“ jAta” means “immediately after birth” and “karma” means “action”. As soon as a child is born, the first samskAram to be performed is जातकर्मा/जातकर्मन् jAtakarmA / jAtakarman.
jAtakarmA is performed:
1. to generate intelligence or wisdom for the child. (मॆधाजनन medhAjanana)
2. to secure long life for the child. (आयुष्य Ayushya )
3. to seek the blessings from dEvatAs and the nAndee pitRUs.
4. to ward off evils and diseases that may affect the child.
ManusmRuti 2.27 says
गार्भैर्हॊमैर्जातकर्मचौडमौञ्जीनिबन्धनै: बैजिकं गार्बिकं चैनॊ द्विजानामपमृज्यते
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 kartA of this samskAra is the father of the new born child. The priest initiates this karmA. Most of the procedures in this samskArA are prescribed mainly for the male child.
AshvalAyana gRuhya sootram, adhyAya 1, kaNDikA 15, Verse 12
आवृतैव कुमार्यै ।
The rite should be performed without the mantra.
So the jAtakarmA rite should be performed even for the girl child but with some changes in the mantrAs which the priest would know.
1. jAtakarma is performed as soon as the male child is born but before the navel string is cut.
The pAraskara gruhya sootrA (shukla yajur vedis), khaNDa 1, khaNDikA 16
जातस्य कुमारस्याच्छिन्नायां नाड्यां मेधाजननायुष्ये करोति ।
jAtasya kumArasyAchChinnAyAM nADyAM medhAjananAyuShyE karOti |
When the boy child is born, the father performs the rite of medhAjanana (production of intelligence) and the AyuShya (seeking long life) for the child, before the navel string is cut off.
2. If it is not posssible to perform this samskArA immediately after birth, then it can be performed before the end of the day of the birth of the boy child.
जातॆ पुत्रॆ पिता स्नात्वा पुत्र तॆश दिनान्तरम् ।
मुच्यते पैतृकात्तस्मात् सद्य एव द्विजॊत्तमा: ||
तत्र दानं प्रकुर्वीतं यथाशक्तयनुसारत:
jAtE putrE pitA snAtvA putra tEsha dinAntaram | muchyate paitRukAttasmAt sadya eva dvijOttamA: || tatra dAnaM prakurveetaM yathAshaktayanusArata: |
On the birth of a son, the father should have a bath and do nAndeee shrAddham and give dAnaM (gifts) following the rules of the dvijAs, according to his ability within that day.
It is performed in the house where the parents of the new born child live as it is a gruhya smArta karmA.
The debt towards the pitRus is cancelled as soon as a boy is born. The day the boy is born, pitRus visit the house and bless the family. So doing nAndi shrArdham and dAnam before the umblical cord is cut brings eternal good results.
VashiShTa SmrRuti, Chapter 17, Verse 1
ऋणमस्मिन् सन्नयति अमृतत्वञ्च गच्छति । पिता पुत्रस्य जातस्य पश्यॆच्च जीवतॊ मुखम् ॥
RuNamasmin sannayati amRutatvancha gachChati |
pitA putrasya jAtasya pashyEchcha jeevatO mukham ||
The father throws his debts on his son and acquires immortality as soon as he sees the face of a son born alive.
The following is the procedure described in the Apastamba sootram, PaTala 6, khaNDa 15. The priest conducts the function.
1. The father of the child must have a bath immediately on hearing that his son is born. He must then give gifts (dAnam) according to his varnAshramaA. anugyai is taken and vignEshwara pooja is performed.
2. अभिमर्शनं abhimarshanam :- सू.१ ” जातं वात्सप्रॆणाभिमृश्य”
“abhimarshanam” here means to touch the child. The father repeats after the priest/pandit the following 11 mantrAs given by “vatsapree Rushi” found in the “taittireeya samhitA, kANDA 4, prashna 2, anuvAkA 12” and then touches the child for the first time. These mantrAs are in praise of “agni dEvatA” which are normally recited in the morning and evening by an agnihOtri in the normal course. Here the father of the son prays to agni and seeks his blessings first because he is the most important of the vedic gods in virtue of being the only carrier of messages to all the other dieties, to bless the child and grant him and his family with eternal strength like that of His.
1. ÌSýuÉxmÉËUþ mÉëjÉýqÉgeÉþ¥Éå AýÎalÉUýxqÉÎSè²ýiÉÏrÉÇý mÉËUþ eÉÉiÉuÉãþSÉ: | iÉ×ýiÉÏrÉþqÉnxÉÑ lÉ×ýqÉhÉÉý AeÉþxÉëýÍqÉlkÉÉþlÉ LlÉgeÉUiÉã xuÉÉýkÉÏ: |
1. Oh! agni in the sky, you first appeared as sun, then came to earth as agni. In sea, it is present as pAdapAgni. If we pray to agni in all these three forms, agni bhagavAn blesses us. So let me daily keep the agni glowing with my sacrificial offerings.
2. Oh! agni, you have many names like gArhapatyam, Ahavaneeya, dakshinAgni. We also want to understand your place of origin when you come down in the form of lightening.
3. Oh! agni, you are the one in the sea, in the water and the one in tejOmandalam in honour of whom the vEdis do yAgam. I also join them in increasing your brilliance.
4. Oh! agni, you are the one in the sky that protects the clouds and the trees without increasing your heat. Your rays give life’s joy to the world.
5. Oh! agni, you are eternal, you wipe away sins (pApa). agni is made for the benefit of mankind, with dhoomam he doesn’t affect our eyes, jvAlA glowing upwards.
6. agni is instrumental for the formation of clouds in the sky. As soon as agni is born, he pervades the sky. He is very pivotal for the world to sustain and he is worshipped by all the four rithviks.
7. agni is the one that makes yAgam secure, gives wealth right from cows and is the thunder while it rains, who glows in the agnihotri’s homam and who comes out of arani when churned.
8. Oh! agni who has great tejas, who accepts havis(offering), and who is ever youthful, bestow your best of blessings on the “yajamAnA” (the kartA of the Homa).
9. Oh! agni, make me sincere in the practice of the vaidika shAstrAs. May my service towards agni and sooryA bless me with sons and grandsons.
10. The hOtris (those who do yAgam) live only with your help as they sincerely perform yAgAs and do other prescribed karmas only to show their obeisance to you. They pray to you for providing strength and material wealth to continue to do their karmAs well.
11. SØýzÉÉýlÉÉã ÂýYqÉ EýurÉÉï urÉþ±Éæ¬ÒýqÉïwÉïýqÉÉrÉÑþÎx´ÉýrÉã ÂþcÉÉlÉ: | AýÎalÉUýqÉ×iÉÉãþ ApÉuÉý²rÉÉãþÍpÉýrÉïSãþlÉýl±ÉæUeÉþlÉrÉjxÉÑýUãiÉÉÿ: ||
11. Oh! agni, the one who glows like gold. Nobody dares to disrespect you who has become eternal by accepting the havis (offering). The dwellers of the devaloka say you are endowed with strong virility.
3. Taking the child in the lap:- सू.१ “उत्तरॆण यजुषॊपस्थ आधाय”
The following mantrA is recited to take the child in the lap.
AýÎxqÉ³ÉýWûóèxÉýWûxÉëþÇ mÉÑwrÉÉýqrÉãkÉþqÉÉlÉýxxuÉã uÉzÉãÿ ||
May the child grow up freely and fulfill my wishes.
4. सू.१, २ , ३, – ” उत्तराभ्यामाभिमन्त्रणं मूर्धन्यवघ्राणं दक्षिणॆ कर्णे जाप: ।” नक्षत्रनाम च निर्दिशति । तद्रहस्यं ।”
The father then smells the forhead of the son and tells the name of the nakshatrA/star in which the baby was born in the right ear of the baby secretely. The mantrAs uttered here are:-
A…¡ûÉþS…¡ûÉýjxÉÇpÉþuÉÍxÉý ™SþrÉÉýSÍkÉþ eÉÉrÉxÉå | AÉýiqÉÉ uÉæ mÉÑþ§ÉýlÉÉqÉÉþÍxÉý xÉ eÉÏuÉ zÉýUSþzzÉýiÉqÉç ||
AzqÉÉþ pÉuÉ mÉUýzÉÑpÉïþuÉý ÌWûUþhrÉýqÉxiÉ×þiÉÇ pÉuÉ | mÉýzÉÔlÉÉÇ iuÉÉþ ÌWûlMüÉýUãhÉÉýÍpÉÎeÉþbÉëÉqrÉxÉÉæ ||
Oh! little one. You are born from each of my body part and from my heart. You are named “putrA” and you are a part of my soul (AtmA). May you live for hundred years (autumns), be so stable like a stone (sthiravAn) and blemishless like gold. As the cows smells the calf, I do the same. This is your nakshatrA/star like rOhiNee, rEvatee, chaitra, etc.etc.
5. मॆधाजनन mEdhAjananam :-
सू.४ – मधुघृतमिति संसृज्य तस्मिन् दर्भॆण हिरण्यं निष्टर्क्यं बध्वाऽवदायॊत्तरैर्मन्त्रै: कुमारं प्राशयित्वॊत्तराभि: पञ्चभि: स्नापयित्वा दधिघृतमिति संसृज्य कांस्यॆन पुषदाज्यं व्याहृतीभिरॊन्कार चतुर्थाभि: कुमारं प्राशयित्वा उद्भिश्शॆषं संसृज्य गॊष्ठॆ निनयॆत् ।
(a) The father mixes together little honey and ghee in equal parts. He then dips a piece of gold (a golden ring or a small golden cup) which he has tied with a noose to a Darbha/kusA grass into the mixture and gives it to the child to eat. He says the following mantrAs before that:
qÉãýkÉÉliÉãþ SãýuÉxxÉþÌuÉýiÉÉ qÉãýkÉÉÇ SãýuÉÏ xÉUþxuÉiÉÏ | qÉãýkÉÉliÉãþ AýÍµÉlÉÉæþ SãýuÉÉuÉÉkÉþ¨ÉÉÇý mÉÑwMüþUxÉëeÉÉ ||
iuÉÌrÉþ qÉãýkÉÉÇ iuÉÌrÉþ mÉëýeÉÉÇ iuÉrrÉýÎalÉxiÉãeÉÉãþ SkÉÉiÉÑý iuÉÌrÉþ qÉãýkÉÉÇ iuÉÌrÉþ mÉëýeÉÉÇ iuÉrÉÏlSìþ CÎlSìýrÉÇ SþkÉÉiÉÑý
iuÉÌrÉþ qÉãýkÉÉÇ iuÉÌrÉþ mÉëýeÉÉÇ iuÉÌrÉý xÉÔrÉÉãïý pÉëÉeÉÉãþ SkÉÉiÉÑ ||
Meaning: May savitA dEvA bless the child with intelligence. May Saraswati dEvee grant wisdom. My the ashwini devatAs wearing tAmarasa garland confer intelligence to you . May agni dEvatA also confer intelligence and progeny on you. May IndrA also bless you thus and so also Soorya dEvatA.
(b) The following mantrAs are recited and the child is given the bath for the first time.
¤ÉãýÌ§ÉýrÉæ iuÉÉý ÌlÉUç GþirÉæ iuÉÉ SìÓýWûÉã qÉÑþgcÉÉÍqÉý uÉÂþhÉxrÉý mÉÉzÉÉþiÉç | AýlÉÉýaÉxÉÇý oÉë¼þhÉã iuÉÉ MüUÉãÍqÉ ÍzÉýuÉã iÉãý ±uÉÉþmÉ×ÍjÉýuÉÏ
EýpÉå CýqÉã || zÉliÉãþ AýÎalÉxxÉýWûÉÎ°UþxiÉÑý zÉÇ ±ÉuÉÉþmÉ×ÍjÉýuÉÏ xÉýWûÉæwÉþkÉÏÍpÉ: | zÉqÉýliÉËUþ¤ÉóèxÉýWû uÉÉiÉãþlÉ iÉãý zÉliÉãý cÉiÉþxÉë:
mÉëýÌSzÉÉãþ pÉuÉliÉÑ || rÉÉ SæuÉÏý¶ÉiÉþxÉë: mÉëýÌSzÉÉãý uÉÉiÉþmÉ¦ÉÏUýÍpÉ xÉÔrÉÉãïþ ÌuÉcÉý¹ã | iÉÉxÉÉÿÇ iuÉÉ eÉýUxÉý AÉSþkÉÉÍqÉý mÉërÉZwqÉþ LiÉÑý
ÌlÉUç GþÌiÉÇ mÉUÉýcÉæ: || AqÉÉãþÍcÉý rÉZwqÉÉÿ¬ÒËUýiÉÉSuÉþirÉæï SìÓýWû: mÉÉzÉÉýÍ³ÉUç GþirÉæý cÉÉãSþqÉÉãÍcÉ | AWûÉý
AuÉþÌiÉïýqÉÌuÉþSjxrÉÉãýlÉqÉmrÉþpÉÔ°ýSìã xÉÑþM×üýiÉxrÉþ sÉÉãýMåü || xÉÔrÉïþqÉ×ýiÉÇ iÉqÉþxÉÉãý aÉëÉ½Éý rÉ¬ãýuÉÉ AqÉÑþgeÉý³ÉxÉ×þeÉýlurÉãþlÉxÉ: |
LýuÉqÉýWûÍqÉýqÉÇ ¤ÉåÿÌ§ÉýrÉÉ‹ÉþÍqÉzÉýóèýxÉÉSèSìÓýWûÉã qÉÑþgcÉÉÍqÉý uÉþÂhÉxrÉý mÉÉzÉÉÿiÉç ||
May this child be protected from the genius of the pishAchAs called “nirRuti” and the dangers of death arising from water (varuNa pAsha). May he be free of all terminal diseases. May you be free of all pulmonary diseases (yakshma rOgam). Thus may the child be sinless and qualify to learn the vedAs. May the pancha tatvAs of space, earth, water, fire, air, the sun and the four directions support you in your endeavours during your life. May you thus live long and enjoy all happiness.
(c) The father then mixes little curd and ghee in a bronze or bell-metal cup (kAnsya) and feeds it to the child while uttering the vyAhrutis and OmkArA in the last. He gives the mixture once to the child and the balance in the cup to a cow. pÉÔxxuÉÉWûÉý | pÉÑuÉýxxuÉÉWûÉý| xÉÑuÉýxxuÉÉWûÉ | AÉåóèxuÉÉWûÉÿ ||
6. First feeding of the child :-
सू.५ – उत्तरया मातुरुपस्थ आधायोत्तरया दक्षिणं स्तनं प्रतिधाप्योत्तराभ्यां पृथिवीमभिमृश्योत्तरेण यजुषा संविष्टम् । 1. The father places the child on the mother’s lap. 2. He then makes her give the child the right breast. After the child has fed on the mother, 3. The child is put to sleep or rest on the floor (earth) and then 4. the father touches the child. The following mantrAs are recited :-
1. qÉÉ iÉãþ MÑüqÉÉýUóè U¤ÉÉãþ uÉkÉÏýlqÉÉ kÉãýlÉÑUþirÉÉxÉÉýËUhÉÏÿ | ÌmÉëýrÉÉ kÉlÉþxrÉ pÉÔrÉÉý LkÉþqÉÉlÉÉý xuÉã aÉ×ýWåû ||
1. May the rAkshashAs not come to kill this child. May the cows in my house not go away. Let them live here willingly with love.
2. AýrÉÇ MÑüþqÉÉýUÉã eÉýUÉÇ kÉþrÉiÉÑ kÉÏýbÉïqÉÉrÉÑþ: | rÉxqÉæý iuÉò xiÉlÉý mÉëmrÉÉýrÉÉrÉÑýuÉïcÉÉãïý rÉzÉÉãý oÉsÉÿqÉç ||
2. May the child feed on the mother’s milk peacefully which would give him long life. May the milk flow sufficiently. Thus may the child beget Ayush (long life), varchas (vigour), yashas (respect) and balam (stamina)
3. rÉ°ÕqÉãýUçý™SþrÉÇ ÌSýÌuÉ cÉýlSìqÉþÍxÉ Í´ÉýiÉqÉç | iÉSÒþÌuÉï mÉzrÉýÇ qÉÉÅWÇû mÉÉæ§ÉýqÉbÉóèþÂSqÉç || rÉ¨Éãþ xÉÑxÉÏýqÉã ™SþrÉýÇ uÉãSÉýWÇû iÉiÉç mÉëýeÉÉmÉþiÉÉæ | uÉãSÉþqÉý iÉxrÉþ iÉã uÉýrÉÇ qÉÉÅWÇû mÉÉæ§ÉýqÉbÉóèþÂSqÉç ||
3. Oh! bhoomi (भूमि देवता earth), Behold and protect the child and bless our family to keep seeing you until long. May we not cry for our child or his child for any reason.
4. lÉÉqÉþrÉÌiÉý lÉ ÂþSÌiÉý rÉ§Éþ uÉýrÉÇ uÉþSÉqÉÍxÉý rÉ§Éþ cÉÉýÍpÉqÉ×þzÉÉqÉÍxÉ ||
4. This child will never cry or have any diseases in this place where the child has been laid down or put to sleep.
7. RakshA hOmam for 10 days of dOshA/pollution period :-
सू.६,७ – उत्तरेण यजुषा शिरस्य उदकुम्भं निधाय सर्षपान्फलीकरण मिश्रानञ्जलिनोत्तरैस्त्रिस्त्रि :
प्रतिस्वाहाकारं हुत्वा संशास्ति प्रविष्टे प्रविष्ट एव तूष्णीमग्नावावपतेति । एवमहरहरानिर्दशताया : ।
(a)The father then places a water-pot (udakumbhaM उदकुम्भं) near the child’s head and says:-
AÉmÉþxxÉÑýmiÉãwÉÑþ eÉÉaÉëiÉý U¤ÉÉóèþÍxÉý ÌlÉËUýiÉÉã lÉÑþSSèkuÉqÉç ||
Oh! water (ApO dEvatA आपॊ दॆवता ). Keep awake and watch the child when we are asleep and drive away the rAkshashAs.
(b) He then performs a hOmA to protect the child from evil. For this purpose he sacrifices mustard seeds ( सर्षप sarShapa) and rice-chaff/ ( फलीकरण phaleekaraNa ) 3 times each at the end of the following 8 mantrAs into the fire lit at the time of delivery which is called the सूतकाग्नि sootakAgni.
AýrÉÇ MüýÍsÉÇ mÉýiÉrÉþliÉ ò µÉÉýlÉÍqÉýuÉÉã²Øý®qÉç | AýeÉÉÇ uÉÉÍzÉþiÉÉÍqÉuÉ qÉÂiÉý: mÉrÉÉïþSèkuÉýòý xuÉÉWûÉÿ ||
zÉhQãûýUjÉýzzÉÎhQûþMåüU EsÉÔZÉýsÉ: | crÉuÉþlÉÉãý lÉzrÉþiÉÉÌSýiÉxxuÉÉWûÉÿ || ArÉýzzÉhQûÉãý qÉMïüþ EmÉýuÉÏUþ EsÉÔZÉýsÉ: | crÉuÉþlÉÉã
lÉzrÉþiÉÉÌSýiÉxxuÉÉWûÉÿ || MãüýÍzÉlÉÏýzµÉsÉÉãýÍqÉlÉÏý: ZÉeÉÉþmÉÉãýÅeÉÉãmÉþMüÉÎzxÉlÉÏ: | AmÉãþiÉý lÉzrÉþiÉÉÌSýiÉxxuÉÉWûÉÿ || ÍqÉý
´ÉuÉÉþxÉxÉ: MüÉæoÉãUýMüÉ Uþ¤ÉÉãUÉýeÉålÉý mÉëãÌwÉþiÉ: | aÉëÉqÉýóèý xÉeÉÉþlÉrÉÉã aÉcNûliÉÏýcNûliÉÉãþÅmÉËUýSÉM×üýiÉÉljÉxxuÉÉWûÉþÿ || LýiÉÉlÉç
blÉþiÉæiÉÉlÉç aÉ×þºûÏýiÉãirÉýrÉÇ oÉë¼þhÉxmÉÑý§É: | iÉÉlÉýÎalÉ: mÉrÉïþxÉUý¨ÉÉÌlÉlSìýxiÉÉloÉ×WûýxmÉÌiÉþ: | iÉlÉýWÇû uÉãþS oÉëÉ¼ýhÉ: mÉëþqÉ×zÉýiÉ:
MÔüþOûSýliÉÉlÉç ÌuÉþMãüýzÉÉðssÉþqoÉlÉxiÉýlÉÉljxuÉÉWûÉÿ || lÉý£üýgcÉÉýËUhÉþ EUxmÉãýwÉÉgNÕûsÉWûýxiÉÉlMüþmÉÉsÉýmÉÉlÉç | mÉÔuÉïþ LwÉÉÇ ÌmÉýiÉãirÉÑýŠæz
´ÉÉÿurÉMüýhÉïMüþ: | qÉÉýiÉÉ eÉþbÉýlrÉÉþ xÉmÉïþÌiÉý aÉëÉqÉãþ ÌuÉkÉÑýUÍqÉýcNûliÉÏý xuÉÉWûÉÿ || ÌlÉýzÉÏýjÉýcÉÉýËUhÉÏý xuÉxÉÉþ xÉýÎlkÉlÉÉý mÉëã¤ÉþiÉã
MÑüsÉÿqÉç | rÉÉ xuÉmÉþliÉÇ oÉÉãýkÉrÉþÌiÉý rÉxrÉæý ÌuÉeÉÉþiÉÉrÉÉýqqÉÉlÉþ: | iÉÉxÉÉýÇ iuÉÇ M×üþwhÉýuÉiqÉïþlÉã YsÉÉãýqÉÉlÉýóèý ™SþrÉýÇ rÉM×üþiÉç |
AalÉãý A¤ÉÏþÍhÉ ÌlÉýSïWûý xuÉÉWûÉÿ ||
Oh! mAruts, I pray unto you to keep the child away from the ill-effects of the “kali dEvatA”. I pray to agni to keep the child secure from the effects of the disease giving rAkshashAs called chanDEradan, chanDitEran, ulookalan and shevanan. I pray to agni to wipe off asurAs like ayOmukhan, sanDan, markan, ulookalan, shevanan and upaveeran who cause diseases to infants. I pray to agni to ward off pishAchas like kEshini, shvalOmini, kajApa, ajOpa and kAshini. Let the evil spirits like sajAneekan, who cast their spell on boys who have not had their upanayanam vanish. Oh! agni drive away all the pishAchAs.
(c) When the wife was going to be confined to labour a portion of the house would have been demarcated and enclosed for the purpose of labour. This maternity room was called sootikA gRuha सूतिका गृह. Once the delivery is successful, a fire called sootakAgni सूतकाग्नि was lit in the corner of the room. The wife and the child stay there for a period of 10 days post labour because it is an impure period for the mother. The paternal family also has the “janana Ashoucha” i.e. the impurity due to birth for ten days. Purity for all members then regains on the 11th day after bath and puNyAhavAchanam. The father alone has a bath and does the jAtakarma rite immeditatley after bath because impurity does not prevail before the cutting of the navel cord. Some seers say that once the jAtakarmA starts, he is said to be pure for that full day.
After the jAtakarmA rite is over, the father tells the people who enter the sootikAgRuha to strew silently without the above mantrAs, mustard seeds mixed with rice-chaff, on the fire called sootakAgni सूतकाग्नि. This is to be done daily for the 1st ten impure days so that the fumes keep the room warm and also act as a gaurd against illness to the child and the mother.
8. Conclusion:- After the 1st rakshA hOmA is over, a nAndee shrAddhA is performed. Then a “punyAhavAchanaM” पुण्याहवाचनम् (purifying ceremony) is done and bRuhaspati sambhAvanA is made.
1. The general rule says that bath, dAnam and shrArdham at night is not advisable, except during grahaNam or sankramaNam. But, Before cutting umblical cord, bathing, getting dAnam (gifts) or giving dAnam or doing ShrAddham when the child is just born is not a sin. This brings eternal good results. Taking bath during night should be done with the water collected during day with a golden ring in it.
2. While taking bath, water must be splashed around by jumping or with the hands as pitrus expect the splashed water and they are pleased. Gold, land, cow or grains can be received or given as dAnam. Generally after food, taking bath is not advisable. But when a boy child is born, bath can be taken even just after eating food. One ishThee has to be done for those who follow agnihOtram.
A patient reading of the procedure of the jAtakarmA reveals the care with which our great sages formulated this samskAra for the benefit of the new born children.