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How to wear the Pavitram? - Regulations For Wearing And Discarding The Pavitram

The article, How to wear the Pavitram? - Regulations For Wearing And Discarding The Pavitram, originally written and contributed by Sarma Sastrigal. It is found in the book titled ‘The Great  Hindu Tradition’ written by Sarma Sastrigal.

The darbhai is to be worn on the ring finger of the right hand, in a circular formation, prior to starting any religious rite like homa, dana, yaga-yagna - in fact any deva or pitru karma. This ubiquitous adornment on the finger of the karta of any ritual is called a pavitram, and it is necessarily made of darbhai.

There is an opinion that one can permanently have the "pavitram" on. Perhaps an extension of this thinking is the idea ascribed to sages like Katyayana and Harita that a pavitram could be made of gold and worn all the time. Please note that a pavitram made of gold cannot substitute a darbhai. When a karma starts one has to necessarily have a darbhai pavitram on, even if one is already wearing a swarna pavitram. Any reference to pavitram means only darbhai.

Incidentally, when a swarna pavitram is worn on the ring finger, a ring called tarjani made of silver is to be simultaneously worn on the index finger. And only the eldest son can wear the tarjani (but not when his father is alive).

Generally one does not prepare darbhai for oneself. It is either received from the family Purohit (Sastrigal) or a properly qualified elderly person. Of course if the pavitram is not available from these sources one can prepare it oneself. The darbhai has to be fresh and prepared just before the start of a ritual - it should not be stocked.

Number of Darbha Blades

There are restrictions in the number of darbha leaves used to prepare the pavitram.
  • In Vedic recitations, meditation and for puja it is prepared from 2 leaves of the grass. 
  • In all ancestral worship like Shradh or Amavasya libations we use 3 leaves. 
  • In death rites, darbhai is prepared with one leaf of the grass.
  • Though the number of leaves may change, the shape, size and method of preparing it do not change.

Regulations for wearing and discarding the Pavitram

The karta should first do aachamana while taking the pavitram from his acharya, preparatory to the start of the ritual. Likewise, the performance should end with an aachamana. On both occasions (i.e. when aachamana is done), the pavitram is to be positioned over the right earlobe.

At the commencement the karta will do the aachamana, take the pavitram from the ear and wear it on his finger as described above. At the conclusion of the rite, he has to remove the pavitram from the ear, untie it and throw it in the niruriti (south-west) direction and do the aachamana.

If the karta has to drink water during the ritual or sip milk etc. as part of the ceremony, he should not drink with the pavitram on. He should lodge it over the right earlobe and drink.

The pavitram should not be kept elsewhere or handed over to anyone.

Similarly while doing paada prakshalana (a ritual of washing another person's feet) the pavitram must be removed from the finger and placed above the right earlobe.

Author - If you have doubts regarding the above topic you can contact find the author, Sarma Sastrigal, at GooglePlus.