Vedic References to Hair Styles – Part 3 (Post No.3213)


Picture of Indus Yogi with beard

Research article written by London Swaminathan


Date: 2 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 16-32


Post No.3213


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.







Lord Siva with moutache; Vishnu is clean shaven!

Pulasti – wearing the hair plain


Pulasti or pulastin  in the Yajurveda samhitas denotes wearing the hair plain, as opposed kapardin, wearing the hair in braids


Pulasti is found in vajasaneyi, taiittiriya,kathaka samhitas.



Sikhanda –


Sikhanda denotes a tuft or lock, as mode of wearing the hair, in the later Samhitas and the Brahmanas.



Sikhaa – top knot


Sikhaa denotes in tha satapata Brahmana , the knot of hair worn on the top of the head. Wearing the top knot unloosened was the sign of mourning in the case of women and men like.


My comments

Sikhaa is a very interesting word because it has been in vogue for over three thousand years from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.



Sikai kaay podi (colloquial: Seeyakkaay podi= soap nut powder) is known to everyone in Tamil Nadu; before the synthetic shampoos flooded the market, soapnut powder was used after oil bath. Even today it is in use and the word Sikha is used to denote the tuft on the Brahmin’s head.


There are two interesting names Sikha and Anusikha in the Pancavimsa Brahmana (25-15-3); they are the names of two priests! They served as Nestr and Potr at the Snake festival.


Potr is the name found in the Rigveda(1-94-6; 2-5-2; 7-16-5). It may mean the priest who did purification of Soma pavamana.


So it is interesting to have some name like top-knot and Sub top-knot!


Even Kalidasa sings about the honey comb beard of Persians!


Smasru -beard –


Smasru means beard or moustache and it is found in the Rig veda (2-11-17; 8-33-6 etc). it is sometimes contrasted with Kesa/hair of the head. Shaving was known in the Vedic times. Wearing a beard was a sign of manhood according to taiittiriya Samhita with which agrees the  notice of Meghasthanes that the Indians carefully  tended their beards upto the day of their death.

My comments


Beard is a very interesting word because some Hindu gods are shown with beard and others or not. In the famous paintings of Ravi Varma and others Siva is shown with moustache, but Vishnu is shown with a clean shaven face. South East Asian images of Hindu Gods are with prominent moustche. Indra is shown with beard in images. This calls for further research.


Kalidasa also did not miss the beard of the Persians. He mentioned their honey comb beard.


Siman – parting



Siiman denotes the parting of the hair in the Atharva Veda (4-57-8; 10-101-3/4)


The importance of parting the hair for a Hindu woman is explained in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Further enquiries show that using a porcupine’s quill to apply acupressure or to do acupuncture is practised in Tamil and Konkani areas of South India. It is done to pregnant ladies during the Pumsavana Seemnatha ceremonies.


Above information istaken from the Vedic Index of names and Subjects by A B Keith and AA Macdonell; comments are mine.



How to identify a married tribal woman?


Hair style have different purposes and uses. Parting of hair and the vermilliom/ Kunkum in that parting means she is a married Hindu woman.


The Khamti tribal woman use the hair style to show whether she is married or not. The elevation of the hair on the crown of the head indicates that she is married. Unmarried girls wear it in a low down the occiput (back of the head).




Todamen and woman of Nilgris, Tamil Nadu (Tribals)





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