Sikh Missionary Society U.K. (Regd)
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Reg Charity No: 262404
The Hair and Other Religions
In the Bible, it is mentioned that God created man in His own image.
God said, "Let us make man in our own image after our likeness." It is,
therefore, self-evident that the human form is complete only with uncut
hair. The story of Samson, a man of prodigious strength and valour, is
a pointer to the fact that human hair is a great source of courage and
strength if it is kept uncut. Samson was brave and strong because his father
and mother obeyed God and did not cut his hair. He was able to kill hundreds
of enemies single-handed. He told the secret of his strength in these words
-- "A razor has never come upon my head; for I have been a Nazarite to
God from my birth. If I be shaved my strength will leave me and I shall
become weak and be like other men."* Later, when he was enticed and his
hair was cut, he became totally powerless.
* The Holy Bible - Judges 16.17
The name Samson is derived from the Hebrew word for sun (Shimshon from which the Arabic word Shams is derived and it means sun hero) Samson's strength lay in his hair, the sun's in its rays.
Again it is interesting to note that John, the Baptist never cut his
hair. The line "The very hair of your head are all numbered."* makes it
clear that we should not meddle with God's gift. As a matter of fact, only
the lepers were required to shave off all their hair, beard and eyebrows
in the whole of Christendom. Leprosy is an awful disease, and there being
no cure for it in those days, the lepers were made distinctly recognisable
by shearing off their hair. As in Hinduism, the Hindu also used to shave
off a part of their hair only when a very close relation died. Shaving
was thus a sign of mourning. A fine beard was thought to make a man look
handsome and in order to dishonour or disgrace a man, the worst punishment
was to shave off his beard when he was defeated or caught. Likewise women
everywhere have kept long uncut hair and luxurious growth of hair has always
been considered a hall mark of female beauty and elegance.
* New Testment, Mathew 10.30
Prophet Mohammad is said to have laid down that a Moslem should undertake the holy pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca with his hair uncut. "In Gaul (France) hair was muche steemed,hence the appalation, Gallia Commata. Cutting off the hair was a punishment. The royal family of France held it as a privilege to wear long hair artfully dressed and curled.
In the Vedas there are many reference about the hair and its sanctity.
The hair has always stood for holiness and saintliness. In Manu Smiriti,
catching hold of the hair or snatching it in any way is forbidden even
in a fight. Again it is mentioned that a good and just "I should immediately
punish anyone who, out of wickedness, dishonours someone by snatching and
dragging him by his hair and the punishment would be to cut off both his
hands. The reason was that Kesh has always been considered as giving great
prestige to its possessor. The Hindus scholars in India, especially those
dedicated to Sanskrit literature are inclined to keep long hair and also
to wear a turban. Even today one can meet many a Hindu Pandit (Scholars)
at Varanasi, Hardwar and other holy places wearing turbans in token of
their learning and scholarship in theology. Many of the celebrated men
of all countries kept their hair unshaven. It is worth naming a few of
them -- Moses, Ibrahim, Socrates, Plato, Confucious, Homer, Galilio, Dante,
Goethe, Tolstoy, Karl Marx, Rabindra Nath Tagore and George Bernard Shaw.
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