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Summary of Question:Re: Response to facial hair
Date Posted:Monday, 6/21/1999 1:53 AM MDT
If you are a turbaned Sikh, as your name sets you out as, the hairs on your ears would be covered by the turban. So there would be no need for social influences to determine whether you should cut / trim them...this was the only part of your wonderful response that I did not understand. Can you please explain, through a personal e mail if you think that is more appropriate

Gur fateh

Hargurmit Singh
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Reply
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Dear Hargurmit Singh,
Thank you for your question. My turban does not cover the earlobes, nor the opening which leads to the eardrum. The hair grows rather profusely out of that opening, and is easily seen by anyone. Also, as I explained, once I studied the physiology of the eardrum, also the cochlea and the bony and neurological structures leading to it, I began to allow for the possibility that these hairs could have some purpose and benefit, in spite of the social stigma sometimes attached to people who have big bushy eyebrows, and hairs growing from the nostrils and ears. Just as the beard and hair on the scalp have demonstrable benefits as physiological supports to one who meditates, I now prize these <oddities> as supports to Nam Simran and subtle intuition.

At this time I have no such information to console any woman about the presence or benefits for them of facial hairs. I'm also certain that if there is such a benefit, that Guruji can provide insights about it. Until then, the issue can certainly be an appropriate purpose for dialogue and consultation with Him.

Another dimension of the entire question is, what is the potential benefit of any human <abnormality> in combating social stereotypes of glamor and desirability. Through advertising and social prejudices, the every individual member of humanity is bombarded with messages that if we don't represent or conform to stereotypic values and appearances, a little money for one or another vendor's products (razor blades, dipilatory cream, mouthwash, makeup, perfumes, toothpaste, all billion dollar industries) one's problems can be solved.

My young, 12 year old niece, who has cerebral palsy, who has never spoken a word or walked a step in her life, who must be fed by another, has such an aura of angelic radiance and intelligence, that strangers can become nearly enlightened in meeting her, and thereby expanding their frame of reference and preconceptions about just < What is a human being? >. We can be shocked and illuminated into greater appreciation and tolerance for human differences when confronted by what <social norms> consider <weird>. I know a woman for whom I have such great respect because she, as a college level teacher, has a full mustache on her face, not just a few hairs on her lip. She is a gifted, intelligent mediator of human understanding, who teaches ethics, and deals very powerfully and compassionately in enabling students to confront their own stereotypes about how things and people <should be>. She has found a most powerful meaning and uplifting purpose in adopting her <facial hair problem> into a great spiritual,
social asset for human improvement. She is very strong in this, and very kind. It is also a deeply personal choice, not one to be imposed on anyone else. Perhaps this will expand our boundaries a little further for considering the topic of facial hair, as experienced by women of the Dharma.

Humbly,
Krishna Singh Khalsa


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