Shankham” comes from the two Sanskrit words “Shum” which means something good and the “Kham” meaning water. Hence the meaning of “Shankam” is “The conch holding the sacred water”.
As the story goes, the demon Shankhaasura defeated devas, the Vedas and went to the bottom of the ocean. The devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as Matsya Avataara – the “fish incarnation” and killed Shankhaasura. The Lord blew the conch-shaped bone of his ear and head. The Om sound emanated, from which emerged the Vedas.
All knowledge enshrined in the Vedas is an elaboration of Om. The conch therefore is known as shankha after Shankaasua. The conch blown by the Lord is called Paanchajanya. He carries it at all times in one of His four hands.It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil.The Shanka verse recited in pooja is:
“Shankham chandrakadaivatwam kukshouvaruna daivatam
Brahma on the seat (shankhapitha or shankhadhara), Surya in the middle and Chandra at the tip. On the right side are seated Aditya, varuna, Soma, Vayu and Agni. Shankha is presided over by the twin gods Sun and Moon, and Varuna is it’s deity; at the back of the conch-shell is Prajapati, and in front the river goddesses Ganga and Sarasvati. So even to look at a conch-shell, or to touch it, would mean eradication of sins, like darkness disappearing on sunrise. The shankha is one of the four attributes that Vishnu holds in his hands. Hence the Shankha should be worshiped. According to Tantric belief, the shankha keeps away evil spirits and saves one from calamities.
According to Tantric belief, the shankha keeps away evil spirits and saves one from calamities.
Anga Lagnam Manushyanam Mruthyu Samsara Bheshajam”
The water from the Shankha purifies the sinner and can cure all the ailments which cannot be cured by the other medicines. It is a cure for the physical ailments in humans, from the the fear of death and gives liberation from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Shankha powder is used in several Ayurvedic medicines.
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.Dakshinavarti 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.
From the ancient scriptures we find there were two types of Dakshinmukhi Sankhas—one is male or Rurusa and the other is female Scankhinii distinguishable with its characteristic variations. The purusa got a thicker crust than the finer Sankhini.Ganesha shankha
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.
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.
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.
Why Do We Blow The Conch
When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world. It represents the world and the Truth behind it.
Another well-known purpose of blowing the conch and the instruments, known traditionally to produce auspicious sounds is to drown or mask negative comments or noises that may disturb or upset the atmosphere or the minds of worshippers.
Correct method of blowing shankh
Blowing of shankh the frequencies consisting raja-tama particles are destroyed and at the same time the saviour and destroyer principle of a deity is awakened. Now let us see the correct method of blowing the shankh.
First slightly raise your neck and bend it little backwards and keep the mind focused. Take a deep breath and start to blow with increasing intensity. One should keep in mind that blowing of shankh should be completed in one single breath. When the shankh is blown in this way Sushumna channel of the individual gets activated and it helps in keeping a correct balance of raja and sattva particles related to Tej and Vayu elements. This awakens the saviour and destroyer principle of adeity according to the need.
Why should the person blowing the conch raise his neck?
The person blowing the conch should raise his neck upwards (towards God) and fully concentrate on the task at hand. When blowing the conch, the eyes should be closed and a spiritual emotion should be nurtured that one is beckoning the subtler frequencies of the unmanifest, destroyer form of God’. This posture activates the Sushumnanadi (Central Channel) in the body of the conch-blower. It also helps in maintaining a perfect balance between the raja-tama particles in the frequencies related to the absolute air and absolute fire elements that emanate from the mouth. Thus, as per the requirement – the saviour and destroyer principles of the Deity get activated.
Manifestation of negative energies due to the sound of the conch: Due to the sound energy generated by blowing the conch, subtler frequencies flowing down from the universe get activated. They cause disintegration of raja-tama particles in the atmosphere within a short time. Due to the momentum of frequencies of sound energy emanating from the conch, there is friction between raja–tama particles, resulting in subtle flames. As a result the sheath around the aerial bodies of negative energies starts to burn. That is why negative energies are unable to tolerate the sound of a conch. They are compelled to manifest because of this sound. However, some of the more powerful sorcerers from the negative subtle region pretend to be unaffected, despite the distress caused by the sound of the conch!Scientific significance
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.