Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Art by surrealivy

The UPAKARMA (or upaakarma or aavani avittam) is nearing for all the brahmins. This is a very important KARMA in every brahmin's life. It is basically the change or renewal of the holy thread (Poonal) which is soaked in the divine mantra (The Gayathri). This is collectively performed by the brahmin community in the month of august /September on a full moon day which is august 16th of this month year.

Now, after long time , I was wondering about the significance of this procedure and the timing of it and you can say on every aspect of it. First, why POONAL? the holy thread? then what about the Sandhyavandanam and aavani avittam and the innumerous formalities that are tied with this thread?.

Enough of questioning done, lets shoot some answers here.. The Holy Thread is the licence for a brahmin boy to learn Veda.The father of the boy teaches him the Gayathri mantra and takes him near to the teacher, who in turn performs the upanayana(acceptance of the holy thread) for the boy and takes him near to Vedas which in turn take him near God. So this journey cannot happen without the poonal.

The change of holy thread is vital because it becomes dirty ; and actually ,in olden days the Vedas were thought from the period of August to January (aavani to thai) so its necessary to get a new licence for every class passed.Ideally its the respect you pay for your new season of enchantment by Vedas.

The addition of threads also was a puzzle for me.. On some digging, its a very beautiful setup. A boy has his first set of threads when he starts his studies on Veda. This ideally soaks him with knowledge about dharmas and righteousness which is essentially showing respect to the world he lives in.So the first set of threads indicate that.Now, when the boy grows to a man and gets married, one more set of threads is added. This is beautiful.. it seems that this thread is to remind him that he is not the only sufferer of his activities , there is another soul which depends on him .Also the other set when he gets his first child tells him that he has more responsibility.In essence, the threads show you your responsibility.Like badges show our responsibilities when we were students.

Meaningful and very elaborate procedures are adopted for all the ceremonies told above.And the Gayathri mantra.. how can i finish without telling about it? Its the king of all mantras.Its says that the visible God, the SUN shall deviate your knowledge towards everlasting illumination that will form the basement of the generations to come. This is the mantra in which the magical thread is soaked on.I feel the vibrations this mantra can produce has the key to its importance its pronounciation is difficult and the vibrations are unique.And with the kind of belief that goes into reciting this mantra can really change things.I mean : MOVE MOUNTAINS

Its good always to involve in something and to expect something coming. So in case u are a brahmin try this one time reciting mantras more clearly.. Really ,its worthwhile and it can be Challenging too...

For the convenience of our digital world dwellers, I have given links for ur Upakarma .. This is the procedure and form for change of licence. Depending on your Veda, choose one.. its in PDF format..dld and get enchanted...

Upakarma procedure for Rig Veda : link
Upakarma procedure for Yajur Veda : link
Upakarma procedure for Sama Veda : link

Disclaimer: All these observations are under my own understanding of various facts and explanations.I dont claim them to be true.But logic allowed inside my mind only this much.


Arvind said...

nice description of the poonal and its significance. I think most brahmins aren't aware of these facts and they should be.

VarshaVijay said...

It was a worthy post! Every ritual being done in our community definitely has a connection with life science. Chanting mantras no doubt enhances the bioplasmic energy of a human body. It's a kind of yoga when you chant Gayathri with pranayama. Yoga is completed based on our community habits and that's what seems to be a new great concept for westerners, we having been followed it for centuries. In fact as a responsible wife at home I was busy in Varalaxmi Nombu and Avani Avittam for couple of days. That was why couldn't post anything. It was a great explanation.