Priest G. Purushothamacharya





About hair offering

First time cutting of hair, 1st year or 3rd year
This ceremony of the first tonsure is to be performed in the third year of the male child. Also it initiates the maintenance of a 'Sikha' (tuft of hair on the head) as a religious necessity after that age. According to Susruta, a tuft of hair on the head protects a vital part on the head.

Susruta and Charaka confirm that removing the hair, excess nails etc., contribute to strength, vigour, longevity, purity and beauty of the individual.

An auspicious day is selected for the ceremony. A porcupine quill, Darbha grass, and a dummy razor are the specific materials used by the father for symbolically cutting the child's hair first. The gist of the Mantra used in this particular ceremony is:

"May the child live long beyond a hundred years. May his eye sight remain unimpaired. May he become prosperous and wealthy so that he can feed (and cater to the needs of others) liberally. May his digestion be perfect. Let him become a Varchasvi (prominent)."

From Ashvalayana Grihyasutra: "Triteeye Varshe Chaulam. Uttaratoagne Vreervihiyavamaashatilaanaam prithakpoorna Sharaavaani Nidadhaati." From Paraskara Grihyasutra: "Samvatsavarikasya Choodaakaranam." Gobhiliya Grihyasutra is also of the same opinion.

This ceremony should be performed in the third year or in the 1st year from the date of the child's birth. The dates for this ceremony should be chosen during the northern solstice and during the bright fortnight of the moon's phase.

The procedure:
A hairdresser (Barber) is invited to this ceremony. Four earthenware pots are brought to the Yajnashala (place of sacred fire Ceremony). They contain rice, barley, Mung and in the fourth Sesumum (Til). These four pots are placed in the north side of the Yajnavedi (Havan Kund) A Havan Ceremony is performed .Thereafter, addressing the hairdresser, the following Mantra from the Atharvaveda is recited.

"Om Aayamagantsavita kshurenoshnena vaaya Udakenehi. Aadityaa Rudraa Vasava Undantu Sa Chetasah Somasya Ragno Vapata Prachetasah." This barber, who is competent and swift has come with his razor (or a pair of scissors). Using lukewarm water, may the learned man (barber) known as Rudra and Vasu make the hair wet with utmost care and (thereafter) cut the hair like the king of Soma (as the Soma herbs are cut with care).

The father of the child mixes hot and cold water reciting the following Mantra. "Om Ushnena Vaaya Udakenehi." Let the hot water be mixed with cold water. Thereafter, applying to the hair a mixture of the lukewarm water and a little butter or curd to moisten the hair of the child. The following mantra is recited.

From Atharvaveda: "Om Aditihi Shashru Vapatvaapa Undantu Varchasaa, Chikitsu Prajapati Deerghaayutvaaya Chakshase." Let this unbreakable razor (or scissors) cut the locks (hair on the head), let the waters with their moistening (softening) power soften the hair of the child, May the Lord of creatures (God) remove disease from this child. May this child attain to long life. May this child acquire knowledge.

From Paraksara Grihyasutra: "Om Savitra Prasoota Daivyaa Aapa, Undantu Te Tanu Deerghayutvaaya Varchase." O Child! Let the mighty celestial waters produced by the sun drench your head. May you attain a long life. May you acquire knowledge.

The father takes a comb in his hand and using the comb, gathers some hair from the right side of the child's head. Taking three blades of the Darbha (kusa) grass, while touching the hair with the grass and slightly pressing the hair against the grass, the following Mantra is recited.From Gobhiliya Grihyasutra, 219.14 "Om Oshadhe Traayasvainam." Let the herb protect this child.Then holding the razor in a hand the father recites the following Mantra

From Gobhiliya Grihyasutra, 219.13 -1.6.4 "Vishnorda Ashtroasi" This instrument (razor) is the means in the performance of this Yajna (Samskara) of Chudakarma. From the Yajurveda: "Om Shivo Namaasi Svadhitiste Pitaa Namaste (Astu) Ma Ma Hrimsihi." This instrument (razor) is for auspiciousness. It is made of steel (metal) that is as strong as Vajra (a weapon). Let this razor be fit for cutting the hair. Let it not cause any pain whatsoever. From The Yajurveda: "Om Svadhite Mai Nam hrimsihi" Let not this steel razor inflict any harm to this child.

From Yajurveda: "Om Nivarttayaam Yaayusheannaadyaaya Prananaaya Raayasposhaaya Soooprajaastvaaya Suviryaaya." O Child! I perform this tuft-ceremony so that you can attain to long life, constructive power, strength and wealth, good progeny and vigour.

The father of the child then holds the child's locks in a loop made from the Kusa grass and applies the first cut with the following Mantra. From the Atharvaveda: The meaning of the Mantra is: "O priest and all the learned guests! This competent barber shaves this child by the same razor (or scissors) that he uses to shave the head of our glorious King and the heads of noble men (men of merit). May this child be prosperous, wealthy and have good progeny."

All the hair cut by the razor or scissors, together with Kusa grass and the leaves of Mimosa (Shami) should be placed in an earthenware container. All lose hair pieces on the floor should be carefully picked up and placed in this container.

(The detailed procedure entails the father cutting a little of the hair first from the right side of the child's head. Appropriate Mantras being recited. Then the same sequence is followed for the left side of the head. The third time from the back of the head The fourth time again the father cuts a little hair from the back of the hair. )

Thereafter the father of the child blesses the child (with Mantra) by placing his right hand on the head of the child.

Then with the following Mantra, the father gives the razor (and scissors) to the barber.From Ashvalayana Grihyasutra, 1.17.15 "Om Yatkshurena Marchayata Supeshasaa Vaptaa Vapasi Keshaan Shundhi Shiro Maasyayuhu Pra Moshihi. "O Barber! You are the cutter of the hair. Cut and shave the head of the child with that swift soft razor. Do not decrease (cut or shorten) the child's life.

The father then tells the barber to sharpen his razor on his sharpening stone. The father then requests the barber to gently drench the child's head with lukewarm water and that he should shave attentively with smooth hand, avoiding any cut from the razor. With these words he leads the barber to the north of the Yajna-Kunda. He sits with the child facing eastward. The barber shaves the child's head.

A little tuft of hair may be left on the head. It is considered more proper to shave all the hair in the first year. A little tuft of hair should be left on the head when Chudakarma Samskara is performed in the third year.

The barber is given the four earthenware containers filled with cereal grains together with clothes, money etc. The barber carries the cut hair together with the Darbha grass, Shami leaves some remote place e.g., river side or in the woods; there to bury these in the ground. A member of the family or a friend can accompany the barber.

The father then rubs a little butter or curd on the head of the child. The child is then bathed. When the child is dressed, the father sits with the child facing eastward and chants Mahadeva Gana.

The guests, before leaving, bless the child saying: "Om Tvam Jeeva Sharadah Shatam Vardhamaanah." O Child! May you live a hundred autumns growing in strength and that surround the birth of child in a typical Indian family. These traditions and rituals aim at blessing the child to have a long fulfilling life. One of these sacred ceremonies is known as Mundan Sanskar or the first haircut of the baby.

The mundan ceremony is an important tradition in India and relatives and friends are invited to bless the child. This first haircut of a child in India has an important significance, which is discussed in the following lines.

The child usually receives his/her first mundan in either the first year or the third year of age. A priest is called to conduct the rituals according to the traditions and a barber is called to shave off the hair. The priest recited sacred hymns and chants and shaves a part of the head. The barber then shaves the entire head, sometimes leaving a clump of hair at the back of the head. Some of this hair is offered in the sacred rivers in holy cities like Haridwar and Varanasi. To cool down the head and to cure nicks and cuts, a paste of turmeric and sandalwood is sometimes applied on the entire head. Thereafter, a child may be shaved now and then or never, depending on the desire of that particular family.

There is a significant reason as to why the head is shaved in such an elaborate ritualistic way. According to the Hindu beliefs, the hair present at birth is supposed to represent unwanted traits from the past lives. In order to make sure that the child has no undesirable qualities of the past birth in this life, the head is shaved off to ensure a new beginning and a fresh start. Medically, it is said that shaving off the hair stimulates the cells and improves blood circulation to the brain. Some also believe that this gives the child a long life.

Required Materials:



Turmeric powder

1 Cup


1 Cup


2 Types each 4

Betel leaves


Betel Nuts




Flowers Assorted

1 Bunch

Incense sticks

1 Packet

Sandalwood Paste/Powder

1 Packet






1 small box

Cashew Nuts




Blouse piece



Devotee's Choice


1/2 KG




1 Packet

Kalas, Glass, New spoon, cup

1 each

Mango leaves

Few bunches

God Frames

Devotee's Choice

Gold & Clothes for Child

Devotee's Choice

New Scissors




Aluminum Foil trays

Sufficient quantities

Rosewater, gangajal

1 small bottle

Other Puja Materials from Home:

  • Deepam ( Lamp ), Oil, Match Box, Cotton Wicks
  • Kalasam, Panchapatra and Uddharini, Small Trays 2 nos.
  • Big Trays 2 nos., Small Cups 5 nos.
  • Asirvada New Dresses, Blankets 2 Nos. (For guest Seating)
  • Paper Napkins, Cups and Paper Plates (sufficient quantities)
  • Aluminium Foil

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