Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My GoGo

I was 21 years old when you were born. My second child. A girl. I started doing yoga when I was pregnant with you. And listened to Indian chanting throughout the day. I had a daily ritual of making chapatis that puffed up perfectly and I'd eat many of them with a tall glass of milk.

Your name arrived before you were born without any knowledge of your gender. I actually knew you were a girl just because I knew. I never had a sonogram that told me so. A cassette tape was playing and a devotee was singing Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopala Jaya Jaya, Radha Ramana Hari, Govinda Jaya Jaya and there was your name, Govinda Jaya, boy or girl didn't matter. Govinda, meaning He who gives pleasure to the Cows and to the senses. Govinda Jaya, meaning All Glories to God.

Everyone was aghast and fearful that I was planning on giving birth to you at home, with no midwife, and only your father and older brother (who was 4 1/2 years old) in attendance. Throughout my pregnancy and up until the time my labor started I had convinced myself that I would feel no pain with your birth. Well, it actually hurt a lot. After about 12 hours of labor you were born in the cull (your water sack never broke) which is a very auspicious sign. My labia tore quite a bit but that was the only complication we had to deal with besides having to wait for several hours for your placenta to deliver. You never cried, just opened your violet-blue eyes and looked at us and then latched onto my breast and sucked for the longest time. Your newborn baby feet where just like Krishna's with red soles that looked as if they had been dipped in kumkum powder. When you were done nursing we gave you a bath which amounted to floating you in warm water. You loved the water and cried for the first time when we took you out. We anointed your body with tilaka, sacred clay from the Ganges River while reciting various names of God (Vishnu) to honor your body as a holy temple and protect you. As soon as the first mark of tilaka touched your body your crying stopped. This became a daily ritual and the only time we ever heard you cry for the first month after you were born. We would give you your daily bath, you would cry when taken out of the water, but as soon as the anointing with tilaka, along with the reciting of the names of God would start, you would stop crying and lie there peacefully until the ritual was complete.

Here are the names of God that are recited while the body is anointed with the tilaka:
forehead: om keshavaya namaha
belly: om narayanaya namaha
chest: om madhavaya namaha
neck: om govindaya namaha
right: belly om vishnave namaha
right: arm om madhusudhanaya namaha
right: shoulder om trivikramaya namaha
left: belly om vamanaya namaha
left arm: om shridharaya namaha
left shoulder: om hrishikeshaya namaha
upper back: om padmanabhaya namaha
lower back: om damodaraya namaha

Happy 33rd Birthday Govinda Jaya. My second born. My first girl child. My daughter. I love you.

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