hair's colour in sanskrit

bpj at bpj at
Thu May 8 12:04:13 UTC 1997

At 05:13 8.5.1997 +0100, Anand Venkt Raman wrote:

>Is there not an injunction in Manu against marrying people with
>reddish hair?  In South India, reddish hair is not considered
>admirable.  The specific term used is "Sempattai" which is derogatary
>and is said to be due to not grooming one's hair well by "daily oiling
>and combing"!  The funny thing is that this applies also to people
>whose hair has a natural reddish or brownish tinge.  I have also been
>told by some people that after a ritual tonsure, a child's soft
>reddish hair will become thick and black, and not to worry etc!

I was told that that injunction in Manu -- which is found among the
excerpts in Lanman's "Reader" -- was a warning against getting seduced by a
YoginI. Apparently these were thought of as witches and known for two
things: coloring their hair red (with henna?) and ritually killing their

Philip, a hiranyake$in

*  B.Philip Jonsson <bpj at>               *
*  Editor, Translator (English <-> Swedish),    *
*  Scholarly font-designer, Web-book designer   *
              _        _    .             _ _
|| Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha ||


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list