We have commonly observed a choti or shikha i.e. the tuft of hair, prominent among the Sanatan Dharma. The Shastras declare that any religious rite such as a yagna or homa is fruitless without a shikha (Katyayan Smruti). When the Gurukul system of education prevailed, the pupil was eligible to study only after having a shikha.
All the religious act should be performed after tying the tuft but only the funeral and death anniversaries are performed with tuft untied or with dishevelled hair. It is very inauspicious to remain with dishevelled hair. It is done only diin times of great sorrow or calamity. Like Draupadi took an oath in the assembly of the Kurus when she was molested by Dussasana that she would remain with dishevelled hair until the enemies were properly revenged. Also, Kaikeyi remained with dishevelled hair in her apartment with the object of getting two boons from Dasaratha which were detrimental to the interests of Rama, the favourite of Dasaratha.
Significance of ‘choti’ or ‘shikha’:
- There is a common belief that a choti allows the almighty to pull us easily from this ‘material world’ as it is the nexus of all nerves.
- The Brahmarandhra is the seventh chakra (also known as the Sahasrara chakra), the highest one in the human body which represents a thousand- petaled lotus.
- It is considered the seat of wisdom and the knotted shikha protects this spot.
- When the fully enlightened being attain jeevan mukti or salvation, the soul is said to depart the human body from this chakra.
- The knotted shikha helps boost this center and conserve its subtle energy known as ojas.
- Sun i.e. the primary source of clean energy, when falls on the rest of the head is soaked by the brain and helps in reviving the body and soul energy.