Samskar means “purificatory rite.” To make their child Krishna conscious, the grihastha couple joyfully imparts the Vedic samskaras, right from his/her birth and thus help the child to eventually attain the spiritual platform.
It should be realized that spiritual health and hence the well-being of the human society is greatly affected by the samskaras imparted to the child.
Janmana jayate shudrah samskarat bhavet dvijah.
By birth, everyone is a sudra, but by performance of samskaras one becomes a brhamana. Mahabharat (Shanti parva) mentions that there are 48 samskaras to be performed on every human being. Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami has considered 10 samskaras to be of prime importance for Gaudiya Vaiñnavas and also described how to perform them in his book, entitled “Satkriya sar dipika,” regarded by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as the most authoritative book on this subject of Samskaras for Kaliyuga. In this write-up, only Garbhadan samskar will be dealt with.
Garbhadan samskara: Purification of a human being starts even before his birth and this samskara is called Garbhadan samskar. By the performance of this samskara, the physical contact between a man and a woman is sanctified. Also intelligent, pious and God-conscious children are born by the strength of performance of Garbhadan samskara. This is the most important samskara which Srila Prabhupada has emphasised in all his purports on the subject. Grihastas should produce children as a sacrifice to Lord Vishnu. Grihasthas give birth to children to make them Krishna conscious and liberate them.
Srila Prabhupada has said that before performing this samskara , the husband and wife should each chant 50 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra [Letter to Syama, Los angeles, 18th January, 1968], and through out the day, engage in various devotional services, like reading and hearing. This will help purify their consciousness.
It must be noted that 50 rounds are to be chanted each time the couple unites. Prabhupad’s explicit instructions are that a couple must individually chant 50 rounds on the very day of Garbhadana Samskara.
The contention that we have become devotees though our parents did not chant should not be used as an excuse for diluting the principles of Garbhadana Samskara.
Reproduced from the Grahastha Manual by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.