View Full Version : Facts about yagnopaveetha

22-12-2018, 06:57 AM
Yagnopaveetham is a triple stranded sacrificial filament joined by a knot called Brahmagranthi that is worn by those who are initiated into the Gayathri recital (UpaNayana).
Yagna means sacred ritual and Upaveetham means a covering. Yagnopaveetham means a sacred covering on the body without which a Yagna or a sacred ritual cannot be performed. It is also called as Brahmasuthram.
In Telugu it is called as Jandhyam, in Tamil it is Poonal, while in Kannada it is called as Janivara. In English it is called sacred thread.
Yagno-pavita means purified 'thread of sacrifice' that symbolizes the sacrifice of ego, anger & selfishness.

➡ Who should wear Yagnopaveetham?

Among the Varnas, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vysya men who is a dwija can wear Yagnopaveetham. They should start wearing from the day they are initiated into the Gayathri Manthra through a ceremony called Upanayana.

➡ How many Yagnopaveethas one should wear?

A Brahmachari (unmarried person) should wear only one Yagnopaveetham that has three strands.

A Grihastha (married person) should wear two such Yagnopaveethas.

It is in practice to wear three Yagnopaveethas by a Grihastha, the third one that acts as an Uttareeyam (upper dhothi).

There is also a sampradaya to wear four, as the fourth one is meant for donating to someone in case of exigency.

➡ What should be its length?

When we wear, the length of Yagnopaveetham should come up to the navel level and it should be neither above nor below the navel. It is said that if it is below the navel it will lead to the loss of power of penance and if it is above the navel it is Ayuksheena; Manu Smruthi says that the potion below the navel is impure.

➡ What should be the posture of Yagnopaveetham?
Generally we come across three postures of wearing Yagnopaveetham....

One is Upavita where the Yagnopaveetham is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm. This posture is used for performing auspicious ceremonies and sacred rituals related to Gods. This is called Savya position. Under normal circumstances Yagnopaveetham should always be in Savya position.

Second one is Praachinavita where, Yagnopaveetham is worn above the right shoulder and under the left arm. This position is used while performing sacred rites to the Forefathers (Pitru Karya). This is called Apasavya position.

When Yagnopaveetham is worn around the neck and over the chest in maalakara (like a garland) and is held with both thumbs in the region of the heart and above the naval, it is Nivita. This form is used during Rishi tharpana, sexual intercourse, answering nature calls, while carrying a corpse etc.

One would have also observed devout tie their Yagnopaveetham tightly to the right ear/left ear accordingly while attending nature calls. It is to maintain the sanctity of Yagnopaveetha; While it is to protect the sacred thread from becoming soiled during the course of attending nature calls, there is also a health significance involved in it.

➡ yAgnopAveEthaM naVatHantHu nirMithAm (Composition)

Yagnopaveetham is made up of nine layers (tAntu) of woven cotton thread spun and twisted. Length of the thread used for making Yagnopaveetham as per scripts should be 96 breadths of four fingers measured by one's own hand. Thickness of the thread should be of a mustard seed size.

These nine layers represent nine devathas who are the presiding deities of Yagnopaveetham;

In ancient days the three Varnas were using Gold (Brahmin); Silver (Kshatriya); and Copper (Vysya) Yagnopaveetha; in subsequent times changed to Cotton (Brahmin); Silk (Kshatriya); and Linen (Vysya); current times we find all using only Cotton made Yagnopaveetha;

➡Who are the nine Presiding Deities of Yagnopaveetham?

> Omkara (Pranava),
> Agni,
> Naaga,
> Soma,
> Pithru Devathas,
> Prajapathi,
> Vayu,
> Surya and
> Vishve Devathas
are the Presiding Deities of Yagnopaveetham.

➡ What is Brahma Granthi? What is the significance of three strands?

The knot with which the three strands are tied together is called Brahma Granthi that signifies ParaBrahma (Pranava)

who is Sakala Veda Swaroopa. There are several interpretations about the three strands of Yagnopaveetham. It symbolizes...

Three trinal Lords [Brahma Vishnu, Shiva) and when tied together it becomes ParaBrahma the supreme God Vishnu the Hari Sarvottama;

Represents the three Vedas (Rug-Yajur-Saama);

the three worlds (Bhu-Bhuvar- Svar); "TribHuvana VapUsham VisHnumeEsham NamaAmi"...

It is also interpreted as, three strands representing Ida, Pingala and Sushumna nadi through which the Kundalini energy manifests as prana and consciousness.

The three strands also indicate that one who wears it should have a triple control over his mind, speech and body (thought, word and deed);

Three strands also represent three Tattvas (qualities) viz. Sattwa-Rajo; Thamo;

Three strands also represent three Tattvas (qualities) viz. Sattwa-Rajo; Thamo;

The three strands remind the wearer that he has to pay off the three debts (Runas) he owes to the ancient seers, ancestors and to the God viz. Deva, Rushi, Pithru Runa.

Reminds the wearer the kartavya of thrikaala Sandhyavandana;

➡ When to Change the Yagnopaveetham?

When once a person starts wearing Yagnopaveetham under normal circumstances it should not be removed and should be worn always (24 hours-365 days). It is like a married woman wearing a Mangala-Suthra forever. But in practice it is not possible to wear the same Yagnopaveetham permanently. Due to wear and tear, it may get soiled or worn out or gets broken and needs to be changed. One should not wear a broken or worn out Yagnopaveetham.

Apart from this it should be changed under the following circumstances....

Is it also required to change the yagnopaveetha after a haircut?

Not required;


Yagnopaveetham paramam pavithram
Prajapatheryasahajam purasthad
Aayushyamagryam prathimuncha shubram
Yagnopaveetham balamasthu thejah

Above sloka describes the sanctity, spirituality and sacredness of Yagnopaveetham and its benefits. It says that,
> Yagnopaveetham is the best among those that purify;

> the one that has emerged along with Brahma (Prajapathi) at the time of creation;

> that which bestows life (longevity) and prominence;

> the one that is sacred, clean and unsoiled; and

> the one which confers on to the wearer both knowledge and power.

> By wearing Yagnopaveetham one gets purified both externally and internally.

> By wearing Yagnopaveetham one gets the eligibility to perform spiritual and sacred rituals (Sroutha/Smartha Karmas) as prescribed in Vedas for his Varna. Sacred rituals performed by wearing Yagnopaveetham give good results.

> It is a prerequisite for learning Veda. It is a passport to obtain Vedic education.

> It gives power and authority to pursue one's spiritual path.
Wearing Yagnopaveetha is one of the important Vedic samskaara;

Yagnopaveetha is not a mere symbol to identify a community, it has sanctity of its own. One has to qualify himself for wearing it not by birth alone but also by practice viz. Nithya Karma, Sandhyavandana, following the path of Sanatana Dharma and remaining free from ego, avarice, anger and pride. Perhaps this may be the message Upakarma conveys.

Courtesy: Shri Bhargava Sarma