By Swami Harshananda
Pavitra literally means ‘the pure,’ ‘what makes one ceremonially pure’.
Wearing of Pavitra
While performing any religious rite, a devotee is expected to wear a ‘pavitra’. It is a ring-like loop made of darbha grass. It may be prepared either with either three, two or even one darbha leaf. It should be worn on the anāmika or the ring-finger, either of the right hand or on the ring-fingers of both the hands.
Occasions to Wear Pavitra
The following are the occasions on which the pavitra is to be worn, to attain ceremonial fitness:
- Japa - repetition of the divine name or mantras
- Homa - pouring oblations into a duly consecrated fire
- Dāna - giving gifts
- Svādhyāya - study of the scriptures, especially the Vedas
- Tarpaṇa - giving oblations of water to the pitṛs or manes
Other Inferences of Pavitra
The word is also used to indicate the two pieces of darbha kept over ājya to purify it before homa, to the piece of cloth used by a sanyāsin to filter water while filling it into kamaṇḍalu and even to the yajñopavīta.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore