[Advaita-l] A question on 'shikhai'

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Jul 12 16:19:28 CDT 2012

On Sat, 7 Jul 2012, Murali S wrote:

> Are there explicit references to shikhai(tuft) in the Vedas,anything
> about it being mandatory.

The earliest reference I have been able to find is in the 
Katyayanashrautasutra, the vedanga dealing with shrauta yajnas in the 
shuklayajurveda.  In describing preparations for the darshapaurnamaseshtis 
(new and full moon sacrifices) sutra 2.1.9 says:

  keshashmashru vapate vA.ashikham |

"[the yajamana] may optionally get his head and mustache shaved except 
the shikha."

The sutra style is to be as compact as possible leaving out any extraneous 
material.  That and the matter of fact way in which the shikha is 
mentioned indicate the author assumes his audience knows what shikha means 
and do not require further explanation.

> Is it mandatory to remove the hair(except tuft) for a brahmachari/grahastha?

That has been the custom in many parts but we can also commonly see people 
keeping a shikha as part of a normal hair style.  (Which for what its 
worth is what I do.)

> Similarly any references to Kaccha
> in the Veda.

The wearing of an upavastra is assumed but I think it is a stretch to 
assume the contemporary clothing styles are necessarily meant.

One has to look at shistachara not just texts to know exactly what to do.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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