Shankh may appear to be small in size, but it has great healing and vibrational powers. Shankh also known as Shankha or Shankham is derived from the Sanskrit words “Shum” meaning something good and “Kham” which means water. Thus, “Shankam” means “The conch which holds the sacred water”. You must have seen or even used Shankh, but did you know that blowing a Shankh or keeping it in the Puja alter has many spiritual and scientific benefits? Yes, it is true! Let us first take a look at the origin of Shankh.
According to one legend, Shankh was one of the first things that came out during the churning of the milky ocean. Another another legend says that a demon named Shankhasura once defeated the Gods and stole the Vedas. He hid the Holy Scriptures (Vedas) so well that none of the Gods could find it. Finally, the Gods approached Lord Vishnu for help. He agreed to help them and came down to Earth in search of the demon Shankhasura. With his divine vision, Lord Vishnu traced that the demon was hiding deep at the bottom of the Arabian Sea. A fierce battle took place between the demon and the Lord. Finally, Lord Vishnu killed the demon and retrieved the Vedas. As a sign of victory Lord Vishnu blew the cone-shaped bone of the dead demon’s ear. On blowing the bone the sound of ‘OM’ emanated. Thus, the conch got its name as ‘Shankh’ from the demon Shankhsura.
Now, that we know the origin of Shankh, let us learn about its association with the Hindu deities. Lord Vishnu holds Shankh which is called the ‘Panchjanya’ which is said to possess all the five elements. Shri Krishna used to announce the end of the battle for the day in great Mahabharata battle using the Shankh (Panchjanya). The sound of the conch signifies the victory of good over evil. Each part of the Shankh is said to be the adobe of Gods and Goddesses. Lord Brahma is stationed on the seat, sun god in the middle and moon god at the tip. Aditya, Varuna, Soma, Vayu and Agni are on the right side. The ruling deities of the shankh are Surya and Chandra. The deities Varuna and Prajapati are at the back. Goddess Ganga and Goddess Yamuna who are the river deities are stationed in the front.
Significance of Shankh in a Puja:
According to the Vedic scriptures, two separate shankh must be used during a puja. The shankh that is blown before starting any puja should not be used for other puja rituals.
According to ‘Varaha Puran’, the doors of the temple must not be opened before blowing the left handed shankh. The frequencies present in the atmosphere are of three types namely sattva, rajas and tamas. The rajas and tamas dominant frequencies in the atmosphere are responsible for generating distressing vibrations. Sattva frequencies are pure and divine and gets attracted to vibrations created by puja rituals but rajas and tamas frequencies hinders its flow. Blowing a shankh gets rid of the rajas and tamas frequencies.
Significance of blowing shankh before puja:
When the shankh is blown, the divine sound of Om is emanated. The energy emitted because of blowing the shankh generates a shield of chaitanya (divine conscience) around the puja articles. This energy aids in reducing the distressing frequencies present in the atmosphere and helps in activating and sustaining the energies of Lord Vishnu and other deities that are being worshipped during the puja. Sattvik energies present in the atmosphere are sustained for a longer period in the puja room due to energies that are emitted after blowing the shankh.
Blowing a Shankh is an art that needs to be done with precision. While blowing the conch you must raise your head and bend it little backwards and be focused. Take a deep breath and then blow it in a single breath. Blowing the shankh in this manner activates the Sushumna channel of the individual which helps in maintaining a proper balance of rajas and sattva particles which are related to Tej and Vayu elements.
Spiritual benefits of blowing shankh:
• Blowing the shankh helps in keeping your mind free from negative thoughts
• Uplifts spirituality
• Generates zeal and positivity to begin the day with a focused mind
Scientific benefits of blowing the Shankh:
• The speech of the children who stammer can be rectified if they blow the shankh regularly.
• Shankh Bhasma (also spelled as Shankha Bhasm) is an ayurvedic remedy prepared from conch shell. In ayurveda, Shankh Bhasma is used for treating diarrhea (loose stools), acne, pimples, liver enlargement (hepatomegaly), splenomegaly, abdominal pain, indigestion, loss of appetite, heartburn, acid reflux, abdominal distension and irritable bowel syndrome. It has several other health benefits and medicinal uses
• The water stored overnight in the Shankh can be used to clear the white spots, allergies and rashes on the skin by gently rubbing this water on the affected areas.
• Drinking two spoons of the water that is stored overnight in the Shankh can help relieve stomach pain, indigestion and laceration in the intestines.
• It is believed that blowing the Shankh regularly can dissolve the blockages in heart and improve the respiratory system.