Thursday, November 21, 2019

Jaatakarma Samskaara for a New-Born Baby - 2

Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha
English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan

In the previous article a brief overview of the Jaatakarma Samskaara was given. It is a Samskaara to be performed on a just-born baby. Let us now consider the ritualistic process.


Immediately after hearing the news of birth, Shaastras stipulate a bath in a big river along with the clothes worn. Normally bathing at night is forbidden. In this case irrespective of the time of the day a bath is compulsory. Bathing should be done facing north in cold water. Sriranga Mahaaguru had mentioned that cold water is conducive, keeping in view the results. Special changes in the father’s body due to the happiness associated with the birth of a child, offsets all problems associated with a cold water bath taken at night. He had also mentioned that personally the father benefits. He clears his baggage of Pitru Runa (indebtedness to ancestors). Benefits get supplemented by good faith coupled with a feeling of being fortunate. If a river bath is not possible, water to which gold and Tulasi (basil leaves) are added can be used for bath. Adding these two materials to water makes it holy. In daytime, bathing is to be performed in the presence of sunlight and a lamp, while at night it is to be performed in the presence of fire. The father gets deliverance from Pitru Runa. Loss of the debt baggage makes him eligible for higher attainments.  A bath facing north at this time adds to his attainments. Even in mundane matters, after clearing a loan, the practice of taking bath with clothes on, is in vogue.  A question may arise here – what is the need for a bath when the Runa is already cleared through the birth of a son? This is to ensure that the memory of the indebtedness gets erased completely by removing even traces of the Runa.

Later Naandi Shraaddha using gold has to be performed. “Nandyante Devaah Pitarascha Anena Iti Naandi”. This Naandi is intended to satisfy Pitrus as well as Devas and hence it is an auspicious ritual. Joy in worldly life and in spiritual domain gets enhanced.  It is also called an elevating ceremony and a ceremony for progress. As per a few traditions, the baby is also given a bath after the Naandi Shraaddha.  If the child has difficulty bathing in water, equivalent results can be obtained if holy water is sprinkled with a bunch of Darbha grass. The many varieties of a purifying bath are: A bath by immersion in water (Vaaruna snaana); bath through wind from the dust raised by the cow’s feet (Vaayuvya-snaana); a bath with fire by smearing the body with ash (Agnaeya-snaana); holy bath through sunshine and rain (Varshaa-snaana); bath by sprinkling water made sacred with the chants of hymns (Mantra-snaana), ‘bath’ through meditating on god (Maanasa-snaana).  

Practical aspects along with their Vijnaana will be discussed in the next article.

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