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 LXX - Tests of Ruby

Suta said:—The sun-god, having collected the gem-begetting blood of that great demon (Vala) who was high in dignity and mighty in prowess, attempted to stealthily fly away by scaling the expanse of ether, blue like the colour of a newly polished sword blade, when Ravana, the king of Lanka, the conqueror of the celestials in a thousand battles, intoxicated with his prowess, strength and victory, obstructed his path in heaven like a second Rahu (Nodes). The sun-god, afraid of his dreadful presence, dropped that blood in dismay into the unfathomable depth of the pool of Lanka, tossing with myriads of sun-lit waves and girdled with a belt of Arecanut trees. From that day, the pool has acquired the celebrity of the Ravana Ganges and ranks equally with the sacred Ganges in respect of religious merit and sanctity.

From that day, the foreshores of that sanctified pool are found to be strewn over with innumerable precious gems, and shine with wonderful effulgence in the night as if pierced with hundreds of golden shafts (Narachas). On its banks are originated the bright and the beautiful-coloured Padmaragas (Ruby) and crystals and Kuruvindas of untold virtues are begotten of the perfume wafted from its fragrant foreshores. Several of the Kuruvindajas (which belong to the family of the crystals, as are found in the country of Saugandhika) resemble the flowers of the Vandhuka, the Gunja and the Kinshuka trees in colours, some are coloured like the human blood, while several of them resemble the colour obtained from the insects known as the Indragopas or that of the seeds of a pomegranate. Several of them are coloured like vermilion or the Utpala flowers or saffron or like the dye obtained from the solution of shellac, which though coloured uniformly deep throughout their body, shine with a special intrinsic light at their centre. These members of the family of crystals, illuminated by the light of the sun, shoot forth rays of wonderful colour and brilliancy from their sides which lighten up the surrounding space and are refracted in all directions.

Some of these gems are coloured like the water dyed with indigo and the expressed juice of the Kusumbha flowers. Some of them vie with the extremely deep red of the Utpala flowers. Some of them are tinged with a hue similar to that of the flowers of a Kantakari plant, while several species bear the colour of asafœtida. Some of them shine with an effulgence which resembles the eyes of a chakora or a male cuckoo in colour, while the rest of the group are tinged deep red like the flower of a Kokonada plant (red lotus). Gems, born of Saugandhika, which are coloured like the red Utpala flowers, or are possessed of a bluish hue, are nearly equal to those of the crystal family, as regards bright ness, hardness, heaviness, etc. The colour of the gems belonging to the Kuruvinda family, is not so deep as that which characterises the species of crystals, the former being somewhat dull-hued and devoid of brilliancy, though there are several shining Kuruvindas which are decidedly inferior to the crystals in point of lustre and brilliancy.

Kuruvindas, found in the bed of the river Ravana Ganga, are possessed of a deep red hue like the gems known as the Padmaragas, and can be favourably compared with the members of the crystal family, as regards lustre and brilliancy. A species of gems, resembling the Kuruvindas in colour, is not usually found in the country of the Andhras and fetches an inferior price, if accidentally obtained in that division of Bharatavarsha. Similarly, gems, possessed of properties kindred to those of the crystal family, are found in the country of Tamvaru and are valued at a lower price. Brilliancy of colour, heaviness, coldness, equal transparency throughout its body, effulgence and dimension are the good features of a gem.

A gem, though genuine and otherwise possessed of the characteristic features of the family it belongs to, should not be commended to use or wearing, if found to be Stained, or sandy or cracked in the inside, or rough, dull and lustreless. Grief, care, disease, death, ruin and loss of fortune overtake the man who wears such a gem of the condemnable sort, even out of ignorance or lack of sufficient knowledge about the properties of precious stones. The five genuine species of beautiful gems are usually substituted with the inferior or the alien one’s, which the wise and the intelligent would carefully mark at the time of purchase or selection. The gems, found in the countries of Kalasapura, Sinhala, Tamvaru, Muktapaniya and Shriparnakas, which go by the name of the Padmaragas, are allied to one another, and should be regarded as alien to a Padmaraga of the genuine species.

The first of the above named species (kalasa) is marked by a frosty or husky aspect. The alien species, found in the country of the Tamvaru, is characterised by a redish or copper-coloured hue, that found in the island of Sinhala, looks thin and perched up, the Muktapaniyam is marked by a shade of sky blue tint, while the Shriparnakam is devoid of lustre and brilliancy. These, in conjunction with the following, form the distinctive traits of the several alien species of the Padmaraga, vis., that they are either marked by a copper-tint, or look frosty at the centre, or seem to be clouded with an oily coating, or shine with a faded or discoloured light after rubbing, or cast a dark shade at the sides, if pressed on the head with the fingers. In testing a Padmaraga, which excels in lustre and brilliancy all other members of its own family, but which bears a weight unequal to the specific weight of a gem of its own class and size, the wise should give their verdict, as regards genuineness, to the one of greater weight of the two gems compared. In a case of doubtful and bewildering testimonies, the gem should be subjected to the test of a testing stone, or examined by scratching it with a gem of the same species. Excepting diamond and Kuruvinda, no other gem can cut or scratch a bit of Padmaraga or Indranila.

A gem, belonging to an alien or an incompatible group, should not be worn with one of the genuine species and possessed of great virtues. Even the wearing of such a gem is forbidden, if strung together with the Kaustabha of divine potency. As a Chandala in the company of a host of mighty Brahmanas, can defile them without the least effort, so a gem of the incompatible type, can nullify the potencies of all other precious stones, if worn or strung together. No evil can befall the wearer of a genuine Padmaraga, even if he lives in the midst of his deadly enemies, or walks in the path of illusion and unrighteousness. Diseases, incidental to the derangement of the vital humours, or disturbances of any kind, can never assail the man who wears a Padmaraga, burning with the effulgence of its own stirring and sterling properties.

The price fixed for a tandulam weight of cut and polished diamond, should be understood as equal to that of a Mashaka weight of cleansed and polished Padmaraga. A gem is valued for its hue and brilliancy, and hence any deterioration of these two qualities will correspondingly deteriorate its price or value.

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