Upaveshana Samskara (उपवेशन संस्कारः)

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Upaveshana samskara (उपवेशन संस्कारः) is described in Ayurveda texts under childhood samskaras (संस्काराः) . The term upaveshana (उपवेशनम्) refers to the act of sitting. Thus it is the samskara done in the period when the child is made to sit for the first time in life. Making a baby sit with or without support, baby's ability to do so by own and the effects of sitting for a long time all these aspects are related to health of the baby. Thus Ayurveda scholars seem to have meticulously studied it and proposed an appropriate method for it under Upaveshana samskara.

Upaveshana Samskara

व्युत्पत्तिः॥ Etymolgy

उप + विश--भावे ल्युट् । (वसा) १ आसने २ स्थापने (Vachaspatyam)[1]

The term is made up of 2 parts, 'Upa' (उप) and 'Visha' (विश्). Collectively it refers to the act of sitting.

उपवेशनसंस्कारस्य कालम्॥ Time to perform upaveshana samskara

Ayurveda acharyas have proposed following time to perform this samskara. [2] [3]

  1. Ashtanga Samgraha (अष्टाङ्ग संग्रहः) : Upaveshana samskara to be done in the 5th month
  2. Kashyapa Samhita (काश्यप संहिता) : It is to be performed in the 6th month.

According to Kashyapa Samhita, this samskara is performed along with the Phalaprashana Samskara (फलप्राशन संस्कारः) in 6th month.

संस्कारविधिः॥ Samskara vidhi

Samskaras practiced in Sanatana dharma were supposed to be celebrated in a ceremonious manner. Upaveshana samskara is not an exception to it. It is the samskara wherein the newborn child is made to sit for the first time in his/her life. Usually before this, the child in always kept in lying down position and all his/her activities like eating, playing with the toys are performed in that same position only. Now when the child develops sufficient strength to hold his neck, back, and weight against gravity, he/she enters a new phase of life. For this, the child has to develop certain amount of strength in muscles, bones, joints etc. Thus when this samskara or act of making child sit with or without support is not done properly it can lead to serious adverse effects on the child's health. Hence Ayurveda acharyas have given guidelines and instructions so as to make this transition smooth and trouble-free for the baby.

Preparation of baby

The baby should be bathed, adorned with ornaments and dressed in new clothes. The baby should not be sick or unwell on the day of samskara

Preparation of the sitting place

The place where the upaveshana samskara is to be performed is prepared beforehand. [4]

In earlier times the floor which was merely made up of soil used to be smeared with cow dung (a traditional method to prepare a ground). But if the samskara is performed in current times, it just means that the place where baby is going to sit should be thoroughly cleaned, wiped or sanitized.

The place should be safe for the bay. It means that the objects that are sharp or may cause injury to the child on contact should be removed from that place. The place or site of sitting baby should be thoroughly checked for presence of insects, ants etc to prevent any incidents of insect bite as well.

The place is also decorated with various attractive toys with which the baby can play.

देवतापूजनम् ॥ Worship of deities

Before starting the samskara, parents, relatives and all those present at the time should first worship the deities, offer prayers to devatas (देवता) and brahamana (ब्राह्मन्) by offering food and donation.

Vagbhata (वाग्भटः) in Ashtanga Samgraha has advised to start samskara by giving bali (बलिम्) to all 4 directions

बलिं दत्वा चतुर्दिशम् (Asht. Samg. 1. 36)[5] baliṃ datvā caturdiśam

And last but not the least, Vagbhata has described a mantra which should be chanted and the mother earth should be worshiped which would be holding the child in place in this samskara and thereafter in life. The mantra to be chanted is as follows,

धरण्यशेषभूतानां माता त्वमसि कामधुक्| अजरा चाप्रमेया च सर्वभूतनमस्कृता|

चराचराणां लोकानां प्रतिष्ठास्यव्ययासि च| कुमारं पाहि मातेव ब्रह्मा तदनुमन्यताम्| (Asht. Samg. 1. 36)[5]

dharaṇyaśeṣabhūtānāṃ mātā tvamasi kāmadhuk| ajarā cāprameyā ca sarvabhūtanamaskṛtā|

carācarāṇāṃ lokānāṃ pratiṣṭhāsyavyayāsi ca| kumāraṃ pāhi māteva brahmā tadanumanyatām| (Asht. Samg. 1. 36)

With this mantra, mother earth is praised. Mantra expresses gratitude towards mother earth for holding all the lives in place and requests her to protect and safeguard the child for lifetime on whom the samskara is being done. The land/soil/ground is worshipped and given a place or name of mother, the mother earth for supporting and nurturing all lives.

The process

The actual process of upaveshana samskara is simple and short. The baby is made to sit facing eastwards in the middle of the prepared site for some time. After this, child is lifted up carefully. The whole process has to be repeated daily. One has to take care that child should not be made to sit for long duration. At every time the child should be made to sit on a mattress (asana) and supports should be arranged in such way that those would prevent accidental falling down of a child. [5]

Duration of sitting

Ayurveda scholars have advised that, the child should not be made to sit for more than 1 muhurta (मुहूर्तम्) i.e. 48 minutes.


The whole process has to be repeated daily.

Measures to be done post samskara

Acharya Vagbhata has described certain procedures which should be performed post samskara or after making child sit for some time. He says that, after the child finishes his daily course of siting activity, a mother or caretaker should gently massage child's low back, thighs and knees. [5] The massage helps to strengthen child's limbs.

Adverse effects if the child is made to sit for a longer time than prescribed -

The activity of sitting certainly requires more energy than that of sleeping or lying down. Thus when the baby is made to sit in initial days, it is to be looked after that the activity of sitting is performed in a controlled manner i.e. for a limited period. There are some adverse health effects seen in the baby due to sitting for prolonged time. Ayurveda acharyas have listed those adverse effects as below, [6]

  1. Staimitya (स्तैमित्यम्) - Rigidity, immobility or numbness in limbs
  2. Kati dourbalya (कटीदौर्बल्यम्) - Weakness in low back region
  3. Prushthabhanga (पृष्ठभङ्गः)- Breaking (pain) at back or inability to sit straight
  4. Shrama (श्रमः)- Exertion and tiredness
  5. Jwara (ज्वरः)- Fever
  6. Sanrodha of vit, mutra, anila(विण्मूत्रानिलसंरोधः) - Total constipation leading to retention of feces, urine and flatus
  7. Adhmana (आध्मानः)- Bloating

Adverse effects of making child sit before 5th or 6th month-

If the child of small age i.e. lesser than 5-6 months or the one who is weak and hasn't appear to have gained enough strength to sit, is made to sit early and for long time it leads to multiple health issues like,

  1. Gatrabhedana (गात्रभेदन) - Injury to the limbs
  2. Nirghata (निर्घातः)- Inability to balance body weight and hence the child keeps on falling down
  3. Jarjar angata (जर्जर अङ्गता) - Limbs become weak
  4. Vedana (वेदना)- Pain at various body parts
  5. Jwara (ज्वरः)- Fever
  6. Disturbance in growth and development
  7. Inability to develop strength and firmness in the body

Other issues

In the ancient times, when the man was living in the lap of nature, it was common to have incidences of various reptiles and insects entering into the house. Since most of these are commonly spotted on the ground and the child can not identify and protect himself, it was described that, the child who sits for a long time on ground also faces danger of injuries and bites from such animals. Therefore prolonged sitting should be avoided.

Importance of Upaveshana Samskara

  • Upaveshana Samskara describes accurate timing for sitting of child. According to western medicine also, child can be made to sit or himself sits in tripod position by this age. So assessment of baby at the time of this samskara helps to understand gross motor milestone of child.
  • Introduction to toys in this ceremony provides visual, auditory and sensory stimulation to child. This not only helps in better growth and developments but also gives chance to assess whether the child has developed unidextrous reach by this age (holding or reaching out to the toy with one hand. Toys introduction to child also provides psychological satisfaction to child.[3]
  • As mentioned above, the child is trained to sit daily for a while after this samskara and thus by 12 months of age, he becomes able to sit without support. This is a method of giving stimulus for the ability to sit in a normally growing child. It also assess the different milestones such as rolling over, sitting with support, sitting without support, crawling, creeping etc.[2]


  1. Vachaspatyam
  2. 2.0 2.1 Arun Raj GR1*, Shailaja U2, Prasanna N Rao. Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci., Vol.2, No.12 (2013) Pages 372 - 383
  3. 3.0 3.1 Shobhit Kumar. A Critical Appraisal on Various Samskara’s with their Scientific and Medical Importance in Pediatric Age Group. International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research. 2017;5(5):78-81.
  4. Kashyapa Samhita (Khilasthana Adhyaya 12 Sutra 9)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Ashtanga Samgraha (Uttarasthanam Adhyaya 1 Sutra 36)
  6. Kashyapa Samhita (Khilasthana Adhyaya 12 Sutra 10-16)