Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes pearls (mukta-lakshana) which is the eighty-first Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 81 - On Pearls (muktā-lakṣaṇa)

1. Pearls (muktā) are produced in elephants, serpents, oyster-shells, fish, clouds, bamboos, whales and boars. Of these, pearls of the oyster-fish are produced in abundance and are beautiful.

2. Ceylon, the island of Pāralaukika, Saurāṣṭra, the Tāmraparṇi river, Pāraśava (Persia), the island of Kubera, the country of Pāṇḍyavāṭa and the Himālayas, are places in which pearls are largely found.

3. The pearls of Ceylon are of various shapes, glossy, of the colour of the swan and large. The pearls found in the mouths of the Tāmraparṇi are white or slightly copper-coloured and pure.

4. The pearls of the island of Pāralaukika are black, white or yellow, mixed with minerals and rough; the pearls of Saurāṣṭra are neither very large nor very small and of the colour of butter.

5. Persian pearlshttps://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/mukta#hinduism are bright, white, heavy and of excellent qualities. The Himālayan pearls are light, brittle, of the colour of curdled milk, large and of various shapes.

6. The pearls of the country of Kubera are rough, black, white, light, large and bright; and those of Pāṇḍyavāṭaka are of the colour of the fruit of the margosa, resembling a pulse or the coriander seed.

7. Pearls which are blue are sacred to Viṣṇu and those which are white like the Moon are sacred to Indra; those which are yellow are sacred to Varuṇa and those which are black are sacred to Yama.

8. Pearls which are red like the ripe fruits of the pomegranate or the cocoon of the silk worm or the guñjā seeds (Abrus precatorius) are sacred to Vāyu and those which are of the colour of the flame of fire or of the lotus flower are sacred to Agni.

9. The price of a superior pearl (muktā) weighing four Māṣas[1] is 53,000 Kārṣāpaṇas.

10. The prices of pearls weighing half a Māṣa less and less are respectively 3200, 2000, 1300, 800 and 353 Kārṣāpaṇas.

11. The price of a single pearl which is a Māṣa in weight is 135 Kārṣāpaṇas, and the price of a pearl which is 4 Guñjās in weight is 90 Kārṣāpaṇas and that of one which is 3½ Guñjas in weight is 70 Kārṣāpaṇas.

12. The price of a pearl which is 3 guñjās in weight is 50 Kārṣāpaṇas, and the price of a pearl which is 2½ guñjās in weight is 35 Kārṣāpaṇas.

13. One-tenth of a Pala is known as a Dharaṇa. The price of a collection or string of 13 good pearls weighing a Dharaṇa is 325 Kārṣāpaṇas.

14. The price of a string of 16 pearls weighing a Dharaṇa is 200 Kārṣāpaṇas; of 20 pearls of the same weight is 170 Kārṣāpaṇas; of 25 pearls of the same weight is 130 Kārṣāpaṇas.

15. The price of a string of 30 superior pearls weighing a Dharaṇa is 70 Kārṣāpaṇas; one of 40 pearls of the same weight is 50 Kārṣāpaṇas and one of 55 pearls of the same weight is 40 Kārṣāpaṇas.

16. The price of a string of 80 pearls weighing a Dharaṇa is 30 Kārṣāpaṇas; that of a string of 100 pearls of the same weight is 25 Kārṣāpaṇas; of 200 pearls of the same weight is 12 Kārṣāpaṇas; of 300 pearls, 6 Kārṣāpaṇas; of 400, 5 Kārṣāpaṇas, and of 500, 3 Kārṣāpaṇas.

17. A collection or string of 13 pearls weighting a Dharaṇa is known as Pikkā; one of 16 pearls of the same weight is known as Piccā; one of 20 pearls is known as Arghā; one of 25 is known as Ardhā, one of 30 as Ravaka; one of 40 as Siktha; one of 55 as Nigara: one of from 80 to 500 pearls is known as Cūrṇa.

[Note—According to Buddha Bhaṭṭa, the price of a superior pearl weighting 5 Māṣas is double the price of one weighting 4 Māṣas, and the price of a pearl weighting 6 Māṣas is double the price of one of 5 Māṣas. and so on, doubling the price for each additional weight of a

18. Thus have I described the price of various collections of superior pearlshttps://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/mukta#hinduism weighing a Dharaṇa. The prices of collections of pearls of intermediate numbers shall be ascertained by proportion. If the pearls he not of superior quality, the price shall be reduced.

19. If these superior pearls be black or white or slightly rough the price shall be reduced by a third; if they be only very rough the price shall be reduced by a sixth; and if yellow by one-half.

20. An elephant of the Airāvata family born when the Moon passes through the asterism of Puṣya or Śravaṇa, on a Sunday or Monday in the Uttarāyaṇa (i.e. when the Sun passes from sign Capricorn to sign Cancer) and at the solar or lunar eclipse is known as Bhadra.

21. Pearls (muktā) which are bright, of various shapes and large are produced in large quantities in the tusks, testicles and crates of the Bhadra elephant.

22. These pearls cannot be valued and cannot be bored through. They are exceedingly bright and will bring to the wearer success, health and sons, and make him pure. They are fit to be worn by kings.

23. Pearls of superior qualities and of the colour of the moon are produced at the roots of the hog’s teeth and pearls of good qualities and which are large, pure, and of the shape of the eye of the fish, are found in whales.

24. Pearls of the shape of the hail and which fall from the seventh region of the atmosphere and resembling the lightning are produced in clouds; they are carried away by the Devas.

25. Pearls are also produced in the heads of serpents of the family of Takṣaka and Vāsuki; they are black and glossy.

26. When the rainfall occurs out of season, pearls which fall from the sky into vessels of silver placed on pure spots are known as Nāga pearls.

[Notes—According to Buddha Bhaṭṭa, rain may be produced in the dry season as follows: the priest shall, after bathing, and in an auspicious hour get to the tops of storyed buildings whose floor reflects the sky above and shall recite aloud mantras accompanied by the music of the Dundubhī. Heavy rain will fall.]

27. The Nāga pearls worn by kings bring to them success, renown, the ruin of the enemy and freedom from misery.

28. Pearls (muktā) produced in bamboos are of the colour of camphor or crystal, and are flat and rough. Those produced in conch-shell are of the colour of the Moon and round, bright and beautiful.

29. Pearls produced in conch-shells, whales, bamboos, elephants, hogs, serpents and clouds are not to be bored through. As they are of very superior qualities, the Śāstras have not stated their value.

30. All these are pearls of superior qualities, and they make the wearer wise, wealthy, happy and renowned, free him from diseases and grief and secure for kings the object of their desire.

31. A collection of pearls consisting of 1,008 strings, each 4 cubits long is known as Inducchanda. This must be used as ornaments for the Devas only. A collection of pearls consisting of 504 strings each 2 cubits long is known as Vijayacchanda.

32. A collection of pearls consisting of 108 strings each 2 cubits long is known as a Hāra; one of 81 strings of the same length is known as Devācchanda; one of 64 strings is known as Ardhahāra; and one of 54 is known as Raśmikalāpa.

33. A collection of pearls consisting of 32 strings each 2 cubits long is known as Guccha; one of 20 strings is known as Ardha-Guccha; one of 16 as Māṇavaka; and one of 12 as Ardhamāṇavaka.

34. A collection of pearls consisting of 8 strings each two cubits long is known as Mandāra, and one of 5 strings is known as Hāraphalaka or a necklace-slab, a cubit in length, consisting of a string of 27 pearls is known as a Nakṣatramāla.

35. A Nakṣatramāla with gems or gold beads between the pearls (muktā) is known as Maṇisopāna. A Maṇisopāna with a central gem is known as Cāṭukāra.

36. A necklace, a cubit in length and consisting of an indefinite number of pearls is known as Ekāvalī. An Ekāvalī with a central gem is known as Yaṣṭī among jewel-merchants.

Footnotes and references:

1.

A Māsa is equal to 5 Guñjā seeds.