By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Garbharaksana, GarbharakSaNa, Garbharakshana
Garbharakṣaṇa literally means ‘protection of the foetus’.
According the smṛtis and the dharmaśāstras, each human being was supposed to undergo some sanskāras or purification rites. One of the sixteen such sanskāras known as ‘ṣoḍaśa-sanskāras’ is the pumsavana rite. Garbharakṣaṇa is a part of this rite.
In this rite, which is meant for protecting the foetus, the husband of the pregnant lady drops a little durvārasa into her nostril, touches her heart and repeats some auspicious mantras such as ‘ā te garbho yonimaitu....’ This rite is also called ‘anavalobhana’ and is generally done in the fourth month after conception.
- Durvārasa is the juice of the grass cynodon dactylon.
- Atharvaveda 3.23.2
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore