Dreadlocks Signify Non-Attachment to Worldly Possessions
When you hear the word dreadlocks, you probably think of Bob Marley or the Rastafarians of Jamaica. But did you realize that the origin of dreadlocks goes back even further – at least to the sadhus of India? In fact, the earliest written mention of dreadlocks is in the Vedic scriptures dating back to somewhere around 2000 BCE.
Actually, to be perfectly honest, dreadlocks probably go back to biblical times, but it was the Eastern holy men of India who unintentionally were the vehicle that made dreadlocks a popular style to express spirituality.
The holy men of India cut themselves off from society and adopted a disregard for vanity and physical appearance. Because of that, they didn’t take care of their hair by combing or brushing it, and their hair naturally knotted together and formed mats – or dreadlocks.
After slavery of Africans was abolished in the U.S., the slave trade turned from capturing Africans to taking Eastern Indians into slavery. Some of these Hindus were holy men who wore their hair in dreadlocks, and some of them escaped to the Caribbean Islands.
It wasn’t long before Rastafarians of Jamaica adopted the dreadlock style as their own. They considered it in the same way the Eastern holy men did – an expression of their lack of vanity.
So the practice of wearing hair in dreadlocks in Eastern spiritualism is a way to signify that the wearer has given up attachment to material things.