Reason for keeping Shikha

Hare Krishna All,

I am curious to understand the reason for keeping a shikha when we
shave our head. I recently shaved my head as part of my grand fathers
barsi and kept shikha on my head.

From a humorous stand point I have heard that it is kept so that if we
deviate from the path of devotional service then Krishna can pull us
back to right path by grabbing our shikha, but I think there must be
some reason behind it.

Please clarify above, as there is no point in following rituals unless we know the philosophy behind it.

Yours in service

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          • Hare Krishna,


            My humble obeisances,


            Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:

            Shikha is a tuft of hair at the back of head specifically kept by Vaishnavas and brahmanas. It shows the following two things:

            (1) The Vaishnavas following a descending spiritual path that is they depend on the mercy of the Supreme Lord at every step to pull them out of Maya. So when we are drowning in Maya and only our head is out of the water, Guru and Gauranga can still pull us out comfortably by holding our head by this tuft of head called the shikha. So the shikha shows the subordination and dependence of the devotee on the causelessmercy of Lord Gauranga-Krishna at all times. The Mayavadis follow the ascending path since they egotistically confident of achieve God and coming out of illusion by the dint of their insignificant efforts or sadhan. So they do not keep a shikha because they do not need the mercy of the Lord.

            (2) Shikha is also like a spiritual antenna on the top of head meant to show to the Lord and that we are aspiring recepients of His causeless mercy.

            Tuft of Hair (sikha)
            from Pancharatra Pradipa

            According to the Vedic culture, when a person undergoes the
            cuda-karana-samskara (hair-cutting ceremony) and upanayana (Vedic
            initiation), he must shave his head, leaving a tuft of hair called a sikha
            . One must have a sikha to perform any kind of yajna. Therefore in Indian
            tradition all the brahmanas, Vaisnava or otherwise, keep a sikha.
            Although there seem to be no sastric injunctions regarding the size of the
            sikha, Gaudiya Vaisnavas traditionally keep the sikha about the size of a
            calf's hoofprint, approximately 1.5 inches (5 - 6 cm.) in diameter. Srila
            Prabhupada mentioned this in a conversation with some of his disciples in
            Hawaii: "Gaudiya Vaisnava sikha is an inch and a half across -- no bigger.
            Bigger sikha means another sampradaya.... And they have to be knotted."
            (May 6, 1972, Hawaii; Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta V, page 93)
            The sikha may be any length, but it should be kept tightly knotted and only
            untied when you are washing,The Hari-bhakti-vilasa observes that members
            of the upper classes even tie the sikha before taking the final ablutions
            of a bath. This particularly applies when bathing in a body of water such
            as a river or a lake, in which case to not tie the sikha prior to bathing
            is considered low class and disrespectful to the sacred rite of bathing.
            You may tie it in a simple manner for bathing, retying it more carefully
            after the bath.* cleaning, or oiling it. Also, when going to sleep,
            attending funeral rites, or observing a period of mourning, you should
            keep the sikha untied. Since an untied sikha is a sign of a death in the
            family, it is inauspicious to go about one's daily duties with an untied
            sikha. It is also said that if one keeps the sikha untied, the body may
            become weak.
            While tying your sikha after bathing, chant the Hare Krsna mantra, or, if
            initiated with Gayatri mantras, silently chant the Brahma-gayatri (first
            line of Gayatri). The sikha should not be braided (traditionally only
            women braid their hair), nor should it be kept long and disheveled.
            Naturally, if the sikha is too short to be tied, it is all right to leave
            it open, but it should not be disheveled.*

            • Hare Krishna!!!

              So, i am a born Brahmin and practicing Krishna Consciousness from last almost 2 years. Naturally, a born Brahmin should have kept Shikha but in my region they don't follow it for different reasons.

              What I did is- since I'm practcing Krishna Consciousness, in my new hair cut I kept Shikha but couldn't tie it because its too small to be tied. 

              I'm waiting to let it grow.

              Is it okay?

  • its the dress code of devotee.
  • Hare Krishna!
    Scientfically also a person who keeps SHIKHA will not suffer from hair loss and Shikha also attract cosmic energy which imparts enlightment.

    Your humble servant
  • Hare krishna

    What I heard is that Sikha is from Sanskrit word Shiksha ………when we keep shikha it is a sign that we are following some instructions/life style/ philosophy

    Also being dead part of body cutting hairs detaching from bodily conecpt and spending less time on them

    Ideally it is kept at 1 1/2 finger size . Should always tie it as open is a sign of mourning

    This is what I have heard from devotees
    • Hare Krishna Prabhu Jee,

      Dandvat! Thanks you very much for the answer.

      Hare Krishna
      Yours in service
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