Which sanskars are vital for overcoming defects in foetus?


1. Garbhadhan/Rutushanti

1.1 The objectives

  • A. To overcome any defects in the ovum and the foetus and to purify the womb.

    2% of all physical and psychological problems are constituted by defects in the ovum and womb, half of them being physical and the other half psychological in nature. The table below gives the percentage of people in whom defects in the ovum are seen and the period when it occurs.

    The time when the
    defects in the ovum
    and the foetus
    become manifest
    The time when the
    defects in the ovum
    and the foetus
    become manifest
    From conception
    till the first
    75 7 to 8 months 1
    1 to 2 months 5 8 to 9 months 1
    2 to 3 months 3 From birth till the
    first year of life
    3 to 4 months 2 1 to 5 years 2
    4 to 5 months 2 5 to 10 years 2
    5 to 6 months 2 10 to 20 years 2
    6 to 7 months 1 Later 1
        Total 100
  • B. The son born through this sanskar (rite) has the capacity to acquire the knowledge of Brahman (Brahmavidya).

1.2 The auspicious time (muhurt)

This sanskar is performed on the first sixteen nights after the first menses following marriage. This period is referred to as the rutu period (rutukal). Excluding the first four, eleventh and thirteenth nights, the remaining ten nights are considered suitable for this sanskar. According to some, the fourth day should also be included. It is said that one who wishes that a son be born to him should have intercourse with his wife on the days with an even number (4-6-8-10-12-14-16) and one who desires a daughter, on odd number days (5-7-9-11-15). The sanskar of Garbhadhan is forbidden on the fourth (chaturthi), sixth (shashthi), eighth (ashtami), fourteenth (chaturdashi), new moon (amavasya) and full moon (pournima) dates (tithis) of the Hindu lunar calendar. On any of the remaining dates and on Monday, Thursday and Friday and during the reign of the lunar asterisms Shravan, Rohini, Hasta, Anuradha, Svati, Revati, the three Uttaras and Shatataraka the ritual should be performed after assessing a good propitious moon (chandrabal). Everything in Prakruti changes with time. Only Brahman is steady. Accordingly the fertilization of the ovum, the birth of a son or daughter, etc. vary with time. Thus based on these rules the dates, days of the week and lunar asterisms favourable for the birth of a son or daughter have been decided.

1.3 The ritual

  • A. Partaking of the juice of ashvagandha or a sacred grass (durva): Chanting the mantra, the juice of ashvagandha or durva is instilled into the right nostril of one’s wife who is seated to one’s left. After that juice is swallowed she should take a sip of water from her palm (achaman). The right nostril comes under the perview of the Pingala nadi (channel). For most actions to be successful it is essential for the Pingala nadi to be operational. The juice of ashvagandha or durva facilitates its activation.
  • B. The main deity of Garbhadhan and marriage (Vivaha) is Prajapati.
  • C. Offering oti: After worship of the sun (Suryastavan), five married women (suvasinis) should offer oti along with fruit to the woman and should hand over a coconut placed on a pair of betel leaves to the husband. Thereafter offering obeisance to the deities and elders they should have their meals. The sun being a symbol of the tej (absolute fire) element is worshipped to impart radiance to the foetus. The womb lies in the lower abdominal cavity. Thus the practice of offering oti is followed so that conception occurs.
  • D. The ritual of intercourse: At night, clad in white clothing the woman should enter the bedroom and sitting on the bed decorated with flowers should eat betel leaves along with her spouse. Then she should lie down on the bed. The husband should place his hand on her navel and chanting the (Upasthasparsh) mantra commence the ritual of Garbhadhan. The mantra means : ‘May your vagina be made potent for conception and may The Lord bestow His grace upon you so that the foetus grows happily and does not abort before ten (lunar) months’. Uttering this he should touch her vagina (upastha) with three fingers. Then he should have intercourse with her and say, ‘I am endowing your ovum with my sperm’. Again he should chant a mantra which means ‘Just as the earth is impregnated by fire, Yahi by Indra and the directions bear the wind as their progeny , I too am impregnating you’. The ritual is finally complete when he touches her heart and then sips water from his palm (achaman). Touching the heart signifies love and affection.

2. Punsavan (Begetting a son)

2.1 The objectives

The word Punsavan (पुंसवन) has originated from ‘punsya avanaha (पुँस्‍य अवन:)’. Punsya means prowess and avanivar means descent onto the earth. Hence after conception, this sanskar (rite) is performed to beget a son.

2.2 The auspicious time (muhurt)

This sanskar should generally be performed after confirmation of pregnancy preferably in the second month, that is before the foetus becomes active and the foetal sex organs develop. With time the effectiveness of the sanskar, decreases. The lunar asterism with masculine gender should be chosen for this rite. Punarvasu, Pushya, Hasta, Mul are the lunar asterisms which are widely accepted. All scholars however do not share the same view about the lunar asterisms with the masculine gender.

2.3 The resolve (sankalpa)

  • A. To overcome any defects in the ovum or foetus.
  • B. To conceive a male child.
  • C. To not just destroy but also liberate the clan of demons who devour flesh and blood.
  • D. To acquire the blessings of Mahalakshmi, the presiding deity for continuous bestowal of opulence (soubhagya).
  • E. Worship of Lord Ganesh, Punyahavachan, Matrukapujan and Nandishraddha.

2.4 The ritual

After the sacrificial fire (hom) the woman should cup her hands and hold them proximal to the knees. On the right hand is placed curd made from the milk of a cow whose colour is the same as that of her calf (or if unavailable, their colour may vary). A cob of barley (jav) with its head facing the east should be placed on it like the male sex organ (penis). Then on either side of it are placed two black grams (udid) which resemble the testes. Then uttering thrice, ‘I am drinking the punsavan’, the woman should partake of it and sip water from her palm (achaman). This procedure is repeated twice. Then this ritual is deemed to be complete. Similar shapes emit similar frequencies according to the law ‘समानशीले व्‍यसनेषु सख्‍यम्‌ ।’ meaning ‘likes attract and befriend one another’.Thus the same assumption is made that the shapes of the penis and testicles attract identical frequencies of the male principle towards the womb.

‘The ritual of squeezing juice from the rootlets of the banyan tree into the left nostril, placing an earthen plate filled with water on the lower abdomen of the woman and chanting mantras such as the ‘Suparno’si (सुपर्णो ऽसि)’ , etc. prove effective in producing a male offspring. Brahmi, somlata, banyan, etc. are trees which prevent bilious humour (pitta), overcome vaginal defects, enhance oja (precursor of divine energy) and protect semen. The cumulative effect of all these is a generation of masculine components in the semen.’ (1)

3. Simantonnayan (Parting the wife’s hair)

3.1 The objectives and the auspicious moment (muhurt)

The word Simantonnayan is derived from two words simant (meaning the line of parting of hair) and unnayan (meaning combing hair from the sides to the top). Simantonnayan thus means parting the wife’s scalp hair, drawing the hair from the sides, upwards. As a result pleasant frequencies enter her body through the Sahasrar chakra and facilitate the proper growth of the foetus.

When performing a sanskar (rite) on the foetus in the womb, a flat earthen plate which represents the uterus is used.

‘Just as for Punsavan a lunar asterism with the masculine gender is necessary so also for Simantonnayan. If this sanskar is performed in a month with an even number preferably in the fourth month then it proves most beneficial. Punsavan is performed to conceive a male child while this rite is for the purification of the foetus. Just as having a son is important it is equally important that he should be born without deformities, good health and intelligence. For overall development of all organs of the foetus Simantonnayan is important during pregnancy.

3.2 The ritual

The offering of the sacrifice (yadnyaprasad) charged with the mantras of Simantonnayan, branches of trees like the holy fig tree (oudumbar) which bear plenty of fruit and also have medicinal value, porcupine spikes (since it procreates in large numbers), etc. are used by the man to part his wife’s hair. As a result of this sanskar which is performed with spiritual emotion (bhav), the latent divine consciousness (chaitanya) present in the pregnant woman has maximum effect on the foetus.’ (2)


Shastra Ase Sangate. First edition, fifth reprint – October 94, Vedavani Publications, Kolhapur 416 010.
1. Pg. 137
2. Pg. 138



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