The Sĭmantonnayana (Hair parting).
The third Samskara of the embryo was Samantonnayana. That rite was called Samanta, in which the hairs of pregnant woman were parted.The Sĭmantonnayana The third Samskara of the embryo was Simantonnayana. That rite was called Simanta, in which the hairs of pregnant woman were parted.
The purpose of this Samskara was partly superstitious and partly practical. People believed that a woman in her pregnancy was subject to attacks of evil spirits and some rite should be performed to ward them off. The Asvalayana – Smritis has preserved this belief. it says, Evil demons bent on sucking the blood, come to woman in the first pregnancy to devour the foetus. In order to remove them, the husband should be should invoke the goddess Sri, as the lurking spirit leave the woman protected by her. These invisible cruel flesh-eaters catch hold of the woman in her first pregnancy and trouble her. Therefore, the ceremony named Simantonayana is prescribed. The religious intention of the Samskara was to bring about prosperity to the mother and long life to the unborn child, as it is indicated by the verses recited. Physiological knowledge of hindu was also responsible for instituting this rite. From the fifth month of pregnancy the formation of the mind of the would be child begins. So the pregnant woman was required to take utmost care to facilitate this process, avoiding any physical shock to the foetus. This fact was symbolically emphasized by parting her hair. Another purpose of the Samskara was to keep the pregnant woman in good cheer. To address her as Raka or full moon night, “of beautiful limbs” and parting and dressing the hair by the husband himself were methods used for it.
The Gruhastras, the Smritis and the astrological works discuss the proper time of performing this Samskara. The Grahya Sutras favor the fourth or the fifth month of pregnancy. The Smritis and astrological books extend the period up to eighth month or up to the birth of the child. Some writers are even more liberal. According to them, if delivery took place before this Samskara was performed, it was celebrated after the birth of the child, placing it on the lap of the mother or putting it into a box. The later periods indicate that the original sense of the Samskara was being lost and it was becoming a farce.