BRAHMA, BRAHMIN AND
YAGNOPAVIT

Brahma :-

Brahma is the first god represented in the Hindu Religion. He is considered as the creator of the universe and all living beings.

Brahma is considered having four heads with white beard and four arms. His hands hold a kamandal, a rosary, a sacrificial ladle and the Vedas. Brahma is shown on a lotus. It is believed that the four Vedas have originated from his head and the four castes are originated from him. The Brahmin's from his head, the Kshatriyas from his arms, the Vaishyas from his thighs, and the Shudras from his feet.

In the beginning Brahma created the four Kumars : Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat Kumar.
Brahma asked his four sons to generate progeny but the Kumars declined and hence, Brahma created his 10 mind born sons.

Brahma's mind born sons are the seers Mareeci, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulah, Kratu, Pracetas known as Daksh, Vashisht, Bhrgu and Naarad.

From Brahma's body came his nine sons Daksa, Dharma, Kama, Anger, Greed, Delusion (Maya), Lust, Joy, Death and Bharat and one daughter called Angaja.

It is also said that Agni is the first son of Brahma. Agni was married to Swaha and has three sons Pavak, Pavaman and Suchi. Swadha was his second wife. Both his wives are invoked while pouring oblations in the fire or making offerings in Yagna and other religious rituals.

Brahma created 10 Prajapatis, who are believed to be the fathers of the human race. Their names, according to the Manusmriti are Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulah, Kratu, Vasishth, Daksh, Bhrigu, and Narad. These Prajapatis are believed to be born from the mind of Brahma. He is also believed to have created the Saptarishi or seven great sages to help him create the universe.

The place where Brahma lives is known as Brahmalok. His vehicle is a white swan. The swan has a tendency to seperate milk from water. Therefore this bird is also a symbol of separating good from evil. Unlike other deities Brahma does not have a weapon.

His wife is Sarasvati the goddess of wisdom, the mother of the Four Vedas and the inventor of the Devanagari script.

Brahmin :-

Brahmins are the mind born sons of Brahma. Brahmins were created by Brahma so that they instruct mankind. This was why they were considered the highest of the four castes as they had the most to do with intellect.

The Brahmins conducted the daily rites like the purification ceremony’s and taught the Vedas. Their life was divided into four stages (Brahmacharya - studying, Grihasth - married man, Vanaprasth - performing penance in a forest and Sanyas - renouncing worldly attachments). Brahmins had to maintain a strict code of conduct and ideal behavior. Since they were the teachers, preachers and priests they had to be proficient in sacred knowledge through the Vedas.

Yagnopavit :-

What we in Gujarat call "Janoi" is derived from the Sanskrit words "Upnayan" or "Yagnopavit".

Yagnopavit is a joint word made of two words Yagna and Upvitam. Yagna means a sacrificial ceremony and Upvitam means sacred thread.

Upnayan is also a joint word made from Upa and Nayan. Upnayan means first step towards the guidance to knowledge.

Yagnopavit is symbol performing his threefold duties to the household, the devtas and to his pitrus. Hence, the three stand with the divine knot wearing over the left shoulder as a necessary ritual tool when performing these three duties.

On his marriage the householder gets 3 more strands on behalf of his wife.

A Brahmin is born once from the womb of his mother and again during the Upanayanam when he learns the Gayatri Mantra. Hence, Brahmins are referred to as Dwija meaning twice born.

When a child goes through Upanayana ceremony he gets ready to start getting knowledge at the hands of a Guru.

Yajnopavitam is one thread folded three times and tied together each consisting of three strands. These threads represent

Goddess Gayatri (Goddess of mind)

Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of word) and

Goddess Savitri (Goddess of deed)

The three folds denote that one who wears the sacred thread should be pure in his thought, word and deed. The knot in the middle represents the Brahman the pure form of energy. The three threads again represent the manifestation of Brahman as Srishti, Sthithi and Vinasa.

Wearing of the Yajnopavit in three forms :

One is Upavitam where the Yajnopavit is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm. This is for Gods. It is also called savya.

The Second is Nivitam where the Yajnopavit is worn around the neck and over the chest or worn on left shoulder and some part of it is wrapped around the left ear. It is to be used during answering the calls of nature (going to toilet), etc.

The Third is Prachinavitam where the Yajnopavit is worn above the right shoulder and under the left arm. This is used by Brahmin when performing the death ceremonies of an elder.