To give their children a head start in these days of cut-throat competition, some parents in India are following the advice and methodology of Garbha Sanskar – Education in the womb. Womb’garten, anyone?
Do you wish to have a child as peaceful as the Dalai Lama, a great leader like Martin Luther King Jr, or a billionaire like Bill Gates? Well, all you must do is give your child a very early start. Mediate on the qualities of such great personalities. Read stories about role models from history and mythology to your unborn child. Voila! You have manifested your dream baby. Yes, it’s that simple, says the ancient Indian science of Garbha Sanskar, which means ‘Education in the womb’.
The unborn becomes conscious by the sixth month
Your baby is listening from inside the womb. It can also experience all the emotions that the mother experiences.
Says Dr. Thomas Verny, a psychiatrist and author of the book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, “We now know that the unborn child is an aware, reacting human being who from the sixth month on (and perhaps even earlier) leads an active emotional life.”
The neurochemistry of the mother’s emotions is available to the child via the blood fed through the umbilical cord. Even the sound vibrations that the mother hears are relayed to her womb for the child to partake of. The cumulative effect of these and other sensory inputs has a definitive effect on the psycho-physiological development of the child.
Indian scriptures professed that the embryo has an individual mind. This knowledge gave rise to Garbha Sanskar, practices a mother can follow to have a dream child. Baby Krishna is a favorite picture for Hindu couples to have in the bedroom. In Mumbai a few experts have developed programs inspired by Garbha Sanskar.
Consciousness starts at conception!
While the Western world has found compelling evidence about consciousness in utero, Indian scriptures professed that consciousness is present right from conception. The Atharva Veda, which pertains to daily life, contains a Sanskrit verse stating that “from the moment fertilization occurs, the embryo has an individual mind.”
This knowledge has given rise to the practice of Garbha Sanskar. Detailed instructions are given in Garbha Upanishad, part of the Ayurveda section of Atharva Veda.
Rananjay and Parul Pandey who run Yovana, a naturopathy-cum-Ayurveda center near Mumbai (https://yovana.org/), shared with me how they laid the groundwork even before they conceived their child. “It all begins with the naming your future child.” The couple chose the name Arhat, which means slayer of all evils. They bought clothes and toys for him in anticipation of his arrival. They wrote letters to him to let him know how welcome he was.
Talking to your child in the womb
Dr. S. Andal Bhaskar, a gynecologist with 10,000 deliveries to his credit, advocates talking to your unborn child. In her book, Talking to the Baby in the Womb (Garbha Vidya), she writes how one of her patients, Seema, conversed with her unborn baby and even addressed her as Tara. Seema reported that Tara responded with movements each time she spoke to her.
Bhavini Jay Rambhia, a counseling psychologist and Arts Based Therapy (ABT) practitioner, swears by this technique too. She mentions a hilarious incident how her unborn daughter Heer followed her father Jay’s instructions precisely. He told her to keep kicking throughout the night. Heer kicked so much that Bhavini could not sleep a single wink that night.
The child will have the qualities that occupy the expectant mother’s mind, wrote Ayurveda doctor Balaji Tambe in his book. He recommended that a pregnant woman should listen to stories of people who possess qualities that she desires in her child. She can read their biographies and contemplate their lives.
Garbha Sanskar instills desired qualities in the child
The child will have the qualities that occupy the expectant mother’s mind. Dr Balaji Tambe, a spiritual guide, Ayurvedic doctor, and yoga therapist, in his book, Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar: The Art and Science of Pregnancy, suggests that a pregnant woman should listen to stories of people who possess qualities that she desires in her child. She can read their biographies, and contemplate their lives.
The Pandey couple believes that visualizing the child’s qualities before conception helps attract souls who resonate with the parents’ vision. Parul practiced Vipassana to feel peaceful and serene. She also meditated by focusing on the flame of the lamp as light is symbolic of knowledge. Their son, Arhat, turned out to be very smart and calm like a tiny Buddha. They are proud that he is everything they had envisioned.
I also spoke to Dr Deepika Jain, an Ayurveda practitioner and Garbha Sanskar expert (Instagram – Mathru_sparsh). She lays special emphasis on Nada Yoga (vibration therapy) for parenting extraordinarily intelligent children. Her son, Aarav, is testimony to her claims. At the age of four and a half years, he had mastered 500 Sanskrit verses, which he recently recited from memory in front of a large audience.
Aparna Dedhia, a Mumbai-based content writer who has been contributing to ALotusInTheMud.com, also vouches for Garbha Sanskar practices. Her younger son is very wise and mature, which she attributes to the spiritual discourses by Jain monks she attended while carrying her. throughout her second pregnancy.
Creating superlative health for mother-child duo
Dr Harsha Kulkarni, who runs her Garbha Sanskar program, ‘Swastha Matrutva’, in Mumbai, uses her knowledge as an Ayurveda doctor to design tailor-made diet plans for her clients. Her repertoire includes yoga exercises to train the pelvic floor to ease the birthing process.
Dr Tambe’s book cites a shloka which translates as, “A baby’s mind is not a blank slate, but neither is it a finished product. At the stage of the embryo, the mind is deeply attached to its parents. Whatever the mother listens to with attention contributes to culturing the mind of the child.”
Chanting shlokas and practicing meditation is an integral part of the Indian tradition. This helps induce a calm and peaceful state during pregnancy. Dr Kulkarni recommends songs based on Indian classical ragas, curated specifically for each of the nine months. The mother listens to music that aligns with the specific development that the fetus undergoes in each month of the pregnancy. This enhances the child’s physical, mental, and spiritual development manifold.
Dr Kulkarni has neonatal experts on hand to address the health requirements of the newborn and train the mother about correct breastfeeding methods.
Bhavini Jay Rambhia is an associate in the ‘Swastha Matrutva’ program. She says that new mothers suffering from post-partum depression have experienced wonderful breakthroughs because of the ABT (Arts Based Therapy) intervention that she employs.
Aarav is a testimony to his Garbha Sanskar expert mother’s claims. At the age of four and a half, he had mastered 500 Sanskrit verses, which he recently recited from memory in front of a large audience.
Now Garbha Sanskar apps
The pre-natal experience has been suitably modernized, as multiple Garbha Sanskar apps make pregnancy advice available at the click of a button. The popularity of Indian apps like ‘Garbha Sanskar Guru’ with over seven lakh subscribers, has gone through the roof. Even the New York Times took notice. These apps promise parents the baby of their dreams through the best advice for diet, exercise, yoga, chanting, baby talk, meditation, and motivational stories.
Designed by experts from every field such as Ayurveda doctors, yoga experts, dieticians, psychologists, and Garbha Sanskar experts, the activities can be customized to suit the month of pregnancy. The Apps are the answer to the vacuum created by an absence of older generations in the nuclear family structure by juicing the wisdom of the scriptures.
Examples from Indian history and mythology
Indian history and mythology are replete with examples of parents manifesting children who created history themselves.
Mother of the great Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Jijamata, wished her son to be a valiant warrior. She practiced horse-riding, and sword-fighting and participated in the political affairs of her estate, throughout her pregnancy. Lo and behold! Chhatrapati Shivaji, son of an officer in the Maratha kingdom, became the ruler of the entire Maratha empire.
Prahalad was born to the demon king, Hiranayakashyap. So, despite all the genes of his father, how did he turn out to be an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. The story goes that his mother when she was carrying Prahalad stayed in sage Narada’s hermitage. The unborn Prahalad listened to Narada’s chants of devotion towards Lord Vishnu. That is how his personality was molded.
The epic Mahabharata tells another poignant story. The Pandavas are at war with their evil cousin the Kauravas. Arjuna, one of the five Pandavas, explained the technique of busting the Chakravyuha (a military formation) to his wife, Subhadra when she was pregnant. The unborn son, Abhimanyu, was listening. However, Subhadra fell asleep midway, and Abhimanyu was deprived of the pertinent knowledge of exiting the Chakravyuhu. Later, during the Kurukshetra war, the valiant Abhimanyu broke into the enemy’s Chakravyuha, but got trapped in it as he did not know how to exit.