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Summary of Question:Why A Sikh Keeps His Hairs While He Cuts His Nails?
Category:Sikh Practices
Date Posted:Thursday, 5/13/1999 4:44 AM MDT

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This is a good question, that reveals alot of intelligence on the part of the questioner because this person is able to pick up on the irony and paradox of the situation, that Sikhs cut their nails but do not cut their hair. Many people would simply say that hair and nails both seem to be just <dead> things that have no purpose at all except to get into our way. So why not cut them off at will? Why not shape the hair into an artistic re-creations of ourselves to resemble anything our personality might choose? One day we could look like a bowl, the next day we can look like a brush, the next day like a billiard ball. What's the difference?

First of all, please read the following scienntific article by Dr. Birendra Kaur. She explains with great detail and precision why hair and nails are physiologically and functionally very different things. It is important not to impose our impressionistic opinions onto reality, without a more in depth and critical examination. Dr. Birendra Kaur's article can help you look at the problem that way. Just click on the the document below to see the article.

birendra on hair.doc

Next, realize that the hair has very subtle functions in relation to endocrine gland function (especially pituitary, the master gland that regulates all other endocrine glandular functions). Hair stores and supplies the pituitary with phosphorus, and is part of synthesizing Vitamin D which influences pituitary function. Hair has a subtle relationship with the body's electromagnetic field. That is why Sikhs tie the hair into a knot at the top of the head. (There are 2 soft spots on the top of the head, called anterior and posterior fontenelles. Men are to tie the knot at the frontal one, women at the fontenelle that is more toward the center. For reasons which I am not able to explain, men and women have different energy and glandular balances, and these two points relate to that. It's the crown of the head, or 10th Gate which is spoken of throughout Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the place where the subtlety of energy, vision and experience of Wahe Guru is manifested. This knot is traditionally called the
<rishi knot>. In ancient times, a rishi was someone who had the capacity to control the flow of energy and prana in the body. A <maharishi> was someone who could regulate the flow of energy in the body, meditatively and at will. And, this knot assists in the channeling of energy in meditation (Naam Simran), for realization of Wahe Guru and inspiration. If one cuts off the hair, there can be no rishi knot. By giving us the rishi knot and the turban (which both men and women are recommended to wear), the Gurus gave us the blessings to know and have the capacity of the rishis. Sikh is to be a complete, whole, realized and enlightened human being. So we don't play fashion games with the hair, we accept the blessing of hair as a gift of God and Guru, and we realize the benefit of the hair. Fingernails have no relationship with this.

May these thoughts bring you to a greater appreciation for the vast and subtle blessings which the Dharma of our Gurus brings to us.

Humbly,
Krishna Singh Khalsa



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Why A Sikh Keeps His Hairs While He Cuts His Nails? (05/13/1999)
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