Garbhadhana (IAST: Garbhādhāna) (literally, gifting the womb), is the act of conception. This is the first sacrament which followed immediately on every marimonial union. There are a number of rites performed before conception. The act of first sexual intercourse or insemination is known as Nishekam. (Garbhdhanasamskaram is cited in Manusmrti, 2.27)
Garbhadhana (Sanskrit: गर्भाधान,
Garbhādhāna) (literally: placing the seed in the womb) is the
first of the 16 samskāras (sacraments) practiced by the Hindus.
The rite through which a man placed his seed in a woman was called “GARBHADHANA”. Therite by the performance of which a woman receives semen scattered by her husband is called GARBHADHANA.
Though the ritual procedure adopted in the GARBHADHANA must have assumed a fairly ceremonious shape before the codification of the SAMSKARAS in the GRIHYASŨTRAS. We do not get exact information about it in the pre-sũtra period. But we come across many prayers in the vedic hymns pointing to the act of conception.
The GARBHADHANA ceremonies are, for the first time systematically dealt with in the GRIHYASŨTRAS . According to them, since marriage the husband was required to approach the wife in every month when she was ceremoniously pure after her monthly course. But before the conception, one had to observe various vows according to the desire of possessing.
The Time of performance
.The first question that was raised in connection with the GARBHADHANA ceremony was about the time of its performance. The DHARMASŨTRAS are unanimous at the point that it should be performed when the wife was physically prepared to conceive, that is, in RUTU. The proper time for conception was from the fourth to the sixteenth night after the monthly course of the wife. The majority of the GRIHYASŨTRAS and the SMRITĨS consider the fourth night ceremoniously pure for conception. Butthe BOBHILA GRIHYASŨTRA takes a more rational view. According to it conception should take place after the stoppage of the flow of impure blood. The woman, before the fourth night, was regarded untouchable and a man approaching her was polluted and also taken to be guilty of abortion, because his semen was scattered in vain. Only nights were prescribed for conception and day time was prohibited. The reason given for it was that the vital airs of one who cohabits with his wife in the day time, leap out; one approaching his wife in the night time is still a BRAHMACHARĨ; one should avoid coition in the day time, because from it unlucky, weak end short-lived children are born. Exception to this rule however was recognized. But they were meant for only those who generally lived abroad, separated fromtheir wives were intensely desirous of cohabitation. चतुर्थी प्रभुत्या षॊडशी मुत्तरा मुत्तरां युग्मां प्रजानिश्रॆयस मृतुगमन इत्युपदिशंति.
The idea underlying the second exception was that they should be satisfied and protected by every means, so that they should not go astray. Among the nights later ones were preferred. BOUDHAYANA says that “one should approach his wife from the fourth to the sixteenth night, specially the later ones”.
APASTAMBA and others endorsed the same view. children conceived on later nights were regarded more lucky and meritorious : “A son conceived on the fourth on the fourth night becomes short-lived and without wealth ; a girl conceived on the fifth generally gives birth to female children; a son conceived on the sixth becomes mediocre; a girl conceived on the seventh would become barren; a son conceived on the eight night becomes a lord or prosperous; if the conception takes place on the ninth night an auspicious woman is born and a son conceived on the tenth becomes wise; a girl conceived on the eleventh night becomes an irreligious woman and a son conceived on the twelfth becomes the best man; on the thirteenth an adulteress woman is born and on the fourteenth a religious, grateful, self-realized and firm in his vow, son is born; on the fifteenth a mother of many sons and devoted to her husband; and on the sixteenth a learned, auspicious, truthful, self-controlled and a refuge of all creatures is born.
The rationale of this belief was that conception. उभयॊर्हृदय संसर्गेप्सु श्त्रिरात्रावरं ब्रह्मचर्यं चरित्वा स्थालीपाकग्ग्ं श्रपइत्वाग्नॆ रुपसमानाद्याज्यभागान्तॆ अन्वारब्धायां C retain dates of the month were prohibited for conception. The eighth, the fourteenth, the fifteenth and the thirtieth, and all the PARWANS were specially avoided. The twice-born house holder observing.
the above rule was regarded to be ever a BRAHMACHARĨ. The VISHNU PURANA stigmatizes these nights and damns the persons guilty of approaching of their wives on them to hell. MANU taboos the eleventh and thirteenth days also. These days were meant for religious observance, and therefore any sexual act was eschewed on them. But there may be other reasons why these nights were forbidden. The ancient Hindus were well conversant with astrology and astronomy. When they could fix the paths of the sun and moon, they would have observed that their conjunction on different dates produced different effects on the earth. It is common place knowledge of physical geography that, Owing to the attraction of the moon and the increase of the watery substance, the physical condition of the earth becomes abnormal on the PARWAN dates and consequently the health of the animal world is not sound. So it was thought advisable that on these dates. Most probably, this experience of the astronomers found its place in the DHARMAŠASTRA, astrology developed. अर्थप्राध्वस्य परिक्षवे परिकासने चाप उपस्प्रुश्योत्तरे यथालिन्गं चित्रियं वनस्पतिं शकृद्रीतिंसिग्वातं शकुनिमिति.
The study of the GARBHADHANA SMSKARA is very interesting from the cultural point of view. Here we do not find a primitive man expressing wonder at the prospects of a child and only seeking the help of god’s t secure it, nor conception here is a haphazard accident without any desire for the progeny. Here we come across a people who approached their wives with a definite purpose of the procreating children, in a definite manner calculated to produce the best possible progeny and with the religious serenity which, they believed, would consecrate they would be child