Saturday, July 4


So this Sunday was my friend's சீமந்தம். The family had gone to the temple early in the morning to finish up the rituals after which they came back home. The womenfolk then adorned my pregnant friend with bangles (her choice of color of course and we get a set of bangles for ourselves too...yippee!!) after which was the much awaited FOOD.. which was delicious by the way (it was a mixture of home-made and minerva-made food).
But there are few interesting things about the whole ritual that was performed at the wee hours of dawn in the temple. Check this out, although here they do not clearly explain the importance of certain processes. I also found this piece here

"Seemantham is performed during the period between the fifth and the eighth months of pregnancy. The specific materials used during this Samskara, that are for the lady only, are, the quill of a porcupine, an ear of ripe paddy and some Udumbara leaves. Manthrams are intended to purify the foetus and to request Brahma, Agni, Raga (Rika), Vishnu, Soman and Ganga to protect it, to make the delivery smooth and to make the son intelligent. The main deity invoked is Raga or Rika, the presiding deity of the full-moon. The implications of the manthrams are: that the pregnancy should be fruitful; the child should be endowed with sharp and penetrating intellect (like the sharp quill of the porcupine). The child should be beautiful like the full-moon. The gist of the main mantra is: "I beseech the goddess Raga(Rika). May she make this ceremony blameless. May my son be endowed with sharp intellect." In some regions music is added. Also sometimes the ladies are asked to sing: "Be a mother of heroic sons" thus creating a heroic atmosphere. The mother fasts and keeps silent after the ceremony till night time when the stars become visible. At the close of the ceremony she touches a male calf, symbolizing a son. At the time of
pregnancy this is performed for the health and wealth of baby and also for normal delivery.
The unique aspects are parting of the hair, udagasanti, homam, valaigappu, and touching a male calf. The most important part is the udagasAnti. After the sactification of the jalam, the expectant mother is asked to bath in this
sanctified water to remove doshAs."

The thing that annoyed me- the mantras all seem to glorify male heirs. I thought mantras and shlokas were beyond gender and I have a huge amount of respect for these (I love chanting mantras- gives me immense peace)- well it just went down a notch, unless the interpretations from these websites are wrong and may be a Sanskrit scholar can clarify it!

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