I was away for a week to attend my seemandam function at Coimbatore. Read the following write-up to know what this function is all about.
In the Brahmin tradition, one of the important function is known as Seemantham or Bhumsavana Seemantham during the 8th month of pregnancy of a woman. Though, in the olden days, this auspicious seemandham was celebrated for each issue, nowadays, this is just simply performed only for first issue. Prior to this 8th month function, they used to perform a function namely "Poochoottal" meaning decorating the pregnant would be mother with floral decorations; this function would be attended by a large gathering of women, who too would be offered all the auspicious items viz. Bangles, (of course, glass or plastic made only!), Haldi, Kum Kum and flowers with betel leaves & nuts. The timing of this Poochoottal functions varies from family to family, some performing on the 4th month and some on the 6th month and a few conducting on the day prior to Seemantham.
From the day of formation in the mother's womb, a child grows in different steps, each within a stipulated time frame. According to the Vedic scripts, the birth and death is a pre-planned one by the almighty. And as pre-planned, the child grows in a way that is linked to many factors, which include a genetically considered factors. I.e. the child should have the nose like so and so, brain and intelligence like father or mother or even great grand father, height and weight of the child at birth and even its future growth plans that are stored into the genetic chip! Accordingly, though brain formation takes much earlier, the memory cells are said to begin its activities on the completion of full seven months of pregnancy. Then onwards, a child can record the sounds and vibrations from the surroundings and hears every spell around it.
The word seemandham or Seemantham literally means the hair parting just above the eye brow. It is said that the Goddess of Wealth, Sri Mahalakshmi resides in that parting. This is one more reason to mention why the practice of applying Kumkum on the parting, as a manner of propitiating Goddess Sri Lakshmi. And when a woman delivers a child, she is considered the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi Herself.
So as to format the brain in a fittest condition, they used to perform Vedic recitals of relics and verses named "Udhagasanthi" or "Uthakashanthi" Japam, a soft but powerful mantra recital for about 1 and half hour. This they do by keeping a copper or brass vessel known as Kumbam in which fesh water is poured in, a bunch of mango leaves kept with a coconut covering it and also a bunch of Holy Grass known as Dharbam inserted. It is believed, that a kind of aquatic vibration that is caused during the Vedic Recital and chanting, this holy grass absorbing the vibration and transmits it to the water in the vessel. The water in the vessel gets a highest value, a combination of phonetic + aquatic vibration.
This chanting of mantra is done at a pre-fixed Muhurtham known as auspicious time. Normally a day prior to the main function of Seemantham or in some cases done on the same day of Seemantham function, they arrange to perform and recite the Udhakashanthi Japam. Then immediately completing this Japam, they used bathe the pregnant woman with the said holy water. The child in the womb shakes and jerks on this stimulation, that's felt by every seemandham adorned women!) This specific function of Japam is to give a solid state of mind for the child to be born, a positive vibration from the recited Mantras that give enough strength to the child in the womb, and create an atmosphere conducive to the earthly possessives on his/her birth! Yes, this much is practically carried out even today!
Each Vedic Mantra is of for a specific stimulation, the phonetic vibration has to attain its fullest value. To gain this specific value, for each function, they had discovered the merit of a specific recital. And the Udhakasanthi Japam too has its own potential values, in addition to giving confidence to the pregnant women. This also increases the mental strength of the would be mother, encouraging her with the system, with the supportive gathering members blessing the child and mother for a normal delivery. Also, during this function, the presentations given to the would be parents, just to meet the extra burden of bringing up a child! Gifts of valuables and cash would suffice for them to meet the demands!
Now, for the main function known as "seemandam" performed on a pre-fixed Muhurtham, an auspicious time is chosen to conduct this ritual. After the usual chores of house cleansing act known as punyavachanam and routine Agni Santhanam performance, the main function is held at the specified Muhurtham.
On this specific occasion, they used to grind the tender leaves of Banyan tree which is in its formation, mixed with raw cold milk and make it to a paste. (This banyan leaves should be of fresh, tender in its cone shaped and not opened as a leave fully. At some places, they add a few fresh tender fig tree leaves to this). The grinding of these leaves is to be done by two young girls below the age of 9 years known as Kanya - to state, the young girls who have not attained the puberty stage} This concoction essence would then be dropped in the pregnant would be mother's right nostril just by dropping through a silk cloth and the mother to be is asked to inhale instantly. Once inhaled, then a needle/quill of porcupine animal is taken from the head downward the navel, just slightly touching/lightly scratching the body portion.
It is believed, this supposed to make the marking line for the inhaled (the banyan leave juice + the cow's raw milk) gum to travel to the womb. At this junction, a specific mantra is recited, which makes the route to the tube perfect as the vibration + the porcupine quill acting as nodal guiding act. Thus the inhaled essence of milk and banyan leave juice, forms like a paste and straightly carried to her womb. Because of some unknown chemical proposition and the dirt gathered inside from her last menstrual course, this paste settles in the child's stem cell and surrounds, that begin from the naval part. This paste is gradually become like a protective mask for the stem cell tube and strengthens its tube bottom base. As long as in the womb, it settles there till the child is born. Once out in the open air, the same gum getting dried very quickly in the open air, thus causing easy and automatic separation of the stem cell tube from the naval portion! And mostly, no scissors used to cut the stem cells, if the seemandam was performed with authentic and ritual way! It is also widely believed that the above is symbolically cleaving the delivery passage to open for an easy downward movement of the child and for a normal delivery.