All cultures value children. Children ensure the continuation of our lineage. They bring joy to families, and they help us grow and evolve as human beings. To beget children is the cherished dream of most couples because children are believed to make the family complete. This is why even those who choose not to get married desire to have children and take recourse to methods like adoption and surrogacy to welcome a child into their lives.
Nowadays, it is seen that cases of infertility have been rising all over the world. Many factors are responsible for this. One can see ART clinics mushrooming in many urban centers, and the number of couples availing their services is rising day by day. The lack of progeny is stigmatized in many cultures, and marriages have come apart for this reason. The agony and disappointment suffered by childless couples are great indeed. There is a whole racket that thrives on this desire. Newborn babies are even kidnapped from hospitals and sold to childless couples who do not wish to endure the tedious and time-consuming process of legal adoption.
In astrology, the reasons for lack of progeny can be certain Doshas like Rahu Dosha, Sarpa Dosha, Pitru Dosha, etc. Astrologers often recommend certain Poojas to help such afflicted people beget children. One such important Pooja is Sashti Pooja.
What is Sashti Pooja?
This is a very powerful Pooja that can help couples to have a child. The woman who wants to perform the Pooja has to choose any day of Skanda Sashti to do it. Sashti Pooja is dedicated to the deity, Subrahmanya, also known as Skanda. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati.
Sashti is the sixth day of Krishna paksha or the dark fortnight of the lunar month. It falls 6 days after Full Moon or Pournami day. The highlight of Sashti Pooja is the Sashti Vratham or fast. It is a day-long fast. On the appointed day, the woman observing the fast should wake up before sunrise and have a bath. All the family members also need to take a bath. After cleaning the Pooja room, altar, and house, she should keep an idol or picture of Subramanya and his brother, Ganesha.
Starting from sunrise, food should not be taken. The pictures or idols should be decorated with sandal paste, turmeric, and vermilion powder. Incense sticks should be lighted and offerings made. Doing Abishek for the idol with milk is ideal. Materials like honey, sandal water, coconut water, rose water, panchamrit (fruit salad), and vibhuti (holy ash can also be used for the Abishek.
In case the abishek cannot be performed at home, one can visit a Subrahmanya temple nearby and perform the abishek. Whether the abishekam is done at home or the temple, the ceremony can be completed with prasad or offerings to Subrahmanya. The Pooja can be concluded by waving camphor.
After the Pooja, flowers may be offered at the feet of the deity, and prasad should be distributed among the devotees present at the temple or among the family members who did not observe the fast. Some people who are observing Sashti fast consume only this prasad in the afternoon and end the fast in the evening. Others keep the prasad and eat it only in the evening. They will end the fast after sunset.
While doing the Pooja, and throughout the day, one can chant mantras of Subrahmanya, for example, Subrahmanya Kavacham. Nag Devta or Snake God is the main deity that is believed to bless people with progeny, so some people also make offerings of milk and other things at snake hills found in temples. Abishek may also be performed to idols of Nag Devta in temples. Sashti Vratham is usually observed for 6 Sashtis consecutively. Sashti Pooja is believed to enable ladies to conceive soon after this cycle is completed.