Diamonds In ancient Hindu culture
In the ancient world, diamonds were known only to exist in India and the Hindu culture has always held them in high esteem. Diamonds have been recovered from many Indian temple vaults where treasures were buried with the dead. This most popular gemstone among all others, the diamond, played a significant social role in ancient India in the Hindu culture.
The language of diamonds
‘Vajra’ is the word for diamond in Sanskrit, which is the sacred language of Hinduism. Hindu is one of five classical languages used in ancient times in India. Hindu scriptures and many classic Indian poems are written in Sanskrit and the language was influential in creating many northern Indian languages as well.
An eye for diamonds
Diamonds were used as the eyes in sculptures of deities crafted by Hindu artisans. This shows an indication of how highly valued diamonds were to the ancient culture. The commonly held belief was that diamonds attracted lightning and when lightning bolts struck a rock, diamonds were formed. Ancient Hindu scriptures believed there were eight different types of diamonds, each having its own colour:
- Vanaspati: grassy green.
- Hanspati: a conch-like colour.
- Sanloyi: yellowish-green.
- Vajraneel: bluish-white.
- Kamlapati: lotus pink.
- Shyamvajra: grey.
- Tella and Vasanthi: dark colourings.
How and when to purchase a diamond
Ancient Hindu culture put importance on when to purchase a diamond; it had to be on a specific day or at a specific time. Part of that tradition has transcended to today, when many people will only purchase a diamond on the Friday when the planet Venus lies in the zodiac sign of Taurus, Libra or Pisces. As well, one was cautioned never to purchase a diamond that was cracked or had a discoloured surface, or a diamond that was flat or not hexagonal in shape. The belief that diamonds have magical and mystical powers is alive and well today.
A cure for many ills
Physicians in the ancient days of Hindu culture believed diamonds had the power to cure illnesses;anything from fevers to problems with digestion. This belief came largely from the fact that, when someone ‘tasted’ it, flavours came from it. The flavours were described as:
For example, one such medical use was to prevent insanity and keep good mental health, hold a diamond in your right hand. Hold the diamond lightly, though, and don’t clench your fist around it or else that could cause your muscles to be stiff and possibly lead to seizures.
Diamonds were also believed to cure stomach troubles, depression, infections, memory loss, fatigue, skin diseases, and nightmares, among many other ills. Keep in mind that, in early times, all diamonds were in their natural or rough state when handled. Diamonds are a very hard substance. It wasn’t until someone thought of cutting a diamond with a diamond that the diamond-cutting industry was born.
Protection in battles
When in battle in ancient times, kings wore heavy breastplates made of leather and studded with diamonds. It was believed that diamonds were so special that they were given magical qualities by God for protection that mere humans just couldn’t understand. Diamonds were a very important and highly valued gem among the ancient Hindu culture. Diamonds are still very important today and have a unique history that will continue to span generation after generation.