Why many sadhus grow hairs in head, beard, moustache but Brahmanas and Vaishnavas shave?
A male devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krsna prabhu ji. I have a doubt.. most of sadhus in India have long beards, moustaches. In ISKCON they look at me differently if I have moustache. What is the original rule to go back to Krishna?”
Going back to Krishna is not dependent on whether you grow hairs or shave them. It depends on whether you shave your material desires and grow love on Krishna.
Yes. This is true.
Like every school follow different “uniform dress codes”, keeping or shaving the hairs is your choice depending on the sampradhaya/ sect/ group you follow.
Shaving or keeping beards, moustache and long hairs by saadhus are given two reasons:
(1) Some people grow beards and hairs to avoid wastage of time in shaving every day. So, they allow the hairs to grow.
(2) Vaishnavas shave closely because these beard, moustache, etc will enhance materialistic appearance and consciousness.
So, both of them either grow or shave for some good reasons.
But, these changes in appearance are PRIMARILY because they show the outer world that they have entrusted themselves for the service of Lord and hence they like to keep themselves away from sense gratifying activities. In another angle, this is also a kind of ‘uniform code’ to show their position as devotees.
But, uniform code is not going to be achieved in this world. There will always be differences in opinions about keeping or shaving the hairs. One will claim that shaving completely is good. Another will say that shaving daily is waste of time and not good.
So, these external things are going to make more differences instead of uniting the people.
Just because a devotee reduces his beautiful outlook, he can’t control his senses. If he interact more with the opposite sex and his senses disturb him, he will do anything to achieve his material desires though he is fully shaved or having fully grown hairs.
And, body is nothing to do in spirituality. These outlooks are followed just to show the sect/ group he belongs to. Since there are hundreds of sects/ groups, there are hundreds of rules on appearances.
The truth must be only one. But, in India, there are hundreds of claims of truths.
We have to decently close our body NOT TO IRRITATE the eyes of others. That’s all. Whatever clothes you wear, no matter, but, you should close your body decently that does not irritate others. That’s all. However, to show ourselves as devotees, we wear some special kind of dress and either shave fully or grow more hairs. That’s all. Some sampradhayas encourage beards and some others discourage. So, better follow the advice given by the sampradhaya you belong to. However, it is advisable for the devotees to care his internal changes much to show the world that they are the servants of Lord.
So, there is no wrong in growing the beard or shaving it. We need not confuse ourselves about such things. It is seen in pictures that Vyasa dev who wrote all the scriptures that we are now following, had a long beard and moustache. So, can we under estimate him and call him tamasvic?
Since we have to learn devotional practices from a sect/ sampradhaya/ group like learning from a school, let us follow what our sampradhaya we follow instructs us to have an outlook as a rule of that school (sampradhaya).
Nothing is lost by sacrificing our own preferences to learn about God.