Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pumsavana Samskaara (For the progression of a lineage of Jnaanis)

Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan

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Pumsavana is a ritual for purification following Garbhaadaana. 'Pum' in Sanskrit means Purusha (interpreted as male in common parlance) and 'Savana' means delivering i.e. process of begetting a male child. Does this mean that a female child is unwanted? If majority of babies born are male, then with a skewed male–female ratio, how can a family tree propagate? Is this discrimination towards a female child warranted?


These are a few queries which Sriranga Mahaaguru answered citing scriptures. "Purusha" has two meanings. The first means "Brahmajnaani" - one with knowledge of the ultimate Truth. Vedic literature has addressed one without this knowledge, as a 'Stree'; for, a 'Stree' is the representative of Prakruti (Mother Nature) and Purusha that of the Supreme Brahma (Paramaatma). One who has transcended this Prakruti-Kshetra (sensual region) and realized the Supreme Brahma is indeed the Purusha. Otherwise he, though possessing male physical features, is to be called Stree, in principle. Purusha-child thus means, a child possessing innate spiritual knowledge. If a female child possesses knowledge of the Supreme, irrespective of the external features, it is recognised as a Purusha only, as per Vedic literature.

Purusha also means a male child. The masculine gender and external characteristics are referred here. It is quite natural and there is nothing wrong in desiring the first born to be a male child. The word 'Puth' in Sanskrit refers to the hell known by that name. Birth of a son (Putra) relieves the parents from entering this hell. Rshis have realised this truth through their inner vision.

This Samskaara is performed to the female womb. As long as one does not commit heinous sins, this purification is sufficient for subsequent pregnancies too. The ritual is as follows. Pregnancy should be confirmed. The 2nd, 4th, 6th or 8th months are appropriate as an even-numbered month augers well for the birth of a Purusha child. It is all the more favourable if Purusha stars too occur in conjunction. The wife takes a holy bath, adorns new clothes and takes a Darshan of Mahatmas or deities. She wishes that all her future pregnancies should be purified; that a Purusha child be born and that wicked forces opposing the Supreme Truth (Jnaana) be suppressed.

She receives sufficient quantity of curds into her hands from her husband. Cereals are placed on either side of this curd in the shape of a pyramid. She consumes it with the wish of getting a Purusha child. Branch of a banyan tree is ground and the juice is dripped using the right-hand thumb of the husband into her right nostril, at the same time chanting appropriate hymns. It has medicinal value, remembrance (through the right thumb) of Purusha, the representative of Paramaatman. All of these auger well to generate the prerequisites in the feminine body, for the birth of a Purusha child. To beget a Purusha child, Seers have thus designed Pumsavana Samskaara as a ritual encompassing and purifying the three domains namely material, divine and the spiritual.

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