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Poonal

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lotus_quartz

Active member
How many threads are supposed to be there in Poonal? (3/6/9/12)

Is it different for iyers and iyengars ?

Is there difference based on marital status of individual (bramhachari/girhastha etc.) ?

Is it different for various sub-sects among iyers (vadamas, brihacharanams sub-sub sects (maznad brihacharanams, ramnad brihacharanams etc.) and sub sects of iyengars (x,y,z..) ?

Request someone throw light on finer intricacies of poonal for the benefit of tamil illiterate rustic like me.
 

kashyap

Active member
not appropriate to discuss in the forums

this is not something to be discussed here. This only will give impostors a chance to get some threads on their body and pretend to be brahmins and cheat people.

There was a very recent case of a non-brahmin crook calling himself "chaturvedi swamigal" who put some threads on his body , some nama on his forehead and cheated vaishnava families and molested their unsuspecting women.

I feel this kind of information need not be provided to all and sundry.Such questions can be addressed to their own family such as parents or uncles and aunts.
Real brahmins know it or get info from their parents and relatives.

Still, In this forum i can only say this:

it is 100,00,00,008 threads of thickness 3 inches each to be worn on the body and best of luck!

:)
 
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OP
OP
L

lotus_quartz

Active member
Interesting viewpoint.

this is not something to be discussed here. This only will give impostors a chance to get some threads on their body and pretend to be brahmins and cheat people.

There was a very recent case of a non-brahmin crook calling himself "chaturvedi swamigal" who put some threads on his body , some nama on his forehead and cheated vaishnava families and molested their unsuspecting women.

I feel this kind of information need not be provided to all and sundry.Such questions can be addressed to their own family such as parents or uncles and aunts.
Real brahmins know it or get info from their parents and relatives.

Still, In this forum i can only say this:

it is 100,00,00,008 threads of thickness 3 inches each to be worn on the body and best of luck!

:)
 

NARAS

Well-known member
sir - i know that poonool should be weared to a boy before sexual knowledge i.e. KAAMA gets into his heart. but because of the high cost, most bramins wear poonool very late now, unlike in olden days when poonool was bestowed well before the boy reached 9 years. initially & until marriage for all bachelors it will be OTRAI i.e. single poonool. after marriage ERATTAI i.e. DOUBLE POONOOL. SIMILARLY those who have married should not wear 4 yard veshti. it is only for the unmarried. like that only married bramin women should wear madisaar saree. it is not for unmarried. each & every year during avani avittam or during any orthodox function for a person (like marriage, ayusha homam(ist birthday of your a child), punyojanam (naming ceremony of your child) samaashnam (imbibibing of srichakra on arms), sastiyapthapoorthi (60th birthday) or sathabishekan (80th birthday) old poonool is removed and new poonol is bestowed. yes there are small differences between poonools of various subsects of bramins.
poonool is only for male bramins. after wearing poonool the bramin is expected to be totally orthodox.
is there any other informative news about poonool? i would like to know! (also pls. correct me if i am wrong anywhere)
 
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NARAS

Well-known member
If i am not ruflfling few feathers, how did poonol originate ?

sir - i think it should have originated as a symbol of identity. bramins did not wear shirts during vedic days, and with the sacred thread on their body, it should have been very easy to recognise them. even for bramins this would enable to recognise each of them easily. bramins being simple persons, thread was probably the ideal choice, since it was not costly anyway.
What started perhaps as a symbol of identity, has now become a very sacred possession for brahmins. marriage is common for all castes. but poonool is only for bramins. only thread worn by bramins is called 'sacred' though, some other castes also wear thread. a bramin may or may not marry, but poonool should be bestowed on reaching age of 7. many bramins consider this thread as sacred for them as women consider their 'thali'. if a person has lost 1 or both of his parents he should wear poonool with 3 strands. after wearing poonool you are supposed to be 100% vegetarian. before wearing poonool
you could have consumed onions & garlic, but after poonool, even this should be reduced. consuming meat, smoking or drinking after wearing poonool tantamounts to breach of promise which you make while wearing poonool by chanting various mantras.

a poonool with 1 strand will have 3 threads ,denoting the trinity of hinduism - brahma, vishnu, siva.

pls. visit this link. it has interesting medical , scientific & genetic reasons why bramins wore a thread and why they should wear a thread and why they should always wear a thread.!
http:www.trsiyengar.com/id14.shtml
 
OP
OP
L

lotus_quartz

Active member
Dear Shri Naras Sir,

You are quite an authority on such issues.

Thanks for enlightening us.

Till now, my understanding was that 3-strand is for bachelors and 6-strand for married people. When I saw some people wearing 9-strand poonool, my understanding went for a sixer!

In fact, I got further educated to the extent that now I know it is called Poonool & NOT poonal as I previously thought it to be.

BTW, does Poonool mean threads (nool) + Poo (flowers)?

LQ
 
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fire

Active member
scripture's view

May be what NARAS said is a logical opinion( I donno if u hav any reference to site). I thought according to scriptures Bhramana,Vyshya,Shatriya wore poonal and taught Vedic education. Correct me if i am wrong. Lord Rama's photos will have poonal and he is a Shatria.

sir - i think it should have originated as a symbol of identity. bramins did not wear shirts during vedic days, and with the sacred thread on their body, it should have been very easy to recognise them. even for bramins this would enable to recognise each of them easily. bramins being simple persons, thread was probably the ideal choice, since it was not costly anyway.
What started perhaps as a symbol of identity, has now become a very sacred possession for brahmins. marriage is common for all castes. but poonool is only for bramins. only thread worn by bramins is called 'sacred' though, some other castes also wear thread. a bramin may or may not marry, but poonool should be bestowed on reaching age of 7. many bramins consider this thread as sacred for them as women consider their 'thali'. if a person has lost 1 or both of his parents he should wear poonool with 3 strands. after wearing poonool you are supposed to be 100% vegetarian. before wearing poonool
you could have consumed onions & garlic, but after poonool, even this should be reduced. consuming meat, smoking or drinking after wearing poonool tantamounts to breach of promise which you make while wearing poonool by chanting various mantras.

a poonool with 1 strand will have 3 threads ,denoting the trinity of hinduism - brahma, vishnu, siva.

pls. visit this link. it has interesting medical , scientific & genetic reasons why bramins wore a thread and why they should wear a thread and why they should always wear a thread.!
http:www.trsiyengar.com/id14.shtml
 

NARAS

Well-known member
Poonol - Symbol Of Bramin Unity??

sir - yesterday i had inferred that poonool was an identity for bramins. but as an afterthought, i now think poonool is more of a symbol of UNITY, rather than identity for bramins. just consider the facts. there are many symbols for bramins, but most of them are restricted to a section of bramins alone. for e.g. vibuthi i.e. sacred ash is only for saivites. kumkum i.e. vermillon only for vaishnavites. srichanaram, on forehead is only for vaishnavaites. madisar & panchakacham is only for married bramins. but this poonool is only symbol which all bramins of all sects & denominations - right from age of 7 wear. so may be in those days , some elderly bramins felt the need for an uniform symbol for all bramins, irrespective of their sect. thread was preferred perhaps because it was simple, not at all costly (so even poor could buy & use that) and it will be sported on your body touching your heart in such a way that you will be reminded that 'all of us are bramins, irrespective of the differences in sect & denomination'. this thread was so soft it was called 'POO' i.e. flower, i surmise.
actually, as fire said, i have also read that once upon a time, not only kshatriyas & vaishyas, even bramin women used to wear poonool! but nowadays poonool has come to be identified with bramin males alone.

I am a follower & admirer of hinduism and a volunteer of brahminism, but by no means an authority on any subject to religious importance. what i have mentioned are quotes of eminent persons which have heard, read and surfed
 

kaivalyam

Member
May be what NARAS said is a logical opinion( I donno if u hav any reference to site). I thought according to scriptures Bhramana,Vyshya,Shatriya wore poonal and taught Vedic education. Correct me if i am wrong. Lord Rama's photos will have poonal and he is a Shatria.

This is correct. The yajnopavitam is a prerequisite for brahmopadesham and veda adhyayanam. The upanayanam is traditionally very important because it signifies a second, spiritual birth. While the first gives you life, this second is said to take you through a Guru to knowledge and the gates of mukti, thus completing the first. The yajnopavitam is there to constantly remind one of the purpose of one's janma.

Shri Hariharan, the yajnopavita dharana sankalpam and mantram might hold a clue as to its perceived necessity and benefit. They don't however resolve your query of its historical reason, other than alluding to its institution by god. There are lots of philosophical interpretations on the specific number of threads and the brahmagranthi. If one is interested, one might be able to find out more from elders in their family.
 

NARAS

Well-known member
Identity, Unity & Now 'reminder' Theory!

sir - a poonool is probably the easiest identity for a bramin. other identities like vibuthi (sacred ash on forehead), vermillon on forehead or sricharanam on forehead are valid only for a few hours. dresses like panchakacham,madisar also cannot be weared permanently. those who do not have hair on their head cannot sport a kudumi i.e. tuft. even non bramins can shave off the hair on their face. but this poonool once sported is valid for one year! thus it is a very easy symbol as an identity for bramins.

the three threads in a single poonool represent the trinity of hinduism- brahma, vishnu, siva, and thus it is automatically emphasised that all bramins are one, inspite of belonging to different sects- saivism, vaishanavism etc.,

more than unity & identity, the poonool for me, is a reminder of the fact that i belong to a culture, which requires me to follow a pure vegetarian diet. whenever it touches my heart, it reminds me of the promise i made by chanting mantras during upakarma, to uphold sattvic i.e. non violent qualities required of a bramin. unlike other symbols, this will remain with me throughout, 24 hours, whereever i go. being of soft cotton, it does not itch or hinder me in anyway.
 

fire

Active member
For me its religious duty.

I guess Chettiars (may be some sects of them) do wear poonal.May some other may also do it. Vibuthi is identity for brahmins ->First time I hear this.Kumkum is for even Hindu bashers too:) ...I have seen Konar (Yadav) used to have sricharnam(Kovi).May be you intended to say religious symbols differ among brahmins. I also see poonal is a sacred religious aspect. I cannot consider it as a material for unity.....If its for unity Assume we need no unity. (Do we have unity atleast within our relations? ) If that time comes can we shun it? I think we with our reasoning skills finding new meanings for religious duties.

sir - yesterday i had inferred that poonool was an identity for bramins. but as an afterthought, i now think poonool is more of a symbol of UNITY, rather than identity for bramins. just consider the facts. there are many symbols for bramins, but most of them are restricted to a section of bramins alone. for e.g. vibuthi i.e. sacred ash is only for saivites. kumkum i.e. vermillon only for vaishnavites. srichanaram, on forehead is only for vaishnavaites. madisar & panchakacham is only for married bramins. but this poonool is only symbol which all bramins of all sects & denominations - right from age of 7 wear. so may be in those days , some elderly bramins felt the need for an uniform symbol for all bramins, irrespective of their sect. thread was preferred perhaps because it was simple, not at all costly (so even poor could buy & use that) and it will be sported on your body touching your heart in such a way that you will be reminded that 'all of us are bramins, irrespective of the differences in sect & denomination'. this thread was so soft it was called 'POO' i.e. flower, i surmise.
actually, as fire said, i have also read that once upon a time, not only kshatriyas & vaishyas, even bramin women used to wear poonool! but nowadays poonool has come to be identified with bramin males alone.

I am a follower & admirer of hinduism and a volunteer of brahminism, but by no means an authority on any subject to religious importance. what i have mentioned are quotes of eminent persons which have heard, read and surfed
 

NARAS

Well-known member
sir = brahmins were the first to wear poonool, and it was after seeing this, other castes followed suit. vibuthi, kumkum , sricharanam etc., were also passed on from brahmins to other varnas. the sacredness with which bramins sport all these symbols is absent at the same level in other castes, though many of them also follow these practices. poonool reminds you of your duties as a brahmana by touching your heart throught the day. the three threads in a single strand of poonool represent brahma, vishnu & siva each-so, they enforce unity of saivism & vaishnavism. it also acts as an exclusive identity for bramins, as it is generally associated with brahminism, even though some other castes also sport it.
oct 2 is birthday of mahatma gandhi. it is also birthday of lal bahadur shastri. if someone were to argue how can 2 eminent persons be born in same date, what answer can we give to him? likewise there is no point in arguing that there should be only one reason for bramins sporting poonool. there is more than 1 reason for bramins wearing poonool , and all of them hold good. the standards expected of a bramin are so high, probably the need of a permanent symbol on your body to be sported in the form of a sacred thread to act as a reminder to emphasise these standards was felt by bramins those days. this should have been primary objective. the 'unity' factor comes next , because there is a minimum of 1 strand with 3 threads on body of every bramin right from age of 7. 'identity' comes next.
even if there is no need for 'identity' r 'unity' , the necessity for 'reminder' will be there always. so all bramins should always sport poonool, because there is no other effective reminder than this and there never ever can be even in this scientific age. this is based on sanatana dharma i.e. permanent values. so you cannot change practices as you wish. you either follow them or do not. you either subscribe to the purpose of these practices or do not. but you cannot change them at all.
http://www.trsiyengar.com/id14.shtml
in the above link, Mr. iyengar gives a medical & scientific perspective of why poonool is sported by bramins. this could also be true!
 
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NARAS

Well-known member
sir - there is a main difference between the thread bramin males wear and which other categories (kshtariyas, vaishyas, bramin females) weared, and are wearing. bramins were & still are the only category in the world, who should be totally topless. so the poonool of the bramins was visible to all always throughout their life, and due to this they always took extra care to maintain their poonool. whereas, the other categories need not be topless and therefore their thread was concealed and apologetic.so it is on this basis, not onthe basis of superiority, that the thread of bramins was always called as 'sacred'.
 

Chintana

Active member
Dear Sri LQ,

My relentless questioning of my parents about rituals and their patient responses started my curiosity in rituals. My subsequent interests, academic and non-academic led me to a bit more of an understanding which I wish to share.

NARAS is right in that 3 strands are for brahmacharis; 6 strands are for grihastis. The 9 strands (which NARAS did not answer) are for those who have begun to do 'tharpanam' - meaning for those who have lost their father (before they lost their mother; for if the father is alive when the mother passes away then the father would do the tharpanam).



Dear Shri Naras Sir,

You are quite an authority on such issues.

Thanks for enlightening us.

Till now, my understanding was that 3-strand is for bachelors and 6-strand for married people. When I saw some people wearing 9-strand poonool, my understanding went for a sixer!

In fact, I got further educated to the extent that now I know it is called Poonool & NOT poonal as I previously thought it to be.

BTW, does Poonool mean threads (nool) + Poo (flowers)?

LQ
 

Chintana

Active member
Poonool was used to mark the different stages in spiritual evolution among the twice-born (Dwija) castes (Brahmana, Kshatriya & Vaishya).

The first 3 strands mark the initiation into brahmacharyam - technically the brahmopadesam is supposed to 'awaken' the soul so that the individual may begin his quest toward achieving God (it may be that such soul-awakening might have led to immediate God-realization depending on the karmic load of the soul in question). This is our version of the 'born-again' theory. The spiritual birth is considered the most important kind of birth; this was (is?) the first step.

The second stage, i.e., Grihastashramam is marked by taking on additional responsibilities in the material world. (My understanding is that brahmacharis who trained well under a renowned guru usually had God-experience before entering Grihasta. Once the god-experience had been attained it was upto the individual to choose how to serve god - whether through samsara or through sannyasa. Marriage is just another kind of service to God - be it one's own spiritual evolution or developing the opportunity to serve the countless guests (including spiritual folks) that usually visited homes of yester years).

If one chose sannyasa the poonool had to be cut.

If one chose samsara (I hope I am using this word in the right sense here; I mean married life) then the additional 3 strands would be used to mark the additional responsibilities which invariably bring tougher lessens (thus more spiritual evolution).

The third kind of responsibility is that of the head of the family (which would involve yet another, more intense kind of learning, compared to the 6-strand stage); this was marked by an additional 3 strands. Hence the 9-stranded person usually commanded a lot of respect and was considered an authority on life-experiences.

My two cents.

If i am not ruflfling few feathers, how did poonol originate ?
 
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Chintana

Active member
Again, this is my two cents.

My vague familiarity with Tamil literature suggests that the word does indeed consist of two smaller words but the way it should be broken up is thus:

Poonum + Nool

This means the 'thread which is worn'.

Poonuthal - to wear
Nool - thread

Poonukindra nool = poonool.



BTW, does Poonool mean threads (nool) + Poo (flowers)?

LQ
 

vijisesh

Active member
Sirs,
After a quick browse on the above posts, I feel may be there is a different logical view point , behind the Poonal story !
The reasons for wearing a poonal could be :
1) To get the sharma 's focus into reciting GOD's hymns instead of making his mind wander behind ' Kama' , ' Krotha', ' avoiding boredom( idle mind- devils workshop ), to become systematic and appreciate the idea of doing things on time - time for everthing concept , etc etc'
2) To get the sharman improve his concentration/ meditation level .
3) To project to the outer world that my son sharman is going by the books and he is an IDEAL BOY before the world finds him to be a tharuthalai !
4) For the parents to get time to do their chores rather than waste their time shouting at the sharman.
Readers, pl confirm the options above to which u agree with !
aham asmibho !
 
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