The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the investiture of the sacred thread which is chapter 86 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the eighty-sixth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 86 - The Investiture of the Sacred Thread

Mahādeva said:

1-19. When the month of Śrāvaṇa comes the rite of the investiture of the sacred thread should be performed, having done which divine devotion is produced. O Pārvatī, the wise ones should perform, with faith, Viṣṇu’s investiture of the sacred thread. (By doing that) his worship in the rainy season becomes complete. On Viṣṇu’s investiture of the sacred thread one gets pleasure. One would get various pleasures on having always properly worshipped Viṣṇu. Having brought a thread, a garment spun by a brāhmaṇa woman (he should do the rite). Or he should use there (i.e. for this rite) thread spun by himself. Or similarly he should get a thread spun by a good śūdra woman. Or he should properly have one through sale. The rite of the investiture (of the thread) should be done with silken cloth only. So also (the sacred thread for) god Viṣṇu should be made of silver. Or, O chief goddess, it should be especially made of gold according to the rule. In the absence of all metals the wise ones should take (a cotton) thread. The thread reaching the feet is said to be the best. The one up to the knees (is said to be) middling. The one reaching the navel (is said to be) inferior. A wise one should have the investiture (of any one of these threads). The thread should have the knots numbering the days of the year, or half the number, or one hundred and eight. O Pārvatī, it is also proper (to have one) having half the number. On the phallus it is known as liṅga, and should be accompanied by Gaṅgā and the serpents. O goddess, on the image the sacred thread should be of wood flowers. It should be prepared beautifully, by which Viṣṇu is pleased. One good sacred thread called gandha should always be prepared by men, Viṣṇu’s devotees, and it should have only one strand. In the same way the thread sacred to the deity Viṣṇu is also said to be (so) for the gods. So also (for) the devotees like Ambarīṣa and Dhruva. Then, O Pārvatī, sacred threads should be offered here (i.e. in this rite). The first day is recommended for investiture with the sacred thread of Kubera. The second is said to be the best of days for goddess Lakṣmī. The third for you, and the fourth for Gajānana. The fifth is for the Moon, and the sixth for Kārtikeya. The seventh is said (i.e. recommended) for the Sun; for Durgā the eighth is told, the ninth for the divine mothers and similarly the tenth is (recommended) for Yama. The eleventh is (recommended) for all (deities), and the twelfth for Viṣṇu. The thirteenth is for Madana, and the fourteenth is said to be for Śarva. Similarly the fifteenth (day of the fortnight) is recommended for Brahma’s worship.

20-27. These are said to be the proper days of investiture with the sacred thread. Twelve is said to be inferior. Double (the number) is said to be middling; and thrice the number (i.e. thirty-six) is said to be the number of knots on the sacred thread. Have it dyed with camphor and saffron, sandal and turmeric. Having dyed all this, and having put it in a new casket, all those should be placed like a deity (at the place) where the worship of the deity (is to be performed). First, worship of the deity should be done. (Then) garment with the thread (should be put on). After the sacred thread is put on, the worship is said to be done. In the sacred threads the deities would be in proximity. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Rudra are the three deities of the sacred thread. Kriyā, Pauruṣī, Vīrā, the fourth (being) Aparājitā, Jayā and Vijayā, Muktidā, so also Sadāśivā, the ninth (is) Manonmanī, and the tenth Sarvatomukhī—these are the deities of the knots. He should install them on the threads. Then with (appropriate) finger position according to the rule of the holy texts, he should invoke them. This is said to be properly placing them in proximity.

28-35. The placing in proximity is done by the finger position (called) sannidhi-mudrā. Then having protected them with (the finger position called) rakṣā (i.e. protection)-mudrā and having immortalised them with (the finger position called) dhenu-mudrā he should bring them before the deity. Taking water from the pitcher he should sprinkle them with hymns from the sacred texts. The sprinkling (should be done) with the hymn: ‘Klīṃ, to Kṛṣṇa’. Then having offered sandal, incense, eatables, having given tāmbūla etc., having worshipped the deities of the sacred thread in the sixteen ways of doing homage, having incensed the fragrant sacred thread, and facing the deity he should consecrate it with (the finger position) called namaskāra-mudrā (i.e. mudrā of salutation): ‘O Mahādeva, with the goddess and attendants etc. you are invited by means of these hymns. O lord Viṣṇu, come along with the regents of quarters and attendants for the fulfilment of the rite. In the morning we shall worship you. Be constantly in the proximity.’ Having put in the morning that sandal and sacred thread at the feet of god Rāghava, Viṣṇu, and having performed his rite(s) and with the repetition three times of the words, ‘This is an auspicious day’ and with the preliminary religious rite and with words of victory and with the auspicious sounds of bells, musical instruments and of drums he should offer the worship. He should worship in the proper order: first the seniormost, then the middling and (lastly) the inferior. With the hymn ‘We know Vāsudeva, we think of god Viṣṇu; may the god urge us on’, or with his own hymns he should offer the great delightful worship, having offered which Viṣṇu, the soul, is pleased. All round illumination should be done according to the rule. The wise man should also get prepared four kinds of food. O beautiful one, then the sacred threads that are worshipped should be given (to brāhmaṇas). Then he should especially worship his teacher with devotion. The great preceptor should be worshipped with the rite (of offering) garments and ornaments. After having worshipped his preceptor he should wear the sacred thread. Then having given tāmbūlas to those who are Viṣṇu’s devotees and a full oblation to Agni, he should report the act to Śrīnivāsa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (He should say:) ‘O Viṣṇu, may that (act of having) worshipped you without the (proper) hymns, the (proper) acts, and without devotion, be certainly well completed’. Then having called (his relatives) he should eat the cooked food with his dear relatives, Viṣṇu’s devotees, and brāhmaṇas. Those best brāhmaṇas who listen to this divine worship are free from all sins and go to the highest position of Viṣṇu.

36-41. There is no doubt that as long as the Moon shines, the Sun shines, he who has investiture of the sacred thread shines like them. On having the investiture with the sacred thread all the gifts and restraints that there are on the earth, become perfect. This rite of the investiture of the sacred thread is the king of festivals. A killer of a brāhmaṇa is purified by it. No doubt should be raised about this. O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, what is said is the truth, the (absolute) truth. The religious merit that is said (to result) from the investiture of the sacred thread is also said (to be had) from seeing it. O noble one, the śūdras who have devoutly performed this rite of the investiture of the sacred thread, are said to be most fortunate. I am lucky, I am blessed, I am fortunate, (as) the devotion I had for Viṣṇu, gives salvation.

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