Narayan, a Punjabi youth from Kolkata had been touring with Swamishri for several days. A relatively new satsangi, he was deeply fond of his shoulder-length hair. His financial resources enabled him to spend quite freely on hair care. In fact, just before he joined Swamishri, he had spent 2200 rupees to have his hair professionally styled - a process which had taken close to eleven hours!
Actually, his mother had on many occasions told him to cut his long free-flowing hair mainly because of her concern that it interfered with his vision while driving. But Narayan repeatedly refused his mother's requests. Even when some of the sadhus would hint to him to have his hair cut, he would jokingly respond, "Gunatitanand Swami once placed his hand on the head of a devotee. From then on, the devotee did not cut his hair. So, since Swamishri has touched my hair, I will not cut it. I'll let it grow!" It seemed that nobody could convince Narayan to part with his hair. But Swamishri had other ideas.
In the preceding few days, Swamishri had patiently and silently observed Narayan's deep attachment to his hair. So, in the evening assembly, Swamishri publicly addressed Narayan and requested him to cut his hair. To everyone's surprise Narayan agreed.
At about 10.30 p.m., Swamishri was preparing to rest for the night. Narayan was standing among the devotees, eagerly catching the day's last glimpse of Swamishri. Earlier today he had travelled to nearby Surat to have a hair cut. But when he returned it was hardly noticeable that he had had a hair cut - he had merely had a 'touch up'.
Swamishri picked him out from the gathered crowd and asked, "Narayan, have you cut your hair?"
"The barber said that if I had too much of it cut, it would ruin my hairstyle," Narayan replied.
Swamishri lovingly questioned, "Should you do as the barber says or as I say?"
"What you say," Narayan said without hesitation.
"O.K. then. Do as I say."
Then Swamishri pointed to his own clean-shaven head, indicating that Narayan should have the same. But after a moment's pause, he felt that it would be a too drastic step for Narayan to take. So, Swamishri pointed to a youth with his hair styled short and suggested that Narayan have a similar hairstyle. Narayan gave no immediate response. But he felt apprehensive at the thought of cutting his long well-groomed and much-loved hair. Swamishri retired for the night.
It was now late, Narayan pondered over Swamishri's gestures. Then he made the bold and irreversible decision - he would have his head clean shaven, as per the original wish of Swamishri.
He requested one of the sadhus to shave his head. Slowly, but surely, Narayan watched helplessly as his dearly-loved hair fell lifelessly into the waste basket. It was well past midnight when the whole process was completed. Narayan bathed and went to sleep - eagerly anticipating Swamishri's response the following morning.
It was 6.50 a.m. Swamishri had just entered the hall for his morning walk, oblivious of the events of the previous night. Narayan, minus his hair, waited outside. Swamishri had completed a few rounds of walking when Narayan, sporting his new hairstyle, made his first public appearance. At that time, Swamishri was approaching him. As he looked up, he saw Narayan and his shining, clean-shaven head. A smile of approval gleamed across Swamishri's face. He stopped in mid-stride right in front of Narayan. Swamishri lovingly stroked his head, hugged him, patted him on his back and blessed him profusely. Narayan immediately knew he had done the right thing.
Swamishri said, "Narayan, you have performed a great deed."
Narayan innocently responded, "But Bapa, it feels so cold without my hair."
Comforting him, Swamishri explained, "You will feel cold for a few days, but then it will be alright. You'll feel the coolness of peace in your heart."
Narayan was overjoyed at receiving such blessings.