The varṇāśrama system delineates the divisions of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra. It also sets forth the system of saṁskāras. The garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, the ceremony for begetting a child, must be observed by the higher section of people, namely the dvijas. One who follows the garbhādhāna saṁskāra system is actually twice-born, but those who do not, who deviate from the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma, are called dvija-bandhus.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Conversations and Morning Walks
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 13 - 18
The word abhijātasya in reference to one born of transcendental qualities or godly tendencies is very significant. To beget a child in a godly atmosphere is known in the Vedic scriptures as Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. If the parents want a child in the godly qualities they should follow the ten principles recommended for the social life of the human being. In Bhagavad-gītā we have studied also before that sex life for begetting a good child is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Sex life is not condemned, provided the process is used in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness at least should not beget children like cats and dogs but should beget them so that they may become Kṛṣṇa conscious after birth. That should be the advantage of children born of a father and mother absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
SB Canto 1
The friends of the twice-born families are those who are born in the families of brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, or the spiritually cultured families, but who themselves are not equal to their forefathers. Such descendants are not recognized as such, for want of purificatory achievements. The purificatory activities begin even before the birth of a child, and the seed-giving reformatory process is called Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. One who has not undergone such Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or spiritual family planning, is not accepted as being of an actual twice-born family. The Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is followed by other purificatory processes, out of which the sacred thread ceremony is one. This is performed at the time of spiritual initiation. After this particular saṁskāra, one is rightly called twice-born.
The protection of children gives the human form of life its best chance to prepare the way of liberty from material bondage. Such protection of children begins from the very day of begetting a child by the purificatory process of garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, the beginning of pure life.
Only by pious acts can one be allowed to get good wealth, good education and beautiful features. The saṁskāras of the school of sanātana-dharma (man's eternal engagement) are highly suitable for creating an atmosphere for taking advantage of good stellar influences, and therefore garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or the first seedling purificatory process prescribed for the higher castes, is the beginning of all pious acts to receive a good pious and intelligent class of men in human society. There will be peace and prosperity in the world due to good and sane population only; there is hell and disturbance only because of the unwanted, insane populace addicted to sex indulgence.
SB Canto 3
The culture of a human being begins when the father invests his semen in the womb of the mother. According to his status of work, a living entity is placed in a particular father's semen, and because Vidura was not an ordinary living entity, he was given the chance to be born from the semen of Vyāsa. The birth of a human being is a great science, and therefore reformation of the act of impregnation according to the Vedic ritual called Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is very important for generating good population. The problem is not to check the growth of the population, but to generate good population on the level of Vidura, Vyāsa and Maitreya. There is no need to check the growth of population if the children are born as human beings with all precautions regarding their birth. So-called birth control is not only vicious but also useless.
The living entity takes shelter within the semen of a father, which is injected within the womb of a mother, and with the help of the mother's emulsified ovum the living entity grows a particular type of a body. In this connection it is to be remembered that the mind of Kaśyapa Muni was not in order when he conceived the two sons, Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu. Therefore the semen he discharged was simultaneously extremely powerful and mixed with the quality of anger. It is to be concluded that while conceiving a child one's mind must be very sober and devotional. For this purpose the Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is recommended in the Vedic scriptures. If the mind of the father is not sober, the semen discharged will not be very good.
People are very anxious for peace in the world, but there are so many unwanted children born without the benefit of the garbhādhāna ceremony, just like the demons born from Diti. Diti was so lusty that she forced her husband to copulate at a time which was inauspicious, and therefore the demons were born to create disturbances.
It follows that any father and mother should also be careful while begetting children. The mental condition of a child depends upon the mental status of his parents at the time he is conceived. According to the Vedic system, therefore, the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or the ceremony for giving birth to a child, is observed. Before begetting a child, one has to sanctify his perplexed mind. When the parents engage their minds in the lotus feet of the Lord and in such a state the child is born, naturally good devotee children come; when the society is full of such good population, there is no trouble from demoniac mentalities.
Too much salt, chili, onion and similar food is forbidden for the pregnant mother because the child's body is too delicate and new for him to tolerate such pungent food. Restrictions and precautions to be taken by the pregnant mother, as enunciated in the smṛti scriptures of Vedic literature, are very useful. We can understand from the Vedic literature how much care is taken to beget a nice child in society. The garbhādhāna ceremony before sexual intercourse was compulsory for persons in the higher grades of society, and it is very scientific. Other processes recommended in the Vedic literature during pregnancy are also very important.
SB Canto 4
The purity of hereditary succession is called amogha-vīrya. The pious seminal succession in the twice-born families of the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas especially, as well as in the families of vaiśyas also, must be kept very pure by the observation of the purificatory processes beginning with garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, which is observed before conceiving a child. Unless this purificatory process is strictly observed, especially by the brāhmaṇas, the family descendants become impure, and gradually sinful activities become visible in the family.
In this regard the secret of success depends on the parents' acceptance of the various purificatory methods known as saṁskāras. The first saṁskāra, the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or child-begetting saṁskāra, is compulsory, especially for the higher castes, the brāhmaṇas and the kṣatriyas. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, sex life which is not against religious principles is Kṛṣṇa Himself, and according to religious principles, when one wants to beget a child he must perform the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra before having sex. The mental state of the father and mother before sex will certainly affect the mentality of the child to be begotten.
Children begotten under the rules and regulations of the scriptures generally become as good as the father and mother, but children born illegitimately mainly become varṇa-saṅkara. The varṇa-saṅkara population is irresponsible to the family, community and even to themselves. Formerly the varṇa-saṅkara population was checked by the observation of the reformatory method called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, a child-begetting religious ceremony. In this verse we find that although King Purañjana had begotten so many children, they were not varṇa-saṅkara. All of them were good, well-behaved children, and they had good qualities like their father and mother.
The word śaukra janma means "taking birth by seminal discharge." Animals can take their birth in this way too. However, a human being can be reformed from the śaukra janma, as recommended in the Vedic civilization. Before the birth takes place, or before father and mother unite, there is a ceremony called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, which must be adopted. This garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is especially recommended for higher castes, especially the brāhmaṇa caste. It is said in the śāstras that if the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is not practiced among the higher castes, the entire family becomes śūdra. It is also stated that in this age of Kali, everyone is śūdra due to the absence of the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. This is the Vedic system. According to the pāñcarātrika system, however, even though everyone is a śūdra due to the absence of the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, if a person has but a little tendency to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, he should be given the chance to elevate himself to the transcendental platform of devotional service. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement adopts this pāñcarātrika-vidhi, as advised by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.
SB Canto 5
According to the Vedic system, therefore, before a child is conceived, the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is performed. This ceremony molds the mentality of the father in such a way that when he plants his seed in the womb of his wife, he will beget a child whose mind will be completely saturated with a devotional attitude. At the present moment, however, there are no such garbhādhāna-saṁskāras, and therefore people generally have a lusty attitude when they beget children. Especially in this age of Kali, there are no garbhādhāna ceremonies; everyone enjoys sex with his wife like a cat or dog.
SB Canto 7
Those who have been reformed by the garbhādhāna ceremony and other prescribed reformatory methods, performed with Vedic mantras and without interruption, and who have been approved by Lord Brahmā, are dvijas, or twice-born. Such brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, purified by their family traditions and by their behavior, should worship the Lord, study the Vedas and give charity. In this system, they should follow the principles of the four āśramas (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa).
The gṛhastha is allowed to indulge in sex life during the period favorable for procreation and in accordance with the spiritual master's order. If the spiritual master's orders allow a gṛhastha to engage in sex life at a particular time, then the gṛhastha may do so; otherwise, if the spiritual master orders against it, the gṛhastha should abstain. The gṛhastha must obtain permission from the spiritual master to observe the ritualistic ceremony of garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Then he may approach his wife to beget children, otherwise not.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
According to Vedic principles, before creating progeny one must fully control the senses. This control takes place through the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. In India there is great agitation for birth control in various mechanical ways, but birth cannot be mechanically controlled. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (13.9), janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam: birth, death, old age and disease are certainly the primary distresses of the material world. People are trying to control birth, but they are not able to control death; and if one cannot control death, one cannot control birth either. In other words, artificially controlling birth is not any more feasible than artificially controlling death.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.11), dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo'smi: sex not contrary to religious principles is a representation of the Supreme Lord. People should be educated in how to give birth to good children through saṁskāras, beginning with the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra; birth should not be controlled by artificial means, for this will lead to a civilization of animals. If one follows religious principles, he automatically practices birth control because if one is spiritually educated he knows that the after-effects of sex are various types of misery (bahu-duḥkha-bhāja). One who is spiritually advanced does not indulge in uncontrolled sex.
Even before the child is born, when the mother is pregnant, many recommended ritualistic ceremonies are performed. For example, when the child has been within the womb for three months and for seven months, there is a ceremony the mother observes by eating with neighboring children. This ceremony is called svāda-bhakṣaṇa. Similarly, before the birth of the child there is the garbhādhāna ceremony. In Vedic civilization, childbirth or pregnancy is never regarded as a burden; rather, it is a cause for jubilation. In contrast, people in modern civilization do not like pregnancy or childbirth, and when there is a child, they sometimes kill it.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
No one can be classified as a member of a particular caste, especially of a higher caste—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya—simply by birthright. If one is not purified by the process of the seed-giving ceremony, or garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, he is immediately classified amongst the śūdras because only the śūdras do not undergo this purificatory process. Sex life without the purificatory process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is merely the seed-giving process of the śūdras or the animals. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore the best process of purification. By this process everyone can come to the platform of a Vaiṣṇava, which includes having all the qualifications of a brāhmaṇa.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
If the population becomes hippies, then how there can be any peace and prosperity? Therefore, to produce children, there is saṁskāra. First saṁskāra is Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. This is called kula-dharma. Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra means when, especially the high caste, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya especially...Not śūdra. Śūdra has no saṁskāra. Only the higher class, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya. Vaiśya also sometimes no saṁskāra. But brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya must have saṁskāra.
One of the saṁskāra is also marriage. One must get married. So, before the child is given birth, there is a saṁskāra, what is called? Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. It is not that the husband and wife mix without any restriction and have sex life at any time.
You know that, that mother of Hiraṇyakaśipu, Kaśyapa Muni, I think, father. So she, the woman became very much sexually excited and the husband replied that: "This is not time. This is very bad time, evening. Why you are insisting?" But she was too much lusty, and because the husband was obliged, Hiraṇyakaśipu was born, a demon was born. Therefore there is Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, to find out when the husband and wife should mix and give birth to a child. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll see that sex life which is according to the principle of religious ideas, that is "I am." So sex life is not bad, provided it is executed according to the religious principles. So Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra... Just, what is the idea? The idea is the child born must be first class.
So at the present moment, because these purificatory processes are not accepted, even in India... Accepted, they're unable. Everything has topsy-turvied. Therefore the śāstra says that: "Accept everyone as śūdra." Kalau śūdraḥ sambhava. There is no more brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya. All śūdras. We have to accept. Because no Vedic culture, no Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. They are born like cats and dogs. So where is this division? There cannot be. Therefore, accept them as śūdra.
According to Vedic rites, the breeding of child is very nicely enunciated. That is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Before begetting a child, one has to perform some ceremonies just to make his mind completely pure and sanctified. Both the husband and wife become sanctified, and then they take part in sex life, and that child becomes, comes out a very nice child. So from the very beginning of the birth there are systems how to beget good population.
They wanted first-class son, not sons like cats and dogs, first-class son. So there is some saṁskāra. There is some purificatory measures, which is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Garbhādhāna means pregnancy, the cultural ceremony before making the mother pregnant. And it is enjoined, you will find in the Bhāgavata, that any family, the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, if they give up this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, birth-giving ceremony, then that family turns immediately to the classification of the śūdras.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo 'smi bharatarṣabha. Who is following the, strictly the regulative principles, even in sex life he can see Kṛṣṇa. Which is considered abominable, but even in sex life, if you are following the rules and regulations, you can see Kṛṣṇa. Therefore when such sons are begotten, they become devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore according to Hindu principles, there is garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, ten kinds of saṁskāras, reformative measures. So the sex life should be also open to the saṁskāra. It is a saṁskāra. Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra means when you are going to make your wife pregnant, there is saṁskāra, there is ceremony. And especially in the brāhmaṇa families, if there is no garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, he immediately becomes a śūdra. This is the shastric. You must follow the saṁskāra. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. One who follows the saṁskāras, then he becomes purified. This is, this is called dharmāviruddhaḥ, "not against the religious principles.
Anyone who enjoys sex life for enjoyment, he is a śūdra or less than śūdra. That is the description in Vedic literature. When Nārada Muni instructed Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja about householder's life, the householder's life, when they beget child, there is a ceremony which is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Not that "I am today very sexually agitated. I must have sex." No. Just like that Kardama Muni. Kardama Muni's wife, Devahūti. Not Devahūti. Aditi or Diti? Hiraṇyakaśipu's mother?
In the family of a pure brāhmaṇa, śucīnām, or in the family of rich man, yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate, the persons who have not executed the yoga system completely or somehow or other fallen down, they are given the chance of taking birth in nice brāhmaṇa family or rich man's family. So they also take care how to beget children. That is garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. This is called dharma-aviruddha-kāma. This kāma is sanctioned. Otherwise you'll beget demons, just like Kaśyapa Muni, untimely sex.
Those who are not following the principles, how to beget child, or not observing the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra—according to śāstra, immediately the family becomes converted into śūdra. No more brāhmaṇa, no more kṣatriya, if he does not follow. This is very easy to understand. If you do something illegally, against the law, immediately you become a criminal. Similarly, dharmāviruddha. The garbhādhāna-saṁskāra has to be observed. Otherwise we become śūdra, no more brāhmaṇa, no more kṣatriya.
So it is very difficult to say at the present moment whether garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is observed. At least, in garbhādhāna-saṁskāra we understand that "This child is born of a real brāhmaṇa," but without garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, who knows how the child is born? Nobody knows except the mother. Therefore the śāstra says, "In this age, Kali-yuga, because this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is not observed regularly," kalau śūdrāḥ sambhavāḥ, "everyone in the Kali-yuga is a śūdra because the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is not observed." Of course, those who are observing... But it is very hard to say who is observing. But if it is not observed, then any child born, either in the brāhmaṇa family or kṣatriya family or vaiśya family, because the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is not observed, it is to be understood that that child is śūdra. Even if the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is observed, still, by birth, it is accepted that every child is a śūdra.
Prabhupāda: Yes. This sex life, garbhādhāna-saṁskāra... This is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, just to beget first-class children. That kind of sex life, Kṛṣṇa says, "I am that sex life." This is saṁskāra. So formerly, at least those who were on the higher status of the society, namely the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, and vaiśyas, they had to observe this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. It is not a secret thing. Because one is going to beget child, so the child must be worth, a human being, Therefore there is saṁ... First of all, the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Then, when the wife is pregnant, there are other saṁskāras. Then upanayana-saṁskāra, vivāha-saṁskāra, up to the point of death. From before birth and up to the point of death, there are saṁskāras.
Kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. Because this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is not observed, therefore it is to be taken, accepted, everyone is a śūdra. But the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to again elevate the śūdra to the standard of brāhmaṇa. This is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Because without brāhmaṇa... Just like without head, what is the value of your body?
There are ten kinds of reformation. The first reformation is garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra means when the father is going to give birth to a child, it is not a secret affair. It is open affair. "Now this is the good, auspicious day, and today the father will implant the seed of the son in the womb of the mother." There is great function. That is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. And there are witnesses, all the brāhmaṇas, that "This day, such and such time, this king or this person has begotten this child." Just like when the child is born, it is recorded in the government book, similarly, when one is going to give birth to a child, that is also recorded. That is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Not that like cats and dogs in secrecy we have sexual intercourse, and if there is pregnancy, give some contraceptive pill or kill the child. Oh, how rascal and animals have been introduced in the human society. Just see. Here the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, a child has to be born. How it will be nice? When the mentality of the father and mother is completely Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so that when there will be sexual intercourse, the mentality of the child will be Kṛṣṇa conscious. This is the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra.
One side, according to Vedic civilization, there is no sex life except for begetting a nice child, and that also with garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. In other words, whimsically sex life is completely stopped in Vedic civilization. There everything under regulation. Therefore brahmacārī means how to control the senses, to keep under his own control, not that "I am now sexually inclined. I must have immediately sex."
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Perfection of astrology is in the Bhrgu-saṁhitā, and they is called sarvajña. In old Indian system, as soon as child is born, an expert astrologer will be called forth and there will be ceremony, jāta-karma, just after the birth. Just like, before giving birth to the child, there was some ceremony which is called garbhādhāna ceremony, and between the birth-giving ceremony and the child is born, there are two other ceremonies, sadhavakan (?). So after the birth of the child, the astrologer is called forth and he begins to tell about the future of the boy.
From the point of begetting a child up to the point of death, there are saṁskāras, or reformatory process. By that process a human being is made perfect. That is called daśa-vidha-saṁskāra, ten kinds of processes. This upanayana, this initiation, offering the sacred thread, that is also out of those ten processes. The beginning of the process is called garbhādhāna, begetting a child. It is not sex enjoyment; it is a process by which you produce nice child. If you produce nice children, then the world is peaceful. But if you produce cats and dogs, how can you expect peace and prosperity? Therefore that is a process, garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. In this way the Vedic system is the perfect process for creating civilized human being.
Because the woman has once in a month menstrual period. So sex life is meant for simply begetting nice children, not for sense gratification. Therefore, because the woman is, gets the menstrual period once in a month, therefore the man can have sex life just after the menstrual period, over, after five days, he can sex life, have sex life with his wife under garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, responsibility. Otherwise he becomes implicated in sinful activities. That is Vedic injunction.
Prabhupāda: So this birthright of brāhmaṇa is no longer in this day. Even they falsely claim, "Because I am born of a brāhmaṇa father I am brāhmaṇa," that śāstra will not support. Whether garbhādhāna ceremony was performed? And nowadays, especially, who knows that he is son of a brāhmaṇa? The woman is intermingling with everyone, and who has given birth of the child? Whether he is actually a brāhmaṇa's son, a śūdra's son, who knows it?
Conversations and Morning Walks
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: By the birth, by the constellation of the stars, it will be done. It is already being done. And in the medical laboratory, the blood has been tested, brāhmaṇa, śūdra, vaiśya, there is different blood. Yes. The blood infusion. So if the, a different blood is infused, it does not act. So one doctor, in India, he was permanently keeping different bloods for different persons. So there is some meaning in the caste system. But that is not... In a brāhmaṇa family, a śūdra may also take birth. Śūdra blood. So to keep the blood brahminical, therefore the reformatory system is there, garbhādhāna-saṁskāra and all the saṁskāras. Before birth, they keep, to keep the blood brahminical, there is ceremony.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: If you enjoy sex life for sense enjoyment, that is atrocity. That is atrocity. That is Vedic civilization. Because before sex life we have got saṁskāras, garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. The purpose is there, that "I shall train my child how to stop death. And the child must be so good that he will take my instruction." And therefore garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. So without garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, one who enjoys sex life, he is the most sinful. Not that "Whenever and wherever I like and with whomever I like I shall have sex life." It is all sinful activity. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says dharma aviruddhaḥ kāmo 'smi. Sex life which is not against religious principles, that I am.