Meaning of Choulkarma !
‘Chudal’ means a tuft of hair. The Sahasrar Chakra is on the rear of the head from where a tuft of hair is to be kept. Keeping a tuft of hair there and shaving off all the rest is called ‘Choulkarma’ or ‘Chudakarma’.
In all the rituals including Upanayan, the tuft of hair is important.’- H.H. Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel, Maharashtra.
Objectives of performing Choulkarma !
1. This sanskar is performed in order to attain longevity, strength and radiance. The small tuft of hair facilitates the entry of Sattva waves from the universe through the Brahmarandhra and functions like the antenna of a television set.
2. ‘The objective of performing Choulkarma is that once the energy of spiritual intellect is activated in the region of the tuft, it should remain there forever (in other words, our vivek [Prudence] should always remain in an awakened state).
It is from this, that the term ‘knotting of the tuft’ has arisen. – H.H. Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel, Maharashtra.
When to perform Choulkarma ?
It is customary to perform this ritual either in the third, fourth or fifth year of a child after selecting an auspicious time. (Variation : At some places it is done in the first, second, third or fifth year.) Nowadays, however, it is often performed along with the thread ceremony.
Sankalpa done for the Sanskar
I am performing the sanskar called ‘choul’ in order to nullify the sins generated by the ovum and foetus and thereby obtain the grace of Parameshwar so as to attain strength, longevity & to increase oorja (Precursor of Divine energy). Preceding it, I am performing Shri Gaṇapatipujan, Punyahavachan, Matruka-pujanand Nandishraddha.’
Act connected with the Choulkarma – JavaỊ (Jaul, Jayval, first haircut) !
As per scriptures, the javal is performed in even months like 6th, 8th,10 th etc. in case of a boy, and in odd months like 1st, 3rd, 5 th etc. in case of a girl. As per prevailing custom, javal is performed when the child is about one year old. Only some hair in front of the head are retained. The importance of this will be clear from the point ‘objectives’.
There is a belief that if the javaỊ is not performed during the first year, it cannot be performed over the next three years. However, this is not substantiated by the scriptures. Performing javaỊ̣ does not amount to performing the Choulkarma. (When performing javaỊ, no tuft is retained on the head.)