Gemstones have been held in awe by humanity for ages and hold a riveting religious sway through their auspices in Indian mythology.

According to the earliest religious texts of India, Vishnu Purana, Garuda Purana and Padma Purana, the origin of gems was a consequence of the triumph of virtue over pride.

Once upon a time there lived the mighty king called Bali (Vala), the grandson of Prahlad who was the king of demons. Bali was a benevolent ruler consumed with pride over his lands and wealth and was performing a hundred day Ashwamedha Yagya with the resolution to dethrone Lord Indra, the king of heaven. On the appeal of Indra, Lord Vishnu decided to stop the 100th Ashwamedha Yagya of Bali putting an end to his efforts.

Lord Vishnu entered Bali’s courts in the form of Vamana (a dwarf Brahmin) and requested a donation of land measuring three steps. In keeping with the tradition of honouring a Brahmin’s request, Bali readily acceded. In the next moment, Lord Vishnu grew to a colossal size and with two steps, measured the entire earth and heaven. Since there was no room to put the third step, Bali offered his head for the Lord to put his third step.

And so, Lord Vishnu pushed Bali into the depths of the nether world, of which he was crowned the king. As Bali’s earthly body dismembered, every part touched by Lord Vishnu was turned into a gem seeds.

After the body was dismembered, all deities, demons, mystics and nagas eagerly rushed to collect those seeds of gems and there were mighty flutterings of celestial pinions and rustlings of celestial garments in heaven. The Gods came riding in their aerial cars, and carried away the seeds of gems for their-own use, some of which dropped down on Earth, through the violent concussion of the air. Wherever the seeds were dropped, whether in oceans, rivers, mountains or wildernesses; there originated mines of those gems through the celestial potency of their respective seeds.

Different parts and constituents of Bali’s body led to the origin of different gemstones but there are nine stones that were dropped on Earth which had the highest powers and merits. Those nine stones came to be known as the Navratnas.

     Diamond originated from the brain of Bali,

     Pearl originated from the teeth of Bali,

     Ruby (Manik) originated from the heart of Bali,

     Blue Sapphire (Neelam) originated from the eyes of Bali,

     Emerald (Panna) originated from the nervous system of Bali,

     Yellow Sapphire (Pukhraj) originated from the flesh of Bali,

     Red Coral (Moonga) originated from the blood of Bali,

     Hessonite (Gomed) originated from the fat of Bali, and

     Cat’s Eye (Lehsunia) originated from the sacred thread on Bali’s Body.

The origin story of gemstones symbolises the victory of Gods over Demons.

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