The Importance of Sanskar from Conception to Death
By Dr. Nutan Pakhare
What is “Sanskar” in Garbhasanskar?
The Sanskrit word Garbha means foetus, while Sanskar means virtue.
Ayurveda’s Concept of Sanskara – “Sanskaro hi Gunantaradhan“
Sanskara from birth to death involves practices that purify the body, mind, and intellect through gunantaradhana (transformation or change in one’s qualities). Sanskar is primarily the modulation of the parent’s qualities in Garbhasanskar.
Garbhasanskar is the practice of implementing rituals prior to conception and during pregnancy in order to instil virtues in a foetus. A child’s mental and behavioural development begins at conception. Pregnancy influences the child’s personality greatly since it begins to shape in the womb. As stated in the Vedas (Indian religious texts), the mother represents ultimate consciousness in the chant “matrudevo bhava.”.
The Garbhasanskar program incorporates Achar (Food and Lifestyle) and Vichar (Good Thoughts) which are connected to nature. Furthermore, yogic and ayurvedic therapies are included if needed.
According to Ayurveda, expecting mothers should be mentally, spiritually, and physically prepared for delivery. Usually, couples should prepare three months before conceiving, or as soon as possible during pregnancy if they missed it.
A foetus can perceive sounds, as has been proven. The foetus is able to hear and respond to sounds around it from the 7th month of pregnancy. Prayer (positive thoughts & emotions), Garbhasamvad communication (talking), and would-be parents’ daily activities h are some examples of routines used by mothers during pregnancy.
Ayurveda considers Garbhasanskar a systematic way to shape a child’s holistic health. The concepts like Achara Rasayana and Sadavrutta, which mean the right way to behave. In Ayurveda, pregnancy dos and don’ts are described in detail.
According to yogic perspective It relates with the practices of Yama, Niyama, and Pratyahara. In addition, Ayurveda emphasizes how the mother’s routine during pregnancy can be beneficial to both the baby’s physical and mental health.
The 16 Sanskar from Birth to Death
Vyaasa Smriti mentions sixteen sanskar from birth to death that shape each person’s life from birth until death. Many of these ancient Hindu practices of pregnancy and childbirth still exist in parts of India today. Among sixteen samskaras Garbhadhan, punsavan, and Simantonnayan are conducted before the birth of the baby, while the rest are done afterwards.
1. Garbhadhan: Conception, or insemination, is called Garbhadhan.
2. Punsavan: This sanskar is performed when the baby is in the womb to nurture his or her intellectual and mental abilities & healthy progeny. It is performed specifically between 8-11 weeks of pregnancy in Pushya Nakshatra. An Ayurvedic herb and medicine including putrajivaka, vatankura, Lakshmana, apamarga, sahachara, etc. have been administered through Nasya vidhi to a pregnant woman on schedule.
3. Simantonnayan: In pregnancy, perform this sanskar in the fourth, sixth, and eighth months to strengthen the bond with the unborn child. This day is associated with baby shower ceremonies. It is held during an auspicious nakshatra (in Indian astrology, a lunar mansion). At the time of pregnancy, due to hormonal changes, a woman has to go through many discomforts which may cause emotional imbalances. Through this ceremony, her emotions and stamina are boosted, preparing her for childbirth. This is done to alleviate her fear of childbirth.
4. Jatkarma: This sanskar is used to remove bad energy from the infant’s environment. Moreover, it provides health and positivity to mother and baby.
5. Namkaran: This sanskar determines the baby’s name. It usually takes place on the 11th day after birth.
6. Nishkraman: Following birth, it is performed during the 4th month. It entails the child’s first outing and witnessing the sunrise and sunset (ritual), as well as seeing the earth’s five elements (blessings).
7. Annaprashan: Semisolid food and Grain can be fed to the child after this sanskara. It is done when the child is teething.
8. Choodakaran / Mundan: An entire head is shaved during this sanskar. The term ‘chooda’ means a tuft of hair that is left over after shaving off all the remaining hair.In addition to strengthening a child’s intellectual capacity, it is also believed to improve the child’s behaviour.
9. Karnvedha: An ear piercing is performed in this sanskara. An ancient belief was that acupuncture on the ear was connected to the brain. It is used to improve the listening skills of children before entering formal education.
10. Upanayana: Parents and teachers shape a child’s personality in the first place. In order to facilitate a closer relationship between the teacher and student, this sanskar has been performed.
11. Vidyarambh/Vedarambh: This ceremony marks the start of the child’s formal education.
12. Samavartan: This graduation ceremony marks the child’s return to social life. Thus, it prepares the child for future challenges.
13. Vivah: It is an important ceremony that marks an individual’s first step into marriage.
14. Vanprasth: A life lived by tapas and studies as one approaches old age.
15. Sanyas: Before leaving the body, a person sheds all sense of responsibility and relationships to realize the timeless truth of the universe.
16. Antyeshti: Antim sanskara means ‘last rites’ and is performed after someone dies.
As part of our program, we emphasize three key synchronization factors: Thoughts, Words, and Actions of prospective parents and their unborn child. A foetus can benefit from yoga, chanting mantra, reading positive literature, eating healthy food, and being cheerful as part of this process. Discover all the tools and techniques you need to shape your womb with full power and immunity. This is our humble attempt to summarise sixteen sanskar from birth to death.