What is the use of*Yagnopavit*for the one who is known to the world as a Brahmin?*

It is not something that is*worn for the world to know. It is for the realization of Brahman within. The one who has thrown away his*Yagnopavit*but has led a life of truth is nobler compared to the one who*wears*Yagnopavit*but does nothing to justify it.

The three strands of the sacred thread.

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Yagnopavit is a word consisting of two words, yagna and upavit. Vit means that which is woven, that is cloth and Upavit means the upper garment. One is born naked. Then the baby is kept wrapped in one garment. Till the thread ceremony is performed the boy can remain clad in one garment. The use of the upper garment begins after the thread ceremony. After the thread ceremony one garment refers to the loin cloth (langoti) and the second (upper) garment to the sacred thread (janave) which is in a way a condensed form of the shawl on the shoulder (uparne).

The sacred thread is made up of nine fibres. One deity is established in each fibre as follows.*

- Omkar,*
- Agni (deity of fire),*
- Nag (serpent),*
- Som (moon),*
- Pitar (ancestors),*
- Prajapati (deity of procreation),*
- Vayu (air),*
- Yama (deity of death) and*
- Vishvadevata (deity of the universe).*

Three strands are created by twisting three of the nine fibres in each strand.*

The three Vedas

- Rigveda,*
- Yajurveda and*
- Samaveda are established on each of these strands.*

Three fibres are woven into one strand and the three strands are then knotted together. This knot is called the Brahmagatha (gatha means a knot) or the Brahmagranthi (granthi means a gland). [The knot of sacred grass (darbha) tied to a gold ring (pavitrak) is also called a Brahmagranthi.] It is the site of establishing the Atharvaveda. This knot is extremely important and one requires skill to tie it.*

The three strands represent the three stages (ashrams)*

- celibate student (brahmacharya),*
- the married householder (gruhastha) and*
- retired householder (vanaprastha);*

The three Fires

- the fire worshipped in the home (garhapatya),*
- the fire placed in the south (dakshinagni) and*
- the sacred fire lit for a specific spiritual purpose (ahvaniya) as well as spiritual knowledge (dnyan), devotion (bhakti) and action (karma).*

The one who possesses all these three qualities gets the spiritual experience of Brahman. Based on 96 items listed below, the length of the sacred thread should be 96 times the breadth of a finger (angul).

तिथिर्वारं च नक्षत्रं तत्त्*ववेदगुणान्*वितम्* ।
कालत्रयं च मासाश्र्च ब्रह्*मसूत्रं हि षण्*णव ।।


- 15 auspicious dates (tithis),*
- 7 days of the week, *
- 27 lunar asterisms, *
- 25 principles, *
- 4 Vedas,*
- 3 components (gunas), *
- 3 time periods (kals) and *
- 12 months = 96.*

Thus, the length of the sacred thread (Yagnopavit) is 96 times the breadth of a finger (angul).