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A conch shell can be seen in all the Hindu temples. It holds high spiritual significance in other religions as well. According to Hindu religious scriptures, conch shell had emerged from the ocean during the Samudra Manthan. It appeared just before the Goddess Lakshmi was to appear. After Lord Vishnu accepted it, it is seen in one of his hands in his every depiction.
It is believed that many Hindu deities reside in a conch shell. For example, Lord Brahma, Sun God, Moon God all are present on the surface of the shankh. Aditya, Varun, Soma, Vayu, Agni are on the right hand side. Surya Dev and Chandra Dev are the presiding deities. Varun is the deity of the conch and Prajapati sits at the back. River Goddess Ganga and Yamuna are present in the front. Therefore worshiping the conch shell holds immense religious significance.
Basic Points About A Sacred Shankh
However, very often, people are not aware of some basic and necessary rules that need to be observed while keeping shankha at home. Here we have given a list of various things that you must keep in mind. You should never forget these basic points about a sacred shankh. Take a look.
Conch is of two types. One turned to the left hand side, the other turned to the right side. The one turned to the left hand side is used for blowing in temples, and the other one for worshiping. A conch used for blowing should not be used for worshiping.
A conch shell meant for worshiping at home must always be worshiped twice a day. Any of the family members can worship it, but it should be done without fail.
Whenever you have to bring a shankh at home, you must buy two and not one.
You must never water the shankh used for blowing. It has to be placed on a yellow cloth. Religious chants also should not be offered to it.
If the shankh is meant for worshiping purpose, it must be kept in a white cloth. Its maintenance is of prime importance and must not be ignored.
Never wash the shankh like any other ordinary object. Always use the Gangajal to wash it or clean it.
Both the shankhas, the one for blowing and the one for worshiping should never be kept at the same height. Since the latter is higher in the order of spiritual importance, it must be kept at a higher level.
A shankh is revered as a deity. Therefore, two conch shells cannot be used for the same purpose. One shankh each is to be used for blowing and worshiping.
While all the other deities can be offered water with a shankh, it is not so in the case of Lord Shiva. It is believed that a shankh is made up of the dead remains of a demon named Shankhchoor. Shankhchoor was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. This is why a shankh is dear to both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. In fact it is dear to all the Gods. Since the demon Shankhchoor was killed by Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva is never offered water in a Shankh.
Even if there are some rituals which mention the use of a shankh, it must be kept in mind that the shankh should never touch the Shiva linga or Shiva Pindi. It should not be placed above Shiva linga.
The conch shell should not be used for offering water to the Sun God as well.