Monday, 15 June 2015

Garbhadan (Conception) - 1st Shodasa Samskara

'Garbha' means womb. 'Dan' means donation. In this the man places his seed in a woman. The Gruhyasutras and Smrutis advocate special conditions and observances for this, to ensure healthy and intelligent progeny. Procreation of children was regarded as necessary for paying off debts to the forefathers. 

Another reason for having progeny is given in the Taittiriya Upanishad. When the student ends his Vedic studies, he requests permission to leave from his teacher (see Samskara 14). The teacher then blesses him with some advice which he should imbibe for life. 

One of the commands is: "Prajaatantu ma vyavyachchhetseehi..." (Shikshavalli, Anuvak 11.11) "Do not terminate one's lineage - let it continue (by having children)."

According to Ayurveda, for conception, the minimum age of the man should be 25 years and that of the woman should be 18 years. It is considered even better if the age is even higher because prior to age 25, a man's semen and prior to age 18, a woman's ova and uterus, are underdeveloped. In this immature state, conception cannot lead to the production of a superior offspring. 

By Vedic belief, a couple can willfully (obeying the directions given in the scriptures) acquire a strong, beautiful, intellectual, dignified, dispassionate offspring possessed with good impressions. For this, it is necessary to follow certain pre-requisites like continence, healthy and pure diet, regular study of scriptures and of self, excellent company, a strict routine, contemplation etc. 

Scriptures based on the subject of Ayurveda contain a detailed description of these things. One should have a look at them. It is said that when, after marriage, Sri Krishna asked his wife Rukmani what she wanted, she replied that she longed for a child like him. Lord Krishna explained that for this, both he and Rukmani would have to practice continence for 12 years in isolation. They did so. And then was born the child, Pradyumn, who possessed qualities similar to Sri Krishna. Those 12 years had been spent for strengthening of the sexual fluids, development of excellent impressions and other such qualities. This clarifies that the physical as well as the mental condition of parents before conception and during fertilization has a profound effect on the impending jIvAtma. 

Keeping this in mind, saints have assigned several types of methodical directions. Besides the states mentioned above, the actual 10-month duration of pregnancy is also very important as the impressions incorporated in this tenure can diminish the impressions of several previous births. For instance, if some grass twigs are kept next to a case of saffron, they too acquire the fragrance of saffron in a few days. On the other hand, if a box of saffron - containing sweets is placed inside a basket of onions for a few days, the sweets acquire the foul odor of onions. The impressions once cast upon the child in womb during pregnancy are very difficult to change later.

Chants for Expectant Couples:


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