to Hindu Scriptures even the act of approaching his wife for
intercourse is considered a sacred duty of a married man.
the conception of a child is ascertained, the child in the
womb is consecrated by the ritual named Pumsavana.
Pumsavana is generally understood as a rite “for
quickening a male child.” The ceremony is performed in the
third month of pregnancy after conception becomes manifest.
significance of the ritual consists in its main features. It
should be performed when the moon is on a male constellation.
This period is regarded as favourable for producing a male
issue. Inserting the Juice of the banyan tree into the nostril
of the pregnant women is meant for preventing abortion.
Susruta (father of Indian medicine) says that the banyan tree
has got the properties of removing all kinds of troubles
during pregnancy, such as excess of bile, burning sensation
etc. He says, “after pounding herbs and mixing them with
milk, three or four drops of the juice should be inserted in
the nostril of the pregnant woman. She should not spit the
juice out.” Insertion of medicine into nostrils is a common,
thing in the Hindu System of treatment. It is, therefore,
obvious that the above ritual is undoubtedly founded on the
medical experience of the people. Putting a dish of water on
the lap of the pregnant woman is a symbolical act. A pot full
of water denotes life and spirit in the would-be child.
Touching the womb emphasized the necessity of taking every
care by the expectant mother so that the foetus should be
healthy and strong in the womb and abortion may not take
duties of a pregnant woman: Our ancients realised that the
conduct of an expectant mother influenced the unborn child.
So, after laying down rules and regulations about the prenatal
rituals, they prescribed the duties of a pregnant women and
pregnent women was made to observe purity and read religious
books which would keep her calm and so would help the unborn
was told not to go near the seas, or trenches, avoid strenuous
exercise and not to bathe in the river. She should not go to a
deserted house nor sit on an anthill as the son of Garbhahanta
(Destroyer of foetus) would attack her.
to say that would surely be the case if she did not observe
the above safety rules.
she was told not to scratch the earth with her nails, not to
go too near charcoal and ashes and not to leave her hair
disheveled. The above seem to me to be perfect rules for
personal hygiene, which would be in perfect accordance with
the Do’s and Don’ts for a modern pregnant lady.
duties of the husband were not to make unnecessary demands
upon the wife and to try and fulfil most of her wishes so that
she remained calm and happy. Thus we see that every possible
care was taken to preserve the physical and mental health of
the pregnant women, and we observe that the rules laid down
all had a medical basis designed to promote her well-being.
most Hindu families it is believed that a pregnant women
should relax in bed during an eclipse.
is wise, even for the rest of us, to take care during an
eclipse as science has discovered that people who hurt
themselves by way of a cut or a fracture, during an eclipse
take a longer to heal as the blood flow seems to be more
during that time than at any other time.
is more active during the eclipse period, hence our belief in
changing the drinking water in our vessels and cooking fresh
all know that harm can be caused to the eye by looking at the
sun or the moon during an eclipse. Also science is at the
moment conducting experiments on the effects of the eclipse on
the unborn foetus.
the child makes his advent in to the world. When the child is
born, the moment of his birth is noted with meticulous care,
for preparing the horoscope, as the position of the planets at
the precise moment of his birth would determine his character
and landmarks of his future life.
a boy was born there was rejoicing as they felt that he would
have the right to continue the family’s line of business and
look after his parents during old age as well as perform the
rites after their death.
getting a daughter was no less meritorious during the Vedic
period as we see that girls did enjoy the position of learning
wisdom and she enjoyed the position of bringing it light the
names of two families (that of her father’s and that of her
husband’s) if she turned out to be virtuous and worthy.
Hence, Sita, besides enjoying an unequalled place in mythology
for being her own self, was equally well known as Rama’s
wife as well as “Janak Dulari” (Daughter of Janaka).
A girl was desired during the Vedic period also because “Kanyadaan”
(giving away of a daughter in marriage. was considered as one
of the worthiest of deeds. It is not a degrading
custom as considered by modern women as Hindus always believed
that the giver was greater than the receiver.
Now the Jatakarma ceremonies properly commence. The first
ceremony is the Medhajanana or producing
of intelligence to the baby. This is performed the next
day after the birth.
father with his ring finger with a gold ring gives to the
child honey and ghee. With each feeding he utters one word of
the Gayatri mantra, namely; “Bhu” with the first feeding:
“Bhuvah” with the second feeding; “Svah” with the
third feeding; “Bhur Bhuvah Svah” with the fourth feeding.
Medhajanana ceremony speaks of the high concern of the Hindus
about the intellectual well-being of the child. Also the
things fed to the child are conducive to the mental growth.
According to Susruta the following are the properties of ghee:
It is producer of beauty, it is greasy and sweet, It is
remover of hysteria, head-ache, epilepsy, fever, indigestion,
excess of bile. It helps in fostering digestion, memory,
intellect, talent and lusture.
The next item of the Jatakarma ceremony is the Ayusya
or the rite for ensuring
a long life for the child. Near the navel or the right ear
of the baby the father murmurs: “Agni is long-lived, through
the trees. By that long life, I make thee long-lived. Soma is
long-lived, through the herbs. The Brahman is long-lived
through observances. Sacrifice is long-lived through the
sacrificial fire. The ocean is long-lived through the rivers.”
all the possible instances of long life are cited before the
child, and by the association of ideas it is believed that
with these utterances, the life of the baby would also be