We undertake Seemantham Caterings which covers the following :
1. Arranging purohits / vadiyar
2. Food according to individual style (Iyers, iyengars, Mangalore, Andhra)
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What is Seemantham, why it has to be performed:
Seemantham or Bhumsavana Seemantham is ritual performed 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!), kumkum and haldi (manjal)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! (Oh, do we call this as fate? Or pre-written on the forehead? Or the Creator's command?) 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. And when a woman delivers a child, she is considered the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi Herself.
There has been one underlying commonality amidst most pregnant women in India. Mostly, all the pregnant women as well as the entire family expects a male child, the first born to be a son. This tendency is such, it is commonly the one bothering the entire nation. And the climate is such, the psyche is yet unresolvable one till date. May be, the younger generation today are learning a bit to value a beautiful healthy baby for itself-and wish for only health and happiness for the child no matter what the gender is. And value the little baby girl who will, after all be the mother of future generations!
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 fresh 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. Added to this, a sort of scented items to add value, they used to put the powder of Cardamom, Clove, Benzene, Saffron, Jatfal etc. to add taste and flavor!
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. (Oh, in cold water, without mixing any warm or hot, the time might be even late in the evening (!) - 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!
The phonetic vibrations caused during the chanting cannot just be ignored as rubbish. 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.
Followed by the Seemantham and dropping the Banyan leave essence, the function is carried on with Carnatic & melodious songs and vocal songs. This is to give a strengthening bondage in an affirmative between the relatives visiting the function and the family that holds the function. From this day, the pregnant woman is separated from her husband and she returns to her parents home for delivery. On bearing the child and issue, once she regains her health and vigor, then she is sent back to her husband's place i.e. after 3 or five months of gap after delivery!
Now a days, it has become a mere formality perform this ritual. Neither the learned scholars explain the reasons, nor the performing couples interested in knowing the details of facts. In some one's comments, it has just been made to show off their wealth by performing this function, rather than understanding the inner meaning and value of same. In rare cases, it has an opportunity from the groom's side to demand A silk sari, A silver vessel for punyavachanam etc. and makes the function as mockery and laughing stock!
Atleast from now on realize the true reason of performing seemantham and do the same with complete trust and faith.....