Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Age of Conch Shells

The word 'Sankha' was used in vyAsa Mahabharata 297 times as per a word count done. This number may vary slightly. Most of the usage, was apparently a token exuberance of enthusiasm or probably to start battles and motivate knights.


(English: conch. This word has a Latin<--Sanskrit origin. The larger conches were used as horns or trumpets during MahAbhArata periods-- presumably Gupta periods when the epic Mahabharata evolved).

Use of conches for calling laborers to work was prevalent in Europe and United States, as per Websters 1913 dictionary.


The volume bhIshma parva 023 015 lists out the names of conches used by the pAnDava warriors.
pAncajanyam hrishIkESo dEvadattam dhanamjayah-

pauNDram dadhmau mahASankham BhimakarmA vrikodarah


ananta vijayam rAjA kuntIputro yudhishThirah-

nakulah sahadEvaS ca sughosha maNipushpakau


This verse is a part of Bhagavad Gita which is a part of the epic mahAbhArata.

Krishna blew "pAncajanyam". Arjuna blew "dEvadattam". YudhishThira blew "ananta vijayam". Nakula blew "sugHOsham". sahadEva blew "maNipushpakam". BhIma blew "paunDra". The word used "mahA Sankha" for bhIma is an adjective for the "paunDra". mahA Sankha here means large conch.


ybrems
*Question: Why the poet didn't list out the names of conches used by the kaurava warriors like bhIShma, drONa, kripa, asvatthAma, karNa?

Answer: Inexplicable. The next verse says that other panDava warriors like king of Kasi-- kAsi rAja, drushTadyumna, sAtyaki blew their conches. The poet also did not forget to say that the reverberations generated by the earth and sky raking sounds rent the hearts of kauravas. The epic mahAbharata was apparently spread out into India by those kings who and the dynasties which claimed to be the descendents of pAnDavas. The whole perspective, will therefore be, from the viewpoint of pANDava victory. All the warriors of the mahAbhArata both pAnDAVA and kaurava might have had names for their conches.


ybrem
*For the 21st Century: The 21st CEntury News Services like Reuters, AP, should describe the AK47s and drones used by the American soldiers in Afghanisthan, Iran, Libya, Egypt and probably next Iran!

2 comments:

  1. The conch shells named in Mahabharat war have great significance as they give glimpse of the conch trade from Krishna's city of Dwarka. In those days Dwarka (the door) was a bustling port city and was India's gateway to trade with the Babylonian kingdoms. Magnificent conch shells were in possession of all kings at the time of Mahabharat. The very fact that individual conch shells were named, shows the importance of possessing an exotic conch shell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The conch shells named in Mahabharat war have great significance as they give glimpse of the conch trade from Krishna's city of Dwarka. In those days Dwarka (the door) was a bustling port city and was India's gateway to trade with the Babylonian kingdoms. Magnificent conch shells were in possession of all kings at the time of Mahabharat. The very fact that individual conch shells were named, shows the importance of possessing an exotic conch shell.

    ReplyDelete

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