Jaata-Asoucha (जाताशौचम्)

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Jaata Asoucha (Samskrit: जाताशौचम्) is the period of Asoucha that is to be followed after birth of a child and it applies to parents and the sapindas. This asoucha (गर्भनाशजननाद्यशौचम्) is also laid down in cases of Abortion, Miscarriage, loss of a new-born child and death of children in varying times until the age of sixteen. A person of the Upanayana age or of sixteen years is treated as an adult and the vidhis are described in cases of death dealt as in Mrta-Asoucha.

जाताशौच-निर्णयः ॥ Determination of Jaata Asoucha

The vidhis for Jaata Asoucha are mentioned starting from the early months of pregnancy with varying periods of Asoucha time specified based on the time of loss of the child. Parashara smrti defines the terms as below.

आचतुर्थाद्भवेत्स्रावः पातः पञ्चमषष्ठयोः । अत ऊर्ध्वं प्रसूतिः स्याद्दशाहं सूतकं भवेत् ॥ (Para. Smrt. 3.18)[1]

An abortion taking place before four months are past, is to be called Garbha Sraava' or oozing' of the womb (गर्भस्रावः । miscarriage); it is named a 'fall' Garbha Paata (गर्भपातः । abortion) within the fifth or in the sixth month; thereafter it is called Prasuuti (प्रसूतिः । Parturition). And then for the period of ten days will the Asoucha last.

तत्र गर्भस्रावे आद्यमासत्रये मातुस्त्रिरात्रं चतुर्थमासे चतूरात्रमस्पृस्यत्वरुपमाशौचम्॥ पित्रादिसपिण्डानां स्रावमात्रे स्नानाच्छुद्धिः॥

  • If Garbha Sraava happens anytime upto three months, only the mother has ‘Asprushyatva-rupa' Ashuchi for three days; if in fourth month then Asuchi is for four days for the mother. Shuddhi for Father and Sapindas is accorded after bath (Sadyasoucham).

    पञ्चमषष्ठमासयोर्गर्भपाते गर्भिण्या माससमसंख्यं क्रमेण पञ्चषड्दिनान्यस्पृश्यत्वलक्षणमाशौचम्॥ पित्रादिसपिण्डानां तु त्रिदिनं जननाशौचं मृताशौचंतु नास्ति॥ इदं स्रावपातशौचं सर्ववर्णसाधारणम्॥

  • If Garbha Paata happens then ‘Asprushyatva-lakshana' Asuchi for the mother is five days in the fifth and six days in the sixth month. Father and Sapindas have to undergo three days of Janana Asoucha (vidhi is explained below) and not have to follow Mrtaasoucha. These vidhis mentioned above are common to people of all varnas. This point is mentioned in the Parashara smriti also as follows.

    यदि गर्भो विपद्येत स्रवते वापि योषिताम् । यावन्मासं स्थितो गर्भो दिनं तावत्तु सूतकम् ॥ (Para. Smrt. 3.17)[1]

    If the foetus should perish, while yet in the womb, or be miscarried — then the woman has Asoucha of as many days, as would be equal to the number of months the child had been in the womb.

    गर्भिण्याः सप्तममासप्रभृतिप्रसवे मातुः पित्रादिसपिण्डानां च संपूर्णं जननाशौचम्॥ तच्च विप्रे दशाहम्॥ क्षत्रिये द्वादशाहम्॥ वैश्ये पञ्चद्वादशाहम्॥ शूद्रे मासः संकरजातीनां शूद्रवत्॥ सर्वेषु दशाहं वा॥

  • From Prasuti time, i.e., seven months pregnancy onward, the complete ‘Janana -ashoucha’ vidhis would be applicable for the mother, father and all the Sapindas, which would be for ten days to Vipras, twelve days of Kshatriyas, fifteen days for Vaishyas and one month for others. Another version is that for all varnas the Janana-asoucha is for ten days only (सर्वेषु दशाहं वा॥ this vidhi is being followed in the present society). The same is mentioned in Parashara Smrti as follows.

    प्रसूतिकाले संप्रप्ते प्रसवे यदि योषिताम् । जीवापत्ये तु गोत्रस्य मृते मातुश्च सूतके॥ (Para. Smrt. 3.19)[1]

    When the woman approaches Prasuti (7th month onwards) if the new-born is alive then Asoucha (Jaata Asoucha for ten days) is for all the family members having the same surname (sagotra) whereas if the baby is still-born then the mother alone has the Asoucha for ten days.

जननाशौचविधयः ॥ Janana-Asoucha Vidhis

This section describes what actions are to be performed during Janana Asoucha. There are some personal vidhis such as Asprushyata (isolation without physical contact with others) as well as some rituals to be performed by the father such as Danas, and Jaatakarmas.

  • जननाशौचे गर्भिण्या दशाहमस्पृश्यत्वम्॥ During Jananasoucham, the mother alone has Asprushyata for ten days.[2]
  • कर्मानधिकारस्तु कन्योत्पत्तौ मासं पुत्रोत्पत्तौ विंशतिरात्रम्॥ The mother does not have Karma-adhikara or eligibility to perform ‘Karyas’ such as devatarchana, pujas and danas, until forty days (10 days of Jaata asoucha plus 30 days) of the birth of a female child and thirty days (10 days plus 20 days) on the birth of a male child.
  • पितुःसापत्नमातुश्च कन्यायाः पुत्रस्यवोत्पत्तौ सचैलस्नानात्प्रागस्पृश्यत्वं पित्रादिसपिण्डानां जननाशौचे कर्मानधिकारमात्रम्॥ During Jananasoucham, the father (and co-wives of the lady who delivered, though polygamy is not applicable in the present days) has Asprushyata until Sachela snaana. They along with other Sapindas of the family do not have the karma-adhikara during the ten days.
  • Karmadyatirikta kale --- The family and sapindas do not have Sparshadosha with each other (here only the new mother has sparshadosha where if outsiders touch her they have to take a shuddhi snana).
  • During the time of Jatakarmas the father is exempted from such Jataasoucha vidhis. In the ten-day Jaatasoucha period, on the fifth, sixth and tenth days, the father has the adhikara to perform special pujas and danas irrespective of the above mentioned vidhis. Vipras can receive danas.
  • If a child is born in the Stree’s Pitru Griha, then her parents, brothers, her uncles who are residing in that particular house have to observe Janana-Ashoucha for one day.
  • If the delivery is in her father in law’s house then the mother's parents have no Ashoucha.
  • If a child is still born, then there would be complete ten-day Janana asoucham but no Mrita-Ashoucha.
  • If child is dead before the child’s navel is cut then three days for father and sapindas and for the mother ten-days.
  • If the child dies after the navel is cut then there would be ten days of Janana Ashoucha but no Mritaashoucha; the mother of the dead child too need not observe Mritaashoucha.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Smriti Sandarbha (1988) Collection of the Four Dharmashastric Texts by Maharshies. Vol. 2. Delhi: Nag Publishers. (Page 633-)
  2. The Dharmasindhu bu Kasinath Upadhyaya (1986 Reprint Edition) Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications (Page 341 - 343)