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Confused about whether I must keep my hair

asked 2013-11-06 08:42:00 -0500

M.Singh gravatar image

updated 2018-08-27 13:13:01 -0500

Guruka Singh gravatar image

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

I am a teenage sikh. I have been told by almost all my family members that it is not a must to keep my hair long. Up till this point in life my family members have made me cut my hair. When I was younger my family members never told me that sikhs keep their hair uncut. I only found out a year ago that sikhs have to keep their hair.

Ever since I have tried to keep my hair. But whenever my family members think that my hair or beard has grown too long they take me to a nearby barber shop and make me cut my hair and shave my beard.

So I started to ask them why they continuously kept making me cut my hair. They told me several reasons such as :

You need to look need neat and presentable It is very hard to maintain long hair It is very hard to tie a turban I will not get into a good school if I keep my hair and beard I need to shave my beard for things such as renewal of my passport.

Then a few days ago I sat down to discuss this matter with my grand uncle. Since he was the oldest in our family I thought he would be able to help me. I asked him why all the members in my family had been cutting their hair and why they were making me cut my hair. This is because I found out that Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordered us to keep our hair uncut and our beards unshaven.

What he said in response made me even more confused. He told me that Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not say that we could not cut our hair. I am not saying that my family members are bad. They have given me a very comfortable life and have cared for me a lot. But this may be one of the few times when I disagree with their decision.

Sorry for being so long. I am just a young sikh who wants to keep his hair and beard. I am inexperienced and I need some help. I have cried many times at night wondering what should I do. I did not want to cut my hair. I do not know whether Guruji will forgive me if I keep my hair and beard henceforth. Please help me out here.

Any opinions and advice will be very much appreciated.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Thank You

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answered 2015-01-15 17:17:24 -0500

Guruka Singh gravatar image

Hair has been recognized as sacred for over 5,000 years. It has a purpose.

See: The Value of Hair

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answered 2015-01-14 16:48:46 -0500

Singh5 gravatar image

Is it? Is it truly a GREAT response?

You are clearly missing something here that you have an issue with. A TRUE devoted Sikh who has given there head to the True Guru who has received Amrit lives to the code of conduct. Forgive me but Was it not Shiri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who said it is not the Sikh which is dear to me but the Rehat of the SIKH.

It is true that Sikhi should be in your heart and MIND and having little to no attachment to Maya. Kesh/Hair is a part of the human body Kesh is attached to the human form for a reason. Ok there are certain medical conditions regarding kesh and the female form particularly, but lets not go there because that is a different issue.

The keeping of your hair uncut and in natural state is a true test of your strength and character and your overall acceptance to the way you have been made. There is no confusion here because a Sikh is one who has HAIR. Would a clean shaven sikh look right?

Look, the simple answer is this.. when one is ready to receive Amrit and become Amritdharee and live as a Gursikh, become Khalsa..become Gurmukh then no question arises about having confusion to keep hair uncut.

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answered 2015-01-11 23:39:55 -0500

Dear Betazoid,

This is a great response - many THANKS :)

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

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answered 2013-11-24 15:59:20 -0500

betazoid gravatar image

I am disappointed by the response of Guruji's Daughter as Sikhi is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a legalistic faith. Judaism and Islam are both legalistic faiths, and their heavy focus on rules and laws is evident in their teachings.

I think it would be a mistake to see the keeping of hair as normative for all Sikhs, everywhere, forevermore. This is something that was very appropriate for that time when the Guru's lived, in that place in the world (i.e. The Punjab). It is clearly something derived historically from Indian (and specifically Punjabi) culture.

I have been reading the Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji every day for several months now, and studying a daily Hukam, and in none of my readings have I ever come across any mention that removing, dying, or otherwise processing one's hair is forbidden.

In one passage, it does say "They pluck the hair out of their heads, and drink in filthy water; they beg endlessly and eat the garbage which others have thrown away."

But then after that it says, "They remain polluted forever, day and night; they do not apply the ceremonial tilak mark to their foreheads."

So should I assume from this that we all must apply a ceremonial tilak mark to our foreheads? Is that a command from the Gurus? It's right there in the SGGS, after all.

Each person must do their best to judge whether keeping hair is right and reasonable for them or not.

Sikhi is about what's in your heart... how little attachment you have to the things of Maya as opposed to meditating on the Naam. I think it's just as big a mistake to become attached to the idea of keeping hair as it is to become attached to the idea of shaving it off, styling it, or what have you.

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answered 2013-11-08 22:45:44 -0500

Gurujis Daughter gravatar image

updated 2017-04-12 10:10:08 -0500

Guruka Singh gravatar image

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

One of the best things in our generation is that we are allowed to ask why. We are often unsure about so many things and in today's time there are many people who are very happy answering our questions!

Our Gurus did prohibit cutting hair. And there is a very goood reason behind it. Vaisakhi, which we celebrate every year was started by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib ji. He told his sikhs not to do 5 things - You can read description of it here. It has Punjabi in it too as the primary source and proof. " . Hajamat – Cutting, plucking, dying Kesh

Cutting hair is strictly forbidden in Gurmat. From your head down to your toes, no hair is to be plucked, cut, burnt or chemically/surgically removed. Kesh are not to be dyed by any method whatsoever and the plucking of hair is not permitted.42

ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤ ਰੱਬ ਬਣਾਈ ॥ ਬੇਈਮਾਨ ਨੇ ਭੰਨ ਗਵਾਈ ॥

"God made the human form perfect, but the treacherous has altered it And made it lose its natural beauty."

ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤ ਰੱਬ ਦੀ ਭੰਨੇਬੇਈਮਾਨ ॥ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਢੋਈ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਕਾਫਰਕੁੱਤਾ ਸ਼ੈਤਾਨ ॥

"The treacherous has altered the perfect human body, Making it lose its natural beauty. He/She will not get acceptance in the court of God And is an infidel, a dog and is devil like."

42 When people start to age they start dying their hair black/brown or plucking their white hairs, this is forbidden and vanity is to be relinquished by enshrining the Guru’s teachings

Keeping your Kesh is essential. Upon the death of a relative, the deceased’s hair is not to be shaved off. The cutting of hair is prohibited in other religions as well, but in Gurmat cutting hair is a cardinal sin and results in a person being an outcast. You are to guard against committing this cardinal sin. Your Kesh are not to be washed with ashes or clay, they are to be washed with shampoo, yoghurt or lasee. Lying down with your Kesh uncovered or partaking in any action with your Kesh uncovered is strictly forbidden. You are not to enter a dusty, dirty place with your Kesh uncovered. Cutting the Kesh or piercing the ears/noses of your children is strictly forbidden. The hair of children is not to be tied in dreadlocks. From a young age, the Kesh of your children are to be combed with a Kangha.

ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤ ਸਿਧਾ ਦਾੜ੍ਹਾ ॥ ਕਾਠ ਦਾ ਕੰਘਾ ਕੇਸੀਂ ਚਾੜ੍ਹਾ ॥

"The complete form of man is with a beard, which is left untied. The Kesh are combed with a wooden Kangha."

Amritdharee Singhs are to keep their beards open and untied."

This is Rehet Nama which I sent. It means Code of ... (more)

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Asked: 2013-11-06 08:42:00 -0500

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Last updated: Mar 16 '19