CONCH

Debanjali tells us about the conch:

“The conch shell is something myself and a lot of Hindu Indians and Buddhist people have grown up listening to. It’s an object that’s found in most places of Hindu and Buddhist worship. It’s an object that was common in almost every Hindu household ‘til probably a couple of decades ago, not sure if it’s so common today, probably not. As children, we have grown up looking at images of Hindu gods and goddesses holding the conch shell as a symbol of life, because the conch shell comes from the water, and life evolved from the water. It’s a symbol of purity – something very holy, something divine.

Conch, Musical Instrument

Traditionally, ‘til today, it’s mainly used in a purpose similar to a church bell, for example, in this part of the world. It is to let people know that there is a religious service being – going – on, or some form of religious ritual taking place in a temple, or even in a household. It’s also used for lots of happy occasions within the community, at a more personal level. For example, in weddings, in little ceremonies when a child is weaned at six months, where the rest of the family and friends get together and there are little rituals around the child, the conch shell can be heard. It is heard on a daily basis in some households, in the morning and at dusk. So, as children, when we went out to play, the sound of the conch shell in the evening would mean it’s home time; so it was more like an alarm clock to us!”

Pandit Shanti Swarup Shanti sounding the conch.

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