Shankha, or commonly known as the conch shell by the natives, is a major Hindu instrument of prayer. It is used as a trumpet and the entire process has many religious and scientific benefits.
Religious Significance of Shankha
It is said that blowing the trumpet gets rid of negative energy and evil spirits. It is also used as a container for holy water – shankha teertham. The shankha mudra is also used for various tantric rituals and meditation. Shankha is also one of the most important objects that came during the Samudra Manthan – the churning of the sea. The earliest representation and documentation of Shankha can be found in Vedas and other Hindu texts such as Bhagwad Gita and Vishnu Purana. It is used when worshipping gods – right from the start of bathing the deity to worshipping to ending the entire ritual.
According to Hindu dharma, Shankha is sacred and can be found with Shri Vishnu, where his depictions are shown with shankha in one hand and a disc or chakra in the other. There are various types of Hindu shankha and each of them has a specific name: Shri Vishnu and his avatar Sri Krishna’s shankha is known as “Panchajanya”; Arjuna’s shankha is known as “Devdutta”; Bhima’s shankha is known as “Paundra”; Yudhisthira’s shankha is known as “Anantavijaya”; Nakula’s shankha is known as “Sughosha”; and Sahadeva’s shakha is known as “Manipushpaka”. When the Panchajanya is blown, it remarks the victory of good over evil.
These are other types of Shankha that are considered to be holy in Hindu dharma:
- Dakshinavarti Shankha
- Vamavarti Shankha
- Gaumukhi Shankha
- Ganesha Shankha
- Kauri Shankha
- Moti Shankha
- Heera Shankha
The religious significance of the sacred conch still holds great value today. People blow it to purify the environment from evil effects.
Scientific Significance of Shankha
Apart from the religious significance, shankha also holds true with its scientific values. Anyone trying to hold shankha near the ear can hear the sound of the gently humming ocean. This is a natural vibration that occurs from the energy stored inside the conch cell, and spiritually, it is said that the cosmic energy of the earth enters the conch shell.
Use of shankha is also known to clear environmental pollution. Some suggest that it can heal the hole in ozone layer, that is the root cause of global warming. Science also holds that blowing shankha can bring forth positive psychological vibrations such as courage, determination, hope, willpower to the person who is blowing the shankha and those who hear the sound of it.