The poonal poem

Ode to the threads which straddle my left shoulder

Three threads for the Elephant king riding his mouse,

Six for the protector of the universe on his giant snake.

Nine for mortal men doomed to die,

None for the kshatriya kings on their golden thrones.

In the land of TamBram, where the kudumis lie.

Three threads for celibacy, nine threads for family,

One day to hold them all, and in the temple, don them.

In the land of TamBram, where the kudumis lie.

Key:

Brahmins wear the sacred thread, which is called the poonal. When unmarried, they wear 3 threads, after marrying it becomes six, and finally, depending on the sub-sect they belong to, they wear nine either when they become fathers or when their own father passes away.

The elephant king refers to Ganesh, who is a brahmachari, i.e, he is unmarried.His vehicle is a mouse.

Vishnu is the protector of the universe who resides on a giant snake with his wife Lakshmi, and he doesn’t have kids. Hence the six threads.

On the day of Avani-Avittam, Tamil brahmins perform a ceremony to cast off their old thread and don a new one.

Kudumi is the Tamil word which refers to the bun Brahmins in the olden days used to tie their hair in.

TamBram- Tamil Brahmin

Education was wasted on those who haven’t seen the original:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

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16 responses to “The poonal poem

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