THE "OTHER" PEARLS
By Richard S. Brown, Gemologist (G.I.A.)
Besides (natural) oyster pearls there are seven other types found in
conch shells, wild boar heads, elephant heads, king cobra heads, bamboo
stems, clouds, and fish heads.
Summary translation of Sanskrit texts from Sri Garuda-Puranam,
Pearls from elephant heads, bamboo stems, boar heads, fish mouths,
and conch shells are lusterless, even though possessed of other auspicious
qualities. Pearls from conch shells are usually the size of a large
kona (the large end of a drum stick), and they possess a color similar
to their host shell.
Fish pearls are perfectly round and symmetrical. They possess a yellowish
hue like the scales of the pathenam fish which often inhabit the mouths
of deep sea whales.
Boar pearls are colored like a boar's tusks and are found only in remote
parts of the world. Such pearls are auspicious symbols of the Varaha
boar incarnation of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu.
Pearls derived from bamboo appear like hailstones in color, and they
are found only within bamboo that has grown in a region populated by
Pearls from the cobra's hood are perfectly round, like fish pearls,
and they radiate a natural effulgence. By repeated washing, a snake
pearl becomes as lustrous as a polished sword blade. Anyone possessing
such a naga-mani attains piety, rare good fortune, and eventually becomes
illustrious as a leader of men, complete with a great collection of
all precious gems.
Upon acquiring such a snake pearl, the owner should have the rite of
installation performed by a priest who is learned in religious formalities.
After hearing from the owner how the pearl was obtained and conducting
the benedictory ritual, the priest should formally install the jewel
inside the owner's house. On such an auspicious occasion, the sky becomes
filled with dark and heavy rain clouds, thunder, and flashing lightning,
such as exhibited at the time of universal dissolution. A man in possession
of such a snake pearl will never be troubled by snakes, demonic beings,
diseases, or disturbances in any form.
Cloud pearls, being naturally effulgent like the sun, illuminate the
sky in all directions and dispel the darkness of cloudy days. Glowing
brighter than the combined light of the moon, the twinkling stars, and
fire, a cloud-born pearl dissipates even the darkest night exactly like
the sunrise. A cloud pearl is so priceless that the entire earth, with
her oceans filled with countless jewels and covered in layers of gold,
would not be equal in value. Cloud pearls rarely reach this earthly
world, because they are usually taken away by the demigods.
Even a low born man would become supreme ruler of the entire world
if, as result of some past pious actions, he were to come into possession
of such a pearl. The appearance of such a man on earth who obtained
a cloud pearl during his lifetime would bring good fortune not only
to himself, but to the entire human race as well. No form of evil could
even touch the land within an 8,000 mile radius of his birthplace.
Chapter 69 (Circa 2,500 BC)