Gold – The ultimate wealth
Gold – The ultimate wealth
Updated on Friday, May 6, 2011, 17:05 Print Email
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Sushmita Dutta

India’s love affair with the yellow metal dates back to the ancient times and spans millennia. Its significance is intertwined with the Hindu mythology. The creator of the Universe, Lord Brahma himself was born out of gold. When there was no life and darkness enveloped the earth, Brahma deposited a seed in water with which he made his own body. The seed turned into a golden egg, which was as bright and radiant as the sun itself. From this golden egg, Lord Brahma was born. ‘Hiranya’, being the ancient name for gold, is the reason why Brahma is also called ‘Hiranyagarbha’. So if the Indians have an obsession of gold from centuries, one can easily see why it is so. Over the ages, the radiance of gold has not diminished one bit, rather, it has became part of the psyche of the Indian people.

Gold - The symbol of Indian mythology

In Indian mythology gold is known as the seed of ‘Agni’, the god of Fire. It has been mentioned in the Hindu religion that this yellow metal is supposed to be worn on specific ceremonies and occasions. In the Hindu mythological stories it has been found that Gods and Goddesses used to ride on golden chariots. It has always been sacred to the Hindu religion and its significance as a symbol of purity, prosperity and good fortune makes it an important part of every Hindu occasion.

Later when kings and monarchs reigned over the Indian sub-continent, gold became the common monetary unit. The Rajas imprinted their faces on gold coins as a symbol of their prowess and used it for business purposes, thus making them immortal in time. Gold became the symbol of power, the more one had, the wealthier the king and his kingdom. Kings used the power of gold to build huge armies and extend their territories. Gold coins or ‘ashrafiyan’ as they came to be known were also used as rewards for any good deeds done in the kingdom. Temples made entirely of gold were erected to showcase the might of the kings and their piety.

Gold - The symbol of prosperity, economy

History is loaded with instances where kingdoms were plundered just for the sake of gold others possessed. India was once called the ‘land of the golden bird’. Invaders right from Alexander to Mahmud of Ghazni and Nadir Shah came with the intent of looting this country. They were flabbergasted when they saw the magnificence of its kingdoms and its richness.

Gold is not only revered in this nation because of its religious sentiments. It is considered as the primary source of savings because of its economic value. From the rich to the terribly poor, in every class of the Indian society, gold holds immense value. Till currency came into being, gold was the most practical form of savings.

Gold - The symbol of tradition

The custom of gifting gold during Indian marriages, in all classes of the society, is compulsory. So much so, that every family starts saving as soon a child is born for the purpose of ‘stridhan’- gold that is traditionally gifted to the bride - and this is the exclusive property of the bride. In lean times, gold acts a saviour for most of the Indian families. Gold ornaments are also handed down over generations. New born children are presented with gold as a good luck charm. For Indians, gold will never lose its sheen.

On festivals like Diwali and Akshaya Tritiya, buying of gold is considered to be extremely auspicious. Akshaya Tritiya falls on the third day of the bright half in the Baisakh month (April-May). It is that day of the year when the sun and the moon are the brightest on the same day, which happens only once in a year. The day is important for Hindu religion in more than one way. It is also called ‘Akha Teej’. It is traditionally the birth of Lord Parashuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is also the day when Lord Ganesha started to write the epic Mahabharata on the request of sage Ved Vyasa. The holy Ganges also descended on the earth on this auspicious day. The day of Akshaya Tritya also marked the beginning of the “Satya Yug” of the Golden Age- the first of the four ‘yugas’.

The word “Akshaya” means eternal or imperishable- that which never loses its sheen. What better than to celebrate a day with gold, which also is eternal? People buy gold on this day so that there would be everlasting prosperity in their lives. Indians consider this day extremely auspicious and so conduct weddings and initiate business ventures on the day. Ultimately, prosperity is one of the primary objectives of humans.

The famous scholar Karl Marx aptly said, “Although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver."
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