Jaatkarma Sanskar

The Jaatkarma Sanskar is one of the Major Sanskars as per the Hindu Vedic culture, and celebrates the birth of a child in its own way. This Sanskar is one of the private rituals held by the parents of the child, and is observed by them in the presence of their relatives and close friends.

Background of Jaatkarma

The Sanskrit work Jaatkarma, is a composite word with its roots in ‘Jata’, which means ‘born and brought into existence’, and ‘Karman’, which means ‘an action, duty or attainment’. Thus the word ‘Jaatkarma’ or ‘Jaatkarman’ means, ‘a birth ceremony or a rite which is done when one attains birth’. Its roots are derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Jatak’ which means ‘a new born or an infant’.

The Ritual

The first post-natal rite of passage for a new-born baby, as per the ancient texts of Hinduism, the Jaatkarma ritual celebrates the baby’s birth and its bonding with the Father. As per tradition, the Father welcomes the baby by touching its lips with a honey and ghee (clarified butter), along with the recitation of Vedic Hymns. The Hymns hold a significant importance as they are necessary for the initiation of the baby’s mind and intellect in the womb of the world. This is after it has come out of its mother’s womb, fully developed and grown. The Hymns also wish the baby a long life, and wish it prosperity for life.

Prayers to the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom, Saraswati, are also offered during this rite of passage, and the father says the word, ‘You are the Vedas! So, live a hundred autumns’, into the baby’s ear. After the ritual is pronounced as ended by the Father, he gives the baby to the mother for breast feeding.

The Earliest Dharmasutras list Jaatkarma and Naamkaran as two different Sanskars. However, as per today’s time, and as per Pantanjali’s time, these two rites of passage have merged into one. At most times both these Sanskars are held together on the same day and in the same occasion, which is completed within the first two weeks of the baby’s birth, and this is usually around the tenth day of its birth.