Jaatkarma – The First Ritual after the New Born Arrival

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Right from the birth to the end of life, Hindu sanskriti is cluttered with varieties of customs, tradition, and sanskar’s- Rituals. These rituals are followed since the ancestor’s period and which are clarified in the great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rishi muni’s as well as yogi’s developed these rituals to bring purity, respect, and discipline in one’s life. Scientifically these are also proved right for the safety purpose. People follow each and every custom celebrating with their relatives. Some rituals of Lord Rama was performed by Rishi Vashishta and that of Lord Krishna was performed by Rishi Sandipni.

In our sanskriti, there are total sixteen sanskaar which are to be performed. Among all these Jaatkarma is the fourth sanskar which is performed as a first sanskar after the birth. This is held in a period of a week after the birth of new born. This is usually a welcoming ceremony for a newly born in the beautiful world. Scientifically this is done to clean the internal body from the germs and to arouse all sensory organs. Also people relate this to inhibit divine values to the child from the very beginning of the birth.

Jaatkarma is accomplished by the child’s father before the cutting of the naval. In this ceremony father brings silver or golden spoon, honey, curd and ghee (clarified butter). This is a private ritual where just family and sometimes other relatives are part of it. A mixture of four tiny drops of ghee, one tiny drop of curd, and one tiny drop of honey is made. The father of the new born takes this mixture in golden or silver spoon and he then writes ‘Aum’ on the baby’s tongue. Its just like touching the baby’s tongue with this sweet mix. Some only uses honey and make the baby to lick from his third finger (tarjani). Then the father chants vedic mantras near the child’s ears. It is believed that this ritual makes a strong bond between the father and the baby and also it arouses the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hear in babies.

In this custom honey is used to kill the micro bacteria’s that infant must have intake before or while his birth. Clarified butter is used to lubricate the throat and clear the internal appetite easily. Golden or silver spoon is used as it is considered pure. Actually this is given to clean the internal body and give protection from germs. This custom is also performed by the Muslims where a family members of a new born or father himself execute this ritual to pour virtuous qualities and also to welcome him in his family.

In early days after performing this act the child is given to his mother for breast feeding. And yagna and havan was conducted at home to enhance all religious qualities to the child. Also the father blesses the child and promises to protect him forever. These days this custom is minimized and new born’s father or any other paternal family member make child to lick honey with a silver stick or a golden stick. Some believe jaggery is good for health so they boil jaggery with water and add little amount of ghee into it and this water is used to perform the ritual.

In Gujarat, this mixture given by the father is known as ‘gharagdo’. No big ceremony is held but only father performs the ritual and writes ‘Aum’ on the new born tongue whispering some mantra in his ears, and other family members are busy in hospital and home with the relatives. But the main purpose of cleaning internal body with few tiny drops of homely mixture is fulfilled and the satisfaction of chanting the mantras will make the new soul turn towards religious values. It’s good to change with time but do not let the purpose of any ritual to lean down as each and every rituals performed by our ancestor’s are meaningful and important.