Adhyatma Chintane – Issue #12: The Meaning of the Word “Shikandi”

by Vinaya HS on July 9, 2007

in Spirituality

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Today, let us learn the meaning of the word “Shikandi.”

Usually this term is thoroughly misunderstood and consequently is often used in wrong instances. It just means “a brave warrior who has tied his hair in the form of a jate/shika” (locks or plait). He was the person who was responsible for Bheeshmacharya’s death.

Feel free to offer your suggestion or correct any mistake in the comments section.

Naham Kartha Harih Kartha


For newcomers, Adhyatma Chintane is a weekly column by my school friend R, where he discusses all things spiritual, in readily understandable tidbits. The purpose is to spread awareness about our culture and tradition, which is increasingly becoming a distant memory. A new issue will be delivered to your inbox/feed reader every Monday morning.

For previous issues, hit the search box.

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

sandhya July 9, 2007 at 3:34 PM

so what has the meaning of shikhandi got to do
with spreading awareness about our culture and tradition? :)

R July 10, 2007 at 8:51 AM

in a way it does. The meaning of shikandi is misunderstood and is used in all wrong terms. Its a very sacred word which even appears in viShNusahasranama. ppl should get the right meaning and use the word appropriately. samskR^ita (the language) is our culture

sandhya July 10, 2007 at 2:42 PM

i had thought adhyatma chinthana needs prior knowledge of mahabharata. but looks like it needs to be backed up with lot others like vishnusahasranama etc.
i was just wondering isnt there any other way to bring awareness about our culture without much complexities?
Just a thought

R July 12, 2007 at 10:52 AM

thanks, will try and incorporate your suggestions. offlate their were many learnings from Mahabharaatha but if you see the previous issues you can find other things as well.
even Vinay wanted more things on culture, but not finding time for that :(

sandhya July 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Well The whole idea behind spreadin awareness about culture is great. But how many of the visitors do u think wud be interested in mahabharata,veda,purana etc?
countin on that,cant say that they were not willin to know about our culture. my suggestion is,if u want your effort to be witnessed by many,know what ‘many’ like reading. Just a thought again :)

Ramesh July 27, 2007 at 3:05 PM

Let me add, Vishnusaharanama is a part of Mahabharata. The Author Veda vyasa has himself said Vishnusahasranama is the quintessence of Mahabharata and of course “Shikandi” is one of the names of Vishnu.



Vadiraj September 17, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I was surprised to see the word shikhandi in vishnusahasranama and googled it. thanks for the definition. and yes, vishnusahasranama is from mahabharata.

prakash shrestha September 30, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Could you please differentiate meanings of 1.Shikhi, 2.Shikhadi, 3.Jatil, 4.Jati, 5.Maundii, 6.Kiritiman, 7.Panchanan, PanchShikh, 8.PanchaChirak, 9.Shekhar, 10.Maunji, 11.Brahmachari, 12.Snaatak, 13.Gautam.


Ram October 22, 2011 at 6:24 PM

part of s’iva sahasranAma – also part of mahAbhArat – bhIshma to yudhisTar

panc s’ikhi = 5 s’ikhi = one each for 5 mukh of s’iva
pancAnan = 5 Anan = 5 face (as in gaja Anan for vinAyaka or caturAnan for brahma)
jaThi = one with jaTha (locks of hair) ; s’iva is known as jaTha dhara
munDi = one with clean shaven head – s’iva is also known (rarely seen in modern day picturization) for his clean shaven

s’Ekhar = wearing on head, is typically some s’Ekhar (as in chandra s’Ekhar, rAja s’Ekhar – here the rAja part is nakshatra rAja which is again chandra) -

etymology of these sanskRta words is very interesting – with a little inquiry you can connect them all

vAlmiki’s rAmAyaNa or kRshNa’s mahAbhArata are easily understood if we start paying attention to these subtleties at least at the story level ;-).

Prakash Shrestha December 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM

please let me know in more detail about the clean-shaven head of Shivaji .

CA Satish Shetty May 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I became interested in the word when team Anna compared our PM Manmohan Singh to Shikhandi.

Prakash Shrestha December 7, 2013 at 4:34 PM

These ancient textual names have deeper meanings than they literally mean. The particular character in Mahabharat was named ShikhanDini since her birth as girl-child and not after she fought with Bhishma. Later, when she was transformed as a boy, the name was changed as Shaikhandi. The word, I presume, means the split character of male/female personality change due to harmonic disorder.
As a girl-child do do not undergo hair-cutting, I presume the word has no relation with hair-do.
plz. comment.

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