Review

Thirumantiram and garbha upanishad- an overview
Sayee Rajangam ';' Leelavathy N
Professor ,Associate Professor
1 2 1

1

2

Department of Anatomy, International Medical School, Bangalore ,Saptagiri Institute of Medical Sciences and Research center, Bangalore .
2

ABSTRACT It is indeed amazing, that, our ancient Rishis have visualized and narrated the formation, growth and development of the human and also proposed the etiology behind the formation of the congenital anomalies. In this paper, is aimed to report the narration on development from Thirumular Thirumantiram and Garbha Upanishad, the two scriptures in Tamil and Sanskrit, in our country. In Hinduism, the revered four Vedas are the Ruk, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. Equivalent to them for the Saiva Siddhantha school of Agamic philosophy is the Thirumantiram, rendered by Thirumular. It has 3047 verses categorized into the verses in praise of God and thereafter into nine Tantras. 'Thiru' in tamil means Holy and the word mantra being composed of two syllables 'man- the mind' and 'tra- the protect. The 2nd Tantram has verses 451 to 491 narrating the phenomenon of creation. It narrates the salient features pertaining to the development and growth of the human with attributes to God. The order of description is as per the title given for the verses: creates from within the womb; grants breath and child is born; preserves the fetus; breathing and size of the infant; printed the sex of the infant; sex determined at sexual union; age determined; birth imperfections explained; how deaf, dumb and blind are born; breathing at union decides sex of the baby; how a handsome baby is born; how infant in the womb grows; birth is by Lord's grace. Garbha Upanishad, part of the Krishna Yajur Veda, is ascribed to Pippalada, whose life time has been assigned to around 1,400 BC. It has 5 stanzas and stanzas 2, 3 and 4 narrate in detail about the conception and the gradual growth of a child in the mother's womb: formation of semen, fertilization, sex determination, blastula and gastrula stages, embryonic disc, formation of head, legs, foot, wrist, stomach, hip, waist, spine, mouth, nose, eyes, ears, brain, congenital anomalies, twinning, starting of life and intelligence. Also narrated is the physical condition of the child's body & its mental state at each stage of the 23

development in the womb. Thus, in the words of embryology given in the present day textbooks, the description from Thirumantiram and Garbha Upanishads correlate to fertilization; sex determination; implantation; amnion and amniotic fluid; respiration; determination of age; formation of congenital anomalies; growth for the period of 9 months i.e 297 days and birth. From the 2 great scriptures of India, the paper has reported the perceptions on the normal development and the etiology behind the formation of congenital malformations. KEY WORDS Gametogenesis, Fertilization, Development, Congenital anomalies, Garbha Upanishad, Thirumantiram INTRODUCTION Thirumantiram: (Natarajan 2002) In Hinduism, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana are the revered four Vedas. Equivalent to them for the Saiva Siddhantha school of Agamic philosophy is the Thirumantiram, the scripture rendered by Thirumular. Thirumantiram has 3047 verses as the Prologue [112 verses in praise of God] and 9 Tantras [1(113 to 336); 2 (337 to 548);3 (549 to 882); 4 (883 to 1418); 5 (1419 to 1572); 6 (1573 to 1703); 7 (1704 to 2121); 8 (2122 to 2649) and 9 (2650 to 3047)]. 'Thiru' in Tamil means Holy and 'Mantiram' in Sanskrit is either 'general' the devotional prayers or 'special' a definite sequence of sounds. Thirumular has used the word 'Mantra' in both senses and the word mantra is composed of two syllables 'man- the mind' and 'tra- the protect' i.e. mantra protects when contemplated. In the Agamic tradition, Thirumular is the revered spiritual leader and he was blessed to render the Agamic truths in Tamil, the Jneya (known), Jnana (knowledge) and Jnata (knower). In the 2nd Tantra, verses 451 to 491 contain the narrations on the phenomena of development and congenital anomaly. Garbha Upanishad: (Joshi et al 2005) The 3 periods of
Anatomica Karnataka, Vol-6, (1) Page 23-27 (2012)

Thirumantiram and garbha upanishad- an overview

Review

the civilization in India are the Pre- Vedic period (3,000 BC)(Indus Valley Civilization) Vedic period (1,500 BC)(4 vedas: Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva) and the Post –Vedic period (1,000 to 800 BC) (Golden age of Indian Medicine; evolvement of Ayurveda & presence of the great proponents of medicine in India, Susruta (200 BC) & Charaka (1 AD). Upanishads are included both in the 3 divisions of Veda [Mantras or Hymns (prayers); Brahmanas (sacrificial rituals); Upanishads (philosophical, theological, mystical treatises)] and in the 2 departments of Veda [Karma Kanda (Mantras & Brahmanas); Jnana Kanda (Upanishads)]. Upanishads mean (upa-ni-sad) sitting down near somebody, in order to listen and meditate and also it means worship or from 'sad' destruction of all, save that of 'Self'.108 upanishads are mentioned. In Garbha Upanishad, is the description on the development of the embryo in an astonishingly precise manner. This Upanishad is ascribed to the sage, Pippalada around 1,400 BC. It has 5 Stanzas and in stanzas 3 & 4 are given the narration on the development of the embryo Table1 Thirumantiram 451: God creates within the womb. Thus He creates, seated within the globular womb He the Primal one creates 452: The Lord grants breath and the child is born. There in the water filled womb, The infant lay, its tiny feet entangled 463: The Lord preserves the fetus. He designed ways of preservation numerous; He surrounded the fetus with water. (The Lord takes infinite care to protect the fetus inside the womb for 300 days He surrounds it with a protective 'bag of waters') 464: Breathing and size of infant. And measuring eight finger -span Of its own tiny palm (The child born measures 8 spans of its own finger length). -

and fetus in the womb till birth and also on the formation of the congenital anomaly. Aim It is aimed to report verbatim the salient descriptions pertaining to the development and growth of the human and the suggested etiology behind the formation of the congenital anomalies. MATERIAL AND METHOD From Thirumantiram and Garbha Upanishad, the appropriate verses describing the development and the formation of the congenital malformations are provided. Results In Table 1 is given the verses from Thirumantiram and Garbha Upanishad. Wherever the narration was not in accordance, the columns either in Thirumantiram or in Garbha Upanishad remained blank. Garbha Upanishad -

2. In whomsoever these substances arise and increase, the rasa (essence) is the cause of the one following and so on [These rasas are six in number; from the rasas (probably chyme) arises blood: from blood, flesh; from flesh, fat; from fat, bones; from bones, marrow; and from marrow, sukla (the male seminal fluid)]. From the union of sukla and sonata (the female vital energy), occurs garbha (conception in the womb). Being stationed in the heart, it is led. 24
Anatomica Karnataka, Vol-6, (1) Page 23-27 (2012)

Thirumantiram and garbha upanishad- an overview

Review

-

3. Through having connection at the rtu (seasons) fit for raising issues, it (the embryo formed in the womb) is like water in the 1st night; in 7 nights, it is like bubble; at the end of half a month, it becomes a ball. At the end of a month, it is hardened; in 2 months, the head is formed; in 3 months, the region about the feet; and in the 4th month, the region about the stomach and the loins and also ankle is formed; 5th month, the back ( or spinal) bone; in the 6th, the face of the nose, eyes and ears; in the 7th,it becomes united with jiva (Atma); in the 8th month, it becomes full (of all organs); in the 9th, it becomes fatty. Sukla belongs to men and sonata to women. Each (by itself) is neutral (of is powerless). (But in their combination) a son is born when the father's seed preponderates. A daughter is born when the mother's seed preponderates. Should both be equal, a eunuch is born. Since females have more of passion, on account of their deriving more pleasure (than male from sexual union), a greater number of females are born.

477: He printed the sex of infant. The seed of life, As a steady flame in womb burns It takes shape one of three Male, female and hermaphrodite; How the father and mother at union were, Even so He printed the sex. 478: Sex Determined at sexual union. The masculine flow dominates, the infant is male born, The feminine dominates, the infant is female born; When the two are in force equal, a hermaphrodite is born; When masculine flow gushes in plenty, The infant born will sway the world entire; When masculine flow is scanty, Naught indeed conception is. 479: Age is determined. If after emission, The male's breath five finger-length extends, The infant born lives a hundred years; When breath to four finger measure stretches, To age eighty the infant lives; (If after ejaculation, man inhales spontaneously five times, the infant to be born will live up to 100 years; eighty, if he inhales four times and so on). 480: Birth imperfections explained. When after intercourse, the man is short of breath, The infant born a dwarf will be; When breath blows feeble, The issue may of defective limbs be born; When breath halts in mid act, A hunch back will be born; All these apply not, To woman's breathing rhythm. (If the flow of the male discharge is slow, the offspring is short in stature; if sluggish, lame; if fitful and interrupted, hunchback) 481: How deaf, dumb and blind are born. When at the time of union, The mother's bowels are heavy exceeding, A dullard will be born; If urine exceeds, A dumb will be born; If both exceed, A blind will be born; Thus is it for the infant born The mother's condition according. 25

-

Action corresponds to mental state (of the actor). Hence the child (born) takes after (the thought of) the parents. From parents with minds full of anxieties (at the time of union) are born and blind, the lame, the hunchback, the dwarf, and the limbless. (From impregnation) during eclipses of the sun and the moon, children are born with defective limbs.

Anatomica Karnataka, Vol-6, (1) Page 23-27 (2012)

Thirumantiram and garbha upanishad- an overview

Review

482: Breathing at union decides sex of baby. If breath flows leading on nostril right, The infant born will a male be; If on the nostril left, A female will be born; If the descending current Apana, Opposes the ascending current Prana, Twins there shall be; If in measure equal the breath rhythm runs, Through nostrils right and left, Hermaphrodite shall be the baby born. (If the male breath runs dominant in the right nostril (Pingala) at the time of discharge, the offspring will be male; if it runs dominant in the left nostril (ida), the offspring will be female. If the apana breath comes up from the lower regions of the body system, twins will be born. If the breathing is through both the nostrils, the child born will be impotent).

When sukla bursts into two through the interaction (or blowing against one another) of the vayu of both sukla and sonata, then twins (of the same sex) are born. In the same manner when the retas (the seminal fluids), viz., (sukla and sonata) of both the parents burst into two, then mixed progeny (male and female) is the result. Among mankind, five embryos (only can be formed at a pregnancy in the womb). A womb with one embryo is common. There are some with two. Those with three are only to found (as rarely) as one in a thousand. Where there is frequent pouring (of seminal fluid into the womb), a greater number of limbs is produced (in the child). When the pouring (within the womb), is only once, then the child becomes dried up (or contracted). By pouring (within) more than once, couples are (sometimes) born. Increase or decrease, similarities or dissimilarities of bodies arise (in children) through the influence of time, place, action, dravya (substance) and enjoyment. From a well-conducted intercourse (or union), the child being born with the form of the father possesses, his qualities, just as the image in a glass reflects truly the original. -

483: How a handsome baby is born. If in male and female breath runs In measure equable, The infant born will exceeding handsome be; When in both breath rhythm falters, No conception will there be. 484: How infant in the womb grows. The infant-seed, The damsel in her womb bore Nourished by bright milk That is fed by Sakti in Eye-brow center Grew, Beaming like the golden rays of rising sun inside, it took form appropriate. 491. Birth by Lord's Grace To be born thus is His grace indeed. (Birth and hence, life is considered as a valuable gift).

4. Then (viz., in the 9th month), this (in the body) made of five elements and able to sense odour, t aste, etc., through tejas (spiritual fire), etc., which is also made up of the five elements - this cognizes the indestructible omkara through its deep wisdom and contemplation. It cognizes as the one letter (OM). Then there arise in the body the eight prakrits and the sixteen vikaras (changes). Through the food and drink of the mother transmitted through her nadis, the child obtains prana. In the 9th month, it is full of all attributes. It then remembers its previous births, finds out what has been done and what has not been done, and discriminates between actions, right and wrong. (Then it thinks thus:) “Many thousands of wombs have been seen by me, many kinds of food have been tasted (by me) and many breasts have been suckled (by me). All parts of the world have been my place of birth, as also my burning – ground in the past. In 26
Anatomica Karnataka, Vol-6, (1) Page 23-27 (2012)

Thirumantiram and garbha upanishad- an overview

Review

eighty-four lakhs of wombs, have I been born. If I get myself freed from the bondage of the womb, I shall perform great penances. Then this beings, who had entered many hundreds of female wombs of beings (in the previous births) comes to the mouth of the womb wishing to obtain release. Here being pressed by the yantra (neck of the uterus) it suffers much trouble. Moreover it is much affected by parsuti (delivery) vayu and ceases to remember anything of the past; it also ceases to see far and to be the cognizer CONCLUSION From the 2 great scriptures of India, the paper has reported the perceptions on the normal development and the etiology behind the formation of congenital malformations. In the words of embryology, the description correlates to fertilization; sex determination; implantation; amnion and amniotic fluid; umbilical cord; respiration; determination of age; formation of congenital anomalies; growth for the period of 9 months i.e 297 days and birth. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Authors gratefully acknowledge Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai and Parimal Publications, Delhi for the permission to reproduce the material from Thirumantiram and Garbha-Upanishad. REFERENCES 1. Joshi KL, Bimali ON, Trivedi B. 112 Upanisads. Chapter 17-Garbhoupanisad. Volume 1. Parimal Publications, Shakti Nagar, Delhi- 110007, 2005, pp 359- 365. 2. Natarajan B. Thirumantiram by Thirumular. Tantra 2. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai- 600004, 2002, pp 52- 85. Address for Communication Dr Sayee Rajangam Professor, Department of Anatomy International Medical School, Bangalore 560054 Email: drsayee@gmail.com Phone: College:91-80- 23607913; Residence: 08026662837; Mobile: 09901024059 Fax: College: 91-80- 25520777 or 23607330

27

Anatomica Karnataka, Vol-6, (1) Page 23-27 (2012)

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful