Friday, October 3, 2014

"It is like offering water produced by Chandrakanta stone to the moon itself!"

The Sanskrit name for moonstone is Chandrakanta mani (Chandra is one of the names for the moon, Kanta means light, and Mani means jewel).

In India, moonstone has long been regarded as sacred. It’s said that moonstone grows under the influence of the moon, and as it forms, it absorbs the moon’s magical powers.  Indian tradition holds that this moonlight gem helps us befriend the moon, and that the stone itself symbolizes the Third Eye, or enlightenment. In Ayurvedic medicine, moonstone is used to influence the body’s magnetic field, a clear connection to the moon’s gravitational influence on the Earth.

Kanchi Swamigal says the moonstone absorbs the cool rays of moon and produces water in the form of cool moisture. In the last verse of Soundarya Lahari Adi Shankara tells Ambal thus in utmost humility:

"Amma, is it something noteworthy and something to be proud of, that I composed the 100 verses on you? Would have this been possible without your mercy on me? Will not the world make fun of me if I bragged that it was 'me' who had composed the 100 verses? My saying thus will be akin to showing camphor light to the sun. Or offering water that was produced by the Chandrakanta stone to the moon. Or doing Abhishekam uttering mantras to the ocean with the handful of water from the ocean itself. For the camphor gets its life from the sun, the Chandrakanta stone its powers from the moon and the water belongs to the ocean itself! My act is as laughable a matter as these three acts are!"

Thus is the bhashyam, interpretation of the last verse by Kanchi Periyava in Deivathin Kural about the humility of His revered Guru.

In Brahadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, a rare stone called Chandrakanta stone is installed under the Linga which has a strange characteristic of making the sanctum sanctorum cool in summer and warm in winter.

Tittai is one of the holy places, extolled by the Saivite saint-singer, Tirugnanasambandhar, who hails the sanctity of the place as more superior to even the glory of the Lord Himself. The Lingamurti in the sanctum sanctorum receives an eternal ablution of dripping water from the Moolasthana Vimana, which has a unique ceiling embedded with a Chandrakanta stone in the centre.

Moonstones are  considered sacred stones in India. They are always displayed on a yellow cloth, which is a sacred color. According to Vedic legend, a battle was fought between Lord Vishnu and Bali, the demon god. Vishnu destroyed Bali by breaking his body into several pieces, which fell to the earth as different jewels. It is said that the 'Chandrakanta' or moonstone was formed from the gleam of Bali's eyes. It was believed that the finest blue moonstones were washed ashore by the tides every 21 years, when the sun and moon were in an astrologically harmonious aspect to each other.

As the moon is considered to represent feminine energy and rules the tides, so the moonstone came to be seen to affect the "female" areas of life and was associated with water. It became known as the traveler's stone because it was said to protect those traveling by night or by sea. Moonstones were used for protection during pregnancy and at birth, while in the Middle East, women would sew moonstones into their clothing when they wished for a child. Likewise, amulets of moonstones were hung from trees to ensure an abundant crop. 

The moonstone is associated with the astrological sign of Cancer and is an alternate birthstone for June. Some of the metaphysical properties that have been ascribed to the moonstone include its supposed ability to help stabilize the emotions and bring a sense of calm to the wearer of the stone. It is said to enhance intuition and spiritual development. An elixir was traditionally made of crushed moonstone to help cure insomnia, and the stone was also used to treat sleepwalking.


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