This is the fourth sacrament and it is performed immediately after the child is born. Whereas the first three sacraments deal with the mother’s mental and psychic attributes as well as the parental hereditary endowments, the fourth and the remainder of the sacraments bear direct relationship with the child’s environment be it at home or beyond the home.
As has been stated in the previous issues, the purpose of the sacraments is to endow the growing child with human positive values and to influence and inspire the child towards attainment of noble characteristics and behaviours. The ultimate aim is to create a society of exemplary qualities wherein the growing child has the capabilities to play an active role.
At birth the child’s mouth, nose, ears and the whole body are cleansed. This activity stimulates the child’s five perceptual functions - hearing, vision, smell, taste and touch. The child is then bathed in fresh water, the body is dried with a clean piece of cloth, and attired with new set of clothes. At the completion of this cleansing process, the child is ready to receive the JAAT KARMA sacrament. The father then takes hold of the child and sits at the HAVAN-YAJ (fire sacrifice) officiated by a Vedic priest.
If the child has taken birth at the hospital then the Havan-Yaj and the sacrament should be performed the day the mother and the child return home. The performance of the Havan-Yaj itself has a purifying effect on the mother, child as well as the home and its environment.
Following the Yaj the father proceeds to inscribe the word “AUM” on the tongue of the new born with the blunted end of a small golden skewer dipped in a mixture of honey and ghee. AUM is the universal name of the all-pervasive God.
The father then murmurs clearly the word VEDOASI into the child’s right ear. This means : “You are an intelligent human being; and not an unintelligent being - you will accept VIDYA (knowledge) in its entirety and dispel AVIDYA (ignorance) completely”. Other blessing mantras are also uttered in both the ears.
By performing this sacrament the parents become conscious of their undertakings and responsibility to mould the growing child into a worthy person and to provide the child with an education so that in later years the person has the ability and capability to discriminate between good and evil deeds and to accept a righteous path.
Psychologists maintain that whatever education is provided to the child during the first five years of the child’s life it becomes his/her life-long legacy. The Vedic literature is in complete accord with this philosophy.
For the first five years the child stays in an environment which had already been created and moulded by the parents-that is, the home becomes the initial environment where the child grows and nurtures.
The behavioural attitudes of the parents have a direct bearing on the child’s behaviour and attitudes; if the parents lead a virtuous exemplary life, the child will copy these positive values for his/her own advancements; but if the parents indulge in worldly ways of alcohol, harmful drugs, night parties and nightclubs etc., the child will inherit these negative values and eventually will end up with sorrowful days and early death.
During the Jaat Karma sacrament, the responsibility which the parents had undertaken upon themselves had inadvertently placed an equal and even accountability on the child. When the growing child realises in his adulthood the relentless loving efforts undertaken by his/her parents to mould him/her into a worthy person, he/she becomes dutybound to fulfill this “spiritual-pact” and gladly accepts the moral obligations inherent therein.
We are aware that the child at the infant age is devoid of any mental comprehension as to the sacrament performed on him / her; nonetheless, the sacrament has created an immense psychic impact and is a constant reminder to the growing adolescent whenever similar sacraments are witnessed by him/her. It is maintained that murmuring the sacred mantras in the child’s ears and the vibrations so created in the child’s mental processes has an uncanny spiritual effect on the psychic development of the person. The growing person becomes adamantly faithful to this mantra as his/her very own (and not belonging to any other person). This person’s spiritual behaviour is thus further reinforced and is reflected in his/her attitudes, articulations and orations