The Birth Sanskaar (Ceremony)
So it’s here, that time you have been waiting 9 months for. Bags packed, baby room ready
and you’re on your way to the hospital. Baby is about to arrive on the block! What does our panth
say about what we should do at this time? Which Sikhi items should we have in our baby
bags and why? How can we give this baby the best spiritual start?
The Sikh Rehat Maryada outlines the Sikh code of conduct for a range of life events
including weddings, death and daily life. It has been compiled by respected people from our
Panth. The section about Birth Sanskaar (Birth Ceremony) explains the steps we should take
upon birth of a baby. The best time to perform this Sanskaar is straight after the birth of the
baby before any visitors enter the room.
For us we found it the best to do the Sanskaar once baby was out and the midwife was done cleaning up and checking baby. We just asked not to be disturbed for 15 minutes. For us, we found that baby was super hungry after birth so breast feeding during the path was easiest.
What you need to have ready:
- Cool boiled water
- Sugar Crystals (patasay- available from most South Asian food stores)
- Sri Sahib / Kirpan
- Sarbloh Bata (Iron Bowl)
- The father and Japji Sahib Bani
What is needed:
- Baby is born! There is a sigh of relief and an overwhelming sense of joy amongst all.
At this auspicious moment the first rite is to utter "Vaaheguroo" Gurmantar to the
- An Ardas (prayer of supplication) is performed before the start of the ceremony (Its
great if dad knows the full ardaas but if he doesn’t then a heart felt talk with
Vaheguru will help. For example could say thank you, ask for guidance to during the
sanskaar and whatever else you feel).
- Preparing the amrit: An Amritdharee Singh should get a Sarbloh (iron) bowl and
half fill it with water. Make sure the bowl is cleaned properly beforehand so that it is
free of any rust. (tip: clean with washing up liquid and small amount of citric acid and
then rinse again with washing up liquid. Once dried coat with oil to prevent rust from
building- wash again before using).
- Five patase (Sugar Crystals) should be added to the water.
- This mixture is to be continuously stirred with a Kirpan
- During the stirring, the Singh is to recite Japjee Sahib and is to sit in the ‘Bir-Asan’
position, a Warrior stance. 9 months is great amount of time to learn Japji Sahib
kanth (from memory)
- Once the Japjee Sahib recital is complete the Amrit is ready and an Ardas is to be
performed and then the Amrit can be administered.
- Tell your child that:
- Your Spiritual Father is Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee;
- Your Spiritual Mother is Mata Sahib Kaur Jee;
- Your Place of Birth is Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib;
- Your Maternal home (Nanakee) is Guru Ka Lahore;
- Your Obedience is to the One Timeless Lord;
- Your only Guru is Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.
- You are not to bow or obey any other as your Guru;
- Your examination is only via the Shabad and Gurbani;
- Five drops from the tip of the Kirpan are to be given to the child and the mother is to
drink the rest of the Amrit. This is the first ceremony of initiation of a child into the
Khalsa Panth (Sikh Nation).
The Rehatnama also outlines a few other points:
- The mother is then to breast-feed the child, from this the child should become
virtuous, a warrior, saintly, charitable and a vibrant Gursikh.
- Enacting any other sort of birth rites/ceremony is not allowed in Gurmat; for example
lucky charms or strings tied on the child’s wrist or around his/her neck.
- To break all superstitions a Sarab Loh Kara is to be placed on the child’s right-hand
- Drinking alcohol and eating meat whilst celebrating the birth of a child is a grave sin.
After the above ceremony, Karah Parshad is to be prepared and an Ardas recited in the
presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. The child’s name is based on the first letter of
the Hukamnama taken from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.
- If possible on the same day a Sehaj Paath should be started. The child and his/her mother
should listen to the whole Paath. At the Bhog (completions of recital) Guru ka Langar is to be
served to the Sadh Sangat (Holy Congregation).
Watch this space for a Naam Sankaar article.