“garbh गर्भ” means “womb” and “AdhAnam आधानम् ” means “placing into”. So placing a seed into the womb is called “garbhAdhAnam गर्भाधानम् “ or “garbhAlambhanam गर्भालम्भनम्” This is the purificatory ceremony performed immediately after marriage to initiate conception of a healthy and good progeny (child) in the womb. It is the first samskArA for a dvija. His life long journey with the vEdAs have already begun even before he enters the womb.
Sage Manu, 2.26
वैदिकै: कर्मभि: पुण्यैर्निषॆकादिर्द्विजन्मनाम्। कार्य: शरीरसम्स्कार: पावन: प्रॆत्य च-इह च ॥
vaidikai: karmabhi: puNyair niShEkAdir dvijanmanAm| kaarya: shareerasamskAra: pAvana: prEtya cha-iha cha |
The ceremony of impregnation (niShEkam) for the dvijAs must be performed sacredly with the vEdic mantrAs. This sanctifies the body at birth and also after death.
ManusmRuti 2.27 says
गार्भैर्हॊमैर्जातकर्मचौडमौञ्जीनिबन्धनै: बैजिकं गार्बिकं चैनॊ द्विजानामपमृज्यते
gaarbhairhOmairjAtakarmachauDamauneenibandhanai: baijikaM gaarbikaM chainO dvijaanaamapamRujyate
The vEdic hOmA rites of garbhAdana (the consecration of the womb), the jAtakarmA (post- natal rite), choodAkaraNa (tonsure), the maunjee bandhana (upanayanam-initiation of the gAyatree) destroys the sins relating to the “seed and the womb” of the twice born ones.
The doer (kartA) of the garbhAdhAna samskAram is the husband. Under the guidance of a priest/hOtRu/pandit, the husband chants special mantrAs in the presence of his wife and for his wife. The couple intelligently and joyfully instill the vEdic samskArAas, right from formation of the womb and thus help the child to ultimately attain the spiritual goal.
When the married couple intend to have a child, the garbhAdhAna samskAram must be performed. (There are views that this samskArA should be done for each child. But it is not prevalent. Most people today do it only once and on the night of the marriage day itself. ).
“garbAdhAnam” has to be done once compulsorily during the “Rutu KAlA”. Ladies can get pregnant during the first 16 days from the start of their mensturation. (monthly periods). This first 16 days is called “RutukAlA”. The garbhAdhAna samskArA can be done on any day from the 5th day to 16th day of menstruation. Your family priest can fix an auspicious day, date and time for this samskArA. The union on even days like 2nd, 4th, 6th,etc will produce a male child and the union on odd days like 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc. will produce a female child. Out of these 16 days, the first 4 days are to be avoided as they are unclean and do not give good children (sat putra).
Sage vyAsA writes in the mahAbhAratA:
रात्रौ चतुर्थ्यां पुत्रस्यादल्पयुर्धन वर्जित:।
पञ्चम्यां पुत्रिणी नारी, षष्ठ्याम् पुत्रस्तु मध्यम: ॥ सप्तम्यामप्रजा यॊषिदष्टम्यामीश्वरस्सुत: । नवम्यां सुभगा नारी दशम्यां च पर: पुमान् (प्रवर: सुत :)॥ एकादश्यामधर्म्या स्त्री द्वादश्यां पुरुषॊत्तम: । त्रयॊदश्यां सुता तत्र वर्णसङ्करकारिणी ॥ धर्मध्वज: कृतज्ञस्स्यादात्मवॆदी दृढव्रत:। प्रजायतॆ चतुर्दश्यां गणौघैर्जगतीपति:॥ राजपत्नी महाभागा राजवंशगता तथा । जायतॆ पञ्चदश्यां तु बहुपुत्रा पतिव्रता ॥ विद्यालक्षणसम्पन्न: सत्यवादी जितॆन्द्रिय: । आश्रयस्सर्वभूतानां षॊडश्यां जायतॆ पुमान् ॥
The union on the 4th night gives a son who will have premature death, the union on the 5th night gives a daughter, the 6th night an average son, the 7th a childless daughter, the 8th night a son with the qualities of IshwarA, the 9th a good daughter, the 10th a son with the qualities of the paramAtmA, the 11th a daughter who does “adharmA” (wrong deeds), the 12th a son like purushOttama, the 13th a prostitute girl, the 14th an austere son who has the knowledge of dharmA and Atma gyAnA, the 15th day a daughter who will have a comfortable life, many children and loved by her husband, the 16th day a son who will love and help all living creatures.
Qoute Reference: 1. nirNaya sindhu: 2. Smriti chandrikA
आपस्तम्ब सूत्रम्, पटल ३, खण्ड ९, खण्डिका १, Apastamba sootram, paTala 3, khaNDa 9, khaNDikA 1.
चतुर्थींप्रभृत्याषॊडशीमुत्तरामुत्तरां युग्मां प्रजानिश्रॆयसमृतुगमनमित्युपदिशन्ति ।
chaturtheeMprabhRutyAShODasheemuttarAmuttarAM yugmAM prajAnishrEyasamRutugamanamityupadishanti |
The union on even nights between the 4th night and the 16th night of the Rutu kAlA period produces an excellent/auspiscious child.
WHICH NAKSHATRA/STAR ?
uttara, uttarAshADha, uttarabhAdrapAda, rohiNee, mrugasheersha, hasta, anurAdhA,shraviShTha, shatabhisha and swAtee nakshatrAs are auspiscious for garbhAdhAnam samskArA. Your priest would advise you in this regard.
WHICH DAYS OF THE WEEK?
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are generally good for garbhAdhAna samskArA. Your priest would advise you in this regard.
garbhAdhAna samskArA is done in ones own home as it is a gruhya smArta karmA. NOT in a temple, a guru or teacher’s house not under a holy tree, not at a teertha (sacred pilgrimage) , a gOShAlA, a crematorium, in the forest, or in the water.
garbhAdhAnam samskArA or niShekA should not be performed in the following conditions.
1. A pregnant woman who is completing her term.
2. A woman who is not interested in the union.
3. A woman who has a disease.
4. A woman whose hair his fully open.
5. A woman who is hungry
6. A woman who has overeaten.
7. Union is not advisable on days like AmAvasYA, Pournami, Ashtami, Chaturdashi, saShTi, EkAdashi, dwAdashi, sankramaNam, janma nakshatrA (birthday) during the day, and during sandhyA kAlAs, all shrAddh days and on any vraTA day . A child conceived on these days will face untimely death or possess dreadful qualities. 8. The union on days other than “rutu kAlA” are also allowed. But the above rules still apply. And if these rules are followed strictly by a gruhasthAn (married man), then he is deemed to have maintained celibacy.
Manusmriti 3.45 says:
ऋतुकालाभिगामि स्यात् स्वदारनिरत: सदा । पर्ववर्जं व्रजॆच् च-ऎनां तद् व्रतॊ रतिकाम्यया ॥
RutukAlAbhigAmi syAt svadAranirata: sadA | parvavarjaM vrajEch cha-EnAM tad vratO ratikAmyayA |
Union other than for garbhAdhAnam purpose is allowed, but not on the days of the parvans. (the full moon and the new moon days)
The family priest/pandit/vAdyAr/hOtru/bruhaspati should be requested to conduct this samskAram for you. The procedure according to shAstrAs is outlined here. There may be slight differerences according to gruhya sootrAs.
An attempt to outline the procedure given in the Apastamba gruhya sootrA prescribed for yajUr vEdis is made below:-
In the Morning:
1.nitya karmA नित्य कर्मा – In the morning the husband (kartA) must perform his sandhyAvandanam and AupAsanam as usual.
2. The priest arrives and conducts the following :- 3.anugyA अनुज्ञा – He must then give tamboolam ( a tray with betel leaves, betel nuts, saffron and fruits) with dakshiNai (a satisfying sum of money) to brAhmAnAs well versed in the vedas and take “anugyai” (permission and blessing) from them.
4.Rutu shAnti japa karmA: ऋतु शन्ति जप कर्मा
Sankalpam:-(undertaking done with a prayer) is done by telling the names of the cosmic space and time, the earthly place, season, day, time, gotrA, and astrological details like star, rAsi,etc..The star on the date of the Rutu (onset of menstruation), time, etc. are also mentioned here. Kumbha pratishTha – Then, the following things are arranged:- One big glass of rice or wheat or til is spread on a banana leaf, then a thread is tied around the body of a kalash/kudam ( made of copper or silver). Then the kalash is filled with water by uttering the vyAhrutis. Then, one stem of mango leaves are kept on the kalash and then a coconut. Lord VaruNA is invited to be seated on the kalash (AvAhanam) and the Vedic brahmanAs then chant many vedic hymns and sUktAs on all the devatAs. By this, the kartA is requesting the dEvatAs to remove all impurities (doshAs) and grant happiness to the couple. Then Lord varuNA and Lord vishnU are seen off with due respect (udvAsanam). So, the water in the kalash is now sanctified by so many mantrAs. A prOkshanam (sprinkling on the head) of this energized water is given to the couple. Then the kalash water is poured fully on the wife purifying her to receive “garbhAdhAnam”.
5. HOma: हॊम: –
“Ajya bhAgam” आज्य भागं otherwise called “mukhAntam” is done to please agni and sOmA. Agni is called the “mukha” or mouth of the dEvAs, because it is he who carries the Ahootis fortified by the mantrAs to the dEvAs. As part of this karmA, the “ghee आज्य” and “vessels पात्र ” to be used for the karmA are purified and placed in proper directions with specific mantrAs. This is called “pAtra sAdhanam पात्र साधनम् ” and then Ajya hOmAs are done. “jayATi hOmam” जयादि हॊम:Those dEvatAs who grant victory are called jayAdi dEvatAs. There are around 60 of them. To name a few, they are siddham, siddhi, viShNu, agni gandharva, Adi apsaras, brahmA, prajApati, yagya gandharva, nakshatra apsaras, chandramA gandharva, manas gandharvas, riksAma gandharva, mrutyu gandharva, Oshadi apsaras, and many more. Ajya Ahutis are given in the name of these jayAdis. The hOmAs require samidh, (sacrificial sticks of peepal /banyan tree), some cooked rice and ghee to be sacrificed into the fire. A brAhmanA is made to take the seat of “BrahmA” to overlook and bless these hOmams. Then dakshiNai ( a satisfying sum of money ) is given to all the brAhmaNAs for having conducted the Rutu shanti japas and the hOmams. The main priest is then given “SambhAvanA सम्भावना “, a satisfying sum of money with due respects. All this is done before noon.
6. In the Evening:
The kartA has to do his nitya karmA, sandhyAvandanam and AupAsanam as usual. At night, the couple should eat ksheerAnnam (rice cooked with milk and sugar). The pandit/priest conducts “garbhAdhAna samAvEshana” with mantrAs.
The following mantrAs from the kRushNa yajur vEdA, EkAgni kANDa, prashna 1, khanDa 13 are the defining mantrAs of this samskArA.
कृष्ण यजुर् वॆद, एकाग्नि काण्डे, प्रथम प्रश्ने, त्रयॊदश: खण्ड:
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viShNuryoniM kalpayatu tvaShTA roopANi pigMshatu A sinchatu prajApatir dhAtA garbhaM dadhAtu tE | garbhaM dhehi sineevAli garbhaM dhehi sarasvati | garbhaM te ashvinau devavAdhattAm puShkarasrajA | hiraNyayee araNee yaM nirmanthato ashvinA | taM tE garbhagM havAmahe dashame mAsi sootave | yathEyaM pRuthivee mahee tiShThantee garbhaM mAdadhE | EvaMtvaM garbhamAdhatthsva dashamE maasi sootavE | yathApRuthivyagnigarbhAdyowryathEndrENa garbhiNee | vAyu: yathAdishAM garbhaM EvaM garbhaM dadhAmitE | viShNO: shrEShThEna roopENa asyAM nAryAM gaveenyAm pumAgMsaM garbha mAdhEhi dashamE maasi sootavE | nEjamESha parApata suputra: punarApata | asyaimai putrakAmAyai garbha mAdhEhi ya: pumAn vyasyayOni pratirEta: gRuhANa pumAn putrO dheeyatAM garbhO anta: | tanmAtA dashamAsO birbhartu sajAyatAM veera tamasvAnAM | AtE garbhO yOnimEtu pumAnbANa ivEShudhiM | Aveera: jAyatAM putrastE dashamAsya:
The meaning of the mantrAs :
I pray to viShNu, who is the foundation of this universe, to prepare the womb and make it fit for garbhAdhAnam. May the creater brahmA sow the seed through me, may the dhAtA cause fertilisation of the seed and may the tvaShTA make the body parts and give a beautiful form to our child. May Saraswati bless the child with knowledge, May the two ashwins (the 2 physicians of the Lord), who wear a garland of lotuses plant in thee an embryo properly. Just as the Earth produces crops may you produce good children. Let us, be strong and live long and produce children who will live long with virility. May you produce sat putrAs. (good children). I, an incarnation of the paramAtmA, crave for a boy child for the happiness of my pitrUs ( manes/ancestors). May we produce children of good beauty and prosperity. May we donate to the poor and achieve mOkshA. May our body be strong enough to produce strong children. May you get pregnant and hold the foetus carefully.. Hey! vishnO: may she deliver the child in her 10th month without being aborted, without having any defects. Dear wife, may you take in my power and hold the child for 10 months and deliver a righteous child. And may you have many more children after.
Meanings given here may not be exhaustive. The vEdAs are so prodigious that when recited, a change in intonation alone is capable of altering the meaning. We have attempted to give a simple and straight meaning here. There may be hidden meanings at the gross and subtle level which is why the vedAs are called vEda rahasyAs.
7. sambhOgam/niShEkam: सम्भॊगम्/निषेकम्
–After this the couple can go ahead with the “sambhOgam” ie. the union. Some mantrAs are also uttered by another Brahmin who sits outside the room during the union.
1. The husband and wife must be decorated with scents/flowers. 2. A lamp must be lit nearby. 3. If it is the first union, the sacred thread must be worn as “YagyOpaveetham” itself. If not, the sacred thread must be worn like a garland but hanging at the back. 4. Noble thoughts must flow between the couple. Both must be healthy in body and mind. They should not be underfed or overfed. 5. If it is the first union, the husband must have a bath immediately after. Otherwise after cleansing, an Achamanam is enough and after which he must sleep separately.
8. nAndee shrArddham नान्दी श्राद्धम्
The next day after nitya karmA, a nAndi shrArddham is performed and the garbhAdhAnA samskArA is over. The nAndee mukha pitrUs are those who bless us when we do any auspicious samskArA or “shubha kArya शुभ कार्यम् “. Unlike the pitru tarpaNam which we do for our dead ancestors, here, til is not used, only shObhana akshata शॊभन अक्षत is used. (raw rice mixed with wet turmeric/haldi powder). There is no prAcheenAveetam here. The word “nAndee mukha” is prefixed while doing tarpaNam.
There are 3 ways of doing nAndee shrAddham ranked from best to last.
uttamam anna roopa nAndee shrAddham उत्तमम् अन्न रूप नान्दी श्राद्धम् madhyamam Ama roopa nAndee shrAddham मध्यमम् आम रूप नान्दी श्राद्धम् charamam hiraNya roopa nAndee shrAddham चरमम् हिरण्य रूप नान्दी श्राद्धम्
1. Anna roopa shrAddham is the best as it is complete in all respects. According to the rules of shrAdham, the HOmA is done, brAhmaNAs are invited, pitrus are invoked on them, annam (cooked meal ) is served to them and duly honoured with dhotis, tAmbookam and dakshiNA.
2. If the above is not possible, then Ama roopa shrAddham should be done. Here, the brAhmanas are invoked and honoured with uncooked rice and raw banana in a plantain leaf, tAmboolam, dhOti and dakshiNA.
3. If the above is also not possible, atleast a hiraNya roopa shrAddham must be done where a generous amount of money is gifted to brAhmaNAs. (remember – “hiraNya” means “gold”)
9. brushaspati sambhAvana: –The priest is honoured with due gifts or a satisfying some of money and seen off with respect.