Today, for our cybersapce congregation a question has come in about the 31-day period of seclusion, that a family observes during the time of a death or a birth in the family. (And)The practice, which is traditional, is to not go to the temple, not to visit swamis and gurus, also to put white cloth over all the deities in the shrine room. So, the question is, “Isn’t a birth, most especially, a happy, sacred event? Therefore, why can’t we go in to the shrine room? Why can’t we go in to the temple?”
Well, an understanding of the esoterics behind the tradition is very important in order to fulfill them. A birth is a very sacred and a very happy event for the entire family and should be respected as such. However, it is a very inner time also for the family. Inner worship, doing japa, doing mantram, doing meditation [are] totally acceptable. Much of this tradition is for the health and well-being of the child, so that the baby can become adjusted to the big experience of birth. (, which)[It] is a tremendous experience for the soul to come into a physical body.
In most homes the shrine is very, very small. (And)During the time of a birth, all the relatives come and they bring food for the family because the normal routine of the home is broken up and to have them all crowded into a shrine room that is very, very small, with the little baby there, there wouldn’t be enough air for the child.
To bring a child, who is just born, during his first month to the temple, everyone would crowd around, relatives and strangers and friends, breathe into his face. The baby could pick up a disease.
So, for 31 days, it is a time to keep the child protected from disease, protected from lack of air, and allow the child full entrance into the physical body.