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Patanjali umbilical cord govt can’t cut: Spotlight on May 9 ‘garbh sanskar’ workshop

Patanjali Ayurved College and Hospital has said garbh sanskar dates back to ancient scriptures and includes processes and rituals “for moulding the mind of (the) foetus to achieve good mental, physical and spiritual health”

G.S. Mudur New Delhi Published 07.05.24, 05:09 AM

Ramdev. File Photo.

The Ayush ministry is sponsoring a workshop on “garbh sanskar”, hosted by the University of Patanjali, a move decried by sections of ayurveda physicians as a fresh attempt to conflate mythology with science.

The Patanjali Ayurved College and Hospital, the organiser of the daylong workshop set for May 9, has said garbh sanskar dates back to ancient scriptures and includes processes and rituals “for moulding the mind of (the) foetus to achieve good mental,
physical and spiritual health”.


“This is evident from the mythological stories of Abhimanyu and Prahlad on how garbh sanskar had a positive effect on the foetus,” the college said in a note on the workshop
which, it said, will offer holistic prenatal care, combining yoga, meditation and ayurveda for physical and mental wellness.

The workshop will cover nutrition, stress reduction and bonding techniques to support the development of the mother and the baby and to integrate cultural practices, music therapy and childbirth education for “a comprehensive approach to nurture the wellbeing of expectant parents and their child”, the college said.

A faculty member told The Telegraph that the workshop was intended to mark the inauguration of a “certificate course” in garbh sanskar that the college plans to offer ayurveda physicians who have acquired a Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degree.

The Patanjali Ayurved College is a unit of the Patanjali institution in Hardwar. Its document on garbha sanskar lists yoga evangelist Ramdev and the managing director of Patanjali Ayurved, Balkrishna, as “chief patrons”.

Ramdev and Balkrishna had last month apologised in the Supreme Court for publishing misleading advertisements promoting specific products from Patanjali Ayurved for certain health disorders.

Medical experts, including an ayurveda physician, said lessons centred on nutrition, meditation, prenatal care and yoga could be beneficial to expectant parents as well as to other people. But they view the attempt to cite Abhimanyu’s story and ancient scriptures as bringing mythology into healthcare practices.

In the Mahabharata, Abhimanyu is said to have learned how to break through a challenging formation of warriors called the chakravyuha while he was a foetus.

“Myths shouldn’t be summoned as proof of ancient medical achievements or knowledge,” said G.L. Krishna, an ayurveda physician and visiting scholar at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

Krishna said the foetus begins to hear sounds during the second trimester of intrauterine growth. “However, understanding and interpretation of sounds requires cognitive processes that develop in infancy and childhood,” Krishna said.

“To believe that a foetus can understand complex war details is a fantasy that neither ayurveda nor science endorses,” Krishna told this newspaper. “It's much like the Prime Minister’s suggestion some years ago that Ganesha’s elephant head implied that ancient India had plastic surgery.”

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