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Ayurveda and Garbha Sanskar (Prenatal education)

by Dr.Mrs. Sushama Patwardhan

The Indian History of Prenatal education
The story of Abhimanyu is well known in the Mahabharata. Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, learned how to enter the Chakravyuha (the strategic arrangement of warriors to entrap and defeat the enemy) when he was in his mother's womb. Abhimanyu had heard and remembered the narration of the technique by Krishna to Subhadra during her pregnancy.
When Pralhad's mother was pregnant with him, she used to listen to devotional songs. Therefore, even though Pralhad took birth in a Rakshasa family, he became a devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Mother of the great Indian freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar used to read the courageous stories from the Ramayana and Maharana Pratap to her son when he was in her womb.

Ancient Indian medicine has recognized the need for the mental, spiritual and physical preparation of the mother-to-be for the momentous event of childbirth. Ayurveda describes this theory as "Supraja janan" or eu-maternity This "Supraja janan", as conceptualised in Ayurveda, involves the preparation of the couple planning pregnancy, three months prior to conception. Pregnancy should be by choice, and not by chance. The beginning is by pinda shuddhi or the purification of the gametes (sperm and ovum). If the couple is not in a state of mental stability and calmness, even if they are physically fit, they cannot give birth to a healthy child. This mental calmness and stability ("Sathwa Guna") of mind is closely related to ones food habits and many other factors. Abstinence from spicy foods and addictive substances is advised.

It is now universally proven that the foetus is not just a mindless mass of flesh, but a highly responsive and evolving human being, capable of receiving, understanding and responding to external stimuli. It, therefore, follows that the foetus has a right to receive positive and enriching feedback or garbha sanskar.
Ayurveda prescribe a particular daily practice for the pregnant woman. Along with the prescription for diet, Yoga and routine body care, instructions are also given for reading material, subjects of discussion, and music and mantras to be listened to.

Development of parent-foetus bonding:
The techniques involve meditation, autosuggestion, self-hypnosis, and visualisation (including the highly-effective white light visualisation and benevolence beaming technique), establishing a dialogue with the foetus.
The main requirement to transmit 'good values' is to establish communication with the baby in the womb. Thoughts and feelings of the parents affect the baby. Even before the thought is expressed, it remains in an unexpressed form in the mind. At that time, its wavelength is the shortest and its energy is at the maximum level. Intentional, directed, selfless, unspoken thoughts lead to maximum sanskar on the foetus.

Prayer For The Parents -
'We pray in the name of the Highest Truth. We believe that everyone stands by his own causality, self or karma. To the extent to which the karma of all three of us has conjoined, my prayer should contribute to, and ameliorate the child. Though I do not wish any change in the chosen course of the child, I harbor a natural desire for the good of the child. Little baby we welcome you!'
'Come to enjoy a fruitful and realized life. On our part we would like you to be .... [In these spaces parents suggest their wish to the baby] and develop...skills, if you have no objection. In pursuance of we shall try to offer facilities for the indication from you, namely..., we shall try to offer facilities for the same. Let this prayer work to that end as much as it can. We submit this prayer for the good of yourself, our family, nation, mankind and the world as a whole. Let this step purify all of us to attend to what we desire and deserve. May the Good Spirit in us help all of us.'

Effect of Music:
It is also proved that foetus also responds to the music. From 7 Th month foetus can hear the sounds from mothers womb and from the surroundings of mother and also responds to them. Sound of mother's heartbeats is the first and nearest sound heard by the foetus and hence when the mother takes her crying child close to her the child stops crying and becomes calm. It is possible to give energy for the development of body mind and sole of the child in the womb by listening to special music.
The sound of the veena (Indian string instrument which is held by the Goddess Saraswati), flute and Samaveda mantras gives health to the pregnant woman and the child within. Some music cassettes and CD's –like "Garbh Sanskar : Blessings For The New Arrival", "Garbha sangeet" are published.

Lifestyle of of the mother-to-be:
It is unadvisable for the pregnant woman to watch the films depicting scenes of horrer, murder, and violence. It can produce negative effect on the child's character in future. During pregnancy she should keep company only with people who have a favorable influence over her. She should read fine literature, look at the beautiful works of art, listen to soft music, contemplate pleasant landscapes and have only positive and constructive thoughts.

Herbal Medication:
Two herbal Ghees (Medicated ghee - Base is Cow's ghee) are recommended in the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy. This ghee is to be taken every day during this period and the dose is one tablespoon. This treatment is widely practised southern states of India especially in Kerala. The herbal preparation 'Kalyanak Ghrita' is used in the 4th & 5th months. It is supposed to be effective in the development of mental faculties of the growing foetus. It also helps in the development of all bodily systems in the foetal baby. More over it prevents congenital abnormalities. This ghee prevents anemia in mother. 'Thanka sree Ghrut' is used in the last months of pregnancy. This aids the complete developments in the foetal life and can bring good fortunes to the child. This ghee also helps to a full term normal delivery.

This Ebook , by Dr. Sunanda Ranade B.A.M&S; PhD, has got one complete section on pregnancy, month wise regimen for pregnant women, diet exercise and diseases in pregnancy.