By Dr. Rita Khanna
We come to this earth plane to have unique experiences. For our experiences, we select the womb; we select the parents, environment, and situations. After selecting the mother, speck of consciousness enters the mother’s womb. According to Yogic concepts, the identity of the baby, in the womb, is not different from that of the mother. Its feeding and its growth depend totally on her. There are three aspects of identity. The first is the direct effect of the mother’s mind on the unborn child; the second concerns the unborn or newly-born child recognizing certain words and responding to them; and the third concerns the impressions that are left in the mind field of the baby by the attitude and behavior of the mother.
1. Mother’s Mood
If there is tension in the mind, or the mother is feeling frustrated, depressed, or in a negative frame of mind, then of course her respiration, heartbeat, glandular activity, and hormonal secretions, within the body, will affect the body of the child. The feelings that arise within her are converted into glandular and hormonal activity, which is transmitted to the baby.
2. Recognizing Certain Words (Language)
We all respond to a particular language, a particular set of words, because that is the tool of understanding we utilize. The concept and understanding of the language is automatically imbibed by the child, via the mother’s reactions. The umbilical cord is the physical link which supplies the necessary items for the growth and development of the child. If the mother’s body is not pure, the toxins can affect the unborn child, despite protective mechanisms built into the umbilical network. In the Indian tradition, it is emphasized that the mother should lead a very pious, harmonious, and balanced life. Traditionally, at the time of pregnancy, more time would be devoted to listening to religious or spiritual stories, Satsang, the chanting of mantras, and so forth. Even in Western countries, they are now telling mothers-to-be to stop any intake of liquid or food, which might have a negative effect on the unborn child, and to avoid any kind of mental tension, anxiety, or worry, which could influence the child.
3. The Mind Field
According to the traditional belief, the soul enters the womb after the fourth month. Thereafter, one has to be very careful to control the thinking process, the emotions, the desires, and to always maintain a positive attitude towards life. This is because, after the entry of the soul, the consciousness is wide open to any kind of information being fed in. The programming of the mind begins with this feeding-in of information, in the form of maternal reactions, and language training. This is known as Samskara. After the fourth month, whatever information goes into the child is known as sowing the seed of Samskara. Creating Samskara means programming the mind to act or behave in a particular way. There are many instances, where people have actually been taught different scriptures or sciences, while still in the womb. One is that of Arjuna’s son, Abhimanyu, of the Mahabharata war, who learned the science of archery while in the womb. Another is the story of Astavakra, a saint who was deformed in eight parts of the body. He knew all the Vedas, while still in the womb.
Importance of Chanting a Mantra at the Time of Pregnancy
Mantras are a combination of various sounds, or vibrations, which stimulate various areas of the dormant personality. During pregnancy, it is suggested that if the mother chants or repeats the Mantra, mentally or verbally, with complete concentration, there is a state of oneness within her mind. That state of concentration, and Mantra awareness, will program the mind field of the child in such a way that its psychic awakening will be very simple. That is the concept of the psychic child, or in Western terminology, of the Age of Aquarius – that every newborn child will be intuitive, psychic, and have control over the faculties of self. If we can create that kind of impression in the mind field of the child through Mantra; if the mother is doing very well, which means there are no external distractions; if the atmosphere is there, then that atmosphere itself will also help the mother concentrate, focus, and center herself better; and it will become an external aid in influencing the mind field of the child.
One thing to remember is that, chanting a Mantra at the time of pregnancy, will not make the child spiritual. The purpose is not to make anyone spiritual. ‘Spirituality’ is just a state of being, which manifests naturally and spontaneously. One person is spiritual by nature and another is not, even though they may be highly perceptive, intuitive, and psychic. Spirituality is a symptom of a particular state of mind and consciousness. The purpose of Mantra chanting is to make the totality of the mind field accessible and allow the natural and spontaneous growth of the ‘dormant faculties’. These faculties are dormant within us, but may not be dormant within the child after birth, because we have already created a passage in the psyche of the child. If it can be brought up to lead a particular disciplined way of life, then the mind field will be accessible through the natural effort of the child.
Every Moment is a Moment of Education for a Child
After coming out of the mother’s womb, from day one to the age of eight, the child will have awareness of the source. Every minute of the day is an education, although not verbal or academic. Whatever the child sees or perceives to be; whatever he experiences (even hunger, thirst, or satisfaction) is analyzed. Any communication the child has with its parents – ‘Daddy, I want this; Mummy, I want that; I don’t like this’, and their reactions, are all educational. How you react – you walk in the door and slump onto the sofa – is an education for the child. How you talk to your wife and how she responds – that is a moment of education. Every moment is a moment of education for the child and so there is a lot of information being fed in. In the early stages, the child is unable to filter out unnecessary information, and retain the necessary information, because the intellect is not developed.
Education, analyzing, co-coordinating, and communicating starts officially from the age of eight – just before the age of puberty, as the mind starts taking its shape, from the age of eight. The child should be introduced to three things at the age of eight. The first is Asana – to create balanced growth and activity in the glandular and hormonal systems. The second is Pranayama, so that the clear mind field is not cluttered up by the tensions and situations which are naturally injected into the mind of a child. The third is Mantra, so there is open access for psychic development and awakening of the faculties. Earlier it is not possible, but practicing Asana, Pranayama, and Mantra, from the age of eight, allows the proper balanced activity of the sensory and motor nervous system.
How to Encourage the Child
We should teach the child in a dynamic way. For example – if we want to teach Gayatri Mantra, then the idea has been implanted that it is for education. ‘If you repeat this Mantra, you will get a good education, fast’. That idea has been purposely implanted. It is also said that you should look at the red rising Sun while you repeat this Mantra. That concept, again, has been purposefully implanted because the rising Sun acts as a symbol on which to focus yourself. Otherwise, you will be looking here and there, repeating the Mantra at random, sometimes slowly, and sometimes fast – thinking it does not matter. We can’t tell a child to close his eyes and imagine the Sun rising each day. In order to create the conditions, suitable for the mind of an eight-year-old to repeat the Mantra, we say, ‘Listen, every morning you have to see the rising Sun. You know what the rising Sun looks like? It’s red. While you look at the rising Sun, you repeat the Mantra 11 or 21 or 31 times. Why? So you’ll be properly educated. You will have the blessings of Saraswati, Gayatri.’ It is the concept of Meditation, but it is taught in a dynamic form of self-expression to the child through Yoga. So, a lot of human psychology has been used to control the dissipation of the mental faculties and to encourage the child’s mental alertness and concentration.
Certain regimes should be maintained – from the time of pregnancy, until about age ten. During pregnancy, it is necessary for the mother to have a positive attitude and a balanced physical condition, so that there is physical purity within her body. Her reactions should be well-balanced – rather than explosive reactions to any kind of situation. Repetition of Mantra is important, so that the state of concentration, within the mother, will open up the psychic or subtle areas within the mind field of the child. Then, at eight years of age, the introduction of Asana (Surya namaskara), Pranayama (Nadi shodhana), and Mantra (Gayatri Mantra) are important. If this system is maintained, from the time of pregnancy, until the age of ten, then the child will adjust properly with life, and develop the skill to face life with complete confidence, ease, and awareness.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).