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Thread: yajopavītam revisited...

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    yajopavītam revisited...

    hariḥ o
    ~~~~~~

    Yajopavītam (sacred thread)
    This begain on another string... perhaps we can continue this interesting subject.


    namast Sahasranama,
    Thank you for your post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    Ancient texts refer to the wearing of the Yajopavītam in three forms:
    • One is Upavītam, where the Yajopavītam is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm.
    • The Second is Nivītam, where the Yajopavītam is worn around the neck and over the chest.
    • The third, Prachīnavītam is where the Yajopavītam is worn above the right shoulder and under the left arm.
    • Please continue... please talk to us about the number of strands, their material (cotton, etc), if they are woven or braided.
      Also, inform us if the threads are changed out periodically. AND - above all can you be so kind as to inform us of their significance?
    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    Namaste yajvan,

    Thank you for opening the thread, the other thread about varanasi got closed. I have the information you are asking for in a few books. I will look it up and come back it soon.

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    AND - above all can you be so kind as to inform us of their significance?
    Yes please. I have not been enlightned on a satisfactory answer to this question. What does the smriti and sutras say?

    I have heard about it being representative of the brahma nadi and 7 thread for 7 chakras - but that would be highly unsatisfactory.....
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    I am sorry for the delay in answering this question. There is a lot to cover, but I will just sum up here the little I know about the subject and what I can find in certain books. I have used the following books for further information:

    -क्यो kyo? (why?) - Pandit Madhavacharya Shastri (Hindi)
    -गायत्री साधना gāyatrī sādhanā, tantrik bahal (Hindi)
    -भारतीय नित्य कर्म पद्धति और पूजा विधान bhāratīya nitya karma paddhati aura pūjā vidhāna, Pandit Jwalaprasad Chaturvedi (Hindi)

    And the following websites for reference:
    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=2076&highlight=upanayana (saidevo's post)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana

    Yajnopavitam for different varnas
    Brahmana: white yajnopavitam made out of cotton signifying knowledge
    Kshatriya: red yajnopavitam made out of silk signifying passion
    Vaishya: yellow yajnopavitam made out of linen representing wealth

    Yajnopavitam for women
    Manu says marriage is like upanayana for women. The married woman wears a mangal sutra and her husband wears one extra yajnopavita to perform the shrauta and smarta rituals.

    How is the yajnopavitam made?
    First I have to say, I have hardly any practical experience with making yajnopavitams. I have tried in the past, but now I simply order them from India, but I will describe the procedure mentioned in the katyayana parishista and shortly the invoking of the deities in the nine cords.

    “Now we will speak about the procedure to make a yajnopavitam. The maker of the yajnopavitam should go outside of the village to a place of pilgrimage, a temple or a cow stable, at a time when it’s not forbidden to chant the Vedas, after performing Sandhyavandana and doing 108, a thousand or as much as is possible repetitions of the gayatri mantra, use a sutra made by a Brahmin, a virgin Brahmin girl or a married Brahmin woman or from a follower of dharma, chant “Bhu” and enfold the piece of rope 96 times around the four fingers, then remove it from the hand and place it on a leave, chant “Bhuva” and enfold the rope a second time, chant Svaha and enfold the rope a third time on the hand. With the three mantras starting with आपोहिष्ठा āpohiṣṭhā, शन्नोदेवी śannodevī, तत्सवितुः tatsavituḥ soak the rope in water. Place the rope on your left hand and hit it three times. Then with the three vyahritis ( bhu, bhuva and svaha) fold the rope in three and with the pranava make a knot, the brahma granthi. In the nine tantus invite nine deities with the appropriate mantras and with the mantras (Surya Upastana Mantras) starting with उद्वयं तमसस्परि udvayaṁ tamasaspari, place the yajnopavitam in front of the sun. With the mantra starting with यज्ञोपवितं yajñopavitaṁ wear the yajnopavitam.”

    The first question that arises in my mind is, what does the katyayana parishista mean with placing it on the left hand and slapping/hitting? I think this could mean hit it with the middle finger and ring finger like in nyasa (astraya phat) or it could mean to slap the rope on the left hand three times to dry it out. Here is the original Sanskrit description of this step: वामहस्ते कृत्वा त्रिः सन्ताद्य vāmahaste ktvā tri santādya, maybe yajvan can shed some light on this step, with his knowledge of Sanskrit grammar or maybe another member is familiar with the procedure?

    The second thing to consider is what are these nine tantus? The yajnopavitam is made of one piece of rope which is folded in three, so you would think that there are only three strands. But the original piece of rope is made out of three smaller cords braided together, so if we look at the entire process first three cords are braided together into one, then that one cord is folded into three pieces, with a knot that divides the yajnopavitam into nine cords or nava tantu.

    Each tantu has its own deity, these deities are invoked with the avahana mantras. The chandogya parishista mentions these nine deities. Here is the list of the nine deities and their significance.

    1 ओङ्कार oṅkāra, ब्रह्मलाभ brahmalābha (benefit of Brahman)
    2 अग्नि Agni (fire), तेजस्विता tejasvitā (brightness)
    3 अनन्त Ananta (literally infitine, also known as Shesha Naga), धैर्य dhairya (patience)
    4 चन्द्र Candra (the moon), आह्लादकत्व āhlādakatva (happiness)
    5 पितृगण pitṛgaṇa (the forefathers), स्नेह sneha (love)
    6 प्रजापति Prajāpati (Brahma), प्रजापालन prajāpālana (caretaker of offspring)
    7 वायु Vāyu (wind), शुचित्व śucitva (purity)
    8 सूर्य Sūrya (Sun),), प्रानत्व prānatva (Energy)
    9 सर्वदेव Sarvadeva, सर्वगुण sarvaguṇa (All characteristics)

    How to invoke these deities? Place the yajnopavitam on a leave and with each mantra place some akshata or a flower on the yajnopavitam. I will give an example of the first mantra, the rest of the mantras are similar: प्रथमतन्तौ ओङ्कारमावाहयमि prathamatantau om oṅkāramāvāhayami. After invoking the nine deities, invoke Brahma in the first granthi, Vishnu in the second granthi and Rudra in the third granthi. These knots also exist in the body and are pierced when the kundalini awakens. After this puja is done of the upavitam and the upavitam should be sprinkled ten times with the gayatri mantra. After this the yajnopavitam is ready to be worn and serves both as a kavacha (protective armor) and as a reminder of being a follower of Dharma and having to fulfill three debts:

    -pitri rina: debt to the ancestors is honoured with the birth of children
    -rishi rina: debt to the rishis is honoured with the study of the scriptures
    -deva rina: debt to the gods is honoured with the worship of the deities

    This concludes part 1 of the post, I will come back later and post some more about the significance of certain steps in making the sutra and post some information on when to change the yajnopavitam.
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 02 December 2010 at 09:08 AM.

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    Great info there Sahasranama!

    One thing to remember is that the Upanayana SanskAr is widely varied regionally; as is everything in Bharat, that is India!

    Even the granthi (knots) are varied depending on gOtrA. I have three and last time I checked, I wasn't married!

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    Yes, the knots after brahma granthi depend on how many pravaras there are in the gotra. But three knots can also stand for brahma granthi, vishnu granthi and rudra granthi.

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    Re: yajopavītam revisited...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté Sahasranama

    Sanskrit description of this step: वामहस्ते कृत्वा त्रिः सन्ताद्य vāmahaste kṛtvā triḥ santādya, maybe yajvan can shed some light on this step, with his knowledge of Sanskrit grammar
    You have done an excellent job with this knowlege of yajñopavītam (sacred thread). Let me offer the translations of the words you ask, but allow you to offer your view on its collective meaning... I will be happy to go deeper or wider on any additional words you wish within this sentence to assist you with your POV on its meaning.

    Here you go:

    vāmahaste kṛtvā triḥ santādya
    • vāmahaste = vāma + haste
      • vāma = can mean beautiful , also reverse; also (mn&#185 the left side i.e. vāmād dakṣiṇam , from the left to the right or vāmena , on the left side
      • haste = hasta = the fore-arm; that is, a measure of length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger , = 24 aṅgulas or about 18 inches

    • kṛtvā = having done
    • triḥ - tri = 3 ( also can be written trayas )
    • santādya = santa +ādya
      • santa = saṃhatala = the two hands joined with the open palms brought together
      • ādya =being at the beginning , first ; being at the head
    praṇām

    words

    mn - gender of a word, in this case here masculine or neutar
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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