Snake pearl, Nagamanickam or Nagamani, and one may get confused that it is the same stone found in the head of certain snakes. First, we try to retrieve the ancient perspective of cobra pearl, and then we will correlate them to actual snake stone.
“Nagamukta”,“Nagamani” or “Nagamanickam” is mentioned in classics like Garuda Puranam, Brihat Sahinta, Rajavallbha as well. Vrahamihira (505-587) who was a famous astrologer, mathematician and astronomer in Ujjain wrote in his Brihat Sahinta.
|| Muktalasksndhaya ||
Dwipabhujagshuktisankabrahvenutimisukarprasutani, muktaphalani tesham Bahusadu ca Suktijam Bahavati (Sloka 1)
Pearls are found in Elephant, Snakes, Oyster, Conchs, Clouds, Bamboo, Fish and Wild boars. The easily available are the one found in Oysters.
Taksak vasuki Kuljaha Kaamgama ye cha Panagastesyam | Snigdha Neeladhutyo Bahavanti Mukta Phansyante || (Sloka 25)
Shasteavnipradese rajatmaye bhajne sthithe cha yadi, Varshati devoaksmaat tajagyeyam Nagasambhuta (Sloka 26)
Snakes born in the clan of Taksak and Vasuki (He is referring to a particular variety) sometimes carry a lustrous, shiny stone on their hoods, in their mouth or on their tails, which radiates green light. These snakes are swechacharis, which means they just roam anywhere on their wish. In sloka 26, Varah mentions a snake pearl. In sloka 27 of Muktalasksndhaya, he remarks that the possessor of such a stone is benefitted by wealth. His enemies are thwarted and he achieves fame and victory.
Garudpuranam, another ancient treatise mentions nagamuktas as Pearls which adorn a serpent’s crest. They are finely round and highly shining, and they reflect a beautiful blue halo like the flash of a polished sword.
But first try to understand the difference between a Sarpa and a Naga. “Srip” means crawling on earth and the word sarpa originates from Srip. “Naga” means something that is near a mountain (na + agah= naga). Anything which cannot stay still is Naga. Sarpa means every serpent that crawls, while Naga only refers to hooded snakes. The nagas and their varieties are mentioned in the tenth chapter of “Atharvaveda”. It is a scientific fact that king cobras can survive an altitude of 6500ft and are found in mountainous regions of India & Himalayas.
You might be surprised, that why I am telling you the difference between the two words. In India, people consider every snake a naga, which is not true. Nagas are special variety of snakes. In elapid family of snakes “Naja” refers to cobra variety only. According to classics snake pearls are only found with hooded Nagas and no ordinary snakes. Hood of a cobra is created by lengthened ribs that widen the loose skin of the neck behind the snake’s head. Cobras raise up the front part of their bodies and flatten their necks to display the hood when they feel endangered or troubled, often hissing loudly to add an additional warning. The neck ribs can be folded back when the snake moves along the ground.
There are seventeen different species that can be found in Vedas which are related to Naga family. Varahmihira mentioned two of those species in sloka 25 of his Muktalasksndhaya.
The stone mentioned by the French writer is not a snake stone. It is a chemically created object which has the tendency to absorb poisons. It absorbs poison of snakes and hence the name “snake-stone”. Please note that it is not the same snake stone mentioned in classics.
Snake-stone is a bright lustrous greenish blue or pale green stone which is very rare. The characteristics of these two types are entirely different from each other. First let me exemplify my brief encounters with these two varieties of stones.
My early recollections of a sarpa stone, dates back to my childhood days. During my holidays at my grandmother’s place, we usually came across snakes a lot of times. It was an old fort and the terrain carried red soil rich with iron. The area near her house was surrounded by rough rocks which was the abode of many varieties of snakes.
One day a very sick man was brought down to our little palace. He appeared unconscious to me as he was not moving. His body was laid on a typical Indian bed or “Charpai”. As been informed, he was bitten by some snake while working in his fields and was bought to our house purposefully. My grandmother possessed a very sacred object that could cure him and this was the reason of his stopover. She went inside and came back grasping a small stone in her hand. It was a small stone much like a small egg.
She stuck this stone to the spot, where the man was bitten. To my curiosity and wonder, the stone changed its colour and turned dark black. Then the stone dropped from the spot. It was immersed in milk for quite some time. The colour of the milk later changed to pale blue. The whole incident was more like a magic, as in that age I clearly lacked the rationale of a grown-up man. From that time on, I felt very proud that my grandmother carried some kind of a very rare object. But that was not true. It was a chemically created stone made in Gujarat of india. And it is not the Naag Mani mentioned in puranas. Its function is just to absorb poison and then nullify through milk, to be re-used again. That’s it. It doesn’t shine and do not have any other benefits.
My second memory to this curious object dates back to year 2001 when a former reporter of Sun in Pakistan gifted me a copy of sixteenth century classic written by the famous traveller. He has mentioned about this curious stone in this classic.
Snake gem or snake stone is also been quoted by the Arab writer as the one being the size of a small nut. To cure the bite of a venomous creature the injured part was to be immersed in sour milk, or in hot water, and when the stone was thrown into the liquid it would immediately attract itself to the bitten part and draw out the poison.
I have two references of nagamani which are totally different from the properties of aforementioned snake stones. While the snakestones are used for curing the poison of venomous snakes, nagamani is a different object and is not related to a direct cure. Nagamani or Nagamanickam illuminates in dark and snakestones cannot be seen in dark. Nagamani is a very rare object unlike its counterpart.
My first reminiscence related to nagamani is related to a High court Judge Mr. X (For the sake of secrecy) and the former Joint Commissioner of Police Mr.Y (For the sake of secrecy). They told me about an incident which was witnessed by the duo accidentally. I knew both these gentlemen were not lying as they were posted at very high positions and there was no need to create a story for some kind of additional limelight.
Mr.Y was a close friend of Mr. X and both of them went to Almora to enjoy holidays together. They were enjoying their holidays while hiking and taking evening and morning walks together. One day they were walking past a forest area when rain started pouring. They were just looking for some shade when the pour changed to heavy rainfall. The duo ran to find some spot to hide. They hid themselves below a large protruding rock to prevent themselves from getting drenched. They were just standing there, watching the miraculous ways of nature, when Mr. X was amazed to see a green light coming from a slope nearby. It was so amazing that Mr. X forgot the rain for sometimes, and went near the very edge of the slope.
To his surprise, the light was coming out from some kind of stone. Before he could move, he realized that the light was moving with the stone and in its light, he saw a very long black snake. The snake was pushing the stone very slowly. (This proves that naagmani is not in snake’s hood or head). Mr. Y accompanied his friend sooner and he too was surprised. Before they could make out the heads and tail of this observable fact, the snake suddenly made a moment and stopped the light. It was complete dark but they decided to wait. They waited for a very long time but nothing appeared. Both of them decided to return to the guesthouse as it was getting darker and there was a fear of losing the track. By that time, the servants at the guesthouse were running here and there to find their esteemed sahibs. They were happy to find them hale and hearty.
In the morning, Mr.Y explained the incident to one of the servants. The servant informed that he and his friend are very fortunate, as what they have encountered, is what people called Nagamani. He also informed him that a landowner of a nearby village has also seen the snake with the mani. Mr.Y shared this unexplainable strange phenomenon with me while he met me to discuss and share his views on astrology.
Another incident is related to my visit to a former princely state in India. At that time, I was staying with a very reputed person of that place. Their residence was a very big property; which was spread in Acres. The entrance to their palace carried two bounded farmlands with shrubs and trees. My hosts were very gentle and very courteous in their manners. They were exceptionally knowledgeable and very humble. We enjoyed dining together at times and during one of such dinners, my hostess narrated her brief encounter with a strange phenomenon.
She told me that she was in a habit of getting up early in the morning. She was a pious woman and offered her prayers like any devout Mohammedan. She stayed in the upper storey of the palace, her room faced the farmland, and she could easily catch a glimpse of their farms from the respective window. On that day, she woke up very early. She went near the window to get some fresh morning air, when she saw a strange green light in their farm. At first, she thought of a thief or some burglar. However, this changed, as the light was dim like a small glow bulb. The light was blue green and was moving in a very curious manner. This was enough for her curiosity and she came outside to see it more clearly. She crossed the porch and reached the fence of the farm. What she saw was truly amazing. The light was emanating from a small round object and a long snake followed the object very closely. The glow was so comforting that she could hardly move herself and she felt perplexed. She kept on watching the snake until it disappeared from the sight.
Her expressions hinted her delight and astonishment and she wanted to know about the incident. She did not have the slightest clue that she had witnessed a phenomenon that is extremely rare. I informed her that what she saw; is what Hindus call Nagamani or Snakepearl. This was a truly astonishing revelation for her and her husband.
There are theories circulating on internet, which were held by a Prof. in 1890 in his papers on snake-stones. Other Writers have claimed the same theories. According to them “Nagamani” is a stone called chlorophane, a rare variety of fluorspar. Let me explain why chlorophane cannot be called Snake stone. Please note that it is not only chlorophane which has the power of thermo luminescence or luminescence; when absorbed light is re-emitted on heating.
“Information is knowledge at the hands of an expert. It is not the knife which is important; it is the man who holds the knife. A butcher or a sushi chef”
Thermo luminescence refers to a property related to some mineral substances. Mineral substances like fluorite store energy when exposed to ultraviolet or other ionising radiation. This energy is released in the form of light when the mineral is heated; the phenomenon is distinct from that of black body radiation.
Chlorophane Vs Nagamani:
Chlorophane is referred as Nagamani by these writers and there are some people in Srilanka who sell these fake stones as Nagamani.
Writers, who tried to prove Nagamani as cholorphane, can also take the liberty of claiming the other stones as Nagamani.
I have seen Chlorophane or the material mentioned as Nagamani and it does not relate well to the incidents mentioned about Nagamani.
Chlorophane is a fluorite possessing thermo luminescence which is not visible in ordinary lighting conditions. Moreover, it loses its thermo luminescence after 2 to 3 usage. Some of these stones only show this remarkable property once in its lifetime. But nagmanis mentioned in certain classics carry entirely different properties.
Chlorophane is not found in India. This is inexplicable that how snakes from Indian origin collect pieces of stone from regions far away from Indian subcontinent.
If cobras are so intelligent then they can use a stone to attract prey, then why scientists do not make a discovery about it. In fact, cobras are highly venomous and extremely anger prone reptiles, which can attack anybody on slightest discomfort.
Chlorophane is sold as Nagamani in many parts of Srilanka and worldover. Readers are advised to be very careful while buying this mineral. The only test is that they don’t glow in dark and they don’t absorb light. Whereas naagmani absorbs light and glows in the dark. Then it fades after some time and re-glows after absorbing light. Plus they are mostly seen in pale green color with clear textures. Chlorophane is easily available in various colors on internet websites and one can easily buy them from there. But do not consider them to be Nagamani. Chlorophane is definitely fake Nagamani if they are claimed to be.
Shastras mention nagmani as something found with cobras. We consider Shastras for their accuracy. Photographs of fakes such as chlorophane are easily available on internet and one can google the word to see the images.
Anyway, my personal view is that rare objects have power to change destiny of individuals.
Chlorophane being sold as Nagamani. Bezoar stones, Mastika Pearls, Naga stones are sold as Nagamanis. BUT THEY ARE NOT NAGAMANIS.
Beozar Stone Fake Nagamani
Bezoars, or stomach stones, are clumps of fruit and vegetable matter, drugs, hair, carpet fibers or other substances that can accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract.
You can google the word Bezoar and you will find many websites selling these stone like formations as magical Talismans. Please note that most of them are found, in some cases, as petrified bones of animals.
NOBODY SHOULD ENDORSE KILLING OF SNAKE FOR ANY PURPOSES. THERE IS NO NEED TO KILL A SNAKE TO GET NAAGMANI. THEY ARE USUALLY FOUND WITH THEM OR IN THEIR NESTS. THIS IS FOR EDUCATION PURPOSES ONLY, SOME ANCIENT REFERENCES ARE GIVEN AT SITE,WITH SOME LEADING PERSON’S EXPERIENCES DURING TRAVEL.
My grandmother possessed a different stone called Jahar mohra. I have mentioned it clearly. That was not Naagmani.