The ritual to conceive a child is based on the science behind prenatal pregnancy. It is a process whereby the body is purified by chanting mantras & one learns how to engage sexually with one’s partner in a scientific & hygienic manner to beget a child.
This is the first Samskara or sacrament amongst the total 16 Samskaras in Hinduism. It symbolically means ‘attaining wealth of the womb’, where ‘Garbh’ means womb and ‘adhan’ means the process of receiving. It is a private rite where the couple, without specifying the gender, expresses the intention to have a child and, thus, to enjoy parenthood.
It is a process where one accomplishes a purification of the body by chanting mantras (Sanskrit verses) and learns how to engage sexually with one’s partner in a scientific and hygienic manner to beget a child.
Parenting starts from the time of conception. A pregnant woman should be in a positive state of mind as she shares her physical, emotional and mental state with her baby.
Science has shown us that a baby responds to outside stimuli and that the mother’s emotions are connected to the unborn child though neuropeptides, which affect the child’s nervous system. Neuropeptides are chemical messengers made up of small chains of amino acids and, for instance, are produced in response to emotions affected by hormones such as serotonin and endorphins (both known as happy hormones); adrenaline and cortisol (they affect mood disorders, including depression).
During pregnancy, the temporary organ called placenta is formed for nourishment of the foetus. The health and wellbeing of the child depends on the condition of the placenta, which in turn depends on nutrition and hormonal composition. This placenta acts as a filter in the maternal-foetal circulation of nutrients and emotions. Interestingly, the placenta has the capacity to produce an enzyme which inactivates the stress hormones or harmful hormones before diffusing into foetal circulation. But this mechanism works only when the stress level is low. When the stress level is very high or chronic, the enzyme is not able to stop the stress hormones from entering the foetal circulation.
Whenever a pregnant mother is unhappy, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are secreted which produce sad neuropeptides in the mother’s body. These neuropeptides filter directly through the placenta as they are high in levels, entering the foetal circulation up to the limbic system of the baby’s brain, which leads to lower electrical activities in the areas of joy, happiness and curiosity. This makes the baby feel lonely and sad. If this continues for a longer duration, the baby will grow into a child with low self-confidence and fear, which it acquired in the womb. Hence, it is crucial for the pregnant mother to have a positive mindset and avoid the transmission of negative messages to the child she is carrying.
Also, the stress hormones activate the endocrine system and alter the distribution of blood flow in the foetus, thereby changing the character of the child’s physiology. Such babies are likely to be hyperactive, premature, irritable, and have a low birth weight. On the contrary, when a mother is happy, peaceful and relaxed, her body secretes natural pleasure chemicals (endorphins) which infuse a state of happiness and calmness in the baby’s mind. This ensures the birth of a serene, calm, strong-minded, happy, and healthy baby.
Right at the beginning of this samskara, the wife is dressed in traditional clothes and the husband chants mantras (Vedic incantations) to invoke the Gods and Goddesses to help his wife conceive. The couple then expresses consent for the process to begin in a happy state of mind to welcome the child and raise a family together.
This is followed by the husband inviting the wife to mount the bed of conception with a loving and peaceful mind. Once the wife is on the bed, she requests her husband to join her in the process of conceiving their child.
According to oral history, if a man desires a learned daughter, then the couple must prepare and consume boiled rice with sesamum and butter. If a man wishes to have a learned son, then they must prepare and consume boiled rice with meat or any other protein and butter. This ritual is to be performed only once, during the first conception; or the couple can also perform this ritual for each baby.
अस्याः मम भार्यायाः तिगर्भ संस्कारातिशय द्वारा अस्यां जनिष्यमाण-
सर्वगर्भाणां बीजगर्भ समुद्भवैनो निबर्हणद्वारा श्री परमेश्वर प्रीत्यर्थं गर्भाधानाख्यं कर्म
ॐ गन्धर्वस्य विश्वावसोर्मुखमसि ।
ॐ विष्णुर्योनिं कल्पयतु त्वष्टा रूपाणि पिंशतु ।
आ सिञ्चतु जापतिर्धाता गर्भं दधातु ते ॥
ॐ गर्भं धेहि सिनीवालि गर्भं धेहि सरस्वति ।
गर्भं ते अश्विनौ देवावा धत्तां पुष्करदााजा ॥
ॐ हिरण्ययी अरणीयं निर्मन्थतो अश्विना ।
तं ते गर्भं हवामहे दशमे मासि सूतवे ॥
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