What is Garbhadhana Samskara?
According to Varnashrama (the civilized society) the civilized people in society would perform the purificatory ritual before conceiving a child. This ritual is more or less seeking the blessings of all the family members, friends, well wishers and ultimately the Supreme Lord VishnuOne of the trimurtiThe three main deities, BrahmaThe creator (or, some say, secondary creator); one of the trimurti, three main deities in this world. (the creator), Vishnu (the sustainer), and Mahesh, or Shiva (the destroyer).; the sustainer. Often identified with the Supreme Deity. (or Krishna) to get a good child in the family. This is performed the day husband and wife decide to unite for conceiving a child. In civilized society and espcially in cultured families, the birth of child was never an accident due to unrestricted indulgence in so called free sex life – even between duly married husband and wife. There is no question of performing this ritual for unmarried boys and girls staying together without being married and indulging in sex life. That is not supported in civilized society of Varnashram.
Garbhadhana Samskara"mental impression"; it refers to the various rites of passage. according to Vedas:
The ritual Garbhadana is called by Sankhayana Grihya SutraLiterally "thread"; an aphorism that can be unpacked almost unlimitedly to yield profound truths. as Chaturtikarma. It says that after three days have lapsed after the marriage ceremony on the fourth day the husband makes an offering of cooked food to eight deities, namely, AgniThe god of fire, particularly prominent in the Vedic period., VayuThe deity in charge of air and the wind. His offspring, such as HanumanThe monkey-like deity; he is a devotee of Rama, but also worshiped in his own right., tend to be physically very strong., SuryaThe Sun, worshipped by the Smarta traditions and also by the chanting of the GayatriThe mantra chanted thrice daily by brahmanas; a wife of Brahma.-mantra., Aryaman, VarunaGod of the waters, akin to Neptune. More prominent during the VedicConnected to, or derived from, the Vedas. Specifically, the period when the four Vedas were compiled. period., Pusan, Prajapati"progenitor"; the higher beings who were responsible for populating the world. and Svistakrt. He then pounds the root of ADHYANDA plant and extracting its juice pours it into the nostrils of his wife. Then just before consummating the union he touches her,with saying
The mouth of Gandharva Visvavasu art thou
Then he murmurs into her ears
Into the breath I put the sperm Oh! My ( he repeats the name of his wife)
Or he may repeat other verses prescribed.
The prayer mainly was for a male child. He may otherwise repeat verses from the Brihadaranya upanishadOne of the four sections of the Vedas.They are highly philosophical and identified with Vedanta which say
As the earth has fire inside it, as heaven has Indira inside it, as the wind is inside ( as the embryo of) the quarters, so do I plant a Garbha in three, Oh! (he repeats the name of his wife). The upanishad also has passages to the effect that that after three days have lapsed after menstruation when the wife has taken her bath she pounds rice. It is then cooked together with various ingredients. The ingredients vary when the couple desire for a fair, dark, or brown son or a scholarly daughter. The husband then offers clarified butter through fire. He also eats a portion of the food prepared and gives some to his wife. He then sprinkles water on her thrice saying
Rise, Oh Visvavasu, seek another blooming girl with her husband. He embraces her and says :
I am Ama. Thou art Sa. Thou art Sa. I am Ama. I am the Saman. Thou art Rk. I am the sky, though art the earth. Come, let us strive together so that a male child may be born to us. Even as they unite he repeats mantras that mean .May Vishnu make ready your conception channel. May Tvasta frame your beauty. May Prajapati sprinkle and may Dhata implant an embryo into you. . Oh , Sinivali! Oh, Prthustuka! Implant embryo in her. May the two aswins who wear a garland of lotuses plant in thee an embryo., etc.
Atreya holds in Hiranyakesi Grihya Sutra that mantras were to be repeated at union between a husband and wife throughout life. Badarayana however says that this is necessary only when the union is first consummated, and when they unite again after each menstrual cycle. The Vaikhanasa Smarta Sutra calls this ceremony as RTUSAMGAMANA.
If one is not purified by the process of the seed giving ceremony, or garbhadhana samskara he is immediately classified amongst the sudras because only the sudras do not undergo this purificatory process.
The pious seminal succession in the twice born families of the brahmanasOne of the four main divisions in the Vedas themselves. and ksatriyas especially, as well as in the families of vaisyas also, must be kept very pure by the observation of the purificatory process (samksaras) beginning with garbhadhana samskara, which is observed before conceiving a child. Unless this purificatory process is strictly observed, especially by the brahmanas, the family descendents become impure, and gradually sinful activities become visible in the family.
It is to be concluded that while conceiving a child one’s mind must be very sober and devotional. For this purpose the garbhadhana samskara is recommended in the Vedic scriptures.
After the marriage the newly wedded couple should observe Brahmacarya for three days, sleeping on the earth. On the fourth day, the couple go to the husband’s house and caturthi homaAnother name for havanThe sacred fire ceremony dating back to Vedic times, but still used in many ceremonies/rites of passage. is performed. After this, during the day time, the preliminaries for the first garbhadhana samskara may be performed, taking into consideration the suitable and forbidden times . It may also be performed after six or twelve nights, or after one year. The rules for time and the samskara should be observed thereafter whenever the desire for sex and children arises. To say the least, each sex act must be carefully planned in advance, by use of intelligence, using the scriptural injunctions, and not determined by lust alone.
Before engaging in sexual intercourse, both the husband and the wife must consider their mental condition, the particular time, the husband’s direction and obedience to the demigods.
The union of man and wife should take place neither during the day nor during the sandhyas (daybreak and twilight). Daytime is of course the time when man should carry out his duties: waking bathing, meditating, worshipping the Supreme Lord, studying scripture, chanting japaThe practice of reciting mantras quietly or silently on prayer beads., serving the deity, carrying out household duties, welcoming guests etc. Sandhyas should only be utilized for chanting gayatri mantra and meditating on the Lord. As well, Prasnopanisad says that a man reduces his life span by having sexual relations during the day. One who performs during the night is considered to be brahmacari (ie he maitains his strength).
pranamObeisance, usually offered by placing together the palms and bowing the head. va ete skandanti ye diva ratya samyujyante
brahmacaryam eva tad ya ratrau ratya samyujyante
According to Asvalayana Smrti from the end of the evening sandhya up until midnight is allowed:
Numbering the nights from the start of the menses of the woman, then at least the first four nights are forbidden for sexual activity. Kalaprakasika, states that the first day is fatal for the husband,the second day is fatal for the wife, the third day causes abortion and the fourth day impairs the power of the father and produces a short lived son bereft of good habits.
The recommended period is six days after the mensturation period.
This is celebrated from the day of menses, in the 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th or 16th day for the birth of the son, or in the 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th or 15th day for the birth of daughter. The following are elected for an auspicious mahurtha.
The eleventh and thirteenth nights are also forbidden, as the offspring produced will be of bad quality. The remaining ten days are permitted, and the later nights are favored. Even numbered nights favor male children, and uneven numbers favor female children. Sexual union after the sixteenth night is also forbidden.
Favorable TithiThe lunar day, a thirtieth part of the lunar month, by which festival dates are calculated. – 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13
Sexual union must also be avoided on days of vrataVow; women especially take vows, often related to fasting. Vows are also taken at initiation. and fasting, such as ekadasi, and on the parva days (full moon, dark moon, astami and caturdasi tithis, as well as sankranti, when the sun passes into a new zodiac sign) when the body is in weak condition, and the days when the moon passes throught the same naksatra as at ones birth.
WEEKDAY – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Saturday, Tuesday and Sunday should be avoided being ruled by malefic planets,saturn, Mars and Sun.
Uttara, uttarashada, uttarabhadra, mrigasira, dhanishtta, hasta, anuradha, rohini, swathi, sravana, satabhisha. The asterisms of secondary importance are aswini, chitra, punarvasu & pushyami. The remaining 12 asterisms should be rejected.
contact should be avoided when the moon is in the following constellations: bharani, krttika, ardra, aslesa, magha, purvaphalguni, visakha, jyestha, purvasada, purvabhadra
The odd signs for those who wish for sons & even signs for those who wish for daughter may be chosen. It would be better to reject the 8th lagna of ones birth sign or birth lagna. The birth asterism of the bride & bridegroom are disfavored.
Best signs are taurus, gemini, cancer leo, virgo, libra and pisces according to Kala Prakasika.
Proper Planetary Combinations:
In addition to the above , the man and woman who desire proper, harmonious, sexual relations between themselves, and desire healthy, intelligent, spiritual children, should with knowledge choose an auspicious day, hour and moment for their union. Malefic planets (saturn, mars, sun) should not afflict the ascendent/lagna, kendras, or trikona, by occupation or aspect, and benefics, particularly jupiter should be strongly situated in rasi and navamsa charts. Kala Prakasika says it is better if the ascendent and eighth house are free of planets. If the above are considered when choosing a proper time pleasant union and good offspring are assured.
1. The malefic planets viz. sun, mars, Saturn, rahu/ketu should be in the places 3, 6, 11.
2. The benefic planets viz. mercury, Venus, Jupiter & the waxing moon should be in 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10.
3. The lagna may be aspected by the masculine planets, viz. sun, mars & Jupiter.
4. The moon is preferred in the odd sign or odd navamsa.
5. The birth of a daughter is probable, if the moon Venus aspects the lagna.
6. The prime importance is given to Jupiter’s occupancy of lagna, 5th or 9th.
Other Forbidden Times:
As soon as the wife is pregnant, no more sex life until the child is born and is grown up at least for six months. After that one may have sex life on the same principle. If one does not want more than one or two children, he should voluntarily stop sex life. One should not use any contraceptive method and at the same time indulge in sex life. That is very much sinful.
Sex Once a Month:
Amongst the permissable days during one month for sexual union, only one day can be chosen for the act. If the couple are desirous of having children, the husband is encouraged to approach his wife once every month, provided the times are auspicious, until preganancy occurs. Then he should stop.
The husband must satisfy himself only with his wife, with no one else or by any other means. The husband who thinks of anyone other than his wife reduces his life span and receives birth in a body without bones, trapped in the womb and bitten by insects.
The husband should approach his wife in his own house, in a clean room, on a clean, wide, unbroken bed; not in a temple, a guruA spiritual teacher; a regular teacher may also be called guru. or teacher’s or vaisnava’s house, not under a holy tree, not at a tirthaLiterally "ford." A holy place, where one can cross over to the other side i.e. attain liberation., a gosala, a crematorium, in the forest, or in the water.
Condition of Body and Mind:
The husband should be free from the influence of intoxicants, should be bathed, nicely scented, garlanded, healthy, free from anxieties, and both affectionate or considerate, and passionate.
The wife should be bathed, free from anger, in good spirits, in good health, neither underfed or overfed and desirous of her husband. She should have no longing for, sexual relation with anyone else. She should not be pregnant, nor should she have recently borne a child.
Bathing After the Act:
It is recommended to take bath after the act.