Bana: Appearance & Form
The "bana" or form, the personal appearance of a Sikh, is one of the foremost ways that a Sikh maintains his or her consciousness as the Guru intended. The Guru has given his Sikh specific instructions to keep his or her natural form as created by God. Thus, all hair is maintained, uncut, and untrimmed. The Guru has given his Sikh a standard of dress which distinguishes him or her as a human being dedicated to a life of truthful living. The Guru has instructed his Sikhs to maintain high moral character, symbolized by the wearing of the steel bracelet, ("kara") and to stand prepared to defend righteousness, wearing the "kirpan" or sword. (See page 21 for a more detailed description of each of the 5 Kakaars)
The long hair of a Sikh is tied up in a Rishi knot over the solar center, and is covered with a turban, usually five meters of cotton cloth. (The man’s solar center is nearer the front of the head. The woman’s solar center is further back.) A female Sikh may also wear a chuni (chiffon scarf) draped over it. All Sikhs cover their head while in Gurdwara. With the growing awareness of the non-sexist nature of Sikh Dharma and the Sikh lifestyle, many Sikh women wear turbans on a consistent basis, as the men do. The turban of a Sikh is his or her primary identifying feature. It is a statement of belonging to the Guru, and it is a statement of the inner commitment of the one who wears it. The uncut hair and the turban are a declaration to live in accordance with, and if necessary die in support of, the Teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Regardless of the circumstances or the type of employment or activity, a Sikh keeps his or her form and identity as a Sikh. Clothes are modest, and exemplary of the identity and character of a soldier-saint.