Is It Compulsory to Keep One’s Hair Long on the Spiritual Path?


Jai Gurudev - for spirituality and meditation, is having long hair compulsory?

—Girish Kanjani, india


Dear Girish Kanjani,

In our Kriya Yoga tradition there isn’t any such rule or teaching. Lahiri Mahasaya for example kept his hair short. Swami Pranabananda had his head shaven altogether, while Yogananda kept his hair long. But he too cut his hair short during a certain period of his life.

Years ago I have been asked a similar question, and you may read the answer here:

The Yogic Significance of Long Hair

In general, it is easy to lose ourselves in externals –  in hair, dress, symbols, even in diet and philosophical discussions. However, there is only one compulsory element on the spiritual path to God. You may find out what it is by reading the following poem written by the medieval saint Mirabai, which Yogananda printed in his Autobiography of a Yogi.

“If by bathing daily God could be realized
Sooner would I be a whale in the deep;
If by eating roots and fruits He could be known
Gladly would I choose the form of a goat;
If the counting of rosaries uncovered Him
I would say my prayers on mammoth beads;
If bowing before stone images unveiled Him
A flinty mountain I would humbly worship;
If by drinking milk the Lord could be imbibed
Many calves and children would know Him;
If abandoning one’s wife would summon God
Would not thousands be eunuchs?
Mirabai knows that to find the Divine One
The only indispensable is LOVE.”

God bless you with that one compulsary element,