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Garbhadhana (Sanskrit: गर्भाधान, Garbhādhāna) (literally: attaining the wealth of the womb) is the first of the 16 saṃskāras (sacraments, rites of passage) in Hinduism.[1]


Garbhadhana is a composite word of Garbha (womb) and Dhana (attain, wealth), and it literally means attaining the wealth of the womb.[2] It is a private rite of passage, marking the intent of a couple to have a child. It is a ceremony performed before Nisheka (conception and impregnation).[3] In some ancient texts, the word simply refers to the rite of passage where the couple have sex to have a child, and no ceremonies are mentioned.[4]


Scholars trace Garbhadhana rite to Vedic hymns, such as those in sections 8.35.10 through 8.35.12 of the Rigveda, where repeated prayers for progeny and prosperity are solemnized,[2]

प्रजां च धत्तं द्रविणं च धत्तम्
bestow upon us progeny and affluence

— Rig Veda 8.35.10 - 8.35.12, Translated by Ralph Griffith[5]

The Vedic texts have many passages, where the hymn solemnizes the desire for having a child, without specifying the gender of the child. For example, the Rigveda in section 10.184 states,[2]

विष्णुर्योनिं कल्पयतु त्वष्टा रूपाणि पिंशतु । आ सिञ्चतु प्रजापतिर्धाता गर्भं दधातु ते ॥१॥
गर्भं धेहि सिनीवालि गर्भं धेहि सरस्वति । गर्भं ते अश्विनौ देवावा धत्तां पुष्करस्रजा ॥२॥
हिरण्ययी अरणी यं निर्मन्थतो अश्विना । तं ते गर्भं हवामहे दशमे मासि सूतवे ॥३॥
May Vishnu construct the womb, may Twashtri fabricate the member, may Prajapati sprinkle the seed, may Dhatri cherish thy embryo;
Sustain the embryo Sinivali, sustain the embryo Saraswati, may the divine Aswins, garlanded with lotuses, sustain thy embryo;
We invoke thy embryo which the Aswins have churned with the golden pieces of Arani (firewood), that thou mayest bring it forth in the tenth month.

— Rig Veda 10.184.1 - 10.184.3, Translated by HH Wilson[6]

The desire for progeny, without mentioning gender, is in many other books of the Rigveda, such as the hymn 10.85.37. The Atharva Veda, similarly in verse 14.2.2, states a ritual invitation to the wife, by her husband to mount the bed for conception, "being happy in mind, here mount the bed; give birth to children for me, your husband".[2] Later texts, such as the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in the last chapter detailing the education of a student, include lessons for his Grihastha stage of life.[7] There, the student is taught, that as a husband, he should cook rice for the wife, and they together eat the food in certain way depending on whether they wish for the birth of a daughter or a son, as follows,[7]

And if a man wishes that a learned daughter should be born to him, and that she should live to her full age, then after having prepared boiled rice with sesamum and butter, they should both eat, being fit to have offspring.

And if a man wishes that a learned son should be born to him, and that he should live his full age, then after having prepared boiled rice with meat and butter, they should both eat, being fit to have offspring.

— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.17 - 6.4.18, Translated by Max Muller[8]

The different Grhyasutras differ in their point of view, whether the garbhadhana is to be performed only once, before the first conception, or every time before the couple plan to have additional children.[9] To answer this question, the medieval era texts of various schools discussed and offered diverse views on whether the ritual is a rite of passage for the baby's anticipation in the womb (garbha), or for the wife (kshetra).[9] A rite of passage of the baby would imply that Garbhadhana sanskara is necessary for each baby and therefore every time the couple intend to have a new baby, while a rite of passage of the wife would imply a one time ritual suffices.[9]


According to the Grhya Sutras, at the beginning of the performance of this saṃskāra, the wife dressed up and the husband recited Vedic verses consisting similes of natural creation and invocations to gods for helping his wife in conception.[10] The rite of passage marked the milestone where both husband and wife agreed to have a child and raise a family together.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pandey, R.B. (1962, reprint 2003). The Hindu Sacraments (Saṁskāra) in S. Radhakrishnan (ed.) The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol.II, Kolkata:The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, ISBN 81-85843-03-1, p.392
  2. ^ a b c d Rajbali Pandey (2013), Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, 2nd Edition, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120803961, pages 48-56 with footnotes
  3. ^ garbhAdhAna&direction=SE&script=HK&link=yes&beginning=0 niSeka Sanskrit - English Dictionary, Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon, Germany
  4. ^ Dagmar Benner (2008), in Mathematics and Medicine in Sanskrit (Editor: Dominik Wujastyk), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832466, pages 122-123
  5. ^ Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद: सूक्तं ८.३५ Wikisource;
    English: Rigveda Mandala 8, Hymn 35 Ralph Griffith (translator), Wikisource
  6. ^ Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद: सूक्तं १०.१८४ Wikisource;
    English: Rigveda Mandala 10, Hymn 184 HH Wilson (translator), Trubner London, pages 410-411
  7. ^ a b Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 534-539
  8. ^ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad VI Adhyaya 4 Brahmana 17 and 18 Max Muller (translator), Oxford University Press, pages 219-220
  9. ^ a b c Rajbali Pandey (1969), Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, ISBN 978-81-208-0396-1, pages 56–58
  10. ^ Pandey, Rajbali (1969, reprint 2006) Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-Religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN ISBN 81-208-0434-1, pp.48-59

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbhadhana — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:31:31 -0700

In Hinduism there are 16 major life rituals called Samskars or Sanskars (संस्कार) and one of them relates to a husband and wife conceiving a child. My husband and I want to have children and so this is the perfect opportunity to fulfill a samskar ...
Thu, 31 Dec 2015 23:18:45 -0800

1. Vivaha/Marriage - This is considered the most important samskara in the Hindu tradition and is conducted in many ways, depending on the community. 2. Garbhadhana/ Prayer for children - This is a prayer before conception (typically after menstruation).

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Patheos (blog)
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 03:41:50 -0700

Vishnu (Vish-nuu or Wish-nuu) is another member of the Hindu trinity. It is Vishnu who represents preservation. He maintains the world and so he is very popular for woship. A branch of Hinduism views Vishnu as the ultimate Lord of all. That branch is ...

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:19:44 -0700

Previously I talked about the first samskar, garbhadhana and today I want to look at the second samskar: Punswan. This one is performed three months after conception. Though some believe it to be a way to get a male child, this author insists that it ...

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Wed, 02 Oct 2013 03:30:53 -0700

I've been learning quite a lot about how babies are made over the last several months. Since my close friend was starting to try for a baby about a year and a half ago and one of our other good friends is a neo-natal nurse, I got the benefit of a lot ...


Tue, 15 Oct 2013 03:03:53 -0700

Pelaksanaannya diwujudkan dengan upacara disebut Magedong-gedongan (cara di Bali), atau Mitu Bulanian (cara di Jawa), atau Garbhadhana (cara di India). Pembentukan watak ini menurut tradisi kuno, sudah dimulai ketika ibu bapak mengadakan ...

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