Maneesh Foto

Maneesh Foto

Posted on 03/06/2009

Photo taken on February 22, 2009

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Brahma Temple
Canon EF 75-300mm USM
Canon Rebel XTi
Canon EOS 400D
street photography
vedic rite of passage

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Father and son

Father and son
Seen outside the Brahma mandir (temple) at Pushkar.

The child has been recently tonsured. It may have taken place in Pushkar itself or a visit to the Brahma Mandir may have been a follow up to the mundan (tonsuring) ceremony.
In Hinduism there are two major line of thoughts regarding the belief underlying a Mundan:

(a) one is that hair is a symbolic offering to the gods, representing a real sacrifice of beauty, and in return, are given blessings in proportion to their sacrifice.

(b) In tradition, the hair from birth is associated with undesirable traits from past lives. Thus at the time of the mundan, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into the future.

Whatever the underlying belief Mundan (Sanskrit cuda karma, cuda karana) is one of traditional saṃskāras (Vedic rites of passage) performed for young children:
"According to the teaching of the revealed texts, the Kudakarman (tonsure) must be performed, for the sake of spiritual merit, by all twice-born men in the first or third year."

In some traditions the head is shaven completely while in others a small tuft of hair called sikha is left. In some South Indian temples like Tirumala, Palani and Tiruttani it is customary for pilgrims to shave their heads as a sacrifice to God.

There has been an Indian custom to perform a tonsure on widows after their husbands' death. It is not uncommon to tonsure head of a child after death of a parent (usually father).

But the custom of tonsuring is not unique to hindus. It has existed in Christianity, Buddhism and Islam too over many centuries.

For details of the ceremony in Hindi