Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Oct 25 20:41:38 CDT 1999

On Mon, 25 Oct 1999, Ravi Mayavaram wrote:

> shika
> =====
> kAnchi paramAcharya says one should keep shika and it is an
> obligation to iishwara. But he does not elaborate on it.
> Why should one keep shika? I am not asking it out of academic
> interest.

It is a symbol of adhikara for karma.  In the Katyayana Shrautasutra it
says that in preperation for the darshapaurnamaseshtis (fortnightly
sacrifices), "Optionally he [the yajamana] should shave his head except
for the shikha."  But why that in particular, I don't know.  I've heard an
opinion it is because the top of your head is the Brahmarandhra, the
16,000 petalled lotus at the top of the spiritual body.  One popular
preacher jokingly suggested it is an antenna to receive TV signals from
God :-)

Because it is a symbol of karma, sannyasis in the Advaita tradition remove
it when they take their vows.  (Actually, they are supposed to pluck it
out in one go--ouch!)  Vaishnava sannyasis keep theirs along with
yagnopavit etc.

> For the last one year, I am contemplating on this to
> keep one. My inner conviction has not become strong enough to
> defeat the mediocrity. I should just obey aacharya's command,
> again durvasana-s do not go away overnight.

I have kept a shikha since my upanayana.  I think by New York standards it
makes me look quite fashionable. :-)

> Why do we say "shikAyai vashat" during anga nyAsa?

The purpose of nyasa is to purify the body in preperation for puja.
Together the six different regions we touch cover all the important parts
of the body.

> paramAcharya, says that one should wear pancha-kachcham, have
> shika and wear the religious marks.  Even it is outwardly in the
> beginning, it is fine he says, over the time this first step will
> bring real inner change.

All the external signs in their own way help remind you of the internal
qualities such as shanti, tapa, vidya etc. one is suppoesed to cultivate.
I think it really helps.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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