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 LXXIII - Tests of Lapis Lazuli (Vaidurya)

Suta said:—O thou twice-born one, the mode of testing such gems as the Vaiduryaya, the Padmaraga, the Karketana and the Bhisma-stone, were first described by the god Brahma to the holy sage Vyasa, who subsequently disclosed them to the world for the good of the human race.

The bosom of that primordial ocean was violently agitated by the thundering war-cry of that lord of the demons, whose swollen and frenzied waters began to madly lash the jagged faces of its rock-bound coasts; and behold, Vaiduryayas of varied colours and matchless brilliance, were showered down through the clefts of those water-riven shores, turning them into beds of shining light. Accordingly the brow of the contiguous hill of Vidura was transformed into a mine of Vaiduryaga, which was originated by the war-cry of the demon Vala and is named after the rock in which it was first found to be imbeded.

The thunder like roar of the demon, gave rise to the formation of packs of sable clouds, and Vaiduryyas of varied colours were formed under their influence, as so many effulgent shootings off from that primordial sky. Colours which mark the several classes of the Padmaraga, as well form the distinctive features of the several species of the Vaiduryya, of which those that are tinged like the breast-feathers of a peacock, or coloured pale green like the leaves of a bamboo, are the best as regards price and quality. A Vaiduryya, possessed of a blended hue like that of the primary or the exterior feathers of the wings of a Chasa (bird) occupies the lowest place in the list as regards value and intrinsic virtues, and accordingly its use is forbidden by the gem experts.

A Vaiduryya, belonging to the commendable type, brings good luck to its wearer, whereas the use of one of the condemnable species, is attended with dreadful consequences. Hence a Vaiduryya should be carefully observed and tested before wearing. Stones, known as the Girikacha, Shaishopala, or glass crystals, appearing as clouded smoke, may be easily mistaken for a Vaiduryya, though they are alien to it in species. They should be pronounced as bits of glass in the event of their proving incapable of cutting or scratching a Vaiduryya of tested genuineness, whereas a Shaishopalakam stone, simulating the properties of a Vaiduryya, should be detected by its lightness. A crystal, mistaken for a gem of the species under discussion, should detected by its greater brilliance.

The price of two pala weights of Vaiduryya, should be laid at the amount fixed for the value of a Suvarna weight of Indra-Nilam. Gems apparently resembling a Vaiduryya in colour, but virtually belonging to the alien species, should be compared in respect of gloss, softness, lighter weight, etc., with a Vaiduryya of tested genuineness. The price of a Vaiduryaya, in common with the rest of the gems, varies according to its setting and purification and depends upon the fact of its being possessed of auspicious or inauspicious features. A gem losing nothing of its excellence in course of ages, and carefully set by a jeweller in a suitable metal, or found in a mine of Samateta or in a country near the sea coast, should be valued at a price six times greater than that of an ordinary gem belonging to the same species. The price enumerated above, should be deemed as obtaining in markets near the sea coast and in vicinity of the gem mines.

Sixteen Mashakas are equivalent to a weight, technically known as the Suvarnam in the parlance of the gem dealers, a seventh part whereof is called a Sana. Four Krishnalas make a Masha or a Mashaka. A tenth part of a Pala makes a Dharana.

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