the time. It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is not relative.

    Hence whatever Gurbaani reccomends us to do or nt to do must be seen in the light of the spirtual plane. It must be seen in the light of 'absolute truth'. The reason for doing something or not doing something should not vary with time.

    In short the reasons for sikhi are time independent.

    Sikh Not Proportional/not dependent on 'time' - because sikhs belong to Akaal Purakh - The Supreme Being beyond time.

    Hence I think, that the main reason why sikhs ought to keep hair intact is because, it is the Hukum of the Akal Purukh.

    Sometimes young sikhs question:

    Why do we have to show sikhi on external ? It is all about internal isnt it? Its all about Love isnt it?

    The answer is simple. If you love someone, and that someone gives you a gift, what do you do with the gift?

    Throw it away. Keep it. Prize it... Love it ?

    We should remember, that there are 2 types of people in this world:

    1. People who commit a mistake and spend their time justifying it

    2. People who commit their mistakes, accept the mistakes and look forward to rectifying.

    Lets pray and hope we should be the second types rather than the first ones, and look forward to accepting, learning from and rectifying our mistakes.

    Akal Sahai


    FireStorm

    Note: In future posts we will try and analyze, what various scholars, rahitnamas etc. have to say w.r.t the Hair, and the validity of these various documents in light of sikh principles.
     
  4. gurbanivichar

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    Welcome to the forum !!! I am also new here on this forum.

    I am also posting to this new forum but did not find any trouble... maybe your server is giving some trouble...

    Please give some of your valueable quality time to this forum... and be a part of it...:)

    Regards
     
  5. Amarpal

    Amarpal
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    The short replies are getting posted one the ones which take one our to compose. WHY?

    Amarpal
     
  6. Neutral Singh

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    Welcome Amarpal Veerji,

    Apologies for the inconvience.

    Actaully, the system logs you out after 15 minutes of inactivity for security reasons only, for your own benefit... so that nobody uses your login on a public computer. :) So, it would be a better idea to write the matter in your notpad and save it on your computer disk and just use copy paste to post the message without being logged out... that would save you time and money...

    Thanks for your time and feedback...

    Kind Regards
     
  7. Amarpal

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    Thank you very much, I am impressed.

    Amarpal
     
  8. Amarpal

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    Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee, over 300 years ago, created Khalsa with Kesh. He gave we Sikhs a unique identity. Kesh are part of our Sikh uniform. As is the case with soldiers, we are Sikhs when in uniform. He converted we Sikhs into ‘Saint – Soldiers’. All this is part of recorded history.

    Our children now go to school. They are well versed with the methods of science. They know there is a cause behind every thing that happens. They want to know why something happens, why it is so. There is nothing wrong in it, we are living in a democratic society, and we have to answer them.

    Saying that we do not cut hairs because our Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee has asked us not to shave may be acceptable to some but not to all. To some it may appear as dogmatic imposition, to some others it may appear downright fundamentalism. What they are seeking from us is the rational behind Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee asking us not to cut hairs and the applicability of that rational in the context of current sociology and way of living.

    In the past:

    When Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee gave us this uniform, Sikhs were few in number. The rulers at that time were opposed to Sikhs and were using coercive methods to convert Sikhs to their faith. It was natural for any isolated Sikh to feel insecure, we all know, numbers provide strength. There was a need to give Sikhs a sense of security. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee, who was a great innovator, gave that security to us by making us more conspicuous. A Sikh (in uniform) can be distinguished even in a crowd. As a result the feeling of loneliness and the resulting helplessness was removed from the lives of the Sikhs, they became bold in their lives. What number could not give us our conspicuous identity gave us.

    In those difficult days, this feeling of self-assurance was essential for Sikhs to hold on to the values, which were basic to Sikh way of living. Because the earlier Sikh held to the values and passed them on to their successive generations, we are what we are today. In fact we have become tall today, standing on the shoulders of the earlier Sikh generations who kept steady fast to the values and beliefs of Khalsa Panth. We have to do the same for our next generation and expect them to do the same for their next generation. We have to become role model for the next generation. Keeping Kesh intact is part of it. Kesh are as important to our identity and Khalsa Panth as its Flag is important to any country.


    And at present:

    Sociological appearances and the groupings have changed since the time of our Gurus but not the intent. During the days of our Gurus, sword was used in the attempts to subjugate Sikhs. Now, another slow and steady, but time tested method is being used against Sikhs. In past, in India, people over period of time have been driven to live like animals. This was achieved showing contempt, ridiculing them, depriving them of their self respect using all means, showing extreme disrespect to their women folks. These people were called Sudras and untouchables.

    These same methods are being used against Sikhs. Sikhs are being ridiculed, Sikh jokes are designed to convey that they have no brains, and sometimes these jokes are told in presence of Sikhs. Coercive methods also have been used in last two decades. All this is to deprive us of our self-respect.

    Why all this, because we are sociologically and economically on the ascending path, this is the result of the concept of ‘Chadian Kalan’ in Sikh religion which creates appropriate social dynamics to achieve this end – this is specific to Sikh society alone. This ascendancy is not acceptable to some who stand to lose.

    You know, again and again it is being suggested that Sikhs riding two-wheeler should also wear helmet. This not because of their love for us, but this offers them an opportunity to alter our identity- removing our turban.

    Why this attack on our identity, because they know that this identity is the source of strength for we Sikhs, if it is taken away we them can be easily managed by them into subjugation. We ourselves should not hand over what is the source of our strength i.e. our identity and Kesh are the most important visible component of it.

    So Khalsa Jee, we should not cut our hairs.

    Sociological problems are part of human life. We have to live with them, seeking win-win solution for both sides fully guarding our Panthic interests.

    The need to keep Kesh intact is as much as it was in the past.

    With love and respect for all that is created by Almighty.

    Amarpal
     
  9. Mehtab Singh

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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    I was listening to a katha by Gyani Sant Singh Jee Maskeen on the 5 kakaars. Its at www.proudtobesikh.com . Gyani jee says that when one recites bani, or does naam simran, there comes a point when rom rom (each pore of hair) starts to do the same. So now, why disregard and take off those hairs, and lose the power of bani and naam that you have? :)

    my 2 cents

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    ps : my 1st post :D
     
  10. jodhbir

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    In my humble opinion, it would be better if you read the sikh philosophy and not listen to the kathakars who usually tend to misinterpret the sacred verses. This misinterpretations is the reason why many rituals, quite opposite to what has been preached by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, have crept into our religion.

    The most illogical and funny arguments that I have ever heard about keeping the hair. Please note that:
    1. Guru Nanak Dev Ji always opposed something that was not based on logic. He was against rituals because they were not logical. It is therefore necessary to view every argument logically.
    2. Hair was given importance because the circumstances during Guru Gobind Singh Ji's time required it. At that time, Aurangzeb, the Mughal ruler, was a threat to sikhism. To oppose him, and to maintain an identity distinct from Muslims, Sikhs were asked not to cut the hair.
    3. There is absolutely no spiritual power in hair. Cutting of hair doesn't make you smaller in the eyes of God. The things that makes a difference are your deeds.

     
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  11. love4sikhi

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    Jodhbir Ji,

    Could you be a little more specific on your views. According to keeping kesh is mere a ritual. How could you be so sure that there is absolutely no spiritual power. Please prove your statements with logical reasoning.

    Thanks
     
  12. Arvind

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    1. Kesh grow to some extent, then the energy intake by us MAY be utilized by us for other constructive purposes, which wud otherwise hv gone towards growth of hair.
    2. Man with a head gear, kesh, turban looks so majestic one. Guess thats why all kings and saints or royal families used to keep those.
    3. Guru ji wanted Khalsa to be identifiable always. The identity which can not hide in a crowd. One can recognize a sikh with turban, kesh from a distance within a big crowd. Khalsa got to stand for the principles.
    4. Kesh in turban acts as an air-conditioner in winter and summer, and even avoid serious brain injuries in an accident compared to helmet, due to uniform distribution of accidental impact.

    Above might sound funny, illogical or whatever, but those are just my thoughts. Guide me, or point out appropriate source/link for the same to learn more about this.

    With all respect to Khalsa, humbly yours, new sevadaar.
     
  13. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Outstanding before standing out...

    A sikh with a turban always stands out in any crowd. For a sikh to stand out, Our Gurus wanted us to be outstanding. Outstanding in all aspects of life.

    Lots of famous people do stand out now a days with the handcuffs on, specially the executives of Enron, Worldcom and many more. Martha Stewart is another one. But they cease to be outstanding.

    A Sikh stands out because alongwith his Turban and Kakaars, he is the walking poster of Sikh Way of Life.

    A Turbaned Sikh can always be recognised from distance, however the glow ignited by his/her Rehat is what leaves the everlasting stamp of Sikhi with whom ever he gets in contact with.

    For a Sikh it is a must to be outstanding before he/she stands out.

    Peace & Love

    Tejwant
     
  14. Arvind

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    Dear VaheguruSeekr ji,

    Thanks for pointing out the difference between standing out, and outstanding. I agree.

    The outstanding comes up automatically with the rehat as well mentioned due to glow (aura). Actually, I take a sikh as an ambassador of sikhi way of life, a living example of a soul, which practises on himself first instead of just preaching. And I believe, those EXIST.

    Although I wish to say that it is necessary to point out ( I very much appreciate this personally) any controversial appearing words, but more necessary is to understand the idea expressed instead of getting into language errors, and not to overread the statements of this new ignorant sevadaar, who is just busy sorting out his way. I wont say that here, as I feel I will learn English language too, to express my views at better depth with more accuracy. So I urge sangat to point out those words especially in my posts. I need to learn faster.

    Warm Regards.
     
  15. jodhbir

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    Logically, if we measure goodness with man's deeds and if keeping hair had some effect on mind then, those who kept hair would have been far better than those who didn't. Unfortunately, when we look around us this doesn't seem to be true. As Guru Nanak Dev Ji said, wearing a thread doesn't make a Brahmin better than others similarly keeping hair, wearing a kara or a kirpan doesn't make some one better. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as far as I know, never asked his followers to keep hair.
    If you feel that I am going wrong somewhere, then please do mention.

    regards,
    jodhbir.
     
  16. Arvind

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    ---- Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as far as I know, never asked his followers to keep hair. ---

    Veer Jodhbir, We dont know what Guru Nanak did, said. We just guess from the history. So I am not sure, to what authority You or I can say something like this.
    u r right, when u say that wearing 5Ks doesnt make a person noble. In other words, a person without these could be far better in deeds compared to the latter.

    By saying all this, we are going as per outer appearance, the superficial one only. Lets get one step further. 5Ks is the baana, which is a part of others i.e. Baani, Baana, Simran and Seva. A person with Baana only cant be assumed to be having other 3 also, right? But he/she is supposed to have those four. The one who has is the sikh.
     
  17. jodhbir

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    Agreed to the fact that we are not sure what actually was the scenario during Guru Nanak's time.. What ever we know is from and history can be wrong..
    Regarding Bani, Seva, and Simran, these have effect on ourselves as well as others so are completely different from the 5 K's. 5 K's *might* have psychological effect on some. They might be a source of inspiration for these people but not for everyone.
    Bani, shows the path we should follow in order to achieve happiness and for leading a truthful life. Seva, helps in eliminating ego, bring equality and an urge to help others. Simran, helps in freeing the mind from the worldly troubles thus controlling the social and mental problems like stress. Unfortunately, I don't see any such good ppint in maintaing the 5 K's.

    Regards,
    jodhbir.
     
  18. Arvind

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    Well... few gifted ones never attend a school, and get onto leading other learned ones. But for others like me, Guru ji set up the school with uniform (so that others can identify, as well as I get reminded always - of the school).

    Do one thing. Get a man or lady dressed up in 5Ks, and other one without these. People getting influenced with dressed ones will be more, and the probability of messing up the lesser. I see a singhnee in dastaar, and she looks so amazing and what not. I cant think of anyone messing up with her, actually she will be a source of inspiration for others, who is going to leave her mark on them. I tend to agree with you, as I have undergone the same stage as of yours. But after entering the school and attending classes in the school, I could realize the hollowness of my arguments.

    We are all learners anyways :)

    Best Regards.
     
  19. jodhbir

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    Well, I view the situation differently. When I see a sikh lady in dastaar, the thought that comes into my mind is why is she binding herself in unnecessary constraints. I usually don't think of messing up with anyone so she is no different. Other than the fact that I feel that it is not logical to keep hair, I feel that the 5 K's are the reason why sikhism has not infact become a universal religion when it is far better than other religions. There are other reasons like miserable failure of clergymen but hair could be a big stumbling block.
    I feel that sikhism needs to evolve with time and hair has to be out of our focus if we wish Sikhism to increase its base. Unfortunately, over the years we have been concentrating on amrit, thus decreasing the base rather that evolution and increasing the base.
     
  20. Arvind

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    jodhvir ji,
    I tend to adhere to principle of 5 Ks. However, presently I dont have enough intellect to satisfy your curiosity perhaps. I think, once we understand the significance of 5Ks, then this discussion will become more fruitful.
    Thanks
     
  21. Neutral Singh

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