The Garuda Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736

The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...

Chapter XLIII - Description of the rite of investing an image of Vishnu with the holy thread


Hari said:—I will now describe the Pavitrarohana rite of Hari which yeilds emancipation and enjoyment. Formerly in the war between the gods and Danavas, the celestials, headed by Brahma, sought refuge with Vishnu who conferred on them the standard Graiveyaka. Seeing them Hari said that they would overcome the Danavas. On Vishnu saying so, the Naga, Vasuki’s younger brother, said:— “O bull-emblemed deity, I pray from thee this boon, called Pavitraka, so that the Graiveya, conferred by Hari, may pass by my name”. On his thus addressing the Devas they conferred on him the same boon.

The mortals, who worship me with the Pavitraka rite during the rainy season, have their adoration extending over full one year rendered useless. The Pavitrarohana rite of all the deities should be celebrated in order on the lunar days respectively reserved for them, beginning with the first day after the full moon. On the twelfth day of the dark or light fortnight the one for Vishnu should be performed. It is always necessary to perform the Pavitra rite during the rainy season, preference being always given to a Vyatipata[1] day, to a solar or lunar ecclipse, to a day when the Vriddhi rite of Vishnu is performed or when the precepter comes. The sacred thread should be made of either red silk, silk fibres, cotton or linen. The twice-born should offer a thread made of Kusha reeds, the kings that made of silk, the Vaishyas that of wool and the Sudras that made of new barks. O Ishvara! one, made of cotton or of fibres of a lotus, is preferable unto all castes.

Three knots of three folds each should be made of a thread spun by a Brahmana. A worshipper should next recite the names of the presiding gods of the thread beginning with Om. They are Shiva, Soma, Agni, Brahma, Phani, Ravi, Ganesha and Vishnu. Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are the three presiding gods of the three threads. One should keep the thread in a golden vessel, or in one made of silver, or of copper, or of bamboo or of earth. The size of the best vessel should be sixty four fingers in circumference, that of the middling one its half, and that of the youngest one its half again. The best thread must be one hundred and eight fingers in length, the middling one its half, and the youngest its half again. The best knot should be of the size of a knot of the thumb; the middling one of that of the middle finger and the smallest one of that of the youngest finger. The measurement of the sacrificial altar must be guided by these general characteristics. The sacrificial thread must be placed on the idol (of Vishnu) which should be of the size of that of Shiva. It must pass through breast, navel, thigh and hang up to the knee-joints. With a thread measuring one thousand and eight fingers in length should be formed four, thirty-six, twenty four and twelve knots severally, each being of the size of a finger knot. It should be then dyed with saffron, turmeric or sandal. After fasting a worsipper should, place the sacred thread on a vessel and perform the initiatory rite of consecration. Then in vessels made of fig leaves it should be placed in the eight quarters. Twigs and Kusha blades should be dedicated to Sangkarshana in the east. Rochana (yellow figment) and saffron should be dedicated to Pradyumna in the south. A person, who is about to undertake a war and seeks for victory, should dedicate to Aniruddha in the west, sandal, blue colour, sessamum seeds, ashes and Akshata. In the south-east and other corners he should make assignment of Shri and other goddesses.

Having then inspired the sacred thread with Vasudeva mantrams, looked at it again and worshipped it he should cover it with a piece of cloth. He should then place it before the image of the deity or the mystic diagram. Having placed duly as before Brahmanas in the west, south and north he should worship the pitchers. Then having drawn the mystic diagram with a weapon he should place the offerings.

Having thus performed the Adhivasa rite of the sacred thread he should encircle the altar with three or nine threads and then connect his own body and the pitchers with it. Connecting the well of sacred fire, the pedastal, the awning and the temple with one thread he should place it on the head of the deity. Having thus offered the thread and worshipped the great god the worshipper should recite the following mantram.

“O King of gods! O Great Ishvara! I have invoked thy presence here for adoring thee. I will adore thee in the morning. Do thou come near these articles.” Having performed the Adhivasa rite of the sacred thread for one or three nights a worshipper should keep up the night and adore Keshava in the morning. He should next place (on the image) the biggest, middling and the smallest threads. Then having incensed the sacred thread he should inspire it with mantrams. Having recited the names of the knots he should adore them with flowers and other articles. Then having recited the Gayatri he should adore the deity with the following mantram.

May my sons and wife hold this thread. O god, I hold before thee this purified and beautiful knot destrutive of the greatest iniquity and of all sorts of sins.

Having thus worshipped the sacred thread with incense and other articles he should dedicate the middling and other ones. [He should next say] “For achieving sucess in religious rites and worldly undertakings I hold on my neck this sacred energy of Vishnu.” Then having worshipped the garland of forest flowers with its own mantram he should offer it. Next he should place various offerings, flowers and edibles. Then having offered oblations to the sacred fire deposited in an Well measuring twelve fingers he should offer one sacred thread, one hundred and eight fingers in length.

Having first offered Arghya unto the Sun-God he should dedicate to him a sacred thread. O Hara, he should next adore Vishvaksena and his preceptor with Arghya. Clasping his hands he should recite before the deity the following mantram.

O lord of celestials, may all adorations, whatever I have offered knowingly or unknowingly, be crowned with success by thy favour. O Garuda-emblemed deity, I offer this thy adoration extending over a year with garlands of jems and sapphires and of Mandara flowers. O god, hold this sacred thread on thy breast as thou dost always carry the garland of forest flowers and the mystic mark of Srivatsa.

Having thus adored the deity, fed the twice-born and distributed presents amongst them a worshiper should perform the life-destroying ceremony of the deity in the evening. Having thus duly performed the adoration extending over a year as well as the offering of sacred thread one repairs to the region of Vishnu,

Footnotes and references:


The seventeenth of the astrological Yogas. Day of new moon when it falls on a Sunday and the moon is in certain mansions, Sravana.

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