Why differences in growing or shaving the hairs by devotees?

Why differences in growing or shaving the hairs by devotees?

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 growing or shaving the hairs by the devotees. It depends on whether you shave your material desires and grow in your love for Krishna.

Yes. This is true.

Like every school follow different “uniform dress codes”, keeping or shaving the hairs is also like an uniform outlook code for different acharyas / Spiritual Organizations / Groups.

Even within the same lineage, there are differences in the outlook.  For example, Srila Narayana Maharaja of Gaudiya tradition had beard and moustache most of the time whereas Srila Prabhupada in the same Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition fully shaved his hairs on face and head.


Shaving or keeping beards, moustache and long hairs by different acharyas or traditions are given two reasons:

(1) Some devotees grow beards and hairs to avoid wastage of time in shaving every day.  So, they allow the hairs to grow.

(2) Some devotees shave closely because these beard, moustache, etc., will enhance materialistic appearance and consciousness and make them more attractive to the opposite gender.

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 the Lord and hence they like to keep themselves away from the 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.

(Original Guru Parampara of Mahabharatha & Bhagavatham! READ HERE!)

So, these external things are going to make more differences instead of uniting the people.

These outer uniform codes may give unity among the within every group/ sect, but the same codes may make many groups who may claim that their system alone is the best.

So, differences among the people within a sect reduces, but, the differences among the groups may increase.

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.

But, these codes may give a signal to the persons of opposite gender that this person is dedicated to the devotional life and the persons of opposite gender need not disturb him.

And, the body is nothing to do in spirituality. These outlook codes are useful to identify the sect/ group he belongs to.  Since there are hundreds of sects/ groups, there are hundreds of outlook codes also.

(Should an initiated devotee of other sampradhaya chant Hare Krishna too? READ HERE!)

The ultimate truth must be only one.  But, in India, there are hundreds of claims of truths.  This is unavoidable as multiplicity is the unique feature of Sanathan dharma that is also called as Hinduism.

Whatever clothes we wear, no matter, but, we should decently close our body  NOT TO IRRITATE the eyes of others. That’s all.   However, to show ourselves as devotees, we wear some recommended clothes and either shave fully or grow more hairs.  That’s all.

Some Sampradhayas (traditions) encourage beards and some others discourage.  So, better follow the advice given by the sampradhaya (tradition) you follow as per your choice and karma.

But, you need not maintain differences with other sects seeing the clothes. In fact, practically speaking, such different ways of following devotion may cause some taste in accusing other traditions and claiming ONLY OUR TRADITION is Superior. Such attitudes are offensive and must be avoided. However, it is advisable for the devotees to care their 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 as advised by the sect you are following.  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 uniform code our sect/ sampradhaya/ group instructs us to follow. At the same time, avoid downgrading the ways followed by other sects/ sampradhayas/ groups.

One thing is clear. By wearing a particular codes of outlook, we can have a FEEL and DEDICATION to follow devotion more sincerely.

For example, when we go to the temple with the recommended outlook, we may feel more dedication than by going to the temple wearing modern clothes like Pants, full hand shirts, tie, etc.

Nothing is lost in following the advise of your sect/ sampradhaya/ group by sacrificing your own preferences to learn about God.

Hope you are now clear about growing or shaving the hairs by devotees.


Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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