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Summary of Question:Confused & Bitter
Date Posted:Saturday, 12/09/2000 3:00 AM MST

I have kept my hair most of my life, mostly out of respect to my parents and Sikhism. Although I've lived with it, I am extremely uncertain as to why I should continue to do so, even at 26 years old.

I am grateful for the outlook on life and values that Sikhism has given me, and the sacrifices our Gurus have made, but I am still very confused. In trying to be a rational and practical person, I don't know why I should keep my hair. I really cannot subscribe to the most of the reasons that others have given in this forum.

To paraphrase, "Hair acts as an antenna to channel electro-magnetic waves to the psyche." Is this based in science, personal experience, or something you believe? Tibetan monks shave their heads and also practice meditation. Are they less inclined to achieve enlightenment because of the lack of hair? About the Rishi knot, why doesn't our hair naturally situate to this form if it's so conducive to channeling energy? Why do many people grow bald (genetically speaking), if hair is so important? We don't lose our arms or legs naturally, so why hair? Yes, hair was important one time for thermoregulation, but now we have clothes. Evolutionarily speaking, we are losing our hair. Or are Sikhs not supposed to believe in evolution?

Another one: "Our Guru said to keep it" This is blind obediance. I remember reading somewhere that Guru Gobind Singh clearly said that he was not God (although I believe he was a spiritually enlightened person). I think he wanted to give us a unique identity, so hair became part of that tradition.
For some reason, no-one even cares to mention that the turban thing could just be a cultural practice born out of religion.

This one really upsets me: "When you die, there will be nothing but your soul left, and you will have to meet with God, who will judge you based on your karma or actions" (or something like that). Does God not love every living thing? Does God, who is infinite in wisdom and power by nature, not already know what we do, have done, and will do? What does it matter if I keep my hair or not? The root of this is, do we really know the nature of God?

Another thing is that some Sikhs believe that human beings are the pinnicle of existence (8.4 million lives reincarnated, etc). In light of scientific knowledge of the complexity of life and the vastness of the cosmos, why do we give ourselves so much attention? Do we really know anything? What if we come into contact with aliens who are technologically and spiritually superior to us? Then what? Wouldn't that totally change our belief system upside down? Or are Sikhs not supposed to believe that intelligent life could exist outside of ourselves? (Dolphins and chimps are extremely smart too...they have self-awareness, exhibit altruistic behavior, sympathy, empathy, etc. Why are we so special?).

I don't want to submit to any attitude of blind faith (960 million we will be, Khalsa shall rule, etc.), because that attitude has already led me to be a very confused individual who is incapable of making confident decisions for himself. I don't believe that our Gurus were teaching this way, so I think the hair issue should be a non-issue. Having a beard and turban definitely singles a Sikh out, which can be a good or bad, depending on the circumstances. I don't want to delude myself into thinking that God will judge me based on my hair, or that it makes me super-human, or not. It's the person and how they think and act and treat others, that matters.

Yes, meditation and remembering God is definitely something that I believe in as a path towards spiritual realization, but that is totally within myself, and has nothing to do with my external appearance.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings. I would appreciate your responses, but please spare me any wishy washy stuff that can only be experienced, not observed or shared (like the "When you will be judged", or some other weird justification).

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Hello Inder, It is a matter of sensitivity. You have to experience within yourself the effect of your hair. When I first began to practice sadhana, I lived in New York City. I experimented with wearing my hair down loose; wearing my hair up in a rishi knot but uncovered; wearing my hair up with a simple cotton cover (bandana); and wearing my hair up and tying full turban.

I trued to tune in to my own consciousnes and thoughts and see if I could actually experience any difference. The difference was quite dramatic. With my hair down loose, I would ride the NY subway train and have all kinds of strange (and sometimes rather twisted) thoughts enter my mind. I realized that these were thoughts I was picking up from other people in the vicinity. Sometimes I could even identify the person from whom the thoughts were eminating. As I progressed to tying my hair up, then covering it, then tying a turban, I experienced a greater and greater improvement in the "signal to noise ratio". With hair tied up and full turban, I was able to concentrate much better and remain focused. I could direct my attention to others, but their thoughts did not intrude into my own.

You must have your OWN experience. Don't do things because people tell you to do it, or through habit or ritual. Tune your own consciousness and sensitivity so that you can experience the effects of the hair yourself!

Hairs are "antennas" that transmit energy. I don't know how. And I don't care. Science is always discovering "new" things. I have simply experimented and experienced it for myself.

As you already know, it has nothing to do with God "judging". There is no God except within you and every other living thing. There is no external God who "judges". Your own actions draw you nearer to or farther from the Truth.

blessings, .....G

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