Cord, Investiture With The
Cord, Investiture With The is a name applied to the ceremony of introducing the young Brahmin into the sacred caste at the age of seven or nine years. Before this time he is regarded as no better than a Sudra; he has no privilege, no rank. By the laws of Menu, a Brahmin is to be distinguished from individuals of the secular classes by a cord (paita), which is worn hanging from the left shoulder, and resting on the right side below the loins. It consists of three thick twists of cotton each formed of numerous smaller threads. These three separate twists, which on marriage are increased to three times three, are considered as emblematical of the three persons in the Hindu Trinity — Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. The cotton from which the cord is made must be picked from the plant by the hands of Brahmins only, and the thread must be spun and twisted by persons of the same caste. When the cord has been properly manufactured, the father of the young candidate endeavors to ascertain, by the rules of astrology, the month, the week, the day, the hour, the minute which will be most favorable for his son's investiture with the cord. The ceremony and the entertainment last four days, and at the close of each the guests receive numerous presents. For a description of the ceremony see Dubois, The Hindoos. SEE BRAHMINS; SEE INDIAN CASTE.