Significance of Kalaavaa (Mauli)

This colored cotton thread called mauli or kalaavaa is tied on wrist (usually right wrist) at the beginning of a Vedic ceremony (vidhi).

Yajmaan toes kalaavaa on priest’s (purohit’s) writst to indicate that the purohit has agreed to do the Vedic vidhi (process) for him (the yajmaan).

Purohit ties kalaavaa on yajmaan’s wrist to indicate that yajmaan has agreed to give daxinaa to purohit for purohit’s service.

Purohit chants mantras while kalaavaa is tied on his or on yajmaan’s writst.

For example, purohit chants below mantras when he/she ties kalaavaa on yajmaan’s wrist:

Om purrNamidaH puurNamidam pUrNaat pUrNam udachyate |

PUrNasya pUrNamaadaaya pUrNamevaa vashishyate ||


Ishaavaasya idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyaam jagat |

Tena tyaktena bhunjithaa maa grudha kasya svid dhanam ||


When kalaavaa is tied to purohit’s writs, purohit chants:


Vidhi hiinam ashruSTHaanam mantra hinam adaxinaam |

Shraddha vihitam yagyam taamasam vichaxate |


Gurubrahmaa guru Vishnu gurudevo maheshwaraH |

Gurusaxaat parabrahma tasmai shri guruve namaH ||


This tradition is very old. Historically, no one has forced on Hindus to tie kalaavaa.

So, there is no shame on tying or not tying kalaavaa. However, Hindus feel good being a Hindu, and feel lucky and protected by deva/devi or god by having kalaavaa on the wrist. There is no any negative feeling associated with kalaavaa.

Jaya sri Krishna!

Suresh Vyas

Vedic preacher and purohit


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