The Conch, Shankh

The Conch is one of the most auspicious symbols in Sanatan Dharm. ‘Shankh’ is a Sanskrit word which means, a meter, a mantra, temple, conch etc. Shri Vishnu holds a conch named ‘Panch-janya’ in one of his hands. ‘Panchajanya’ is a Sanskrit word which broadly means the ‘one born by the union of the five’. These 5 can mean the 5 tanmantra, the 5 Gnyan-Indriya, the 5 Karma-Indriya or the 5 Panch-bhoot or the 5 Kosh/sheaths of the body etc. This divine conch is one of the 14 jewels which came out of the Eternal Ocean of Consciousness (Samudra Manthan). All gods, goddesses, major warriors from Ramayan, Mahabharat etc have their own conches, each with its specific name.

The Conch, ShankhThe conch that we use in our pujas is the shell created by the marine gastropod/snail Turbinella pyrum. These commonly found conches are all right handed, they coil dextrally, the aperture is towards the right side (Photo of the Shankh I use). These are used for all routine pujas and rituals and are blown in all auspicious ceremonies. The Shankh itself is also worshipped as a symbol of the Nada-Brahma, the creative power of the Ultimate Reality expressed as Sound.

Now there is the odd conch with the aperture towards the left side, sinistrally coiled. This is very rare and is not worshipped neither used for routine pujas. These are not used for blowing in auspicious ceremonies. This Conch represents energy moving inwards, it is destructive for the manifested. Just like the Swastik moving anticlockwise, or the Ganapati moorthi with his trunk coiled to the right, it represents involution, dissolution, Nivrutti. Only tantriks and people who know exactly what they are doing, will keep, worship, use and blow such a Shankh.

Blowing a Shankh requires that you pucker your lips in a typical way and have some lung power! Both men, women (except the 5 days of the monthly cycle) or children can blow it. However do remember that it requires some skill and lung power. Smaller conches are a bit easier to blow as lesser air is needed. There is only one note felt/heard when you blow, OM. Next time you blow your Shankh, keep your eyes closed and focus on your third eye. Initially you will see bursts of light, if you are on your spiritual path you will see the Shri yantra and as you advance, just the one Bindu. The cymatics of a conch-sound is the Shri-yantra. i.e. if you blow a conch in front of a liquid film or a sand film placed on a metal sheet which can freely vibrate, it will rearrange into the Shri-yantra. 

When you do your Dhyan and progress spiritually, there will come a point where you will hear the sound of the conch (Shankh-nada), it can be so deafening that you might feel that after hearing this you have gone deaf. But even in the initial phases of your spiritual practice if you sit in a silent environment you will hear a deep sonorous OM/conch-sound continuously throughout your Dhyan.

So if you have a conch in your puja ghar/home altar, use it actively. Blow it thrice everyday. The vibrations produced are ‘OM’ and are not only heard by the ears but felt in every part of your bodies (all the 5 sheaths). This sound entrains your bodies to the highest possible vibrational frequency of OM. And your soul feels refreshed as it is entrained briefly with who you really are. You will feel fresher mentally as well as spiritually. You will be healthier and fall ill less. This sound of the Shankh will also clean your house of negative energies.

Then the water stored in the Shankh acquires positive energies and can be used regularly. Keep some water in your Shankh overnight, this is one of the best ways to increase the vibrational levels of water. Drink it for overall health and vitality. If you have skin problems rub this water on the affected part. If there are hair problems, put this water in your scalp. Wash your eyes in this water to keep them disease free and your vision clear. 

The conch is a symbol of the Ultimate reality and is used to generate the sound of OM. It is an essential part of your puja ghar, so buy one and use it.

The Conch, Shankh

There was a question on the Hindu deities, so answering it here.

There is a common idea that the ‘God’ of Sanatan Dharm/Hinduism is Shri Vishnu. It is incorrect. The ‘God’ of Hindus is Energy, i.e. Parabrahma or the Singular Intelligence. Creation of the individual soul+universe, is a game of the three Gun, personified as deities. (Your soul and universe is different from mine.) Raja Gun is the creator principle, Brahma ब्रह्म and Sarasvati सरस्वती. The passion/urge is Raja Gun. Brahma is the potential and Sarasvati is the active principle of Raja Gun. Then Laxmi लक्ष्मी and Vishnu विष्णु are personified Satva Gun who maintain equilibrium. The active and potential principles of Tama Gun are Shakti शक्ति and Shiv शिव, who cause involution/destruction of the created.

As Raja Gun gets spontaneously excited, it immediately puts Satva and Tama out of balance too. They are interconnected. As Satva gets unbalanced by the action of Raja, it manifests as Mahat-Buddhi. i.e. Mahat-Buddhi is created from Satva Gun, this is the basic foundation on which further differentiated tattvas are created. And Satva Gun is depicted as Vishnu and Laxmi.

There is this line from the Tantra-ukta Ratri Sukta, recited by Brahma, विष्णुः शरीरग्रहणमहमीशान एव च, this broadly means “Brahma and Ishan (Shiv), ‘take up’ or ‘put on’ a part of Vishnu’s body/ strength/ solidity/ lowered energy. This action is then seen as both the stillness and movement of the world”. i.e. Raja and Tama gun interact with Satva gun. When Raja and Satva interact, the world moves, evolves. When Tama and Satva interact the world stills, it is involution or ultimately Moksh. Here ‘world’ means an individual soul and his personalised universe. 

Neither of the three Gun are greater or lesser than the other, they are equal. To say that Vishnu is greater than Shiv or Brahma is the lowest of the three, is an unintelligent statement.


The Conch, Shankh






Trigun, Satva Raja Tama

The Eternal reality is Singularity. It divides into a Still Intelligence called Purush पुरुष the Witness, साक्षी and a Spontaneous Evolution called Prakruti प्रकृति, the player Lalita ललिता. Purush is an observer, not concerned with further manifestation.

Prakruti spontaneously creates the three Gun गुण within Herself. These three Gun are the foundation of manifestation in a very subtle way. I have referred to these in my several posts by their simplest definitions,

  1. Satva सत्व – pulls you towards the Singular Reality.
  2. Raja रज – pulls you towards the Manifested universe.
  3. Tama तम – are heavy, dull energies destructive.

Now these three are the very fundamentals of manifestation. The Bindu (Prakruti) divides into the three chakras initially, Vama, Jeyshta, Raudri which represent the energies of Satva, Raja and Tama. (Refer to the geometry of the Shri yantra and the conscious energies of creation. These three are represented by the inner-most equi-lateral triangle around the central dot).

sri yantra bw.png

The Prakruti the Great Mother, is also called the Pradhan प्रधान which means that all things are contained within Her, she is prominent, chief, most important, essence, original source. She is the Cause and also the Effect. ‘Cause and effect’, we think of these two things as separate and distinct from each other. But if you think deeply these are quite similar on the deeper levels but yet dissimilar. e.g. Cream is formed on milk, that means that milk has the potential to form cream (cream is hidden in the milk), and cream does contain properties of milk (milk is hidden in the cream). Thus the effect is just the transformation/ evolution/ involution (Parinam परिणाम) of the cause.

Prakruti is defined as the state where the Satva, Raja and Tama Gun remain in perfect equilibrium. This is the Avyakta अव्यक्त, unmanifested, potential, invisible, universal spirit, primordial germ, inactive, unexpressed, latent state. Prakruti is Non-Intelligent. The reason is the three Gun. She is composed of the Satva, Raja and Tama which are in constant equilibrium and in spontaneous equal constant motion. Neither of these is greater or lesser, thus they ‘cancel each other out’. Thus she is Spontaneity.

Satva is light and causes pleasure at the spiritual levels, its function is to illuminate. Raja is active, urgent, passion and generally causes pain, its function is to cause evolution. Evolution is represented by the Swastik drawn in the clockwise direction. Tama is heavy, dull enveloping and smothering at the deepest levels, its function is to cause involution. Involution does not mean annihilation, it means that the energies are directed inwards, the transformation which causes dissolution (Swastik drawn in the anticlockwise manner).

These three Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama are always linked with each other, they are always in conjunction and cannot be separated from each other. They continually influence each other, forever mixing in different proportions. As long as they are equal in force there is no manifestation. Prakruti is in constant movement and this motion powered by the continuous mixing and movement of the Gun. The Gun give direction to evolution/ involution. These three are all pervading, in every thing you see around you. These are the first ‘effect’ of Prakruti, so are in everything of this manifested Universe. They are energised by Prakruti.

The three Gun are initially in equilibrium, in the Avyakta, un-expressed state, this is pure Prakruti. Prakruti is the first Tattva of Creation. Tattva तत्त्व means a distinct state, element, principle or essence.

Trigun, Satva Raja Tama

Then there is a spontaneous Spandan स्पन्दन, which means throbbing, vibration, motion, start of life in the energy of Prakruti. This causes an imbalance in the three Gun and the Raja overpowers the other two. This leads to the Vyakta व्यक्त state, things start getting obvious, clear, evident, expressed and manifested. The Gun always remain in motion, now that they are out of equilibrium they will cause subtle changes in the next manifested tattvas of which they will become a part of. There is constant change everywhere because of their constant movement at the deepest fundamental levels.evolution from parabrahma to mahat buddhiNow after the Spandan, the Gun’s perfect equilateral triangle is disturbed. And Raja is immediately released by the imbalance, it acts on the Satva to produce Mahat-Buddhi which is the 2nd tattva of creation. Mahat-Buddhi is a new thing different from Prakruti and the three Gun hence is called a new Tattva. But it is still composed of the three Gun and energised by Prakruti. It is a transformation/ parinam.

When you do Dhyan, the very last and deepest stages, you are required to set this three Gun in their equilibrium stage again with your conscious manipulation of Pran. There are several ways to manipulate pran. (I read on the internet where people take classes to awaken their Kundalini and its always a facepalm moment. Can you control your breath? For 99.99% of us the answer is No! First learn breath control, then try to control pran, only then can you even think of the Kundalini and forget about ‘controlling’ it!. You would be lucky if you first clean out your Brahmanadi till the top with the pran first and then the kundalini unlocks and moves upwards in one smooth uninterrupted flow.)

There is no ‘physical God’ in Sanatan Dharm, we worship Intelligent Energy. And by ‘worship’, we try to entrain our limited beings with their Immenseness so that we ultimately experience and transcend them.

The Creative principle is the duo, Brahma ब्रह्म and Sarasvati सरस्वती. These two principles are Rajasic in nature. Brahma is the potential and Sarasvati is the active principle of Raja. In the Vyakt/manifestation, as the two principles of Raja act first, the active and potential principles of Satva, Laxmi लक्ष्मी and Vishnu विष्णु also get active by the influence of Brahma/Sarasvati. Together with these, the active and potential principles of Tama, Shakti शक्ति and Shiv शिव also start acting. These six energies are worshipped as Gods and called husband/wife of each other too. Though we visualise them as human figures and make human stories for them, they are not humans, they are pure conscious energies. So when you are ‘worshipping’ this Trinity of Sanatan Dharm, the husbands/wives, you are actually rebalancing the three Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama Gun in your own body /mind / Universe.

Now a secret. You are not Prakruti, you are the Eternal Singularity. You are neither your body nor your Universe, you are more than this. Prakruti is the active principle derived from the Eternal. Prakruti is a small part of the Eternal. If you think on the intellectual level at least to begin with, that that everything that you do, see, experience etc is not by You but by Prakruti, you will Realise Yourself faster.