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Nishkramana Samskara – Taking Baby Out Of Home The First Time

Nishkramana Samskara is one of the sixteen samskaras in Hinduism. The Hindu religion prescribes 16 sacraments from conception to death for an individual, of which Nishkramana Samskara, being the sacrament of the first exit of a new born, is the sixth.

Etymologically, Nishkramana means ‘going outside’. It consists of the newborn child being taken out of the home for the first time since birth, when it is four months old. Astrologically, the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the bright fortnight is considered auspicious for this purpose.

Counting by lunar days, five days prior to the new moon days are considered inauspicious, as also the sixth, eighth, fourth, ninth and fourteenth days, which are considered rakta tithis, are inauspicious for Nishkramana Samskara.

On the stipulated day, the priest starts with punyahavacana (declaration of the auspiciousness of the day), followed by appointing an acharya (teacher) who takes charge of the further rites. The acharya lights the sacrificial fire and worships lokapalas (guardian deities of eight coroners), Sun, Moon, Vasudeva and Akasha, followed by offerings into the fire for Agni, Indra and Prajapati. The mother and the child both put on a fresh dress, and ornaments are taken up by the child. Led by local musicians, they go to a temple, accompanied by the family members. They all worship at the village shrine (gramadevata), the family deity (kuladevata) and other prominent temples in the locality. The mother takes the young child to touch the feet of the icons to seek blessings. From temples, they visit the house of relatives and spend some time there before returning home. The ritual is complete when, after their return, the acharya quenches the sacred fire.

It deserves to be noted that, according to tradition, neither the mother nor the newborn can go out of the home before this ritual is performed.