The Garuda Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736

The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...

Chapter LXVIII - Description of the origin of gems in the treatise on Ratna Pariksa (test of gems)

(Agastya Samhita) by the holy Agastya

Suta said:—Now I shall discourse on the method of testing the genuineness of gems and precious stones. There lived in ancient time a demon, named Vala. Vala conquered the god Indra and his celestials, and reigned supreme and invincible in the universe. The gods, on the occasion of a religious sacrifice, jocularly asked him to play the part of the animal of the sacrifice. This Vala consented to do and pledged his word for the performance of the part and suffered himself to be bound at the sacrificial stake. Whereupon the gods turned the jest into earnest and killed the invincible Vala in that mockery of a religious sacrifice. Thus Vala yielded up his ghost for the good of the universe and the welfare of the gods, and, behold, the severed limbs and members of his sanctified body, were converted into the seeds of gems.

Then the gods and the Yakshas and the Siddhas and the Nagas eagerly rushed to collect those seeds of gems and there were mighty flutterings of celestial pinions and rustlings of celestial garments in heaven. The gods came riding in their aerial cars, and carried away the seeds of gems for their own use, some of which dropped down on earth, through the violent concussion of the air. Wherever they dropped, whether in oceans, rivers, mountains or wildernesses there origined mines of those gems through the celestial potency of their respective seeds.

Of the gems and precious stones, some are endued with the virtues of expiating all sins or of acting as a prophylactic against the effects of poison, snake bites, and diseases, while there are others which are possessed of contrary virtues. Gems, such as the Padmaraga, the Emerald, the Indranila, the Vaidurya the Pushparaga, the diamond, the pearl, the Karketana, the Pulaka, Rudhirakhya (blood stone) the crystal, and the coral, should be carefully collected, subject to the advice of experts on the subject. First the shape, colour, defects or excellences of a gem should be carefully tested and then its price should be ascertained in consultation with a gem expert who has studied all the books dealing with the precious stones.

A king or a ruling chief with a view to acquire a greater prosperity, shall collect and wear a gem that has been found pure after a satisfactory test. Men, dealing in gems and experienced in the art of detecting its defects and well versed in the knowledge relating to the appraising of precious stones, should be deemed as the only persons capable of fixing the price and ascertaining the water of a gem. Since the learned hold diamond to be the most effulgent of all precious stones, we shall first describe the mode of testing the diamond.

The least particle of bone of the conquerer of Indra, falling or dropping down from the sky in a country, germinates diamond-crystals of varied shapes. The eight regions or divisions of the country in which diamond is found, are the Himalayas, the Matangas, the provinces of Anga, Saurastra, Poundra, Kalinga, Koshala, the basin of the river Venva, and the country of the Souveras. Diamonds found in the region of the Himalays, are tinged with a little copper-colour, while those found in the basin of the Venva are coloured like the disc of the full moon. Diamonds found in the country of the Souvera, are possessed of a lustre similar to the deep shade of a black rain cloud, while those found in the country of Saurashtra, shine with a eopper-coloured effulgence. Diamonds found in the country of Kalinga, are coloured like the molten gold, while those found in Koshala are yellow. Diamonds found in the country of Poundra, are coloured blue, while those found in the regions of the Matangas, are yellowish in their hue.

Gods are supposed to dwell in a particle of diamond, wherever found, which is possessed of a clear, light shade and the usual commendable features, is smooth and even at the sides, and is divested of all threatening traits such as scratches, dot like impressions, marks of crowds feet, or clouding impurities in its interior. Coloured diamonds, should be be regarded as presided over by different divinities according to their respective hues. Green, white, yellow, brown, blue and copper-coloured diamonds are ascribed to the direct tutelage of the Sun, Varuna, Indra, the Fire-God, the Lord of the Pitris and the Maruts, respectively.

A Brahmana is enjoined to wear a diamond which is coloured like a conch shell, or a Kumuda flower or a white Crystal, whereas a Kshatriya should wear one that is coloured brownish yellow like the eyes of a hare. A diamond possessed of a soft greenish colour like the tender leaves of a plantam tree, prove beneficial to a man of the Vaishya class, while a Shudra would do well to wear a diamond that has a lustre like that of a newly washed sword. Diamonds which are coloured yellow or possessed of a hue like that of a coral or a Java flower, (China Rose) should be held as fit only for the use of a king and would prove positively harmful to any man occupying a lower position in life. A king in his capacity of the lord of all the castes, is privileged to wear diamonds of any colour he pleases, provided they are not vitiated by the prohibited features, whereas such a conduct on the part of an ordinary man, is sure to be attended with evil consequences.

A diamond possessed of a double or dubious shade or Colour, should be looked upon as portending dire calamities like the birth of an illegimate or half caste child in the family, etc. A diamond [should not be used only with a look to the caste or class it specifically belongs to, inasmuch as a diamond possessed of all the commendable features proves as a source of boundless prosperity to its wearer, whereas a diamond vitiated by any of the condemnable traits, turns out to be a spring of unmitigated evil,

A diamond with one of its angles or horns broken or mutilated, or looking as if scratched, withered or trampled down, should not be retained in the household, though otherwise possessed of all commendable features, as it would certainly bring hosts of unsuspected evils in its train. The goddess of wealth is sure to part company with a person who is impudent enough to wear a diamond which emits a red glare through one of its mutilated horns or angles and looks cloudy and impure at the centre. A diamond scratched in any part of its body and which appears to be painted with stripes of red in the inside, robs the decent competence of its wearer, and subsequently brings on his death and ruin. A diamond found in its natural state in the bed of a mine, is either hexagonal or octagonal in shape or appears like a polygon of twelve sides with all its exterior angles or points prominently marked and equally sharpened.

A diamond, cut into the shape of a regular hexagon with well-smoothed sides and well-marked points or angles, and shedding a clear prismatic lustre from the inside and divested of all the harmful traits described in the books on gems and precious stones, is to be rarely found even amidst the treasures of crowned heads. Prosperity, long life, increase of wives and progeny and domestic animals, and the bringing home of a teeming harvest, attend on the use of a diamond, keen and well marked in its points, clear in lustre and divested of the characteristic baneful traits. Serpents, tigers, and thieves fly from the presence of a person wearing such a diamond. Fatal and dreadful poisons, secretly administered, prove inoperative in his system and all his possessions enjoy a sort of immunity from acts of incendiarism or erosions by water. The complexion of such a person improves in its healthful glow and all his undertakings become prosperous and thriving.

A diamond, devoid of all the characteristic blemishes and weighing twenty tandulam in weight, and worn by a man, should be regarded as double in value of the standard of appraising used in respect of ascertaining the water, lustre price and the commendable traits of diamond. Fractions such 1/3, 1/6, 1/10, 1/15, 1/80 or 1/100 should respectively used in computing the price of a diamond, wherever it would be found necessary to appraise a diamond by the standard of another diamond of greater weight and brilliancy. An infinitesimally small fraction in such an instance, should be computed as equal to a thousandth part of the latter in price. Eight seeds of white sesamum equal a Tandulam in weight, and the use of a diamond weighing less than even the latter standard-measure, is not prohibited. A diamond possessed of all the commendable traits and found to float on the water itì test, should be worn by a man in exclusion of all the other gems happening to be in his possession.

A diamond found to be affected with small defects whether visible or invisible to the naked eyes, should be appraised at a price equal to a tenth part of that of a diamond of similar water and weight, but devoid of all such blemishes. A diamond marked with many a patent defect, whether great, or small should not be appraised at a price even equal to a hundredth part of that of a similar stainless diamond. A diamond otherwise defective, but set in a prepared article of ornament, should be valued at a very low price. A diamond of the first water, but found to be otherwise possessed of. any of the condemnable traits, should not be set in a royal ornament even for the purpose of decoration. Diamonds are prohibited as articles of female wear, as they are possessed of the mystic virtues of making them sterile and unhappy. A diamond which has a stunted, elongated or a flattened look like that of a thrashed paddy, should be looked upon as devoid of all commendable features.

Imitation diamonds are made by skilful artisans with such substances as the iron, the Pushparaga (topaz) the Gomeda, the Vaiduryyam (lapis-lazuli), the crystal and the glass, and hence their genuineness should be made to be tested by experts, well-versed in the art of recognising and appraising precious stones. A diamond offered for sale, should be put to such tests, as scratching, shana (emery wheel) and immersion in alkaline solutions. A diamond would scratch all other metals or gems, such as the iron, etc., without being scratched by any of them in return. Weight goes a long way towards the determination of a higher price of a gem or a metal, whereas the contrary should be regarded as the criterion of judgment in the case of a diamond, as laid down by the immortal gods. A Kuruvinda of inferior water can be scratched or written upon by a Kuruvinda of a higher water, while a diamond is alone capable of cutting a diamond. The lustre of all genuine gems, pearls or diamond, cut or set in an ornament, never shoot upwards, while those that are obliquely or laterally cut, emit a ray of slanting or lateral light.

A diamond scintillating with flashes of rainbow coloured hue at the centre, though otherwise stained and marked with dots and lines, or narrow at the sides, blesses its wearer with a prosperous family and well-filled granaries. A king wearing a diamond dazzling with lightning flashes, is sure to subdue the prowess of his neighbauring monarchs and to exercise an unbounded control upon bis vassals and liege subjects.

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