Why Do We Blow The Conch?
In temples or at homes, the Conch is blown once or several times before ritualistic worship (Pooja). It is sometimes blown while doing aarti or to mark an auspicious occasion. It is blown before a battle starts or to announce the victory of an army. It is also placed in the altar and worshipped.
What Happens When the Conch Is Blown?
When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the lord before creating the world. It represents the world and the truth behind it.
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As the story goes, the demon Shankha Asura defeated the Devas, stole the Vedas and send to the bottom of the ocean. The Devas appealed Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as Matsya Avatara - the “fish incarnation” and killed Shankha Asura. The Lord blew conch-shaped bone of his ear and head.
The Om sound emanated, from which emerged the Vedas. All knowledge and enshrined in the Vedas is an elaboration of Om. The conch, therefore, is known as Shankha after Shankha Asura. The conch blown by the Lord is called Panchajanya.
He carries it all times in one of his four hands. It represents Dharma or righteousness that is one of the four-goal (Purusharthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil. If we place a conch close to our ears, we hear the sound of the waves of the ocean.
Conch for Auspicious Sound
Another well-known purpose of blowing the conch and other instruments, known traditionally to produce auspicious sounds is to drown or mask negative comments or noises that may disturb or upset the atmosphere or the minds of worshipers.
Ancient India lived in her villages. Each village was presided over by a primary temple and several smaller ones. During the aarti performed after all essential poojas and on sacred occasions, the conch used to be blown.
Since villages were generally small, the sound of the conch would be heard all over the town. People who could not make it to the temple were reminded to stop whatever they were doing, at least for a few seconds, and, mentally go to the lord.