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In this age it is understood that if you can keep hair, bunch of hair, not very nice, but simply hair will make him beautiful

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"in this age it is understood that if you can keep hair, bunch of hair, not very nice, but simply hair will make him beautiful"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

In the Kali-yuga the hair is very valuable thing, life and soul. I have seen some of our disciples. As soon as he's out of this camp, immediately hair, immediately. I have seen so many. When he was within the camp, very advanced supposed, but as soon as he is one day after, he keeps hair. Immediately. The tendency is there. Because in this age it is understood that if you can keep hair, bunch of hair, not very nice, but simply hair will make him beautiful.
Lecture on SB 7.12.4 -- Bombay, April 15, 1976:

So brahmacārī is taught. From the very beginning he is taught to shortcut the necessities of life. Shortcut. Yes. Mekhalājina-vāsāṁsi jatā-daṇḍa-kamaṇḍalūn. Jaṭā. Jaṭā means the bunch of hair. Means you should not take care of the hair. Then automatically it will become jaṭā. If you apply very nice coconut oil and with comb you dress very nicely, then there will be no jaṭā. The jaṭā means don't (take) care of your hair. If you want to keep hair at all... First of all, there is no question of caretaking if you become clean-shaved. There are two processes. A brahmacārī, either he is clean-shaved or he keeps his hair without any taking care. That is two processes. Jaṭā-kamaṇḍalūn. Not that "I shall keep my hair." Now in the Kali-yuga the hair is very valuable thing, life and soul. I have seen some of our disciples. As soon as he's out of this camp, immediately hair, immediately. I have seen so many. When he was within the camp, very advanced supposed, but as soon as he is one day after, he keeps hair. Immediately. The tendency is there. Because in this age it is understood that if you can keep hair, bunch of hair, not very nice, but simply hair will make him beautiful. Lāvaṇyaṁ keśa-dhāraṇam. Although he has no lāvaṇya—he has no beauty—still, he thinks, "I have become very beautiful by keeping hair." So this should be avoided. In this age, of course, this jaṭā is not possible. If you keep jaṭā, then when you go on the street for begging alms for guru, then perhaps you'll be chained (changed?) by so many animals here. So it is better to remain clean-shaved. It has no botheration, no taking care of the hair, no iron required.

So jaṭā-kamaṇḍalūn bibhṛyāt. Bibhṛyād upavītam. But the sacred thread must be there, sacred thread. That is the sign that, that "This person has approached guru." The sacred thread is the indication that he is twice-born. First of all he was born by the father and mother; now he has approached guru, and guru gives him initiation and sacred thread. That means he is under the care of guru. That is required. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. Unless one takes shelter of ācārya, he is careless. Not careless; he is not taken care of. He is vagabond. If one does not take shelter of ācārya, then he is a vagabond. Therefore in India we see so many vagabonds: no employment, no caretaker, loitering in the street, playing at noontime, no engagement. This is the defect because we have lost our own culture. Although this culture—brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī—is Indian culture, unfortunately we have given up. Varnāśrama-dharma, varṇa, four varṇas and four āśramas, they're simply giving up. No more brāhmaṇa, no more kṣatriyas, no more vaiśyas, no more śūdras. They are less than śūdras. Pañcama. Less then śūdra means caṇḍāla. Kirāta-hūṇāndra-pulinda-pulkaśāḥ. There are so many divisions of caṇḍālas. Pañcama. They are called pañcama. So the whole thing is topsy-turvied. We have given up our own culture and imitating the foreigners and the Western country. That also we cannot do very properly because we are meant for different purpose in India. In India, one who has taken birth in India, it is understood that in his previous birth he tried to cultivate spiritual culture; therefore he has been given the opportunity to take birth in India. India is so fortunate. But as soon as he takes birth, the rascal leader spoils him, the rascal father spoils him, the rascal teacher spoils him. So what can they do, the poor younger generation? They are being taught that "The spiritual culture is useless. Because we are so much spiritually inclined, the foreigners came and they ruled over us. Now give up all this nonsense. Become technologist." This is going on.

So this will not make us happy. This is a fact, that punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). There is no meaning of giving up spiritual cultivation and taking to or imitating something. This is called anartha. Anartha means unnecessarily you are inclined. So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant for guiding us. Anartha-upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje. These rascals, they have forgotten their own culture. They have accepted so many anarthas, unwanted things. Take for example drinking wine. Is it very necessary thing? But drinking tea, is it very necessary? Drinking... Smoking bidis. These are all foolishness. At the cost of bidi smokers, many millionaires are there in India and in your country also, at the cost of the smokers, many million... At the cost of the meat-eaters, there are many, many rich men. So the society is creating unnecessarily entanglement, anartha. So this, the Bhāgavata culture, Bhāgavata-dharma, which we are trying to spread, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is the only remedy for curbing down this unnecessary so-called civilization. Anartha upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje. This thing... Practically everyone can see that you Western boys and girls, so many anarthas you practice, but as soon as you come to bhakti-yoga, everything is finished. So this is a fact. Anartha-upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje. If you take to bhakti-yoga, immediately anarthas, unwanted things, will be finished. Lokasya ajānata. They are trying to minimize the anarthas. In your country, you know, the government spending millions of dollars to stop this LSD habit. The government has admitted that "We are spending so much money, but when these boys come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, immediately they stop." Anartha-upaśamaṁ sākṣāt. It is a practical. The government has failed to stop this intoxication habit, LSD, spending million of dollars. But by the grace of Kṛṣṇa the same hippie, the same LSD man, as soon as he comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he becomes completely clean. Upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje.