What is the purpose of the Nishkraman ceremony?
Nishkraman literally means going forth, or going out. This ceremony is performed the first time a child goes out of the home. The religious texts say:
The nishkraman ceremony aims at wishing the child a long healthy life.
The nishkraman ceremony is done in the fourth month after birth, by which time the newborn child is accustomed to the sun, breeze and noise in the environment. It is customary to make formal offerings to Surya and Chandrama and also expose the child to the sun and the moon. Since the body of the child is made up of the five elements it is customary for the father to formally seek blessings of gods controlling these elements.
In the Atharva-Veda, 8/2/14, it is said:
O child! At the nishkraman ceremony may the earth and the world shower welfare and benevolence upon you. May the Sun shine brightly upon you. May your chest be filled with fresh life-giving air. May the divine waters of Ganga and Yamuna quench your thirst.
Your Questions answered ...
What is the purpose of so many rituals recommended for Hindus?
The basic purpose is to live a life that is meaningful. This is possible only through self- discipline. This includes the purification of the mind, positive actions and thoughtfulness for others. The rituals help us achieve this purpose.