About hair offering
First time cutting of hair, 1st year or 3rd
This ceremony of the first tonsure is to be
performed in the third year of the male child. Also it initiates the
maintenance of a 'Sikha' (tuft of hair on the head)
as a religious necessity after that age. According to Susruta, a
tuft of hair on the head protects a vital part on the head.
Susruta and Charaka confirm that removing the hair,
excess nails etc., contribute to strength, vigour, longevity, purity
and beauty of the individual.
An auspicious day is selected for the
ceremony. A porcupine quill, Darbha grass, and a dummy
razor are the specific materials used by the father for symbolically
cutting the child's hair first. The gist of the Mantra used in this
particular ceremony is:
"May the child live long beyond a hundred years.
May his eye sight remain unimpaired. May he become prosperous and
wealthy so that he can feed (and cater to the needs of others)
liberally. May his digestion be perfect. Let him become a
From Ashvalayana Grihyasutra:
"Triteeye Varshe Chaulam. Uttaratoagne Vreervihiyavamaashatilaanaam
prithakpoorna Sharaavaani Nidadhaati." From Paraskara Grihyasutra:
"Samvatsavarikasya Choodaakaranam." Gobhiliya Grihyasutra 184.108.40.206
is also of the same opinion.
This ceremony should be performed in the third year
or in the 1st year from the date of the child's birth. The dates for
this ceremony should be chosen during the northern solstice and
during the bright fortnight of the moon's phase.
(Barber) is invited to this ceremony. Four
earthenware pots are brought to the Yajnashala (place of sacred fire
Ceremony). They contain rice, barley, Mung and in the fourth Sesumum
(Til). These four pots are placed in the north side
of the Yajnavedi (Havan Kund) A Havan Ceremony is
performed .Thereafter, addressing the hairdresser, the following
Mantra from the Atharvaveda is recited.
"Om Aayamagantsavita kshurenoshnena
vaaya Udakenehi. Aadityaa Rudraa Vasava Undantu Sa Chetasah Somasya
Ragno Vapata Prachetasah." This barber, who is
competent and swift has come with his razor (or a pair of scissors).
Using lukewarm water, may the learned man (barber) known as Rudra
and Vasu make the hair wet with utmost care and (thereafter) cut the
hair like the king of Soma (as the Soma herbs are cut with
The father of the child mixes hot and cold water
reciting the following Mantra. "Om Ushnena Vaaya
Udakenehi." Let the hot water be mixed with cold
water. Thereafter, applying to the hair a mixture of the lukewarm
water and a little butter or curd to moisten the hair of the child.
The following mantra is recited.
From Atharvaveda: "Om
Aditihi Shashru Vapatvaapa Undantu Varchasaa, Chikitsu Prajapati
Deerghaayutvaaya Chakshase." Let this unbreakable
razor (or scissors) cut the locks (hair on the head), let the waters
with their moistening (softening) power soften the hair of the
child, May the Lord of creatures (God) remove disease from this
child. May this child attain to long life. May this child acquire
From Paraksara Grihyasutra:
"Om Savitra Prasoota Daivyaa Aapa, Undantu Te Tanu
Deerghayutvaaya Varchase." O Child! Let the mighty
celestial waters produced by the sun drench your head. May you
attain a long life. May you acquire knowledge.
The father takes a comb in his hand and using the
comb, gathers some hair from the right side of the child's head.
Taking three blades of the Darbha (kusa) grass,
while touching the hair with the grass and slightly pressing the
hair against the grass, the following Mantra is recited.From
Gobhiliya Grihyasutra, 219.14 "Om Oshadhe
Traayasvainam." Let the herb protect this child.Then
holding the razor in a hand the father recites the following Mantra
From Gobhiliya Grihyasutra, 219.13 -1.6.4
"Vishnorda Ashtroasi" This instrument
(razor) is the means in the performance of this Yajna
(Samskara) of Chudakarma. From the Yajurveda:
"Om Shivo Namaasi Svadhitiste Pitaa Namaste (Astu) Ma Ma
Hrimsihi." This instrument (razor) is for
auspiciousness. It is made of steel (metal) that is as strong as
Vajra (a weapon). Let this razor be fit for cutting the hair. Let it
not cause any pain whatsoever. From The Yajurveda: "Om
Svadhite Mai Nam hrimsihi" Let not this steel razor
inflict any harm to this child.
"Om Nivarttayaam Yaayusheannaadyaaya Prananaaya
Raayasposhaaya Soooprajaastvaaya Suviryaaya." O Child!
I perform this tuft-ceremony so that you can attain to long life,
constructive power, strength and wealth, good progeny and
The father of the child then holds the child's
locks in a loop made from the Kusa grass and applies the first cut
with the following Mantra. From the Atharvaveda: The meaning of the
Mantra is: "O priest and all the learned guests! This competent
barber shaves this child by the same razor (or scissors) that he
uses to shave the head of our glorious King and the heads of noble
men (men of merit). May this child be prosperous, wealthy and have
All the hair cut by the razor or scissors, together
with Kusa grass and the leaves of Mimosa (Shami)
should be placed in an earthenware container. All lose hair pieces
on the floor should be carefully picked up and placed in this
(The detailed procedure entails the father cutting
a little of the hair first from the right side of the child's head.
Appropriate Mantras being recited. Then the same sequence is
followed for the left side of the head. The third time from the back
of the head The fourth time again the father cuts a little hair from
the back of the hair. )
Thereafter the father of the child blesses the
child (with Mantra) by placing his right hand on the head of the
Then with the following Mantra, the father gives
the razor (and scissors) to the barber.From Ashvalayana Grihyasutra,
1.17.15 "Om Yatkshurena Marchayata Supeshasaa Vaptaa
Vapasi Keshaan Shundhi Shiro Maasyayuhu Pra Moshihi.
"O Barber! You are the cutter of the hair. Cut and shave the head of
the child with that swift soft razor. Do not decrease (cut or
shorten) the child's life.
The father then tells the barber to sharpen his
razor on his sharpening stone. The father then requests the barber
to gently drench the child's head with lukewarm water and that he
should shave attentively with smooth hand, avoiding any cut from the
razor. With these words he leads the barber to the north of the
Yajna-Kunda. He sits with the child facing eastward. The barber
shaves the child's head.
A little tuft of hair may be left on the head. It
is considered more proper to shave all the hair in the first year. A
little tuft of hair should be left on the head when Chudakarma
Samskara is performed in the third year.
The barber is given the four earthenware containers
filled with cereal grains together with clothes, money etc. The
barber carries the cut hair together with the Darbha grass, Shami
leaves etc.to some remote place e.g., river side or in the woods;
there to bury these in the ground. A member of the family or a
friend can accompany the barber.
The father then rubs a
little butter or curd on the head of the child. The child is then
bathed. When the child is dressed, the father sits with the child
facing eastward and chants Mahadeva Gana.
The guests, before leaving, bless the child saying:
"Om Tvam Jeeva Sharadah Shatam
Vardhamaanah." O Child! May you live a hundred autumns
growing in strength and vigour.ls that surround the birth of child
in a typical Indian family. These traditions and rituals aim at
blessing the child to have a long fulfilling life. One of these
sacred ceremonies is known as Mundan Sanskar or the first haircut of
The mundan ceremony is an important tradition in
India and relatives and friends are invited to bless the child. This
first haircut of a child in India has an important significance,
which is discussed in the following lines.
The child usually receives his/her first mundan in
either the first year or the third year of age. A priest is called
to conduct the rituals according to the traditions and a barber is
called to shave off the hair. The priest recited sacred hymns and
chants and shaves a part of the head. The barber then shaves the
entire head, sometimes leaving a clump of hair at the back of the
head. Some of this hair is offered in the sacred rivers in holy
cities like Haridwar and Varanasi. To cool down the head and to cure
nicks and cuts, a paste of turmeric and sandalwood is sometimes
applied on the entire head. Thereafter, a child may be shaved now
and then or never, depending on the desire of that particular
There is a significant reason as to why the head is
shaved in such an elaborate ritualistic way. According to the Hindu
beliefs, the hair present at birth is supposed to represent unwanted
traits from the past lives. In order to make sure that the child has
no undesirable qualities of the past birth in this life, the head is
shaved off to ensure a new beginning and a fresh start. Medically,
it is said that shaving off the hair stimulates the cells and
improves blood circulation to the brain. Some also believe that this
gives the child a long life.