“ चूडाकरण choodAkaraNam” means leaving a single tuft of hair or a lock of hair on the crown of a child’s head after the first tonsure ceremony of the male child. The tuft of hair is called ” चूडा choodA” or ” शिखा shikhA”. The shikhA is knotted and left either at the back of the head or on the forehead according to ones own custom. A shikhA kept at the crown of the head is called ” ऊर्ध्व शिखा oordhva shikhA”. The shikhA kept on the forehead, or on the side of the forehead is called ” पूर्व शिखा poorva shikhA”. The shikhA is called “kudumi” in Tamil.
The tonsure ceremony is also called :
· चूडालक्षण chooDAlakShaNam
· चौलम् chaulam/chowlam
· चूला choolA
ManusmRuti 2.27 says
गार्भैर्हॊमैर्जातकर्मचौडमौञ्जीनिबन्धनै: बैजिकं गार्बिकं चैनॊ द्विजानामपमृज्यते
gaarbhairhOmairjAtakarmachauDamauneenibandhanai: baijikaM gaarbikaM chainO dvijaanaamapamRujyate
The vEdic hOmA rites of garbhAdana (the consecration of the womb), the jAtakarmA (post- natal rite), choodAkaraNa (tonsure), the maunjee bandhana (upanayanam-initiation of the gAyatree) destroys the sins relating to the “seed and the womb” of the twice born ones.
choodAkaraNa is performed for the child in the first, third or the fifth year.
1. Aapastambha gruhya sootra for yajur vedis ( patala 1 section 16 )
जन्मनोऽधि तृतीये वर्षे चौलं पुनर्वस्वोः
Chaula or tonsure is performed in the third year after the birth of the child on the nakshatra “punarvasu”. (punarpoosam in Tamil, punartam in Malayalam).
2. Shaankhaayana gruhya sootra for rig vedis – adhyaaya 1 Khanda 28:
संवत्सरे चूडाकर्म तृतीये वा वर्षे पञ्चमे क्षत्रियस्य सप्तमे वैश्यस्य
Choodaakarma or the tonsure of the child’s head is performed after one year or in the third year. In the fifth year for a Kshatriya, In the seventh year for a Vaishya.
3. Aashvalaayana gruhya sootra for rig vedis : -adhyAya 1 Kandika 17:
तृतीये वर्षे चौलं यथाकुलधर्मं वा
In the third year, as per the custom of the family (kula dharma), the Chaulam is performed.
4. GObhila gruhya sootra of sAma vedis :- PrapaaThaka: II Khandika 9:
अथातस्तृतीये वर्षे चूडाकरणम्
chooDakaraNam is performed in the third year.
choodAkaraNA is performed by the father of the child.
ParijAta bruhaspati Rushi says :
उत्तरायणगे सूर्ये विशेषात्सौम्यगोलके ।
शुक्लपक्षे शुभं प्रोक्तं कृष्णपक्षे शुभेतरत्॥
Chaulam should be performed in the uttarAyaNa period (when the sun is in the northern hemisphere) in shukla paksha (i.e the bright fortnight) which is auspiscious. In other words, kRushNa paksha is to be avoided as it is inauspiscious.
Sage vasiShTha says:
द्वित्रिपञ्चमसप्तम्यामेकादश्यां तथैव च । दशम्यां च त्रयोदश्यां कार्यं क्षौरं विजानता ॥
Dviteeyie, triteeyie, panchami, saptami, ekAdashi (avoided by some), dashami and trayodashi can be selected for kshouram (cutting the hair).
Dharma sindhu, tRuteeya parichchEdapoorvAgham:
गुरुशुक्रबुधा:शुक्ले सोम: सर्वशुभावह: |
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are considered good for doing chaula samskArA.
There are repeated questions as to why one should keep a shikhA. A few reasons are given below:
1. SushrutA samhita, chikitsA sthAnAm, 24.73 says:
पप्मोपशमणं कॆश नखरॊमापमार्जनम् |
हर्ष लाघव सौभाग्यकरमुत्साह वर्धनम् ||
The hair and nails must be cut to keep evils away. This is done to bring delight, lightness, auspisciousness, enthusiasm (courage) and happiness.
2. SushrutA samhita, shareera sthAnAm, oordhva jatrugata marma, 6.27 or 6.83 says:
” मर्म marma” means nodal centres of the body where any of the arteries, viens, ligaments, muscles or bone joints meet. These centres are called the vital nodes of the body because any injury caused to these parts result in serious health problems and some of them also prove fatal. There are totally around 107 such marmas in our body. One such marma is called the ” अधिपतिमर्म adhipati marma”.
“–मर्माणि तत्रापि सद्यो मरणं मस्तकाभ्यन्तरोपरिष्ठात् सिरासन्धि सन्निपातोरोमावर्तो (ऽ) अधिपति: “
The “adhipati marma” is located between the inner side of the cranium (skull) where an artery meets a critical juncture of many other marmAs and the rings/eddy of hairs on the crown on the outside of skull. This place is so vulnerable that an injury to this marma can cause death immediately. So this marma spot is kept covered by keeping a shikhA on the crown of the head.
A priest is invited to conduct the chaula ceremony.
1. Shaankhaayana gruhya sootra for rig vEdis – adhyaaya 1 khanda 28
अग्निमुपसमाधाय | व्रीहियवानां तिलमाषाणामिति पात्राणि च पूरयित्वानडुहं च गोमयं कुशभित्तं
च केशप्रतिग्रहणायादर्शं नवनीतं लोहक्षुरं चोत्तरत उपस्थाप्य
The fire is placed in the outer hall. The vessels are filled with rice, barley, sesame seeds and beans. Bull-dung and a layer of kusha hair is placed northwards for receiving the cut hair. A mirror, fresh butter and a razor of copper is also kept ready.
संपृच्यध्वमृतावरीरूर्मिणा मधुमत्तमाः । पृञ्चतीर्मधुना पयो मन्द्रा धनस्य सातय इत्युष्णास्वप्सु शीता आसिञ्चत्याप उन्दन्तु जीवसे दीर्घायुत्वाय वर्चसे । त्र्यायुषं जमदग्नेः कश्यपस्य त्र्यायुषमगस्त्यस्य त्र्यायुषं । यद्देवानां त्र्यायुषं तत्ते करोमि त्र्यायुषमित्यसाविति शीतोष्णाभिरद्भिर्दक्षिणं केशपक्षं त्रिरभ्यनक्ति
Cold water is poured into warm water by the father with the verse “Mix yourselves, O you holy ones, with your waves, mixing milk with honey, O you lovely ones, for obtaining wealth.” And he goes on to say “May the waters moisten you for life, for longg life and splendour. The threefold age of Jamadagni, the threefold age of Kashyapa, Agastya’s threefold age and the threefold age that belongs to the Gods, that threefold age I produce for you.” (He tells the nakshatra name of the child). Telling the above words, he sprinkles the right part of his hair with lukewarm water three times.
The tangled locks are loosened with a porcupine’s quill.
नवनीतेनाभ्यज्यौषधे त्रायस्वैनमिति कुशतरुणमन्तर्दधाति
His hair is anointed with fresh butter.
केशान्कुशतरुणं चादर्शेन संस्पृश्य
A young kushA shoot is held among the hairs with the words “Herb, protect him!” Then the hair and the kushA shoot is touched with the mirror.
तेजोऽसि स्वधितिष्टे पिता मैनं हिँसीरिति लोहक्षुरमादत्ते
He picks up a copper razor with the words, “You are sharpness, the axe is your father. Do not harm him!”
येनावपत्सविता श्मश्वग्रे क्षुरेण राज्ञो वरुणस्य विद्वान् ।
येन धाता बृहस्पतिरिन्द्रस्य चावपच्छिरः ।
तेन ब्रह्माणो वपतेदमद्यायुष्मान्दीर्घायुरयमस्तु वीरोऽसाविति केशाग्राणि छिनत्ति कुशतरुणं चैवं
द्वितीयमेवं तृतीयम् ।
Now the father says the following words “the razor which was used in the beginning by Savitaa (the knowing one) to shave the beard of king Varuna, and was then used by Dhaataa Bruhaspati to shave Indra’s head; I use that to shave this head today and so let the child by blessed with a long life and old age.” He then pronounces the nakshatra name. The tips of the hairs and the kusha shoot is cut by him. The same is repeated second time and third time.
एवं द्विरुत्तरतो निकक्षयोः
On the left side, the same is repeated twice.
2. Aapastambha sootra for yajur vedis – patala 1 section 16: –
सू …ब्राह्मणानां भोजनमुपायनवत्
1. Like the upanayana ceremony, the brAhmaNaas are served food. (i.e) a nAndee shrAddham is performed to get the blessings of the nAndee pitRus.
Like the seemantOnayana function, the wood is put in fire.(i.e) like in seemantOnnayana samskArA no.3, all rites from nitya karmA upto jayAti hOmam are performed.
3.सू… अपरेणाग्निं प्राञ्चमुपवेश्य त्रेण्या शलल्या त्रिभिर्दर्भपुञ्जीलैः शलालुग्लप्सेनेति तूष्णीं केशान्विनी
यथर्षि शिखा निदधाति|
Then, the boy is made to sit to the west of the fire, facing east. Then the karta (father) takes a porcupine’s quill that has three white spots, three darbha blades and a bunch of unripe udumbarA fruits.(/cluster fig/atti in tamil). Using the above he combs the child’s hair silently. He then arranges the locks of hair leaving aside the ones to be cut. The number of tufts depend according to the number of Rushis in his gOtra pravara namely, ekARushi means 1 tuft, dvayARushi means 2 tufts, etc. just like his ancestral RuShis.
4. सू… यथा वैषां कुलधर्मः स्यात्
or the tuft can be kept according to the respective custom of their family.
5. सू… अपाँ संसर्जनाद्याकेशनिधानात्समानम्
The following procedure is like upanayanam from starting with the cutting and ending with the putting down of hair. The father then mixes hot water with cold water while reciting the mantrA:
taittireeya BrAhmaNam, EkAgni kANDam, prashna 2, anuvAkam 1, RuchA 1
उ॒ष्णेन॑ वायवुद॒केनेह्यदि॑ति॒: कॆशान्॑ वपतु ॥
Meaning:- Oh! ” VAyu!” Please bring hot water. Oh! “adithi”, may you cut the hair.
6. The father or the AchAryan or a brAhmaNa then wets the child’s head starting from the norht -east direction and spreading the water around in clockwise direction while reciting the following mantrA:
taittireeya BrAhmaNam, EkAgni kANDam, prashna 2, anuvAkam 1, RuchA 2
आप॑ उन्दन्तु जी॒वसे॑ दीर्घायु॒त्वाय॒ वर्च॑से ।ज्योक्च॒ सूर्यं॑ दृ॒शॆ ॥
Oh ! “Apa” (water), may you wet the child’s head. May this child live long for 116 years with prosperity. May he live long seeing the sun.
6. First the hair from the east side is cut away. For this, three darbhas are held along with the hair on the east side and cut away with the darbha while reciting the following mantrA:
taittireeya BrAhmaNam, EkAgni kANDam, prashna 2, anuvAkam 1, RuchA 3.
यॆनाव॑पथ्सवि॒ता क्षु॒रॆण सॊम॑स्य॒ राज्ञॊ॒ वरु॑णस्य वि॒द्वान् । तेन॑ ब्राह्मणो वपतॆ॒दम॒स्यायु॑ष्मा॒ञ्जर॑दष्टि॒र्यथाऽस॑द॒यम॒सौ ॥
Meaning:- May I get permission from the brAhmaNAs to use that razor for cutting the hair of my child, which was used by Lord SavithA to shave the head of sOma rAjA and the head of varuNa. Let this child get good digestion power and long life.
7. While the father/Acharyan is cutting the hair, the mother of the child or a brahmachAri should sit on the southern side and utter the verse:
taittireeya BrAhmaNam, EkAgni kANDam, prashna 2, anuvAkam 1, RuchA 7.
यत्क्षु॒रेण॑ म॒र्चय॑ता सुपे॒शसा॒ वप्त्रा॒ वप॑सि॒ केशान्॑ । शु॒न्धि॒ शिरो॒ मास्यायु॒: प्रमो॑षी: ॥
Meaning:- The razor is sharp and brilliant. May the razor shave the head of the child clean. Dont reduce his age.
After the hair on the east side is cut, the father/AchAryan should not put it on the ground. He should put it on cowdung mixed with rice/barely/wheat grain which the mother/brahmachAri will keep ready by then. Then he should wash his hands.
8. Then the hair is cut away from the south side in the same way with another 3 darbhas while reciting the following mantrA and then again put on the cowdung mixed with grain.
rÉålÉþ mÉÔýwÉÉ oÉ×WûýxmÉiÉãþUýalÉãËUlSìþxrÉý cÉÉrÉÑýwÉåÅuÉþmÉiÉç |iÉålÉÉýxrÉÉrÉÑþwÉå uÉmÉý xÉÉæzsÉÉåÿYrÉÉrÉ xuÉýxiÉrÉåÿ ||
Meaning: – That razor which was used by pooshA, bruhaspati, agni and indrA for longivity, with the same razor or in the same way I shave your (child’s) head so that you are bestowed with long life, fame and prosperity.
8. Then the hair is cut away from the west side in the same way as mentioned above while reciting the following mantrA:
rÉålÉý pÉÔrÉý¶ÉUÉÿirÉýrÉgerÉÉåYcÉý mÉzrÉÉþÌiÉý xÉÔrÉïqÉçÿ |
iÉålÉÉýxrÉÉrÉÑþwÉå uÉmÉý xÉÉæzsÉÉåÿYrÉÉrÉ xuÉýxiÉrÉåÿ ||
Meaning:- May this child tread on the earth while seeing the sun. Thus let him have long life, fame and prosperity.
9. Then the hair is cut away from the north side in the same manner with another 3 darbhas while reciting the following mantrA:
rÉålÉþ mÉÔýwÉÉ oÉ×WûýxmÉiÉãþUýalÉãËUlSìþxrÉý cÉÉrÉÑýwÉåÅuÉþmÉiÉç |
iÉålÉþ iÉå uÉmÉÉqrÉxÉÉýuÉÉrÉÑþwÉÉý uÉcÉïþxÉÉý rÉjÉÉý erÉÉåYxÉÑýqÉlÉÉý AxÉÉÿ: ||
Meaning: – That razor which was used by pooshA, bruhaspati, agni and indrA for longivity, with the same razor or in the same way I shave your (child’s) head so that you are bestowed with long life, prosperity and good mind.
10. Then the mother or the brahmachAri gathers all the hair with the cowdung/grain and puts it on the roots of the udumbara tree/cluster fig/atti or under the soil of a darbha grass vegetation. The mantrA recited here is: उ॒प्त्वाय॒ केशा॒न्॒ वरु॑णस्य॒ राज्ञो॒ बृह॒स्पति॑स्सवि॒ता सोमो॑ अ॒ग्नि: । तेभ्यॊ॑ नि॒धान॑म्बहु॒धाऽन्व॑विन्दन्नन्त॒रा द्यावा॑पृथि॒वी अ॒पस्सुव॑: ॥
Meaning:- Just like bruhaspati, savitA, somA and agni put the cut hair in dhyAvA, pRuthivi, Ap and suva:, I put these cut hair under the tree. A barber then shaves the childs head neatly. The child and the father/AchAryan have a bath and do Achamanam.
11. सू…क्षुरँ प्रक्षाल्य निदधाति The razor is put down after washing it. 12. तेन त्र्यहं कर्मनिवृत्तिः The razor is not used for 3 days for any other purpose. वरं ददाति The father gives a gift to the braahmaNa who assisted the ceremony. —————————————————————————————————————
3. GObhila gruhya sootram for sAma vedis – PrapaaThaka: II Khandika 9
अथ जपत्यायमगात्सविता क्षुरेणेति सवितारं मनसा ध्यायन्नापितं प्रेक्षमाणः The father meditates on Saavitri (Savita) , looks at the barber and says “Here has come Savita with his razor” उष्णेन वाय उदकेनैधीति वायुं मनसा ध्यायन्नुष्णोदककँसं प्रेक्षमाणः He then fixes his thoughts on Vaayu, looks at the brass vessel with warm water and says “Come here with warm water, O Vayu” दक्षिणेन पाणिनाप आदाय दक्षिणां कपुष्णिकामुन्दत्याप उन्दन्तु जीवस इति The father then draws water from that vessel with his right hand and moistens a patch of hair on the right side of the boy’s head with the words “May the waters moisten you for life”(ibid 3) विष्णोर्दँष्ट्रोऽसीत्यौदुम्बरं क्षुरं प्रेक्षत आदर्शं वा He then looks at the razor of Udumbara wood saying “You are ViShnu’s tusk” Before he starts cutting the hair, he moves the razor three times towards the east without cutting the hair. And then he cuts a part of hair from the back side and left side alternately two times. The arrangement of hair is according to the custom of his Gotra. आनडुहे गोमये केशान्कृत्वारण्यं हृत्वा निखनन्ति The hair is thrown on the bull’s dung and taken to the forest and buried गौर्दक्षिणा The sacrificial fee is a cow.
1.The chaulam ceremony should not be performed for a child whose mother is pregnant.
2. It should not be performed on the child’s janmanakshatra (his birth star).