By Swami Harshananda
Ajina literally means skin.
The skin of a black antelope in particular is called kṛṣṇājina. Throughout the ages it has been a symbol of holiness and Vedic culture. The country Aryāvarta has been defined as the territory where kṛṣṇamṛga or the black antelope wanders freely.
Being considered holy, it is often used in sacrificial rites for various purposes as in husking grains from which cakes are made. It's skin is used by the brahmacārin (celibate novice pursuing the Vedic studies) and the yati or muni (ascetic) as a seat spread or a couch.
A strip of kṛṣṇājina, worn by the dvijas in the earlier days as yajñopavīta (sacred thread), was later replaced by a thread.
- Satapatha Brāhmana 1.1.4. 1-2
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore