Thursday, June 20, 2019

Seemanta – an Elevating Rit

Article in Kannada by:  Tharodi Suresh
English Rendering by: Smt Padmini Srinivasan

Seemanta is a ritual performed subsequent to Pumsavanam. It is a Samskara performed exclusively for a woman pregnant for the first time. It is executed once and not repeated over successive pregnancies. ‘Seemantonnayana’ is its full form. In hair dressing, a central line over the head
demarcates and bifurcates the hair. The limit or boundary of this hair-parting is called Seemanta. An important aspect of this procedure is extending and combing the Seemanta (central bifurcating line of hair) upwards which is called Unnayana.

It is desired that the child be intelligent, honourable, wise and possess a radiant personality. Obviously when a child possesses these special qualities, it needs protection from evil forces which try to steal them. Sriranga Mahaguru used to say - “In addition to a beautiful body, the child should also possess complete Jnaana (knowledge of Supreme). Atmachaitanya (power of the Atman), Atmaguna (good qualities as desired by the Atman) and Dehapushti (a healthy body) will all follow”. We should not forget that rituals as per Maharshis Vijnaana (their vision of the expansion of the root Jnaana) encompass the three domains viz. Atmadharma (principles of the Atman), Manodharma (mental makeup) and Dehadharma (nature of the body) and ensures that they all blossom together. Finally as per the saying - “Sarvam Karmaakhilam Paartha Jnaane Parisamaapyate” all actions should integrate with the Supreme Eshwara. All ordained Mantras (hymns), Tantras (rituals) and Dravyas (materials) make the ritual complete in all aspects. On identification and confirmation of pregnancy, Seemanta is conducted in the third or fourth month, during Shuklapaksha (bright fortnight of the
moon), on a Purusha nakshatra day (as per Stree-Purusha classification of stars, a star with Purusha dharma favourable for Unnayana). It should be performed during daytime. Bull’s skin, bunch of fruits from a cluster fig tree (Atthi), porcupine quills with three white dots defining three divisions (Shalali)
should all be kept ready. Porcupine quills should never be kept inside the house.

It is believed to create strife. In a like manner three Darbha grasses should be plaited together. Three such knitted strands should be kept ready. On the Seemantam day, after holy bath and adorning of new clothes sanctification (Punyaaha) and recitation of the purpose (Sankalpa) are done. Kankanabandha (tying yellow thread over the wrist) follows next. The family’s personally preferred deity (Ishtadevata) is worshipped and a Homa (oblation made into fire) is performed with the chant of eight specific Mantras. These propitiate Dhaata, Raaka, Naejamesha, Indra, Agni and Prajaapati. It is very essential to invoke these deities.

Husband and wife sit facing east and west respectively. Keeping a twig with bunch of figs, Shalali and knitted Darbha strands together, the husband combs the hair, beginning with the top of the forehead right up to the end of the line parting. Unnayana is done thrice. This Unnayana points upwards and signifies uplifting.

We notice combinations of three in this ritual. This Karma extends over all three worlds. It should culminate in the root of all creation, viz. Pranava. Hence the Mantra ”Om Bhoohu Bhuvaha Suvaha Om” is chanted. Beginning with Pranava, three Lokas which are its expansion are the middle and the
culminating point is Pranava again. This does not stop in the material world or the domain of the sensory organs.

The combination of three items is such that each removes the blemishes (Doshas) of the other, thus ensuring total accrual of desired fruits.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs