Original Kannada Article by:Tarodi Suresha
English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan
Jaatakarma is a Samskaara intended for new born baby. This name may be unknown to many. Nowadays babies are delivered in hospitals. This Samskaara can be performed at least in a small way, only if some prior arrangements have been made. This is possible in a society, only when one is aware about the past and present progression of a Jeeva, with a life-style oriented towards achieving the Purushaarthas (four-fold path to salvation). Jaatakarmais to be performed for a male as well as a female child.
How can we perform a Samskaara immediately after birth as there is Ashoucha(impurity due to birth)? – is a question which may arise here. The sensitive aspect here is that the father does not have Ashoucha till the umbilical cord is cut. Tithi(exact phase of the moon),Vaara (day of the week) and Nakshatra (Star) etc. need not be accorded any special merit here. This should happen before breast feeding the baby. Keeping in view the results, birth time is the most appropriate. It is essential to perform this before being influenced by evil forces. It does give optimum results. While preventing any calamity that can happen under the influence of evil forces, this ritual has to be performed primarily with an intention of awakeningJnaana.
Nowadays this Samskaara is combined with Upanayana Samskaara. There is no effort to comprehend the meaning of the Mantras (hymns) chanted. Ajnaana (ignorance) is a boon! This is not the right approach. If the karma is not performed at birth, then it has to be performed only on an auspicious occasion. Atonement has to precede rituals. Shaastras state that Jaatakarma is performed for various reasons such as to remove defects due to womb and the impregnating seed; for protection from ghosts, spirits and goblins; for peace from fear of any calamity; to acquire abundance of wealth and for baby’s protection. Rshis have added appropriateMantras and Tantras
(hymns and rituals).
Sriranga Mahaaguru had given yet another explanation. While performing Jaatakarma, the father looks at the baby, touches the baby and thinking of Paramatman smells the head three times, while he is in an elevated state of yoga, expressing the desire of theAtman. If the father is a Jnaaniwho has obtained yogic oneness with God, the child gets a Jnaana Deeksha(initiation into the spiritual path) immediately. So also when the father smells the forehead (draws his breath inwards), the child’s Praanagains an upward momentum along with the father’sPraana-shakti. The life-force gains momentum towards theSahasraara, a state equivalent to that obtainable through deep penance or a condition very close to that. To obtain desired fruits of theSamskaara, this is a wonderful Vijnaana(methodology of retaining the memory of the root Jnaana) put into practice.
This Samskaara has to be performed by the father only. Even if father is not alive, theSamskaara should not be stopped. It can be performed by elder or younger paternal uncles or maternal uncle. In Raamaayana, sage Vaalmiki performing Jaatakarma on Lava and Kusha, knowing its importance, stands as an example. Such an auspicious company of a Jnaani bestows excellent gains. If father himself is a Jnaani, then the fruits are outstanding. Even if father is not a Jnaani, inherent biological connection of the parents, along with their aspirations and blessings have a great value. Also happiness in mundane matters, pleasure in Pitruloka (dwelling of ancestors) besides the grace ofAcharya (mentor) are all fruits of this Samskaara.
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs
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