Kabir Dohas

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 

My Understanding

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. In recent memory, the 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.

Continuing on the preceding doha, Kabir emphasizes that unless one cleanse one's mind from the quagmire of unhealthy, unclean and poisonous thoughts that are harmful individually and collectively, until then one is not free from delusion and self-deception. Mind being the source of all problems, it is in every individual's interest to keep it filled with healthy, harmonious and loving thoughts. 

May 19, 2002

Image (c) gettyimages.com

Rajender Krishan
Visual Art by Rajender Krishan

Views: 26243      Comments: 3

Comments on this Doha

Comment ritualism is useless

latif das

14-Jul-2011 07:33 AM

Comment Let them shave their heads,

following starts only after pretending,

Mere thought of going and having a dip in the river Ganga purifies ones soul.

we must not use harsh words which isolate human being from following traditions, different people follow different religion to stay close to god.

Bharatbhushan Nirmal

19-Jun-2011 14:54 PM

Comment I liked it. We must follow it. We must care our elders as and when we get opportunity.

Narain Singh Bisht

11-May-2011 13:03 PM

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