Garbha Sanskar – Pregnancy Tips for a Healthy Baby

Every culture in the world has words of advice for expectant mothers, because it is known that the unborn baby grows not just physically, but also mentally & even spiritually when it is in the womb itself. Bharat is the land where Sanatan Dharma breathes and lives. Sanatan means Eternal. Like our Dharma is eternal, our soul too is eternal. We believe that this life of ours has only one main goal – that of returning to the Supreme One. Every action of ours is linked to that goal and whether we return to a life form again and again or get Moksha is dependant on our actions. In such a scenario is there anything that we can do to see to it that we can make this life a more comfortable, more successful place for our children? Yes, we can … read on …

A WhatsApp message which I read was about a study on Jews & it threw up some exciting results. As per that research, expectant Jewish mothers take a few steps to see to it that the Jewish race remains among the most intelligent race in the world. As most of you must be knowing, Jews control nearly 70% of the world trade and business in almost every industry. According to the research, pregnant Jewish mothers always solve mathematics problems throughout their pregnancy. They also play a musical instrument like the piano or violin, especially classical music, because this activates the brain in the unborn baby too. Their food includes protein rich almonds, dates and milk, fruits before the meal instead of after the meal, avoidance of meat and a complete abstinence (prevention) of cigarettes. As many readers must know, one cigarette is supposed to destroy 10,000 cells in the brain; so imagine the harm it would cause to the unborn child.

In our Sanatan Dharm too, we always had Sanskaars which help the soul in having an exemplary life. In the 7th month we have the Seemantham or the Godh Barai, where elders bless the pregnant woman to have a healthy child. The rituals are believed to help the child in leading a healthy and virtuous life. Seemantham is a religious ceremony performed by most South Indian Hindus. It is performed to protect and nurture the mom-to-be and the baby in her womb. The priest chants mantras and a holy grass (Darbe) is immersed in water to transfer medicinal and holy properties in the water. A special paste is made with tender banyan leaves. This is poured into the right nostril of the pregnant mom with a silk cloth. After this, a porcupine quill is scratched lightly from mom’s head towards the navel. The idea is that the holy paste can travel from the nostril to the womb. Then the ‘theertha’ (holy water) is poured on the mom-to-be. It is said that this is beneficial for both the mom-to-be and the baby in her womb.

For those who are unable to do this elaborate ritual, the mother-to-be is decked with flowers and elders fill her ‘godh’ (laps) with rice, coconut, fruits, gold, etc. Usually this is done for the first pregnancy, but Garbha Sanskars ie. following of good thoughts and deeds is done for all pregnancies. Listening to Shlokas, reading Stotras to Shiva and Tripurasundari, reading the Baal Kaanda of the Ramayana – all help in having a healthy, virtuous baby. Listening to stories of divine children, keeping a happy mind, eating good food, all help the mother and the baby. Reciting or listening to the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and other holy texts, especially in Sanskrit, help in enhancing the brain functions of the unborn child too.

Some Stories Of Pregnant Mothers & Their Children In Our Scriptures

PRAHALAD : Prahalad was the son of the Asura, Hiranyakashipu. His mother, Kayadu was of the Naga race. While she was pregnant, Hiranyakashipu had gone to do Tapasya to gain more power and immortality. When Indra, the King of the Gods came to capture Hiranyakashipu’s kingdom, Narada Muni took away Kayadu, to his ashrama. There he kept telling Kayadu stories of Mahavishnu’s Lilas and greatness, and spoke about how to achieve Moksha. More than Kayadu, the unborn child kept hearing this and imbibed all this knowledge. This great soul yearned for Vishnu Paada and when he was born, he became Mahavishnu’s greatest Bhakt.

ASHTAVAKRA : Ashtavakra’s father Kahola (Kahoda) was a great sage. He was learned in the Vedas and used to recite them everyday and perform great yagnas. Once when his wife Sujata was pregnant, Kahola happened to recite some shlokas of the Vedas incorrectly. The child in the womb of Sujata corrected his father & Kahola was so upset that in a fit of rage, he cursed his unborn son to be born with 8 bends in his body. The child, born as Ashtavakra, went on to become a BrahmaRishi, thanks to having imbibed and having contemplated on the knowledge of the Vedas in his mother’s womb itself. He was Guru to King Janaka – a Raja Sannyasi and the father of Sita.

ABHIMANYU : Arjuna, the Maharathi of the Mahabharata, the wielder of the Gandiva, was a dear friend of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna married off his sister, Subhadra, to Arjuna. Once, the pregnant Subhadra was listening to Arjuna tell her about the war tactics and formations. He told her about the Chakravyuh and how to enter this formation. The unborn Abhimanyu was also listening to him. But by the time Arjuna started telling about how to come out of the Chakravyuh formation, both Subhadra and the unborn baby had gone to sleep, and Sri Krishna took away Arjun for some other discussions. Thus the unborn baby only knew the secret of breaking and entering the Chakravyuh Rachna but not how to exit it. During the Mahabharata war, this resulted in the death of Abhimanyu, who managed to break the Chakravyuh formation and enter it, but could not exit it. The Kauravas killed him ruthlessly by surrounding him from all sides and attacking him together. (While many wrongly say that Sri Krishna purposely did not want Abhimanyu to over-shadow Arjuna and that was why he took away Arjuna, the fact is that Abhimanyu was an incarnation of the son of Chandra – the Moon God, and Chandra had taken the boon that his son would be able to come back to him from the mortal world by the time he completed 16 years of age. It was fate.)

Dear Mothers-to-be, do teach your children the Samskaras right from before they arrive in this mortal plane. You are the first teacher of your children … teach them good values. Eat good food, take good rest and keep yourself happy always. As is proved through research, intake of Alcohol and Tobacco is considered harmful for the unborn baby. It could lead in premature births and/or children having lesser birth weight. Addictive substances like Drugs could make the unborn child also addicted to the substances. In such cases miscarriage and child fatalities are also reported. Regarding eating non-vegetarian food, it is now proven that non-vegetarian food takes longer to digest and in case of pregnant mothers, digestion, acidity and increased chances of blood pressure and diabetes is a problem, especially in the third trimester. It is always advisable to eat fresh food, which is easy to digest and is light on the stomach. Eating spicy, oily food is not advisable. Do not forget to have food rich in proteins, calcium, iron, vitamins which help the mother and the mental and physical growth of the baby. Traditionally in India moms-to-be are given curds set in a silver dish (if possible) during the day and hot milk with Kesar in it, during the night.

Fathers and other family members can also contribute to the welfare of the mother and child by giving them a loving environment. A better future for your family and Bharat begins with you. Vande Mataram !!! Jai Hind !!!

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About the Author

Rati Hegde
Rati Hegde is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.