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I have also been told that the shikha is meant to distinguish the brahma-madhva vaisnavas from the mayavadis and nirvisesavadis who keep no shikha. Also, in our brahma-madhva gaudiya vaisnava tradition the size of the shikha also distinguishes us from other vaisnava sampradayas. Gaudiya vaisnavas keept a shikha the size of a calves hoof near the back of the head, whereas the vaisnavas of the Ramnuja sampradaya keep a much bigger shikha covering the entire back of the head. They also have the different tilak.
I don't know if there is a reference in sastra to give evidence to the reasons and style for the shikha.
Maybe someone learned can confirm if there is any information in the Caitanya Caritamrta to support this or another book.
Hare Krishna dear Devotees please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I heard also that when Devotee leaves body Krishna pulls the soul from the top most Chakra which is on the head under the shikha.
According to the karma of a soul the living entity at the time of death leaves body from different places :-).
from mouth, nose...
But who leaves from that chakra attains high planets of Spiritual world.
Also hair is needed to protect that chakra. But women do not cut their hair, because their other lower chakras are not good protected but if they have long hair they protect them with hair.
Anyways, shaved heads and shikhas we do just to please Srila Prabhupada and Krishna!
Hare Krishna Maral Mataji,
This is very interesting. I have never heard this before. Do you know which sastra I can look to for to verify this information?
Hare Krishna Keshar Pista Prabhu, please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
about chakras mostly i heard in the lecture of a Russian Devotee who preaches to new comers and he is a yogi also.
About that Krishna pulls the soul from shikha, if i do not mistake, i heard from the lecture of His Holiness Srila Radhanatha Swami Maharaja.
Books in English i do not know on this subject.
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
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.*
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?
Hare Krsna KP Prabhu - Hari bol.
I am new here. But I have practiced other form of prayer - RajaYoga Meditation. What Mata Maral is telling can be understood from this perspective as well.
If you may refer to:
Read Text 8-10, it essentially tells you how to chant properly. Implied is you should keep shikha as it helps you identify the location of center of Chakra.
Srila Prabhupada mentioned this in a conversation with some of his disciples in Hawaii (6.5.1972):
“ Gaudiya Vaisnava sikha is an inch and a half across -- no bigger. Bigger sikha means another sampradaya.... And they have to be knotted”