adhonivīta

(‘that which covers below’)

The dharmaśāstras have made it obligatory for every man born in the brāhmaṇa, kṣattriya and vaiśya castes to undergo the sacrament of upanayana (See UPANAYANA for details.) after which alone he becomes eligible for the study of the Vedas and the performance of ordained rituals. A concrete part of this sacrament is the investiture with the sacred thread called ‘upavīta’ or ‘yajñopavīta’ which should be worn permanently on the body. One of the three modes of wearing this upavīta is ‘adhonivīta’ or ‘adhovīta’ or ‘saṁvīta’. In this mode, the sacred thread hangs from the neck like a garland, stretching below the navel. This mode of wearing is recommended at the time of performing secular activities. The relatives of a dead person—if he belongs to any of the first three castes—attending his funeral procession are also required to wear the sacred thread in this mode.

See also NIVĪTA, UPAVĪTA and YAJÑOPAVĪTA.