Upanayanam is also known as threading ceremony.This event is conducted and performed for Brahmin boys in at the age of 7 or 8 because that is the age.The boy stops acquiring knowledge of the karmas of his parents and he want to learn and perform his own karmas. The culture of “Brahman” is introduced to a young boy. The youngster is taught the secret of life through Brahmopadesam (revealing the nature of Brahman or the ultimate reality) or the Gayatri Mantra. The boy gets to wear a Yajnopavitam or sacred thread on his body. The Sacred thread has three strands each representing Goddesses Gayatri (Goddess of mind), Saraswati (Goddess of word) & Savitri (Goddess of deed).
In fact there are some religious rites that were performed the day before the actual Upanayanam. These are termed Nandi Sraddham and Uttakashanthi ceremony. The Uttakashanthi which is done for purification of mind and body and for the protection of the child. Names of the deities are chanted in the form of mantras and invoked in water which is then poured over the child. Next is the Nandi Sraddham which is basically performed to propitiate and obtain blessings of the family ancestors.During this ceremony at least 9 Brahmanas (priestly class) are invited,served food their blessings obtained by the family.
How to wear the thread?
The sacred thread is made up of nine fibers.
One deity is established in each fiber as follows.
2. Agni (deity of fire),
3. Nag (serpent),
4. Som (moon),
5. Pitar (ancestors),
6. Prajapati (deity of procreation),
7. Vayu (air),
8. Yama (deity of death) and
9. Vishvadevata (deity of the universe).Three strands are created by twisting three of the nine fibers in each strand. The three Vedas – Rig-Veda, Yajurveda and Samaveda are established on each of these strands.Three fibers are woven into one strand and the three strands are then knotted together. This knot is called the Brahmagatha (gatha means a knot) or the Brahmagranthi (granthi means a gland).The knot of sacred grass (darbha) tied to a gold ring (pavitrak) is also called a Brahmagranthi. It is the site of establishing the Atharvaveda. This knot is extremely important and one requires skill to tie it.
The three strands represent the three stages (ashrams) – celibate student (brahmacharya), the married householder (gruhastha) and retired householder (vanaprastha) the three fires, the fire worshipped in the home (garhapatya),the fire placed in the south (dakshinagni) and the sacred fire lit for a specific spiritual purpose (ahvaniya) as well as spiritual knowledge (dnyan),devotion (bhakti) and action (karma).The one who possesses all these three qualities gets the spiritual experience of Brahman.
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