elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Fri Jul 28 13:40:37 CDT 2000

Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

> Question
> --------
>   What is the meaning and purpose of yajnopavita?
> Is it a qualificand for vedic study or the ability to
> perform yajnas?  Because, the word itself seems to indicate
> the latter.

Hari Om,

I have gathered some info on the yagnOpavItam from the book " yaajusha
pUrva prayOga.h " authored by Sri Banavati Ramakrishna Shastrigalu. I am
reproducing the same here.

Sage Ashwalaayana has this to say about how yagnOpavIta was conceived.
Once Lord Ishwara  was sitting all alone contemplating about  the
creation of  this world. Then he created the Maaya in the form of a
three-fold thread which was of Sattwa, Rajas and tamO gunaas. From Maaya
he created Mahavishnu and made him the guardian of devataas. He then
created Brahma for creating this world and he himself became Rudra, the
deluger. Mahavishnu first put the trigunaatmic thread to Brahma to help
him in creation. It was then called the 'Brahma sUtra'. Since it was
used in the yagna of creation it was called 'yagnOpavIta'. The three
worlds, the three vedaas (trayI), three fires and the three varnaas took
refuge in the three strands of the thread. The sound OUM and the godess
Savitri resided in the granthi ( the knot ). The Dwijaas sould wear this
sacred thread in which 12 Gods reside. Brahma after getting this thread
from Vishnu was called a dwija and then chanted  all the vedaas. The
three varnaas of Brahmana, kshatriya and vaishya thus became eligible to
do vedaadhyayana. When Guru puts the thread to shishya, Guru becomes the
father, Savithri the mother and thus shishya gets the second birth. When
he enters the grihasthaashrama he gets one more thread ( 2 threads which
have three strands each ). And in some families the eldest  wears the
third thread too. The yagnopaviita should not be taken out in any
situation. If taken out, suitable praayashchitta should be performed and
worn again. Even if one strand beaks all the yagnopaviitas have to be
changed.Only after wearing the new one the old one should be removed.
The different ways in which this is worn while performing different
karmaas have already been discussed in an earlier post.

( I have just reproduced here what I read in the book. I am not
competant to comment upon this )

Latha Vidyaranya

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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