Churakarm sacrament is the eighth sacrament. In Sanskrit the word “chura” means “choti” or a small bundle of hair that is made to stick out from the topmost part of the head. The word “jura” in Hindi is the distorted form of the Sanskrit word “chura”.
CHURAKARM IS CONNECTED WITH TEETHING
Churakarm sacrament may be performed at either of these two times-either at the end of the first year or in the third year. The reason for the first and three years is that a child starts teething from the age of six to seven months and the teeth continue to grow until the child is two and a half to three years old. A child has two teething times- at first the child has milk teeth and when these break away the child has the second teething which remain permanent. Milk teeth are twenty in number and permanent teeth that grow after this are thirty two in number. On reaching the age of one year a child has eight teeth- four above and four below. On reaching one and a half years the child has twelve teeth, in one and a half to two years sixteen teeth and in two to two and a half, three years twenty teeth. The teeth come out in gaps. At first the bottom teeth appear. After this nature has given time for rest before the next teeth come out, so that the child does not suffer continuous pain.
During the teething period the head becomes heavy, is hot , there is headache, the gums become painful, there is dripping of saliva, diarrhea sets in , the child passes out green-yellow watery waste matter and becomes very irritable. Teeth have a great effect on the head, therefore to keep the head light and cool the hair is shaved thus removing its weight from the head; this is the objective of Churakarm.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF CHURAKARM SACRAMENT WITH THE BRAIN
All parts of the body are just as important from the point of view of their functions, however the brain is regarded as of paramount importance. The brain is divided into two parts - Cerebrum and Cerebullum. Both these parts of the brain are the centre of knowledge and action. The five senses of knowledge and the five senses of action are activated by them. All this machinery is inside the skull. The skull covering the brain has a number of parts which do not join up properly during childhood. The joining of these parts is called “asthi sandhi” or joining of the bones. The bones of the skull do not join properly before three years of age and it is for this reason that child has hairs on the head even during pregnancy so that the hairs protect the skull and that the brain remains protected also.
After three years the bones of the skull join together and therefore the time is right for removing the hair from the head. The reasons for shaving the hair which until now had protected the skull and hence the brain, are as follows:-
1. Removal of dirty hair
The hair grows on the child’s head during pregnancy and thus remains dirty water. The shaving of these dirty hairs with a razor is therefore necessary. This is why the head is shaved. These hairs should only be kept for as long as the bones of the skull have not joined together. Because the bones join together in three years there is no benefit in keeping the hairs after this.
2. Protection from itches, Daad etc.
The keeping of the hair leads to diseases such as itching/scabies,DAAD, lice etc. Removal of the hair prevents the child from having these diseases. Removal of the hair ensures that the child’s head is cleaned well.
3. Protection from heavy headedness
Keeping of the hair leads to headache, heat etc. Therefore the head should be shaved for these reasons as well.
4. Helps the growth of new hair
The shaving of hair promotes the growth of new hair. Shaving the hair with the razor and its movement on the head two or three times strengthens the roots of the hairs and helps the new hair to grow long and strong.
PROCEDURE FOR SHAVING OF HAIR
Special items for this sacrament
Curd, for rubbing on the head, comb, scissors or razor which should be sterilized in boiling water, “kush” grass for holding the hair, kneaded sharps for picking the hairs , warm water for bathing the child, clothing for the child and toys.
The wife should sit on the left hand side of the husband on the “yajna vedi” and the child should sit either in the mother’s lap or in between the parents. Conduct ‘vishesh yajna’ and then shave the hair from the head. After carrying out various activities as prescribed in the Sanskar Vidhi the father of the child should first cut the hair, using a scissors, from the right side in four positions by holding it with ‘kush’ grass. Similarly he should cut the hair from the left side in four positions. After this he should cut the hair from the front in four positions and the back in four positions.
After completing the above the father says to the barber to wet the child’s head with warm water with his soft hands, and carefully shave the hair from the child’s head without injuring the child. When the shaving is complete then pick up all the hairs with kneaded sharps and bury it in the ground in the jungle. Do not throw the hair in the river, it will pollute the water and can cause diseases. After shaving rub some curd on the head with the hands, bathe the child and dress him/her in good clothing. Thereafter the father should hold the child and sit on the ‘yajna vedi’ facing the east and everyone present should bless the child with a life of one hundred years and that the child may continue to grow physically, mentally and spiritually in the years ahead.