The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Mode of investiture of the sacred thread which is chapter 33 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 33 - Mode of investiture of the sacred thread

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Full title: Mode of investiture of the sacred thread for the deity and the installation of the deity]

Agni said:

1. I shall describe the (mode of) installation of Hari and the benefits of worship for a year. The first day (of the lunar fortnight) at the commencement of (the month of) āṣāḍha and the concluding part (of the month) of Kārttika yields riches.

2-3. Commencing with the second day (of the lunar fortnight) (the installation) of Śrī, Gaurī, Gaṇeśa, Sarasvatī, Guha (son of Śiva), Mārtaṇḍa (Sun), the divine mothers, Durgā, Śiva and Brahmā are performed in order. To which deity one is devoted, the lunar day of that deity is sacred to him.

4-5. The mode of installation is the same (for all the deities). Only the sacred syllables are different. A thread spun by a brahmin woman (made of) gold, silver, copper, silk or cotton etc. or in its absence a purified one is made into nine folds. The investiture is done with that.

6-7. It is excellent if it is longer than one hundred and eight (finger-length) or half of it. “Whatever has been prescribed by you, O Lord, for the warding off of the discontinuance of the rite, that is being done by me O Lord. May there be no impediment here in the pavitraka rite. O Lord of undiminishing success! Grant me this”.

8-10. Having prayed (in this way), one has to tie it to the circular altar at first with the Gāyatrī[1] Oṃ nārāyaṇāya vidmahe vāsudevāya dhīmahi tanno viṣṇuḥ pracodayāt. A garland made of one thousand and eight wood-flowers is consecrated to the Lord of lords extending upto the feet and the pavitraka (sacred thread) upto the knees, thighs, and navel of the idol befitting him. The garland should be made thirty-two fingers length.

11. In the circular lotus of one finger (breadth) the pericarp, filament, leaf, the first basic syllable and the outer circumference of the circle are consecrated.

12-13. By the measure of one’s fingers the threads for the preceptors (are consecrated) on the models of the parents on the ground. Twelve knots made fragrant are consecrated to the end of the navel. Then two garlands are made ready at first containing one hundred and eight flowers.

14. O twice born one! Otherwise twenty-four or thirty-six garlands should be consecrated to the sun with the ring and middle fingers by those who desire for a daughter.

15. There may be twelve knots in the sacred thread for the pot of the Sun, and the fire as in the case of Viṣṇu.

16. According to one’s ability the knots of the sacred thread should be placed in the midst of the articles for the worship of Viṣṇu on the altar in the pit encircled by a girdle.

17-18. One who has bathed and performed the twilight worship should dye the seventeen strings divided into three parts, with rocanā (yellow pigment), agallochuṃ, camphor, turmeric, saffron or sandal. Then one has to worship Hari on the eleventh lunar day at the sacrificial yard.

19. One has to offer food to all the subordinate deities at the altar. Kṣaum, to the guardian deity at the end of the door. And (one should then worship) Śrī on the garland.

20. (Adorations) to Dhātā, Vidhātā (names of Brahmā), (the rivers) Ganges, Yamunā. And after having worshipped the two nidhis[2] śaṅkha and padma at the middle, the vāstu[3] is removed. (Adorations) to śārṅga (the bow of Viṣṇu). Then one has to perform the purificatory rites for the elements remaining standing.

Oṃ, hrūm, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ, I absorb the subtle principle of smell. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of taste. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ I absorb the subtle principle of touch. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ I absorb the subtle principle of sound. Salutations.

21-22. With the five incantations (as above) one has to meditate on the yellow-coloured, hard quadrangle of earth of the form of subtle principle of smell and governed by Indra with the mark of holding the thunder-bolt in between his feet. Then the worshipper has to spread the pure subtle principle of taste and absorb the subtle principles of taste and colour in this way.

Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ, I absorb the subtle principle of taste. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ, I absorb the subtle principle of colour. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ, I.absorb the subtle principle of touch. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrīṃ I absorb the subtle principle of sound. Salutations.

23. One has to meditate on the presiding deity Varuṇa placed in between the two thighs, holding a white lotus jar, white-hued and crescent-shaped.

24. With the four incantations (as above) one has to absorb the pure subtle principle of taste in the subtle principle of colour. The subtle principle of colour is absorbed.

Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of colour. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of touch. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrūṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of sound. Salutations.

25. Having meditated on the Fire, the presiding deity which is red triangular fire-column pervading the space between the navel and neck and having the mark of a svastika, that pure (sound principle) is absorbed in the principle of touch with these three incantations.

Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of touch. Salutations.
Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle principle of sound. Salutations.

26-27. One has to meditate on the grey-coloured circular -column of air pervading the space between the neck and nose, and bearing the mark of the pure moon with the two incantations (as above). The subtle principle of touch has to be absorbed in the principle of sound by meditative yuga.

28. Oṃ, hrīṃ, haḥ, phaṭ, hrūṃ. I absorb the subtle sound principle. Salutations, with the single incantation one has to. absorb the etherial space of the colour of pure crystal and pervading the space in between the nose and tuft.

29. One has to perform purification of the body by desiccation etc. Then the dry body from the foot to the tuft has to be meditated upon.

30-31. After having meditated upon the drop which has come out of the cavity of brain with the syllable raṃ and on the body covered by a garland of flames with the syllables yaṃ and vaṃ, one has to besmear the body with the ambrosia of ashes. Then with the syllable laṃ, it should be converted into a sacred body.

32. Having made the nyāsa[4] on the hand and body one has to do mental worship. Viṣṇu is adored with his retinue in the heart-lotus with mental flowers.

33. The lord of lords who yields enjoyment and liberation has to be worshipped with the principal mystic syllable. “O lord of gods, welcome to you. O Keśava! be present here.”

34. “Accept my excellent mental adoration properly.” Then the Tortoise, the supporting power, then Ananta and then the earth have to be worshipped.

35-36. The righteousness, un-righteousness etc. (have to be worshipped) in the middle of fire etc., the lotus in the middle of sattva (goodness) etc., the principle of time, the solar and other regions and the king of birds, in māyā (illusion) and avidyā (ignorance). Then (the deities) of the quarters commencing with north-west and ending with north-east as well as the line of preceptors.

37. The attendant gods, Sarasvatī, Nārada (sage), Nalakūbara (son of Kubera), the preceptor, the sandals of the preceptor’s preceptor and of the preceptor have to be worshipped.

38-39. The perfections already accomplished and the later perfections, the female energies—Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, Prīti, Kīrti, Śānti, Kānti, Puṣṭi, Tuṣṭi, Mahendrā etc. have to be worshipped in the middle. Hari, Dhṛti, Śrī, Rati, and Krānti etc. have to be invoked in the middle. Acyuta is established with the principal mystic syllable.

40. Having prayed by saying “Oṃ, have (your) face towards me and come near me,” and having placed the articles of worship and offered scents etc. one has to worship with the principal (mystic syllable).

41. Oṃ (you) frighten, (you) frighten. Again terrorise the heart and head. (You) pound the tuft, commencing with the flames and from the śastra[5] to the astra.[6]

42. (You) protect. (You) destroy. Salutations to the armour. Oṃ, hrūṃ, phaṭ. Salutations to the missile. (One should worship) the parts of the body with the principal mystic letter.

43-44. At first one should worship different forms of idols in the east, south, west and north. Vāsudeva, Saṅkaṛṣaṇa, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Agni, Śrī, Dhṛti, Rati and Kānti (are) the forms of Hari. The conch, disc, mace, lotus and Agni (should be worshipped) in the east.

45. The bow, club, sword, and garland of wild flowers (should be worshipped) outside it. Indra and others as well as Ananta, and Varuṇa (should be worshipped) in the south-west.

46-48. Brahmā and Indra (should be worshipped) in the north-east and their hosts of weapons on the outside. The Airā-vata (the elephant of Indra), goat, buffalo, monkey, fish, deer, hare, bull, tortoise, and haṃsa (should be worshipped) and Kṛṣṇa on the outside. The gate-keepers Kumuda and others (should be worshipped) in pairs from the east to the north. After saluting Hari, the food (is offered) outside. Salutations to the attendants of Viṣṇu. The offering should be made on the altar.

49. One should worship the Universal Being, the All-pervading on the north-east. The protective thread should be tied on the right arm of the lord.

50. (One should say), “Oṃ salutations to the one who confers full benefits of worship done through the whole year. You wear this thread for the purpose of installation.”

51. One should observe the vow of fasting etc. in the presence of the deity (saying), “I am pleasing the deity by observing fasting etc.”

52. “May not lust, anger, and all other (qualities) reside in me ever. O lord of gods from this day onwards it is the last of them.”

53. If the worshipper is unable (to do as described), he should observe the vow eating only in the night. Having made oblations, the visarjana (dismissal) is done, after laudation. This is the (mode of) daily worship which yields riches. Oṃ, hrīṃ, śrīm, salutations to Śrīdhara the enchanter of the three worlds.

Footnotes and references:


The Gāyatrī is a vedic metre consisting of 24 letters. Sacred syllables consisting of 24 letters in the form of a Gāyatrī and addressed to a particular deity is known as the Gāyatrī of that deity and 24 such Gāyatrīmantras are reckoned.


The nine treasures of Kubera, the lord of wealth.


Evidently the vāstupuruṣa governing the site of a dwelling place.


The assignment of fingers on the different parts of the body by touching them.


An ordinary missile.


Any missile discharged after the repetition of appropriate mystic syllables.

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