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Poonool or Poonal – How it should be worn?

Poonool or Poonal is a thread worn by certain Hindus. It is also known as Yajnasoothram or Yajnopaveetham. It is worn across the body – over the left shoulder under the right arm.

The article originally written by Sarma Sastrigal

Poonal - How it is given shape?

We are all aware that the adornment of the Yajnopaveeta or the sacred thread is one of important parts of the Upanayana. It is interesting to see how the yajnopaveeta, the sacred thread, is given shape. The basic material for the yajnopaveeta, also known as poonal in Tamil, is cotton thread woven by persons who are qualified to preach Vedas. Married women including widows are also qualified to do this job. A Brahmin then takes the woven material, sits in a clean place, and spins the thread around his fingers in such a way that each loop is 4”. He makes 96 such loops, folds the total length 3 times and presses the shortened length till it achieves the desired stiffness. Next he makes this into three circular loops. The edges are knotted twice to make the final product – a circular thread with two knots. While doing so a particular mantra is chanted silently by the person who ties the knot, known as Brahma-mudichchu.

How The Poonal Should Be Worn?

Not below the navel:

The poonal is worn across the body, from the left shoulder to the right hip. It should not go below the navel: and if it does (this can happen to shorter persons), the extra length should be folded and knotted again, to reduce the length.

The number: A Brahmachari wears one (with 3 strands) .  A Grahasta two (with 6 strands).

One important and interesting point to note is that a grahasta should never be without a tritiya vastram or a third garment over the top of his body in addition to the regular veshti and uttariya. It may happen that he finds himself without a tritiya vastra at times, and so some grahastas wear a third poonal, just so that their niyamas are not disturbed. This is an extra role played by the poonal.

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