Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

Get access

(5,384 words)

Embedded within India’s most ancient text, the Ṛgveda, there is a hymn portraying a conversation of a young girl, Apālā, with the god Indra. She makes this request: 

Indra, make these three surfaces grow forth –

the head of my Papa, the field, and this on my belly.

That field of ours, this body of mine, and my Papa’s head –

make all these hairy.

(ṚV. 8.91; trans. Brereton & Jamison, 2014; for an examination of this text, see Schmidt, 1987; Vajracharya, 1988)

We have in this ancient text a clear link among grass or grain in a field…

Cite this page
Olivelle, Patrick, “Hair”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

▲   Back to top   ▲