A human body is considered to be one of the greatest creations by God in the Hindu Puranas. It is a known fact that including certain practices in day to day life can keep the human body immune from diseases. After years of experiments and practices, many sages have come up with numerous activities that can keep the human body immune from diseases. One such activity was blowing into the conch shell. The importance of sounding a conch shell can be measured because many people mentioned in various sacred Hindu works of literature are known to have owned their own conch shell. Let us try and understand the significance of the Conch shell or Shankha.

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The Conch shell is sounded before performing ritualistic worship or to mark the beginning of an auspicious occasion. The conch shell is also blown while performing aarti. A Conch shell is placed in the altar in temples or at homes, next to a deity. The sound emanating from a Conch shell resembles the sound of ‘OM.’The sound of ‘OM’ is revered as an auspicious sound. 

According to ancient Hindu Literature, sounding a conch can be considered an easy and efficient way of burning calories. Research conducted by various scientists worldwide has authenticated the fact that the sound emitted from a conch shell can destroy harmful germs and bacterias present in the atmosphere. This particular property of the conch shell was validated by an Indian scientist named Jagadish Chandra Bose. 

A conch shell is known to contain phosphorus, calcium, and many other minerals found on earth. Sounding a conch shell can even cure lung diseases as this activity is considered to be a great exercise for the lungs. Apart from curing diseases, sounding a conch shell increases the blood flow towards facial muscles and ears. The increase in blood supply to the face and ears; prevents the development of wrinkles and improves hearing capacity. 

The Conch shell finds an important place in the epic Mahabharata as we all know that warriors sounded conch shells to mark the beginning and end of the war. A careful analysis of the epic Mahabharat, helps us understand that different kinds of Conch shells were sounded by different warriors and each Conch shell had its own significance and importance. To understand the importance of an individual Conch shell used in the Mahabharat war, we need to understand the names and types of Conch shells possessed by individual warriors. 

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According to the epic Mahabharat, Lord Krishna possessed the mightiest Conch shell. The name of Lord Krishna’s Conch shell was Panchajanya. Panchjanya was known to have emerged from the sea during Samudra Manthan or churning of the ocean bed. Upon appearance, the Panchajanya Conch shell is believed to have produced such high-frequency volume. It embedded fear in the hearts of the demons and started running in all different directions in fear for their life. The sound emitted from the Panchajanya Conch shell during Samudra Manthan has been mentioned as more devastating than the mightiest weapons used in the Mahabharat war. In order to control the sound emitting from the Panchajanya Conch shell, Lord Vishnu had to appear and blow into the Panchajanya Conch shell. Thus, the Panchajanya Conch shell is depicted as one of the weapons possessed by Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna was seen sounding the Panchajanya Conch shell in Mahabharat, as he is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself. It is also believed that sounding the Panchjanya Conch shell before the war increases the opponent’s death chances. Thus, Lord Krishna sounded the Panchajanya Conch shell before the beginning of the Mahabharata war, in order to embed fear in the hearts of the Kauravas and fasten self-confidence in the Pandavas. 

The name of the Conch shell sounded by Arjun was Devdatt. The Devdatt Shankh was given to Arjun by Varun Dev or the God of wind. The name Devdatt means ‘god-given.’ It is believed that when Lord Krishna’s Panchajanya Conch shell and Arjun’s Devdatt Conch shell were sounded together, the whole of Kurukshetra would echo with the sound produced by these two Conch shells. Thus the Conch shell blown by Lord Krishna and Arjun were described as transcendental.

Bheem also possessed a very powerful Conch shell named Paundra. The Paundra Shankha was given to Bheem by the inhabitants of Nag Loka, and it is believed that the sound emitted from the Paundra Conch shell made the enemies shiver in fear. Yudhishthira possessed a magical Conch shell named Anantavijay. The sound emitted from Anantavijay is known to have traveled to infinity. Thus the name Anantavijay means unending victory. Nakul’s Conch shell was named Sughosh, meaning a pleasant sound. Sahdev was also known to have possessed a beautiful Conch shell called Manipushpak, meaning a beautiful Jewel Bracelet. Manipushpak and Sughosh were given to Nakul and Sahadev respectively, by the Ashwini Kumars or the twin sons of God Surya or the Sun God.  

The name of the Conch shell blown by Bhishma Pitamaha was Ganganath. It is believed that Goddess Ganga, who is also considered to be the mother of Bhishma Pitamaha, gave Ganganath Shankha to  Bhishma Pitamaha prior to Mahabharat.  Bhishma Pitamaha sounded Ganganath Conch shell to mark the beginning of the Mahabharat war from Kauravas’s side. The name of the Conch shell sounded by Duryodhana was Vidharak. The sound emitted from the Vidharak Conch shell is known to produce pain in the opponent’s body. Yagnaghosh was the name of the Conch shell sounded by Dhrishtadhunya, and this Conch shell is believed to have manifested along with him from the Yagna Kunda. The name of the Conch shell sounded by Karna was Hiranyagurb, and it is believed to be given to Karna by the Sun God. 

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Conch shells are found in the houses of many Hindus as it is believed that having a Conch shell in homes keeps the environment positive and reduces the negative effect of Rahu and Ketu or the intersection of the paths of Sun and Moon. However, only the right-handed Conch shells are known to bring wealth and prosperity inside a household. Thus, it is advised to have good knowledge about Vastu before placing a Conch shell inside the house.