Women in the Atharva-veda Samhita

by Pranab Jyoti Kalita | 2017 | 62,142 words

This page relates ‘5a. Prayer for Successful Pregnancy’ of the study on women in the Vedic society reflecting the Atharva-veda Samhita in English. These pages discusses the social aspects of women, education, customs of marriage, practices of polyandry and polygamy, descriptions of female deities and various rites and rituals. It is shown how women earned much praise in ancient Indian society. Included are Sanskrit text and references of the Atharvaveda and commentary by Sayana-Acharya.

5a. Prayer for Successful Pregnancy

[Full title: 5. Hymns Related to Birth (a): Prayer for Successful Pregnancy]

It has already been discussed that a Vedic man indulged himself into marriage with the basic need of begetting children, especially male children. To confirm the same, certain practices were observed during the days of the Atharvaveda. The Atharvavedic hymn yantāsi yacchase[1] …, etc., contains some such types of references.

From this hymn, it is known that people in those days, imposed the responsibility of abortion upon some demoniac forces and regarded Agni as having control over them.[2] He is spoken of as a subduer of such evil forces who create trouble in conception. He averts these hostile agents with his hands.[3] Thus, Agni, enabling his laudators to acquire wealth and offspring, himself becomes a parihasta, i.e. a bracelet or an amulet embracing the wrist.[4] The parihasta has been asked here to make the womb fit for conception, so that a woman may procreate the desired son for her husband.[5] In the same hymn, it has been stated that Aditi, the mother of all deities, also held this sort of bracelet with the desire of a son, and therefore, Tvaṣṭṛ has been prayed to fasten the same upon the wrist of the woman,[6] so that she may give birth to a male child.

Footnotes and references:


cf., Ibid., 6.81


he agne tvaṃ gantāsi garbhavyāpatkarāṇāṃ rakṣaḥprabhṛtīnāṃ niyāmako bhavasi / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.,6.81.1


… hastāvapa rakṣāṃsi sedhasi / Atharvaveda, 6.81.1 ata eva ātmīyau hastau yacchase āyatau prasārayasi / tābhyāṃ hastābhyāṃ rakṣāṃsi garbhadhāraṇavidhātakāni apa sedhasi apagamayasi / Vide, Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


… ayamagniḥ parihastaḥ hastaṃ pariveṣṭya vartamānaḥ rakṣākaraḥ pratisaraḥ abhūt / Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda, 6.81.1


parihasta vi dhāraya yoniṃ garbhāya dhātave / Atharvaveda, 6.81.2


yaṃ parihastamabibharaditiḥ putrakāmyā / tvaṣṭā tamasvā ā badhnād yathā putraṃ janāditi // Ibid., 6.81.3

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