The mythology of Vedic Gemstones.


In the Garuda Purana there is a story of the great demon king Bali. He became invincible by good conduct and austerity.  (I find it hilarious that a demon king can become invincible by good conduct.  But hey, if you want special powers you better do some good!)  He defeated all the gods and demigods.  Indra, Lord of the Devas, assumed the form of a priest and went to the demon king as a beggar and asked him for alms.  Indra was not specific as to what he wanted for alms, yet Bali gave his word to fulfill the beggar’s wish. The disguised Indra then said that he planned to perform his sacrificial rites and that he wanted Bali to become an animal to be sacrificed.  Bali accepted and assumed the form of a buffalo.  The gods and the demigods sacrificed him.  Because Bali offered his body as sacrifice with benevolence, he became pure and transformed into the creative seeds of precious gems. 


  • His bones fell onto earth and transformed into diamonds
  • His teeth transformed into pearls of oyster as well as conch, whale, snakes, wild boar, elephant, clouds and bamboo.
  • His blood was evaporated by sunlight. A demon king compelled it to fall into a river in Sri Lanka.  The river Ravan Ganga became the bed of rubies.
  • His bile was being carried by the king of snakes and the eagle god Garuda forced him to spill a drop on earth which transformed into emeralds.
  • His eyes fell onto earth and became blue sapphires
  • His skin fell onto the Himalayas and became yellow and white sapphires
  • His yell turned into cat's-eye
  • His arms and other parts of the body became other precious gemstones
  • His fat became quartz
  • The rest of his body turned into agate.

After the formation of the gems the nine planets distributed all the gems among themselves.

A verse quoted in the “Mani-mala” as well as in the ancient “Jataka Parijata,” chap. 2, sloka 21 compiled by Sri Vaidyanatha Dikshitar (son of Venkata-dhari), and reads in Sanskrit as follows:

Manikyam taraneh sujatyamamalam muktaphalam shitagoh
maheyasya cha vidrumao nigaditah saumyasya-garutmakam
devejyasya cha pushparagam asura-achryasya vajram shaneh
nilam nirmalamanyayoshcha gadite gomeda-vaiduryake


1) Ruby (Manikya) for the Sun,
2) Pearl (Mukta) for the Moon,
3) Coral (Prawal) for Mars,
4) Emerald (Markat) for Mercury,
5) Yellow sapphire (Pushpraga) for Jupiter,
6) Diamond (Vajra) for Venus,
7) Blue sapphire (Neelmani) for Saturn,
8) Hessonite (Gomed) for Rahu (the ascending node of the Moon)
9) Cat’s eye (Vaidurya) for Ketu (the descending node of the Moon)