Kabir Dohas



Keson Kaha Bigadia

Keson Kaha Bigadia, Je Moonde Sau Baar
Man Ko Kahe Na Moondiye, Jaamein Vishey Vikaar

What harm have the hair done, you shave them hundred times
Why not shave the mind, that's filled with poisonous thoughts

In the Hindu culture there is a tradition among men to get their heads shaved off in the event of parental death. There seems to be no scientific reason for this tradition except what I believe is that in folklore it is symbolic of a person in grief who has lost an elder, particularly one of the parent, in the family. The recent example is when thousands of people got their heads shaved in Nepal when the King Birendra was assassinated – in this the King symbolized as the "Father" of the nation. Besides, when men make vows seeking fulfillment of their desire, they will get their head shaved. Symbolically it means surrendering of one's ego (Head representing the center of Ego) to God. Then we have cultists like Hare Krishna movement, where the followers also keep their head shaved all the time. Similarly the Hindu pundits and priestly class also keep their heads shaved in conformity of the latter explanation of the symbolic surrender of one's ego. Incidentally the tradition of shaving the heads is only among men and not among women. I wonder why!

Kabir, however, considered this also to be a mere ritual notwithstanding the symbolic meaning of shaving the head, as explained above. His criticism on the ritual of shaving heads highlights the fact that by mere shaving of the head (or merely being a ritualistic) one cannot attain self realization or discover the divinity within.