There is historical evidence also to show the influence of the pregnant mother on her future offspring. The following are more recent instances.
Adi Sankaracharya’s parents Siva guru and Arya (appropriately named) visited a number of shrines in Southern India praying to Lord Siva for a son. When they were sleeping exhausted after a long fast, Lord Siva appeared to Siva guru in a dream and offered him the choice of a saintly but short-lived son and a long-lived but ordinary boy. Siva guru wisely chose the former, and he saw a bright ray of light emanating from the Siva image. Sankara’s life was later extended by another sixteen years for a total of thirty-two years, during which time he wrote monumental philosophical and literary works and established religious orders which survive till today.
Sri Ramakrishna’s parents were very poor but very religious and devoted to Lord Rama. They too prayed for a son for a long time and, when the father visited Gaya, the Lord named Gadadhar at that location, told Him that He would be born as their son. Soon Sri Ramakrishna was born. He grew to become living proof of the existence of God as also the living proof of the equality of all religions and devotional paths.
Later still, Bhuvaneswari Devi of Kolkata personally prayed and requested her relative in Varanasi to pray to Lord Siva on her behalf for a son. Naren, later Swami Vivekananda, was Siva’s gift to her. She exposed the baby before his birth to music and devotional discourses. He had a prodigious memory remembering anything and everything after just once reading or listening to it. He had memorized the entire Britannica Encyclopedia overnight at the Chicago Public Library, and proved it to the librarian’s satisfaction that he indeed did so! And he was a natural leader. All because of the eclectic input he received from his mother as a fetus.
Swami Vivekananda was a marvel in every sense of the term, who clearly started a new age in India, all because of his mother’s diligent pursuit of her wish for an ideal son.
Shivāji was totally devoted to his mother Jijabai, a deeply religious person. The principal Hindu values were inculcated in him even before his birth, along with a desire to establish a “Haindavi Swarajya” once again, at a time when the Mughals and the British were chipping away at the fabric of Hindu society. That aim however also included fairness and compassion for all, no matter their beliefs. His armies were very disciplined and the codes he had established were considered models by later rulers in India. In other words, he strove to put into practice our ancient dharma that he had learnt from his mother.
Jijabāi named her son Shivāji in honor of Lord Siva whose gift he was. She had prayed to Siva for a strong and healthy child who could restore the nation’s ancient glory and its timeless message of dharma without exception.
Shivaji is clear proof that a mother can get a son with any characteristics that she desires.
Jijabai is also an example of how the mother can continue to teach her child for a few years after birth the same way that she had done in the womb. She told her son stories from the epics and puranas and continued to inspire him for the first few years of his life to become a patriot and a unifying force in the country.
There is ample evidence in the history of our great country to show that mothers in the past started teaching their children while still in the womb, and also continued the same instruction for some time after they came into the world, time-honored examples for our modern mothers to follow.