utmost care to facilitate it by avoiding physical or mental shock to the foetus.
Under this samskara detailed rules of eugenics and hygiene are prescribed for
the pregnant woman and her husband. One of these rules relates to dohada,
which means fulfilling the wishes of the pregnant wife.
Samskaras of Childhood
The second phase in the life of the child starts when it is delivered by the
mother, and assumes an independent existence. This occasion is celebrated,
and the newborn in consecrated with apt ceremonies. There are a number of
accessory rites performed for the safety of the child and the mother.
     The jatakarman ceremony is made up of several items and is generally
performed before the severing of the navel string. The first item is
medhajanana (the generation of the talent), which is performed repeating
some formulae. The formulas are repeated while the child is fed with ghee
and honey with a thin gold strip—these substances are symbolic of strength
and intelligence. This speaks of the high concern of the Hindus for the
intellectual well-being of the child, which they regarded as their first duty to
the child. The second item is ayusya (longevity). All possible instances of
long life, such as rishis (seers), pitrus (the manes), Agni (fire), and Soma
(moon) are cited before the child, and by this association of thought and
through these utterances, it is believed that the life of the baby will be
lengthened. The third item relates to sakti (strength). The father dramatically
tells the babe, ‘Thou indeed art the self called son; live though a hundred
years.’ Next the umbilical cord is severed, and the child is washed and given
an opportunity of sucking the breast of the mother.
     The name-giving ceremony, namakarana, comes next. The choice of a
name for the child is often connected with religious ideas, though there are
also other considerations. The Grihyasutras discuss the composition of the
name. According to the Paraskara Grihyasutra, the name should be of two or
four syllables beginning with a sonant, with a semi-vowel in it, and a long
vowel or visarga at the end. Other Grihyasutras give varying suggestions.
The name of a girl should contain an uneven number of syllables and it
should end with the sound of ‘a’. Fourfold naming is suggested—first,
according to the constellation under which the child is born; secondly,