I learnt about Samskara from the Rikhiyapeet School of Yoga at Devgarh, Jharkhand, India. An ancient place of spiritual learning, penance and wisdom.
Samskara in ancient Indian tradition is a set of rites which take place for a child even before her birth and until after death. It is a process of purification which makes the person fit for a particular phase of life or afterlife. It isn’t just a ritualistic rite and may not be understood as such.
Samskaras help remove obstacles and seek to educate, train and refine the body, mind and consciousness so that the human being becomes fit to be in the company of the ‘devatas’ or highly evolved deities.
Thousands of years ago, the Vedic seers handed down this metaphysical knowledge through the oral tradition. Later, samskaras found their way into the Vedas, the Brahmanas, Upnashids and other texts. So important were the Samskaras that they were even mentioned in the Puranas and the historical records of creation and annihilation of the world.
The first Samskara is the Garbhdhana which translates as ‘entering the womb”. In this samskara, prayers are performed and the couple is given physical, mental and meditation exercises so as to purify their soul, thoughts and bodies. It realises the spiritual importance of conjugal relations so that when the new soul is to be invited into the womb, an appropriate soul of higher transcendence may be attracted. So powerful is this samskara that the couple can attract a soul who can be intellectual. warrior, saintly or possess any other quality, as per their choice. The child can be beautiful, healthy and even the life span of the child can be made longer than what was originally destined.
Modern research also lays substantial stress on the thoughts and mental make up the parents, especially the Mother at this crucial juncture and of course throughout pregnancy.
There are 16 samskaras for the human throughout life, which seek to prepare her for a particular phase in a holistic manner. The total samskaras are 48 out of which 16 are for human life while the others are for the afterlife.
The last smaskara for the human life is Anteshti. This is when life ends and the family has to perform prayers for 13 days along with other spiritual practices so that the soul can easily go into higher spirit planes for onward journey and learning.
Science has only just begun the process of research into these physical, mental and spiritual exercises. Their power is far beyond the ordinary.
Samskaras are far greater than rituals or rites.
They have the potential to transform lives and afterlives.