A conch is a sea-dwelling mollusc. In Hindu religion, it is popularly called as "Shankha" and considered to be one of the most auspicious objects that emerged from the sea during the Ksheera Sagara Samudra Manthan.
In Indian mythology, the Shankha is regarded sacred and very auspicious. To initiate religious ceremonies, a shankha (conch shell) is blown. It is a major Hindu article of prayer. God Vishnu, the God of Preservation, is shown with a shankha in one hand and a disc or a chakra in the other.
Each hindu shankha has a specific name. Vishnu's shankha is called "Panchajanya" . It is believed that when it is blown, it announces the victory of good over evil. In the epic war, Mahabharata, the conch shell held a significant place. Arjuna's shankha was called "Devdutta" , Bhima's "Paundra", Yudhisthira's "Anantavijaya", Nakula's "Sughosa" and Sahadeva's was known as "Manipushpaka".
The sacred conch shell is an integral part of Hindu symbolic and religious tradition. Even today, all Hindus use the conch as a part of their religious practices. Whenever the conch shell is blown, it is said to purify the environment from all evil effects.
Leaving aside the mythology part, the conch shell's significance can also be corroborated by science. If you try holding a shankha near your ear, the sound of the gently humming ocean can be heard. This is actually the natural vibration or cosmic energy of the Earth which gets magnified on entering the conch shell.
The vibrations from these conch shells can overpower evil forces from the Earth and at the same time also clear environmental pollution including healing the hole in the ozone layer which causes global warming. According to science, the blowing of a conch shell enhances the positive psychological vibrations such as courage, determination, hope, optimism, willpower, etc. in the blower as well as those around him.
Types of Shankha of Religious importance
- Dakshinavarti Shankha
- Vaamavarti Shankha
- Ganesha Shankha
- Gaumukhi Shankha
- Kauri Shankha
- Moti/Pearl Shankha
- Heera shankha
The shankhas that open towards the right hand are called Dakshinavarti Shankhas. These shahkhas are rare and are available in white color with brown lines on them that run towards the right or South. Lord Kuber (God of wealth) resides in South and so this shankha represents wealth and prosperity. The sizes differ and can be from the size of a wheat grain to as large as a coconut. Dakshinavarti type of shankhas come from deep seas and are very rare.
Dakshinavarti shankha is considered very auspicious when kept at any sacred place or the place of worship or the locker in the house. It should be kept after being wrapped in a white cloth. This shankha is said to bring good luck and prosperity to the individual and his family.
This Shankha is the symbol of Goddess Lakshmi. It is said that she removes sorrows and gives intelligence, success, and worldly freedom. Traditionally, a Dakshinavarti shankha is similar in its piousness from the earthly incarnation of Vishnu or Lakshmi themselves and the blessings of Lakshmi literally flow out of the remaining shell on their own. Dakshinavarti shankhas not only bring wealth but also purify the atmosphere. All the negatives energies are swept out of the place.
The shankhas that open towards left hand are Vaamavarti Shankhas. These are the most commonly available shankhas and used for all religious purposes. In fact, most of the conches are Vaamvarti, that is, their bulge opens towards left side (facing North).
The special geometry of a natural shankha creates a positive energy field and so they are used as Yantras. Some astrologers also recommend the types of shankha and the location where these are to be placed to control negative planetary effects. Different methods of worshipping the shankhas are also described in the Indian scriptures for benefits varying from wealth, success and peace of mind to health, healing and hypnotism.
The blowing of a Vaamavarti shankha removes the ill effects of negative energies and it purifies our surroundings and soul.
Gaumukhi means face of cow.This Shankha resembles face of Cow.Cow is considered very sacred in Hinduism and so is this shankha.Keeping this shankha in temple/pooja place gives all the benefits (punya) of keeping a cow. It helps in bringing peace, harmony and happiness.A must to have Shankha for every Altar.
Ganesha shankha is another precious and largely worshiped shankha. This shankha represents Lord Ganesha and is worshipped to remove obstacles, for learning, for success, for luck and prosperity to family. This shankha is considered a very auspicious item for protection from evil effects and is to get good luck and prosperity to family.
Ganesha shankha is best when kept in the Pooja Ghar (place of worship) daily or on all auspicious occasions and during religious festivals. It can also be kept in the locker of the house so that the family never faces any dearth of money. However it should be kept on red cloth in the worship room or wrapped in red cloth if kept in a locker.
Ganesha is revered as the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Ganesha is the first to be worshipped and invoked in Vedic worship rituals. He is always worshipped for siddhi (absolute success in undertakings), and buddhi (intelligence). He is considered to be the deity of education, knowledge, wisdom and literature.
Ganesha shankha is a very rare item and hence considered very lucky. Every house should have Ganesha Shankha to protect it from evil effects, to get wealth and prosperity. It is said that Ganesha Shankha increases the strength of character, mind, enhances confidence and helps in achieving happiness, fame and good health. If Ganesha Shankha is used in daily worship, there can be no doubt that the worshipper of this conch shell is blessed with healthy and long life of nobility, wisdom, scholarship, entrepreneurship, foresight and resourcefulness. From Feng Shui's point of view, this conch attracts business luck from overseas and augments the chances of travelling abroad.
Kauri Shankha is a very rare shankha which when kept in your house can bring all luck and prosperity.It is said since ancient times that the possession of Kauris is considered to bring wealth and all round prosperity. That is the reason why it was a part of the marriage attire of the brides. Kauri is a rare sacred product found in the ocean. As per Hindu mythology, "Kauri" was obtained from "Samudra Manthan" along with "Lakshmi" and other rare divine and holy products. From a very ancient time "Kauri" was used as the currency and then was used in the ornaments and also used as the key of gambling. As per Hindu Shastras, "Kauri" is said to be the loving product of "Maha Lakshmi". It is also related to Lord Shiva because the hairs of Lord Shiva are similar to "Kauri". Indians also use "Kauri" to decorate Nandi, the devotee of Lord Shiva. It is also said to be a great tool to save the children from devil effects. Kauri Shankha is more powerful than kauris because it is a shankha plus a Kauri. This shankha is usually kept in the cash box for financial prosperity and to protect the owner from a financial debacles. Whoever keeps a "Kauri Shankha" during the prayer of "Goddess Lakshmi", gets blessings and gains success, prosperity, wealth and fame in life.
These shankhas shine like a pearl, very rare and difficult to find. These shankhas have the luster of a pearl and is generally round in shape. This is a precious variety of shankha and available in all big and small sizes. Keeping this shankha in house is considered to be very auspicious and it gives peace of mind. This kind of shankha is very rare in the sense that studies have shown that 1 in 15,000 conchs or shankhas will produce a pearl shankha but only 1/10th of those will be a good pearl conch. Whether a man blows any conch either small or big, it makes no difference. The influence of the conch or shankha never lessens. Everyone is aware of the fact that the right handed conch gives wealth and prosperity. It is to be noted that the shankha serves its worshipper for progressing financially but it does not fulfill any human passion.
Heera Shankha is also called Pahadi Shankha ( conch from mountains ). It used in worship of Goddess Lakshmi, especially by the tantriks. It opens like the Dakshinavarti. It is found in the mountains and has sparkling crystal like substance in the opening and sometimes on the shell also. Its dull from outer crust but Its inner portion shines like diamonds.Being rare,its very costly.