"Kya aap manchaahi santati praapt karna chahtey hai" (Do you want a child of your choice?) "Kya aap garbh mein hi likhna chahtey hai shishu ke bavishya ki ibarat" (Do you want to write the future your child in the foetus itself?).
A university may hardly be a place you would expect to come across such lines, but pamphlets circulated by the “Garbh Sanskar Tapovan Kendra” at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Bhopal ask these questions in an apparent bid to attract pregnant women for its unique sessions.
The pamphlets also give information about an ongoing two-day convention at the centre, which provides training for garbh sanskar (conception ritual) and punsavana sanskar (foetus protection ritual) — two of the 16 sanskars (ritualistic events) prescribed in the Hindu religion during life.
On the first day of convention on Saturday, training was provided to couples on garbh sanskar. On the second day, training will be given on punsavana sanskar.
According to religious scholars, the garbh sanskar is performed by parents, who fervently pray for a healthy child, while the punsavana sanskar is performed during the third or fourth month of pregnancy, when a priest recites Vedic hymns to invoke divine qualities in the child.
Coordinator of the centre, Dr Rekha Rai, who teaches Hindi literature in the university, said the centre was started on October 2 last year to provide training/orientation to the pregnant women to ensure delivery of a healthy child according to Indian traditional knowledge of 16 sanskars.
“Every day for three hours we provide orientation to the pregnant ladies in Garbh Sanskar Kendra through yoga, music, painting, dialogue with the foetus (garbh samvaad) and so on. For garbh sanskar, we received 20 registrations today. Tomorrow, in the punsavana sanskar, Vedic hymns will be recited and the priest will give ayurvedic medicine to the pregnant ladies,” she said.
On whether women of other religions are participating in these training programmes, Dr Rai said it was open to all. Some Muslim women had participated earlier in their programme on garbh sanskar, she added.