Shankh for bathing deity idols.It is widely used in ISKCON temples.
Other uses of this shankh are:
1) Sprinkling water during Aarti.
2) For offering Gangajal.
3) For offering Pachamrit bath to the deities.
The shankha is a sacred emblem used as a trumpet in Hindu ritual,and in the past was used as a war trumpet.The shankha is praised in Hindu scriptures as a giver of fame,longevity and prosperity, the cleanser of sin and the abode of Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu. The shankha is displayed in Hindu art in association with Vishnu.As a symbol of water,it is associated with female fertility and serpents (Nagas).
Shankha's significance is traced to the nomadic times of the animists who used the sound emanating from this unique shell to drive away evil demons of whom they were scared.Over the centuries, the shankha was adopted as one of the divine symbols of Hinduism.Brahma Vaivarta Purana recalls the creation of conchs: Lord Shiva flung a trident towards the demons, burning them instantaneously.Their ashes flew in the sea creating conchs.
The sound of the shankha symbolises the sacred Om sound.Vishnu holding the conch represents him as the god of sound. Brahma Vaivarta Purana declares that shankha is the residence of both Lakshmi and Vishnu, bathing by the waters led through a shankha is considered as like bathing with all holy waters at once.Sankha Sadma Purana declares that bathing an image of Vishnu with cow milk is as virtuous as performing a million yajnas (fire sacrifices),and bathing Vishnu with Ganges river water frees one from the cycle of births.It further says"while the mere sight of the conch (shankha) dispels all sins as the Sun dispels the fog,why talk of its worship?" Padma Purana asserts the same effect of bathing Vishnu by Ganges water and milk and further adds doing so avoids evil,pouring water from a shankha on one's own head before a Vishnu image is equivalent to bathing in the pious Ganges river.
In Buddhism,the conch shell has been incorporated as one of the eight auspicious symbols,also called Ashtamangala.
BENEFITS OF ABHISHEK:
Abhishek is a religious ceremony of holy bath given to a deity. The word abhishek means a sprinkling. It is derived from the root sic, to wet, and with the prefix abhi, "around," Abhisheka is literally, "wetting around." An Abhishek is the bathing part of a puja that usually is done with sacred water. In puja, a deity is called, seated, greeted, bathed, dressed, fed and praised. The bathing of the deity is the ABHISHEKA part of the puja. During an elaborate bathing ceremony a deity is bathed not only in water, but also with milk, yogurt, butter milk, honey, clarified butter, sugar, and all kinds of fruit juices. After this bathing, the sacred image is dressed, ornamented, fed and praised with hymns accompanied with bells, drums and other instruments.
Offering Sugar cane juice, for example, help please the Goddess of wealth Laxmi. The various other offerings have different meaning and gives different results to the devotee. Offering honey may bring riches and financial gains, milk would help a person attain a baby boy, ghee is offered to expand your family lineage and have a fulfilling life, offering Ganga water would help devotees to attain Moksha, and pure water Abhishek would help remove troubles from ones life and fulfill special wishes.
Thus, one should be aware of the type of Abhishek you wish to offer and the kind of blessings you wish to gain. Offering Abhishek is of grave importance and has a lot of prominence in Hindu culture. It pleases the almighty, brings peace of mind and makes one realize of the purpose of life. One becomes more open to embrace life and the realities associated with it.
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|The shankha is a sacred emblem used as a trumpet in Hindu ritual,and in the past was used as a war trumpet.The shankha is praised in Hindu scriptures as a giver of fame,longevity and prosperity, the cleanser of sin and the abode of Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu.