Seemantham or Seemanthonnayanam (सीमन्तोन्नयनम्) is one among the three prenatal samskaras performed in Hinduism.
It is done for a pregnant woman by her husband and is meant to benefit both the mother and the child.
Samskaras are Vedic rituals performed for spiritual and worldly progress.
They have three purposes:
Spiritual progress involves continued purification and refinement at the levels of the body, mind, and soul.
The aim is to achieve perfection and become one with Paramatma. This is called moksha.
There are many other methods also for attaining perfection such as tapas, dhyana, yajnas, and yoga.
The advantage of samskaras is that it is well-knit into day-to-day family life.
No special efforts such as relinquishing one’s own family, going to the Himalayas, or spending long hours in solitude are required.
If samskaras are properly performed, understanding their significance, then the same results of any other method of spiritual progress can be obtained.
Click below to watch Seetha Seemantham Video Song
Out of these, Garbhadhana, Pumsavana, and Seemantha are prenatal samskaras.
Seemantha is a short form of Seemanthonnayanam.
Seemantha - सीम्नोऽन्तः - Traditionally, married women part their hair into left and right through a line that starts from the middle of the forehead going up to the middle of the head.
This hairstyle is called Seema.
The point where this line touches the top of the forehead is Seemantha.
This is where married women apply sindoor. ( मांग भरना in Hindi)
Seemanthonnayanam - सीमन्तस्य उन्नयनं उत्तोलनं यत्र raising up of Seemantha - marking up the parting line starting from the top of the forehead in the upward direction.
This is the main ritual in Seemantha.
Hence the samsakara itself is named after this.
Essentially, Seemantonnayanam involves parting of the hair of the expectant mother into two halves.
In the fourth, sixth, or eighth month of the first pregnancy, but rarely performed in the fourth.
If delivery takes place before the performance of Seemanta, it can be done post delivery also by keeping the child on the mother’s lap.
Ashwalayana Smriti says -
पत्न्याः प्रथमजं गर्भमत्तुकामाः सुदुर्भगाः।
आयान्ति काश्चिद्राक्षस्यो रुधिराशनतत्पराः॥
तासां निरसनार्थाय श्रियमावाहयेत्पतिः।
सीमन्तकरणौ लक्ष्मीस्तामावहति मन्त्रतः॥
During the first pregnancy, some Rakshasis attack desirous of eating the fetus.
The husband invokes Lakshmi Devi upon the Seemantha line to protect the wife from them.
A mantra chanted during Seemantha says:
येनादितेः सीमानं नयाति प्रजापतिर्महते सौभगाय। तेनाहमस्यै सीमानं नयामि प्रजामस्यै जरदष्टिं कृणोमि॥
Aditi is the mother of the Devas.
Prajapati (Kashyapa) had done Seemantha for her so that she and her children become prosperous and the children get a long life.
This is yet another purpose of performing Seemantha; prosperity and long life for the mother and her children.
According to Acharyas Bodhayana, Apastamba, and Ashwalayana, Seemanthonnayana is a Kshetra-Samskara and needs to be performed only in the case of the first pregnancy.
They have said that if the first pregnancy is purified by Seemantha, then every subsequent pregnancy shall also be pure.
The following astrological factors are considered while fixing a muhurta for Seemantha.
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Glory of Venkatesha
Story of Sri Yantra