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YajnOpaveeta and upAkarma

Why should we wear yajnOpaveeta?

YajnOpaveeta is the sacred thread that represents deeksha to perform vEdic rituals. Man belonging to the first three varNas (brAhmaNa, kShatriya and vaishya) has vEdAdhikAra. He can perform sandhyAvandana, gAyatri japa, agni kArya and the like and can also perform vEdAdhyayana. The pre-requisite to all this is the formal initiation called upanayana where the boy’s father gives the yajnOpaveeta and brahmOpadEsha to his son initiating him into vEdic rites.

Nobody is entitled to perform any samskAra without having gone through the yajnOpaveeta samskAra according to ManusmRuti. One must undergo yajnOpaveeta samskAra before the vivAha (wedding) samskAra. Similarly, shrAddha karma is not valid unless the kartRu has first undergone the yajnOpaveeta samskAra. Even when a person does not wear a yajnOpaveeta regularly, priests insist upon it during such rituals.

The yajnOpaveeta is said to have been created by Sri chaturmukha brahma himself for this very purpose:

brahmAgrE kalpayAmAsa vEdArhAnAmanuttamam

yEnAmsE dhRutamAtrENa brahmasUtrENa tE dvijAH

bhavaMti brAhmaNa nAma vEdArhAshcha trayastviH ||

The thread that gives the eligibility to perform yajna kAryas is the yajnOpaveeta

yaj~jAkhyaH paramAtmAya uchyate chaiva hOtRubhiH

upaveetaM tatO AsEdyam tasmAdyaj~jOpaveetikam ||

Details of yajnOpaveeta (the sacred thread)

The yajnOpaveeta comprises of three threads, and each thread is in turn made up of three fine threads (strands). The three threads that form the yajnOpaveeta represent the 3 guNas, 3 vEdas, 3 varNas and the 3 lOkas.

By the order of the Lord the abhimAni dEvatas of these (3 gunas, 3 vEdas, 3 varNas and the 3 lOkas) reside in the three threads.

tAvallOkAstrayO varNAstrivRut sUtram samAshrayan

tat graMthimAshrayattArAstrimAtO nAdasmyutaH

tat graMthyagram cha sAvitrI vEdamAtA shivAj~jayA ||

Each of the three threads of the yajnOpaveeta in turn is made of 3 fine strands, totally numbering to 9 strands for one yajnOpaveeta. The 9 strands (of a single yajnOpaveeta having three threads) have the following deities:

1st strand: OmkAra

2nd strand: agni

3rd strand: bhaga

4th strand: sOma

5th strand: pitRu

6th strand: prajApati

7th strand: vasu

8th strand: dharma

9th strand: vishvEdEvatas

OMkAraprathamastaMturdviteeyO agnisthataivacha

tRuteeyO bhagadEvatyachaturthaH sOmadEvataH

paMchamaH pitRudEvatyaH ShaShThachaiva prajApatiH

saptamO vasudEvatyO dharmashchAshTamaM Evacha

navamaH sarvadEvatyaH ityEtA nava dEvatAH ||

The yajnOpaveeta should not go either below or above the navel. It has to be changed every year on the upAkarma day and also after any ashaucha (mailige).

Bachelors should wear one yajnOpaveeta, where as a minimum of two is compulsory for gRuhasthas. The second one represents the extra duty a householder has to perform. (The 2nd one is required since the wife cannot wear a yajnOpaveeta and the husband wears one for her, since the husband is the guru of the wife.). gRuhasthas can wear even 3 or 4 yajnOpavItas, one representing the uttareeya and the other for shrEyas.

What is upAkarma?

Upakarma, means “beginning” and it is historically, the day was considered auspicious for beginning the Vedic studies. It is on this day that one has to start the study of vEdas after doing samarpana of what he has studied in the earlier year.

chAndra RugvEda upAkarma is done on the full-moon day of shrAvaNa month having shravaNa nakShatra as the nitya nakShatra.

yajurvEda upAkarma is also done on shrAvaNa full-moon day itself (whether or not that day has shravaNa nakShatra)

saura RugvEda upAkarma is done on the shravaNa nakShatra day falling in the saura month of simha (when the sun is in simha rAshi)

Even though the main function of Upakarma is yajnOpaveeta dhAraNa, it involves many rituals.

(1) samarpaNa of what we have studied (vEdas) from the previous upAkarma to this upAkarma to shree vEdavyAsa dEvaru.

(2) On this day at least we should learn to chant a few mantras of respective vEdas from our Guru (or purOhit)

(3) The purOhita also teaches one line of brahmasUtra, sarvamoola granthas, etc. as a mark of start of study of vEdas and other shAstra granthas. We must continue to study further. (But in majority of the cases, our study will end on that day itself!!) [;)]

(4) Every brahmana has to undergo upAkarma – All brahmanas should perform upAkarma hOma invariably. Only for those who are having sUtaka or vRuddhi (or ame) need not do upAkarma on that day. However, after the elapse of sUtaka or vRuddhi one  must do the upAkarma hOma and have the yajnOpaveeta changed.

Why upAkarma is done particularly on shrAvaNa full-moon day?

On this day the supreme Lord Sri nArAyaNa took the incarnation of Sri Hayagreeva dEvaru and restored the vEdas which was stolen by a demon. In this incarnation, His head is of a pure white horse, while the rest the body is like a human, possessing four hands.  He holds shankha, japamaala and pustaka in three hands; and the fourth hand shows the jnAna mudra.  Lord hayagreeva then preached the vEdas to Sri brahma dEvaru on this auspicious day for the benefit of entire mankind.

Sri Hayagreeva devaru is worshipped as the God of knowledge. He is the upAsya mUrthy of Sri vAdirAjaru. So, the day of his avatAr is chosen as the day to start and submit the vEda adhyayana; and wearing a new sacred thread is a part of this ritual.

Procedure for changing the yajnOpaveeta

(Note: I have used baraha transliteration rules while typing the mantras)

Achamana

Om RugvEdAya swAhA

Om yajurvEdAya swAhA

Om sAmavEdAya swAhA

Om atharvaNa vEdAya namaH

Om itihAsa-purANEbhyO namaH

Om agnayE namaH agnayE namaH

Om vAyavE namaH vAyavE namaH

Om sUryAya namaH chaMdrAya namaH

Om digbhyO namaH digbhyO namaH

Om iMdrAya namaH iMdrAya namaH

Om viShNavE namaH viShNavE namaH

Om pRuthivyai namaH pRuthivyai namaH

Om AtmanE namaH

Om aMtarAtmanE namaH

Om paramAtmanE namaH

(Do Achamana two times)

prANAyAma

praNavasya parabrahma RuShiH daivee gAyatree ChaMdaH paramAtmA dEvatA prANAyAmE viniyOgaH

Om bhUH Om bhuvaH Om swaH Om mahaH Om janaH Om tapaH Om satyaM

Om tatsaviturvarENyaM bhargO dEvasya dheemahi dhiyO yO naH prachOdayAt

Om ApOjyOti rasOmRutaM brahma bhUrbhuvaH swarOm

sankalpa

Om gaMgE cha yamunE chaiva gOdAvaree saraswati

narmadE siMdhu kAvEri jalEsmin sannidhiM kuru

kRuShNa kRuShNa viShNOrAj~jayA pravartamAnasya

AdyabrahmaNaH dwiteeyaparArdhE shwEtavarAha kalpE vaivasvata manvaMtarE aShTAviMshatitamE kaliyugE prathamapAdE jaMbUdweepE bhAratavarShE bharatakhaMDE mErOrdakShiNapArshvE daMDakAraNyE gOdAvaryAH dakShiNakoolE shAlivAhanashakE buddhAvatArE parashurAmakShEtrE (if in any other part of the world, then rAmakShEtrE) asmin vartamAnE vyAvahArikE ___ saMvatsarE ___ ayanE ___ arkE ___ Rutau ___ mAsE ___ pakShE ___ tithau ___ vAsara yuktAyAM shubhanakShatra shubhayOga shubhakaraNa EvaMguNavishEShaNa vishiShTAyAM shubhapuNyatithau asmadAdi gurUNAM shreeman madhvAcharyANAM hRutkamalamadhyanivAsi vAsudEva saMkarShaNa pradyumna aniruddha chaturmUrtyAdi anaMtAvatArAtmaka shreesavitRunAmaka shreelakShmeenArAyaNa prEraNayA shreelakShmeenArAyaNa preetyarthaM shrautasmArtakarmAnuShThAnayOgyatAsidhyarthaM yaj~jOpaveetadhAraNamahaM kariShyE

(After doing sankalpa, hold the yajnOpaveeta which is previously offered to God, and do gAyatri japa 10 times)

Om bhUrbhuvaH swaH tatsaviturvarENyaM bhargO dEvasya dheemahi dhiyO yO naH prachOdayAt

(Draw a mandala on the floor, keep the yajnOpaveeta over it, on a silver/copper plate while chanting thus:)

Om syOnA pRuthivi bhavAnRukSharA nivEshAnee yachChA naH sharmasaprathaH Om

(Do prokshana on the yajnOpaveeta with water)

taMtudEvatA AhvAna

OmkArOgnishcha nAgashcha sOmaH pitRu prajApati

vAyu sUryau vishvEdEvA ityEtAstaMtudEvatAH

taMtudEvatAH AvAhayAmi

(Now do ShODasha upachAra pooja to the dEvatAs thus invited onto the yajnOpaveeta)

(Now lift the yajnOpaveeta with your hands, chanting thus:)

Om dEvasya tvA savituH prasavE.shvinOrbAhubhyAM pUShNO hastAbhyAM Om

(Now show the yajnOpaveeta to Sun God by chanting thus:)

Om udvayaM tamasaspari jyOtiShpashyaMta uttaraM

dEvaM dEvatrAsUryamaganma jyOtiruttamaM Om

dhAraNam

yaj~jOpaveetamityasya maMtrasya parabrahma RuShiH

triShTup ChaMdaH paramAtmA dEvatA upaveetadhAraNE viniyOgaH

Om yaj~jOpaveetaM paramaM pavitraM prajApatEryat sahajaM purastAt AyuShyamagryaM pratimuMcha shubhraM yaj~jOpaveetaM balamastu tEjaH Om

(Chant this mantra 3 times and then wear the yajnOpaveeta.)

(Do Achamana twice, and chant gayatri mantra 10 times)

jeerNa upaveeta visarjana

(Remove the old yajnOpaveeta while chanting this:)

upaveetaM bhinnataMtuM jeerNaM kashmaladUShitam

visRujAmi jalE brahmavarchO deerghAyurastu mE

(Discard it in water)

(Do Achamana twice and chant nAmatraya)

acchyutAya namaH

anaMtAya namaH

gOviMdAya namaH

~ shree bhArateeramaNa mukhyaprANAMtargata shreekRuShNArpaNamastu ~

Sources:

  1. “munjAneyinda sanjeyavarege” by Sri Bannanje Govindacharya
  2. Emails forwarded by “Sumadhwaseva”
  3. “traikAlika sandhyavandanam” book published by Sriman Madhwa siddhanta granthalaya, Udupi

16 Responses to YajnOpaveeta and upAkarma

  1. HARISH MADHYASTHA

    I just want to share on incident happens recently here…………….

    i went to one upanayanam function at udupi, they are from orthodox shivalli brahmin and very rich family………..upanayana boy was around 7 yr old….and boy realy dont know what he need to do……..guests came from mumbai, delhi, bangalore etc…..and function and lunch is over by 2 pm….boy’s father and brother was wearing pant and shoes going here and there in the place of homam in mantapam.

    secondly………..evening there was a party at their home , in which they called most of their guest who came from metro city………just imagine…how was the party………..drinks……..drinks……..drinks……….everywere…………….whisky, brandy, rum…………….this is not a joke………….

    somebody ask….why they are doing like this…….? their answer is …………they organised this function for just for an enjoyment………that also upanayanam day

    recently i met that boy………..no janivaram……………..no japam, no gayathri…….

    am just telling all these in pain, becuase some forum we need to use to change our community…………..i dont know….how?

    let us teach our young generation about importance of gayathree and janivaram..

    hope readers will understand this and take some actions from your side.

  2. Holy Days of this year | Shivalli Brahmins

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  3. Raghu saralaya

    You need not hightlight these as these type of mistakes is not only done by shivalli community but aslo in some Kannada madhwa community.Even i have been to knnada madhwa upanayanas and also see the type of boy whom you are trying to highlight.There is no need for you to mention the community name just for a boy,s mistake

  4. Ananth Bhat

    Hi,

    I am a so called youngster who is born as a Brahmin… The problem with Hinduism is that we are doing things without knowing the significance with no sect secluded…We also want to show off our wealth and prosperity…. That is the problem..

    Recently there was a Upanayanam in Mangalore in the GSB community…. Where Liquor and Non-Veg food was served to the invitees… If people want to throw a party… Throw it.. Please don’t link it to religion/ Karma/Samskara….

    It is really painful to see such greed, sectarianism, disregard for mother nature- Basically and Primarily worshipped in all the Vedas…..

    It is my sincere thought that the poor and illiterate in the villages today are more educated w.r.to our religion and living simple lives than the so called graduates / post graduates

    The problem with us is we are just after all the riches and luxuries and have lost all affinity to simple living which the great Sanatana Dharma is all about

  5. Udayakumar

    Do you have an article published about proper sandhyavandana procedure? I see different procedures in different books including the achamana mantra. Could you also tell me why we were given gayathri udapdesha with two pranavas?

    Thank You,

    Regards,
    Udayakumar

  6. L.Padmanabhan Potti

    Please inform any CD about the Santhya Vandana

  7. pradeepsharma s joshi

    TUMBA DANYAVADAGALU GURUJI.

  8. UMESH POTTI

    sir

    Excellent Work. Can i get the mantras in Sanskrit. Please send in my mail address.

  9. Balachandra

    @sri umesh potti,

    you can copy-paste english mantras in suitable software like baraha and then get them translated to devanagari or even maliyalam. pls. try.

  10. Balakrishnan Potti

    For Upakarma, Brahmayjna and deva rishi tarpana is also important. But seems not mentioned above. Could you please incorporate above also.

  11. Dhayanidhi Rao

    Could any body here can give the detailed achamana procedure with mudras, with picture for doing all the achamana activities. i am a shivalli brahmin.
    kindly help me out for doing proper achaman.

  12. Balachandra

    @Dhayanidhi avare,

    The mantras to be chanted during Achamana are given in the above write-up. For more details you can buy the sandhyavandana book published by Madhwa Siddhantha Granthalaya. The book shop is very next to Pejavara maTha Udupi.

    Application of mudras vary from maTha to maTha. Chakra mudra on the right shoulder(baahu moola), Shankha mudra on the left shoulder, Padma mudra on the centre of the chest, Gadaa mudra on the centre of forehead, and Narayana mudra over all the gopichandana naamas are important.

    Regards

  13. Narayanan Embrandiri K

    description of upakarmam is very excellent.

  14. vasudeva bhattat

    Last year I had an upanayanam of shivally brahmin boy,came from Bombay with parents
    while the time of Gayatrimantropadesam i made the boy to sit in the legs of father and covered with a cloth. I spelled the Gayatri word by word and told the father repeat to his son.After completion I removed the cloth,immediately the father told me that he had heard the above said manthra long ago and asked me which is the Mantra………
    This is going on nowadays. what to do?

  15. Marubionida

    Рассматривая постройки, домашнюю установку, различные предметы украшения, созданные нашими предками и украшенные орнаментом, видно, с какой исключительной любовью, с каким творческим чутьём подходили наши мастера к разрешению декоративного оформления, начиная с больших произведений архитектуры и заканчивая мелкой бытовой утварью. Мотивами их творчества были и образы, дошедшие до них от древних верований их далёких предков, и наблюдения над природой и окружающей действительностью, и мотивы, приходившие извне, но всегда по-своему воспринятые и основательно переработанные.

  16. RAJESH MENON

    I am a 48 yr old single Non- Brahmin living in Bangalore. I am interested in doing Sandhyavandana etc but upanayanam was not done for me. Please let me know what to do? Should I forget about Sandhya altogether?

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