Jump to content

Why do we keep our hair?

Recommended Posts

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh ||

I realize that the question "Why do we keep our hair?" is one of the most often-asked questions, but nonetheless, I find myself unsure of the answer. All of the reasons I have been given for doing so seem weak to me. Below are the reasons I have been given to keep my hair, along with my thoughts on them:

1) We keep our hair because we must preserve the original form God gave us.

This belief is very confusing to me because we claim that we want to keep God's original form, yet we do many things that reject our form. For example, take the very simple procedure of wearing braces. By wearing them, we are rejecting God's original form, but no one claims that this is anti-Gurmat. If this is true, how come in one case we can change our original form, but in another, we cannot?

2) We keep our hair because they provide more antannae which vibrate when we recite the name of God.

I find this extremely hard to believe, but if someone can provide me quotes from Gurbani which support it, I may change my mind.

3) We keep our hair because it allows us to be noticed amongst a crowd of 100. It provides us with an identity, a uniform.

If our main goal is to simply be distinguishable, why do we have to keep facial hair? Clearly, we would still be noticeable with a turban and a kara, yet even trimming of our beards is condemned. Why?

4) We keep our hair because the Gurus told us to.

I understand that we should respect what the Gurus have told us, but I feel that if I just keep my hair because they told me to, I am doing so blindly. Our Gurus rejected blind rituals, and if I have no reason to keep my hair, then I feel like what I'm doing is simply a ritual.

Also, while discussing religion, one of my friends was very curious why we had to wear turbans. He wanted to know why we couldn't simply wear our hair down. Outside of the fact that we cover our heads out of respect for SGGS in gurdwara, why do we wear turbans in our day-to-day lives? Is it out of respect for our hair? If so, then why don't we cover our beards, eyebrows, etc.?

In essence, I'm looking for someone to give me clear reasons to keep my hair and wear a turban. Although I do so right now, I feel I'm doing so blindly, with no base to legitimize my beliefs. I would appreciate any help.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh ||

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dhoor721 - Isn't hair given by God, so therefore completely natural, but we add things outside our body i.e. jewellery, karas etc (not earrings which put a hole in the body) which are completely different. We wear paghs and dustaar cos they cover and protect a vast amount of hair, no? Next you might be saying "why do we wear clothes?"

If God wanted you to cut hair, why does it keep growing back?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Veer Ji,

You wrote:

"Isn't hair given by God, so therefore completely natural, but we add things outside our body i.e. jewellery, karas etc (not earrings which put a hole in the body) which are completely different."

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. Sure, hair might be natural, but if you look back at my post, you will see that I stated that we do plenty of "unnatural" things. In the braces example, we are changing God's original form, are we not? And I don't think you should lump jewelry and karas together. Unlike jewelry, which should not be worn by Sikhs according to the Rehat Maryada, karas are an integral part of our faith, just as kirpans, kachera, etc. are.

"We wear paghs and dustaar cos they cover and protect a vast amount of hair, no? Next you might be saying "why do we wear clothes?""

But veer ji, does our hair need protection? If it does, then why not cover facial hair, armpit hair, eyebrow hair, etc.? After all, most of the world does not cover their heads, whereas almost everyone in the human race wears clothes.

"If God wanted you to cut hair, why does it keep growing back?"

If God wanted you to cut nails, why do they keep growing back? (and please do not tell me about how nails are different then hair, etc...I would rather you answer my initial question of why even keep hair) Also, going back again to my first example, should we not wear braces because our teeth shift back after they are removed (thus the reason for retainers, to retain the "correct" position of teeth)?

I'm sorry, maybe I'm a moorakh, but I don't find any of these reasons compelling enough to demand unshorn hair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol veer, i had braces fitted a few years ago...and i didn't want them done! I think the site mods should answer the questions for you more than me...I am not as knowledgable, and I too share your concerns about cutting nails...but I guess the white bits are dead...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me know if these articles help you with your hair question? If not then please post and we will discuss it further..





Importance of Hair: Sant Attar Singh Ji Maharaj de jeevan vichon 3 sakhian.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sikh Hair in the modern world

Writer: Yuktanand Singh

Every so often, questions are asked about the hair. Someone asked for a single, coherent, and consistent reason for growing the hair and also, if there are any verses in Sikh scriptures telling us to grow hair. Here are some thoughts:

During the time of Gurus, Kesh used to be a normal trait of all faithful Sikhs. We know this from our history, such as, Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Taru Singh Ji, from the Janamsakhis, and from the Rehitnamas. For this reason, no explicit directive on keeping the Kesh is found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib or Sri Dasam Granth. Kesh is treated in the Bani simply as a given. Covering the head at all times was also taken for granted, as a natural trait of devout Sikhs.

The Tenth Master had issued a Hukamnama asking everyone to show up at the Vaisakhi 1699 with weapons and with full hair, "Ehei Mor Agya Suno Le Piyare Bina Shastr Kesham Diyo Na Deedare" meaning, "Please do not show me your face without Kesh and without a weapon." This shows also that the Sikhs did not start growing hair on that day. Devout Sikhs already had long hair.

The Rehit Maryada passed on to us through The Beloved Five, and all the Rehitnamas written since the time of the Tenth Master reiterate that full hair is one of the most important attributes of the Sikh, rather all humans. The real reason for the Sikh hair is a spiritual one but it is impossible to explain it logically or to discuss it in a scientific manner. Hair is not an 'antenna', as some young Sikhs like to propose. Let us just remember that animals do not have long scalp hair. Only the humans do.

Our explicit reason for keeping the Kesh is always the same. We maintain our hair because our Guru says that we should. We need no other reason. It is a combination of love, faith and obedience. The same goes for the other Kakkars (the Five Ks.) As we know, Sikh Panth is a path of spiritual realization. A purely logical comprehension of the spiritual teaching is not always possible.

Guru Ji says, "Gursikh Friends, follow Guru's ways. Consider whatever Guru says as the best (because) the Divine story is different than anything we know." (SGGS 667:15)

Let us touch a few related and important items. Preserving natural hair is an expression following God's will. In addition to that, hair growth parallels maturity of the body. People remove the hair to maintain a pre-pubertal look, to appear young, and thus, to be attractive to the opposite sex. Guru Ji teaches us to rise above such slavery to the body. A Sikh refuses to be its victim and declares this through keeping natural hair. At the same time, a Sikh is expected to dress well and be clean.

Rehit is like the foundation that supports the teaching of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We could say that if Guru Granth Sahib is the brain, then, Rehit is the body. Rehit is imperative for preservation of Gurbani for the future generations. Someone with a myopic view, with other motives, or one who is slave to popular opinion, may insist that, besides pure Gurbani, there is no need for anything else, simply because this allows one to blend peacefully in society without identifying with any particular dogma.

Natural hair is a proclamation of Guru's way, to herald a resurgence of the lifestyle of the ancient Saints. This does not become obsolete or irrelevant with the passage of time. The Sikh is a replica of the ancient Saints, now living as a householder. This is not always easy. This lifestyle requires giving up certain popular activities that may be incompatible with hair and turban (just as some activities that are incompatible with the spiritual life of devotion and meditation), and facing opposition and/or rejection in some circles.

Young Sikh males may find it difficult to marry a mate of their choice because most girls are influenced by the media and they prefer the popular choice for a shaven, boyish look. A proper use of media, some Sikh movies of high caliber, for example, could really help us here. For the same reason, huge sums of oil money are allegedly being pumped into Indian movies in order to portray Muslim role models as the protagonists. It is no surprise that the question of hair is often raised by our young Sikhs, and that, many Patit sikhs (sikhs who cut their hair) in the West grow it again after reaching the middle age.

In the present environment, Sikh life lived correctly is, in a way, living in war. So, if you are going to engage in it, you may as well be prepared to face the consequences, pleasant as well as unpleasant.

On one hand, short hair makes it easier to engage in numerous activities where long hair would be in the way. On the other hand, natural hair is an asset in many other ways that we do not yet understand. Thus, we are required to make a choice, between the perceived benefits of short hair, and observance of Guru's teaching with hidden benefits of long hair. This choice is possible only through Guru's Grace. We face such choices throughout our life, for some very important reasons. These choices influence our spiritual strength.

There are some paradoxes that we need to remember. We will always have some genuinely devoted but hairless Sikhs among us, for example, the Sindhi, and the Hindu Christian or Muslim devotees of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. On the other hand, full hair, without a genuine desire to follow our Guru, could be simply, a fashion statement, a political necessity, a mere show, sign of a struggle or an internal conflict, or just plain indolence.

The full Sikh hair often is, but cannot always be construed as a sign of devotion. Sikhs who have hair from birth but do not have proper conduct, or those who take Pahul and then engage in some arrogant deeds, could cause more damage than those humble and ethical Patit Sikhs who do not yet have the courage to grow hair. We need to avoid a holier than thou stance towards the Patits.

However, hair does not grow overnight. Everything else being equal, people with hair have better acceptance in the Guru Ghar than the Patit Sikhs. Thus, regardless of the level of income, the caste, the clan, extensive Seva, knowledge, or their spiritual state, the Patit sikhs need to recognize their own deficiency and thus avoid needless confrontation every time they are reminded of it.

So far, the democratic system in the Gurudwaras and in the government has been a handicap, but if we have a sufficient number of worthy Sikhs available, we need to set some strict rules in our institutions. Before we aspire for a "Sikh" nation, let us show that we can make it work in smaller samples. Kesh and ethical conduct should be the minimum prerequisite to a position of respect, responsibility and recognition in our Gurudwaras.

Please also read a thought provoking article about apostasy:


Finally, let us touch a hornet's nest. A few weeks ago, a question was asked about waxing. We will all agree that often, hair grows in strange places. For example, some women have excessive facial hair. This is not related to religion, but to hormones or a genetic predisposition, because, everyone does not have it. It seems that everyone would rather avoid discussing this subject because an agreement would appear as an attempt to fracture the iron clad rule, i.e., protecting all hair, no questions asked.

Such issues can be quite perplexing. But for the sake of our youth, they need to be tackled nonetheless. Let us examine it objectively. Guru Ji directs us to keep all normal hair as is. We know that an unaltered female face with natural facial hair is much more beautiful and spiritual than a manicured face. But, does abnormal coarse facial hair (beard etc.) fall under the same category?

Guru Ji did not entertain this question and similarly, there is no need to turn it into a public debate or to alter the Rehit Maryada. If an otherwise devout Sikh girl waxes abnormal hair on her chin, should this be regarded the same as cutting the natural hair? Can we sleep well knowing that many worthy young females are afraid to take Pahul because if they did they will not be allowed to remove their beard? Do we have the authority to say that they could? If we did, then, where do we stop? The answers are fuzzy. One thing is clear, however. If you remove any hair, you should not volunteer to be in the Panj Piyare.

We prosper by being compassionate and by understanding that everyone cannot live like a Saint, and this should not delay anyone from taking the Pahul, belonging to the Guru and doing one's best. Often we are quick to criticize another about the level of their Sikhi. We need to support our brothers and sisters in their growth at their own level, and help them in whatever they are capable of practicing, without creating a great internal personality conflict. Then our youth may be better adjusted till they are strong enough to be good Sikhs and to follow the Rehit correctly. Proper way to promote Rehit is by setting a good example for others to follow, not force it upon them. Sikh Panth is a Path of gentle correction through love, not of compliance though intimidation.

Now, to return to a case against mutilating our hair, there are many benefits of keeping natural hair. We do not know everything about this organ and all its functions. If you have not read some thoughts based on biology, you may read them here:



Yuktanand Singh

Saline, Michigan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you keep your hair because the guru told you to, and the guru knows better than you do.

i see alot of people trying to make big fat debates out of the hair issue, to cover the underlying subconscious issue, which is, i want to blend into society and i want to look like the goreh.

if u lived in a pind in india, where everyone around you were 100percent gursikh, do u really think u would even think about cutting your hair? do u think the sahibzadas or bhai taru singh had a good long think about the reasons for keeping and not keeping his hair before his scalp was torn off?

there have been good points raised already on why you shouldnt cut your hair, if you find yourself too emotionally frail or mentally weak to keep your hair, dont disguise it behind "ive never heard any good reasons" just admit what it really is. be honest - its the best way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

forget all that, man... Guru Gobind Singh TOLD US to keep our hair! what other reason do you neeed?!


you keep your hair because the guru told you to, and the guru knows better than you do.


SIkhi is Against Blind belief ..thus it is vital to know WHY ..WHY..WHY GUru ji said so

even a morakh like me understands that GUru JI is da smartest but...

we gotta know WHY....MAkes sense?

BHulla CHUkka Maaf


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...