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"The Unborn lord has many incarnations. He has incarnated as the planets (grahas) to bestow on the living beings the results due to

their karmas." (Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra:Ch. 2, verse 3)

Before conception, during pregnancy and following birth, there are many Samskara performed in the Hindu tradition. “Samskara” is a term generally translated as “rite of passage”, but it can also mean, “to perfect, refine, polish, prepare, educate, cultivate and train”. The Samskara performed around and during pregnancy have different purposes, but all are to aid in a healthy, auspicious pregnancy (preferably that of a son). These Samskaras are prescribed in the Grhya Sutras (ancient Hindu texts of householder rites).


Garbhadhana (literally, gifting the womb), is the act of conception. This is the first sacrament which followed immediately on every matrimonial union. There are a number of rites performed before conception. The act of first sexual intercourse or insemination is known as nishekam. (Garbhdhanasamskaram is cited in Manusmrti, 2.27).


The different Grhyasutras differ in their point of view, whether the garbhadhana is to be performed only once, during the first conception, or every time the woman conceives. In the first case it is considered as a kshetra-samskara (once the kshetra, or 'field', has been purified, it remains pure), and in the second case as a garbha-samskara (every time the garbha, or 'womb' conceives, it needs to be purified.


Pumsavana (literally, engendering a male issue) is a ritual conducted in the third month of pregnancy. If it is the first pregnancy, it can be in the fourth month also. Ancient texts assumed that gender was not determined when conception took place, but at about half way through the pregnancy. Therefore another way to ensure the foetus was a boy was to perform Pumsavana, “meant to stimulate, consecrate, and influence the fetus [sic] bringing about a male child”, during the third or fourth month, before the foetus could be felt moving. The day for this Samskara must be auspicious and under a male constellation, and the wife must fast and bathe before the ritual begins The pregnant woman consumes one bead of barley and two beads of black grain, along with a little curd. This is accompanied by religious chanting.




The next Samskara that is performed is Simantonnayana, which is prescribed for the fourth month and is the only Samskara during pregnancy that need only be performed once, as the other Samskara are thought to be performed on the embryo, while the Simantonnayana is thought to be performed on the mother. Simantonnayana (literally, parting the hair) sacrament is performed in the fourth or fifth month of a woman's first pregnancy. Simantonnayana is conducted for the protection of the mother at the critical period of gestation. This samskara is performed to both invoke protection of the mother and unborn child from demons and spirits that might want to cause harm to the mother and child, as well as to ensure good health, success and prosperity for the unborn child.


The effects of the different planets during the months of pregnancy and development of the foetus:

Calculations of pregnancy are calculated as 273 days based on the sidereal lunar months (39 weeks). Allopathic medicine considers pregnancy (called gestation) to last 40 weeks (280 days) but this is counted from the last menstruation. Conception is possible about two weeks after menstruation- which makes actual pregnancy about 38 weeks (266 days).


Each month of the pregnancy is ruled by a planet. If there is any weakness in a planet at the time of conception there may be issues in the month of

development ruled by that planet:

- The first month is ruled by Venus, called Kalala, which is when the sperm and ovum mix and begin multiplying exponentially. Caraka Saṁhitā says that there is no distinct form in this month, yet all organs exist in their latent form.

- The second month ruled by Mars is called Ghana which means ‘solidified’ and relates to the densification of the embryo.

- The third month ruled by Jupiter is called Aṅkura which means to sprout. Caraka Saṁhitā says all sense organs, limbs of the body and internal organs manifest themselves simultaneously in this month according to the modification of the five elements.

- The fourth month ruled by the Sun is called Asthi which means ‘bone’ and is when the fetus develops structure. The bone begins to harden, teeth buds develop, the arms and legs develop to the proportion of the body, and reflexive movement stimulates kicking and stretching.

- The fifth month is Carma which means ‘skin’. The skin grows in excess to be filled with fatty tissue later, the pigmentary and sweat glands become more clear, the vernix caseosa forms on the skin as a protective layer, the nervous system develops myelin and sensory development increases.

- The sixth month ruled by Saturn is called Aṅgaja which means produced from the body and represents the growth of hair and nails. The fetus is also practicing the use of its digestive system by taking the amniotic fluid into its digestive track and creating meconium. The lungs also take the amniotic fluid in and out while the muscles of the lungs



- The seventh month ruled by Mercury is called Cetana-tā which means the state of sentience or consciousness- this is when the fetus is said to become fully aware of inside and outside the womb. The brain (mastiṣka) grows very quickly at this time.

- The eighth month ruled by the lagneça is called Bhavana which means a place, abode or coming into existence. The nutritional demands of the fetus increase and the mother is eating more. The ancient texts mention that this is when the fetus begins to feel desires of hunger and thirst; most likely this view was in response to the mother’s enlarged appetite for nutritious foods.

- The ninth month ruled by the Moon is called Udvega which means agitated. Umbical cord is formed and it supplies food to the child. The fetus is fully functional and is moving excessively in the womb. Visible feet are seen on the mother’s belly as the fetus kicks and stretches.

During the 10th month "Prasava" or delivery takes place and this month is governed by Sun.

A school of thought in Vedic astrology strongly believe that rituals and remedial measures are to be resorted to the planet ruling each month of pregnancy so that the evils of afflictions be removed.

Medical science, through various researches conducted has prescribed drugs and medicines to avoid congenital diseases.

The believers of the theory of Karma state that sufferings and diseases and malformation of the body are due to the impact of Karma and certain adverse fruits of Karma cannot be avoided.


Finally, the history of mortals, spread over the universe, comprising of various nationalities and cultures, etc., with an instinct to survive and progress during our earthly sojourn, resort to all types of remedies with varying results. That is why we have so many healers, spiritual and physical, devoting their lives to serve humanity through doing tapsya, research, etc., getting accolades for healing and relieving pain and suffering or creating controversies.


Vrihat Parashara Hora Shastra Kakar, Sudhir (2001) The Essential Writings of Sudhir Kakar. New York:

Oxford University Press. Kapoor, Subodh (ed.) (2000) The Hindus Encyclopaedia of Hinduism:

Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Hinduism. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications Birth Circumstances, Jyotish Digest, Vol V, Issue 1, January-March 2009





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