By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Nishkramana Samskara is the 6th ceremony which is conducted amongst the 16 popular ceremonious rituals conducted in the timeline of an individual according to Hindu beliefs. It is done immediately after naming the child i.e. Namakarana Samskara.
Nishkraman = going out (of home)
Sanskar = ceremony
It is for the first time that the child will be taken out of the children ward. The child will not just be carried out of the ward. In fact like all other ceremonies this one too will be conducted with all rituals according to the traditions of the family.
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The child will have its first outdoor visit in the 4th month. It is conducted on an auspicious day and position of auspicious star.
Before taking the child out of the house, it is given a ceremonious bath and made to wear new clothes. Gods are worshipped by conducting fire sacrifices and offering of prayers. This ceremony is conducted in the presence of priests, family, friends and neighbors.
According to the description of Master Vagbhata
‘In the fourth month, the child is well decorated and dressed up with clean, attractive and new clothes, prayers offered to the Gods and the child is brought out of the ward. One should carry the fire (God) and Skanda God (idol) and walk in front of the child leading him or her as the child is lifted by the child’s father / parent’.
According to Master Kashyapa
‘In the fourth month the child should be given a bath, should be made to worn new clothes, should be well decorated with ornaments and taken out of the ward in a ceremonious way. The child should be accompanied by dhatri – wet nurse. The wet nurse should be carrying white mustard, honey and ghee or gorochana – ox bile with her and lead the way out. They should now take the child to the temple. In the temple, the sacred fire should be worshipped with ghee and akshata – rice colored and sanctified with saffron and turmeric powder. Different kinds of worship should be done to Lord Vishnu, Skanda, Matrukas and the clan deities using fragrances, flowers, fumigants and garlands and many kinds of delicious edibles as offerings. The Brahmins should be worshipped and their blessings sought. The wet nurse along with the child should take the blessings of priests; teachers and elders present on the occasion of the ceremony and thank them. Following this the child should be brought back to the accouchement / children’s ward or to the home of the child. After returning to the home, the physician should sanctify the child by uttering the below mentioned sacred hymn –
Meaning – ‘Oh Child, Being protected by the Gods, blessed and sanctified by the Brahmanas and being praised by the teachers and elders, live for hundred years!’
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According to other opinions
Manusmriti advocates this ceremony to be carried out in the 4th month after the child’s birth. On the other hand Yamasmriti tells that the child should see the sun in the 3rd month after birth and in the 4th month the child should see the moon.
A square area is marked in the courtyard of the house. The Sun should be visible from the courtyard. The marked place should be plastered with cow dung and clay. Swastika sign is marked on it. Now the child’s mother should spread grains of rice over the plaster. The wet nurse should bring the child out of the home into the courtyard, on to the marked area. The father of the child should take the child in his arms and make the child to look at the Sun. While doing so, the sounds of the conch shell and chanting of Vedic hymns should be heard in the surroundings. The child is also shown auspicious and good symbols.
In the same procedure, others opine that the parents invoke the 5 elements of nature. They worship Sun God – Surya and Moon God – Chandra. In the day time, Sun is shown to the child and at night moon is shown to the child. This will also be the first time after birth that the child would be seeing the Sun and Moon apart from his or her first outdoor visit.
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The aim of showing sun, moon and Gods to the baby will be –
- to offer prayers to sun who bestows life and moon who bestows mood and Gods whose blessings are essential for health, growth and development of the child
- to generate a feel of respect towards these natural powers and energy sources in the child
- the child will be exposed to the outside world, to the natural forces i.e. sun, moon and wind and gets acquainted with new people and as a result social responses are invoked in the child which is very essential for the child’s future social life
- curiosity to explore things may get initiated within the child
- the blessings of deity and priests will bestow long life, intelligence and health in the child
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