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If the shikha gets too long, is it ok to get it trimmed?




> From P Pradipa:


> Tuft of Hair (sikha)


> According to the Vedic culture, when a person undergoes the

> cuda-karana-samskara (hair-cutting ceremony) and upanayana (Vedic

> initiation), he must shave his head, leaving a tuft of hair called a

> sikha. One must have a sikha to perform any kind of yajna. Therefore in

> Indian tradition all the brahmanas, Vaisnava or otherwise, keep a sikha.

> Although there seem to be no sastric injunctions regarding the size

> of the sikha, Gaudiya Vaisnavas traditionally keep the sikha about the

> size of a calf's hoofprint, approximately 1 1/2 inches (5---6cm) in

> diameter. Srila Prabhupada mentioned this in a conversation with some of

> his disciples in Hawaii: "Gaudiya Vaisnava sikha is an inch and a half

> across-no bigger. Bigger sikha means another sampradaya. . . . And they

> have to be knotted." (May 6, 1972, Hawaii; Srila Prabhupada Lila V, pg.

> 93).

> The sikha may be any length, but it should be kept tightly knotted and

> only untied when you are washing,* cleaning, or oiling it. Also, when

> going to sleep, attending funeral rites, or observing a period of

> mourning, you should keep the sikha untied. Since an untied sikha is a

> sign of a death in the family, it is inauspicious to go about one's daily

> duties with an untied sikha. It is also said that if one keeps the sikha

> untied, the body may become weak.


> * The Hari-bhakti-vilasa observes that members of the upper classes even

> tie the sikha before taking the final ablutions of a bath. This

> particularly applies when bathing in a body of water such as a river or

> lake, in which case to not tie the sikha prior to bathing is considered

> low class and disrespectful to the sacred rite of bathing. You may tie it

> in a simple manner for bathing, retying it more carefully after the bath.


> While tying your sikha after bathing, chant the Hare Krsna mantra,

> or, if initiated with Gayatri mantras, silently chant the Brahma-gayatri

> (first line of Gayatri). The sikha should not be braided (traditionally

> only women braid their hair), nor should it be kept long and disheveled.*


> *Naturally, if the sikha is too short to be tied, it is all right to leave

> it open, but it should not be disheveled.

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