SimantonnayanaSimantonnayana / Simanta / Godhbharai

Simantonnayana, also called Simanta or Simantakarana, Seemantonnayan sanskaar (The ritual for the mental development of foetus) ‘Seemant’ – this vernacular word literally means brain, while ‘Utnayan’ literally means development. Another meaning literally means “parting the hair upwards”. This is one of the Shodasha Smaskara/Sanskaar. The significance of the ritual is to wish a healthy development of the baby and safe delivery to the mother.

When to perform the Ceremony/Ritual:

Simantonnayana is a ceremony performed either in the fourth, sixth or eighth month of a woman’s pregnancy. It is done for the protection and health of the mother and the unborn child.

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Significance and importance of the ritual:

The significance of the ritual is to wish a healthy development of the baby and safe delivery to the mother.
Simantonnayana ritual is described in many Gryhasutra texts, The common element was the husband and wife getting together, with friends and family, then he parts her hair upwards at least three times. In modern times, the “parting hair” rite of passage is rarely observed, and when observed it is called Atha-gulem and done in the 8th month, with flowers and fruits, to cheer the woman in the late stages of her pregnancy.

The ritual has more commonly evolved into a ritual that shares characteristics of a baby shower, where the friends and relatives of the woman meet, acknowledge and satisfy the food cravings of the expectant woman, and give gifts to the mother and the baby in 7th or 8th month of pregnancy. Yåjñavalkya Smriti verse 3.79 asserts that the desires of the pregnant woman should be satisfied for healthy development of the baby, to prevent miscarriage and her health. This rite of passage is regionally called by various names, such as Seemant, Godh bharai, Seemantham or Valaikaapu.

Ceremony:

According to the Paraskara Gryha Sutra, at the beginning of the ceremony, the pregnant wife seats on a soft chair and with caressing attention, the husband himself parts her hairs upwards from the forehead three times, first with a bunch containing an even number of unripe udumbara (Ficus racemosa) fruits and three bunches of darbha grass, next with a porcupines quill having three white spots and finally with a stick of the Viratara wood and a full spindle, chanting each time three Mahavyahrtis (great mystical mantras), Bhur, Bhuvah and Svah. But according to Baudhayana different two verses are chanted.

After the Simantonnayana ritual and until the birth, the woman is expected to not overexert herself, her husband is expected to be by her and not to travel to distant lands.

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