Suprajanana Samskara (सुप्रजनन संस्कारः)
Ayurveda speaks of ‘Suprajanana’ (Samskrit : सुप्रजननम् ) which means thoughtful, deliberate efforts taken to ensure genesis of a human being with superior mental, physical & spiritual attributes. These efforts include use of Deha shuddhi (देहशुद्धिः detoxification) procedures for both the partners and stipulated dietary regimen and lifestyle modifications for a pregnant woman before and during pregnancy. Use of various medicinal herbs, foods and Panchakarma (पंचकर्म चिकित्सा) procedures is also described in classical Ayurveda treatises for Suprajanana i.e. generation of healthy progeny.
- 1 परिचयः॥ Introduction
- 2 गर्भः संकल्पना॥ Garbha (The concept of fetus according to Ayurveda)
- 3 सुप्रजननस्य फलम्: श्रेयसी प्रजा॥ The ultimate Aim of Suprajanana
- 4 सुप्रजनन चिकित्सायां प्रयोजनम्॥ Objectives fulfilled by Suprajananam
- 5 The principle of Garbhasanskara
- 6 गर्भसंभवसामुग्री॥ Factors essential for Suprajana
- 7 गर्भिणी परिचर्या॥ Garbhini pricharya (The monthly regiment for a pregnant lady)
- 8 गर्भोपघातकरभावाः॥ Garbhopaghatakar bhava (Factors likely to be harmful to the foetus)-
- 9 References
The influence of factors like diet, psyche and other routines of mother on the fetus has been talked since ages. Ancient Ayurveda scholars believed that, if we make an effort to enhance the quality of these factors which affect the final status of the developing new life, we can certainly obtain healthier, stronger and superior offspring. To achieve this, one can eliminate the adversely affecting dietary and lifestyle factors from pregnant woman's daily regime and at the same time make use of beneficial food, activities and herbs to gain the lacking attributes. It also includes mother's counseling, motivation and meditation for developing a balanced and Satva (सत्वम् one of the 3 attributes of mind that indicate the quality of goodness or excellence) predominant mind of a baby. Ayurveda describes many such simple methods to procure a healthy offspring and the planning of which starts from detoxifying the bodies of the partners for conception. These methods are popularized now-a-days as ‘Garbha samskaras’ (गर्भसंस्काराः) however, the classical treatises describe this regimen as 'Suprajananam' (सुप्रजननम्).
गर्भः संकल्पना॥ Garbha (The concept of fetus according to Ayurveda)
Garbha is defined as the union of Shukra (Purusha beej), Artava (Stree beej) and Jivatma or Atma inside the Garbhashayam (Womb). (Su sha 5.3)
Beej is defined as the entity which gives origin to a new life similar to itself. (Cha. Sha. 2/35 Chakrapanidatta Commentary) The beeja therefore, is responsible for inheritance of maternal & paternal properties. In this context, Beej refers to the male and female reproductive tissues known as Shukra of male and Artava of female.
Ayurveda elaborates the process of beginning of a new life in great depth. According to Ayurveda, any individual is a union of Sharira (Body), Manas (Mind) and Life energy (widely recognized as soul). Thus, during the birth of a new individual, genesis and union of all these factors must take place. According to Ayurvedic classics, although the Sharira (physical body) of an individual develops due to union of Stree beej and purush beej, an individual is born only after entry of the new entity called ‘Jivatma’ (Atma) into it. This 'Jivatma' represents life energy or consciousness. It is only after entry of life energy or Jivatma in fetus, that the life begins and is known as 'Garbha'.
This garbha inherits attributes from mother, father, from the past life karma via Jivatma, from the diet of mother and the daily regimen that the mother follows during the pregnancy.  Thus, Ayurveda suggests improving all those components consciously and mindfully which can be made better with use of diet and medicines and this process is called as 'Suprajananam'.
सुप्रजननस्य फलम्: श्रेयसी प्रजा॥ The ultimate Aim of Suprajanana
The term ‘Shreyasi praja’ (श्रेयसी प्रजा) is used while describing Suprajanana in Ayurveda classics. ‘Shreyas’ (श्रेयस्) literally means welfare or praiseworthy. Child birth is not merely procreation but it is a quest for the development of a better human and a better society in turn. This involves a complete regimen that leads to a healthy mother and a healthy baby.
स्त्रीपुंसयोरव्यापन्नशुक्रशोणितगर्भाशययोः श्रेयसीं प्रजामिच्छतोस्तदर्थाभिनिर्वृत्तिकरं कर्मोपदेक्ष्यामः || (Char. Samh. 8.3)
strīpuṁsayoravyāpannaśukraśoṇitagarbhāśayayoḥ śreyasīṁ prajāmicchatostadarthābhinirvr̥ttikaraṁ karmopadekṣyāmaḥ ||
Meaning: Now we shall explain the procedures required for begetting a progeny of superior qualities, to be practiced by man and woman of undamaged shukra, shonita and garbhashaya.
सुप्रजनन चिकित्सायां प्रयोजनम्॥ Objectives fulfilled by Suprajananam
In ancient Ayurveda texts, this particular Samskara (संस्कारः) is described mainly for obtaining safe and fruitful pregnancy in following ways
- Anupaghata (अनुपघाताय) – to prevent miscarriages and ensure a full term pregnancy
- Paripoornatvay (परिपूर्णत्वाय) - to ensure complete optimum physical growth & mental development of the foetus
- Sukhaprasavay (सुखप्रसवाय) - to facilitates safe and uncomplicated labor
The commentator of treatise Ashtanga Sangraha has specifically mentioned these 3 objectives of Suprajananam.
तस्यामनुपघाताय परिपूर्णत्वाय सुखप्रसवाय च - (Asht. Sang. Shar. commentory)
From the foregoing it is clear that, the aim is to promote the health of not only the fetus but also the mother throughout the period of pregnancy, parturition and postpartum phase.
The principle of Garbhasanskara
“ Garbhasaman yogakshema hi…. (A.Sangraha sha 2/58 )
From the viewpoint of Ayurveda, the welfare of the fetus is very well connected with that of the pregnant lady. Thus, she always should follow desired congenial diet, proper behavior and avoid the factors which can harm the fetus in order to achieve safe pregnancy & motherhood.
On this basis, Ayurveda acharyas have put forward a regimen to be followed by a pregnant woman, which is designed considering month wise growth and development of the fetus accepted by Ayurveda. It is believed that, such regimen effectively maintains the continuous supply of the essential key nutritive elements for building body architecture and to avoid the complications and adversities that might occur during pregnancy and delivery.
गर्भसंभवसामुग्री॥ Factors essential for Suprajana
The doctrine of Ayurveda states that, Suprajananam takes place only when the 4 key factors namely Rtu (ऋतु Appropriate phase of menstrual cycle of a woman for conception), Kshetra (क्षेत्र Site for conception and implantation), Ambu (अम्बु Nourishing fluid for fetal growth) and Beeja (बीज which could be roughly correlated with Sperm and Ova which are the seeds for fertilization) are at their best possible state. When all these 4 factors are appropriate, they create conducive environment for conception and new birth.
ध्रुवं चतुर्णां सान्निध्याद्गर्भः स्याद्विधिपूर्वकम् |
ऋतुक्षेत्राम्बुबीजानां सामग्र्यादङ्कुरो यथा || (Sush. Samh. Shar. 2.33)
dhruvaṁ caturṇāṁ sānnidhyādgarbhaḥ syādvidhipūrvakam |
r̥tukṣetrāmbubījānāṁ sāmagryādaṅkuro yathā ||
Meaning: Alike potent seed sown in the fertile soil during good climatic conditions & irrigated properly results into a sapling, above-mentioned 4 factors Rutu (fertile period), Kshetra (the reproductive system), Ambu (nutrition) & beeja (Sperm & ovum) aid in suprajananam.
Rtu can be defined as the appropriate time for conception. This is the specific duration of the menstrual cycle when the female reproductive system is capable of accepting the male beejam and allowing the union of male and female beejam naturally. Not every phase of menstrual cycle shows this capacity thus this period is important factor for conception.
In this context, Kshetra means Garbhashaya (गर्भाशयम् the uterus and allied organs). The concept of Kshetra involves entire female body including reproductive system & mind. Ayurveda believes that, not just physical body but the mind of conceiving mother should also be ready for the process of conception & motherhood in order to support and develop the new life in her womb, because the later would be dependent on her to great extent. Thus, Ayurveda believes in preparing the body and mind of future mother by purifying the body by eliminating unwanted doshas (दोषाः) and enhancing the strength and health of mother. To achieve this, Suprajanana thus involves various Panchakarma procedures for detoxification of body, use of various herbs to pacify disturbed harmony of doshas of body & mind. Stipulated diet and lifestyle modifications help to enhance the quality of fluid that will nourish the fetus when in womb. Panchakarma therapies like vamana (वमनम्), virechana (विरेचनम्), basti (बस्तिः) etc  uttarbasti (उत्तरबस्तिः), pichudharana (पिचुधारणम्), yonipoorana (योनीपूरणम्) etc  are employed according to the needs.
Ayurveda emphasizes role of state of Mind in the process of conception by mentioning that, balanced, joyful, peaceful mind is required for conception and it is the chief factor in the process of conception. Thus, now-a-days, major stress is given on balancing the mental status of the mother before and during pregnancy and various measures to maintain sound mental status are employed in the regimen of Suprajananam.
सौमनस्यं गर्भधारणानाम् । (Char. Samh. Sutra 25.40)
saumanasyaṁ garbhadhāraṇānām ।
Counseling, meditation can help for mind preparation. Also, the thoughts in mind of the female, at the very moment of conception, determine the type of jeev (जीवम् ) which is inculcated into the shukra (शुक्रम्) & shonit (शोणितम्) at garbhashay (गर्भाशयम्) and results into the Garbha (गर्भः) 
Ambu is the fluid or the juice resulted from the digestion of the food taken by the mother. This serves for the nutrition of the garbha. The quality and quantity of this Rasa, is of utmost importance, as it forms the basic building units of the garbha. Balanced wholesome diet and lifestyle help to generate superior quality nourishing fluid.
Beej is defined as the entity which gives origin to a new life similar to itself. The beeja therefore, is responsible for inheritance of maternal & paternal attributes. Beeja here refers to streebeej (स्त्रीबीजम्) i.e. Artav (आर्तवम्) & purushabeej (पुरुषबीजम्) i.e. Shukra (शुक्रम्). The purity of shukra and artav should be considered important.
The detoxification of Male body is also considered important prior to conception to ensure complete health of the male partner & purity of shukra.
These 4 factors when work in perfect unison in the stipulated manner result into a viable sustainable Garbha.
गर्भिणी परिचर्या॥ Garbhini pricharya (The monthly regiment for a pregnant lady)
The regimen has to be observed from the very point of doubt of conception. The specific month wise regimen has to be followed till the time of delivery. The regimen is designed as per the month wise growth and development of the garbha to maintain the continuous supply of the required raw material for building of the body and to avoid the possible harmful effects on the mother and the baby.
This month wise regimen is described in classical Ayurveda samhitas. Today's Vaidyas design monthly customized regimens based on these classical guidelines for those couples who are willing for Suprajananam. The herbs, foods and lifestyle modifications suggested under this are to be followed under strict medical supervision of Vaidyas.
गर्भोपघातकरभावाः॥ Garbhopaghatakar bhava (Factors likely to be harmful to the foetus)-
Ancient Ayurveda acharyas have listed some lifestyle events, activities and factors from which the pregnant lady has to be protected to ensure proper mental & physical growth of the Garbha. These are called Garbhopaghatakara bhavas. Here, the term Garbha (गर्भः) refers to fetus, upaghatakara (उपघातकराः) means harmful and bhavas (भावाः) mean factors. The following things should be avoided by a pregnant lady:
- Strenuous Exercise
- Excessive irritable activities
- Hectic travels using uncomfortable vehicles
- Staying awake at Night, sleeping during day hours
- Suppression of natural urges
- Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight or fire
- Emotional outbreaks due to anger, fear, grief, excitement, terror
- Excessive fasting
- Squatting or using abnormal sitting postures
- Exposure to undesired, harmful sounds and sights
- Excessive guru, ushna, teekshna, rooksha food
Since the Yogakshema (योगक्षेमम् welfare) & contraindications of the mother & the garbha are identical, the pregnant lady should use desired congenial diet & stipulated daily regimen & should avoid factors which may harm garbha. 
In this way Ayurveda has a very thoughtful and logical approach in advising Suprajananam before conception and during pregnancy to develop better quality new lives. The popularity of this thought and regimen is increasing day by day with emergence of lifestyle related chronic and hereditary disorders. Such in-depth and mindful approach towards the process of conception can certainly help in empowering upcoming generations in this world.
More references to be added : Cha.Sha.2/25, Cha.Sha.4/5, Cha. Sha. 2/35 Chakrapanidatta teeka, Cha. Vi. 1/21/2, Su.Sha 2/33, Ka. Sha. 5/3&7, A. San.sha. 2/60-62
- Sushruta Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 5 Sutra 3)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 3 Sutra 5)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutram 3)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutram 4)
- Ashtanga Hrdayam (Uttaratantram Adhyaya 34 Sutra 26-27, 61)
- Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 25 Sutra 40)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 2 Sutram 25)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 4 Sutra 5)
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutra 32)
- Ashtanga Sangraha (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 2 Sutram 58)