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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gem Of The Month - Garnet






Origin and Types of Garnet::

The name of the stone, garnet, comes from the Latin word for pomegranate, whose glistening, jewel-like seeds the most common form of garnet resembles. Because of that association, garnets acquired many of the qualities and myths associated with the seeded fruit. Like the pomegranate, the garnet is said to confer fertility and bring righteousness and healing - making it the perfect stone to be given as an engagement gift. In fact, long before diamonds took that title, garnets were a traditional engagement stone. The gemstone for January is Garnet.

Chemically, garnets are not one stone, but an entire family of gems. There are six species of garnet - almandine (wine red), pyrope (brownish to orange red), spessartine (orange brown to golden brown - root beer color), andradite (yellowish brown to green), grossular (colorless to green, including yellow, brown and pink) and uvarovite (brilliant green). They all share a common cubic crystalline structure that gives them superior refractive qualities, making them brilliant, fiery stones.

Myths and Legends::

There are many myths and legends surrounding the garnet. Throughout history, garnets have held a place in ritual symbolism. It is said that garnet was one of the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate, representing the tribe of Judah, and that King Solomon wore garnet adornments when he went into battle.

Garnets have been known to Man for thousands of years. Noah, it is said, used a garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garnets are also found in jewellery from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Many an early explorer and traveller liked to carry a garnet with him, for the garnet was popular as a talisman and protective stone, as it was believed to light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster.

But even before Biblical times, garnets were worn and treasured. Garnet necklaces have been found in graves in Czechoslovakia dating back to the Bronze Age. Garnet stones have been buried with warriors and nobles in Ancient Egypt (3100 B.C.), Sumeria (2100 B.C.) and Sweden (2000 B.C.).

Garnets have been worn by royalty and peasants alike. Because they are so plentiful in the Earth's crust, small garnets are not prohibitively expensive - but their enduring beauty and hardness make them a gemstone fit for a king - or a queen. Both Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots are said to have favored garnet jewelry during their reigns.

Healing and Mystical properties::

The Garnet is a stone of purity and truth as well as a symbol of love and compassion. Garnet combats depression and lethargy.Garnet protects against depression and impure thoughts. Cures fever and promotes good health. Its energy is balancing and peaceful. This stone of passion stimulates the sexual drive. Garnet gives energy and courage. It is said to encourage robust good health and sexual desire, enhance the wearer's imagination. Garnet symbolizes fire, faith, courage, truth, grace, compassion, constancy and fidelity. It also offers protection to the traveler. Garnet is the stone of passionate devotion.Helps to become motivated and productive, and attracts good luck in business ventures. The Garnet is known as the stone for a successful business.

Garnets are also believed to have the power to staunch blood, to offer protection and healing from poisons and to purify the liver. Since ancient times, people have believed that garnets can help spark mental acuity and clarity, lighten the mood and bring peace and solace to the grieving. Over the years, garnets have acquired the meaning of fidelity, loyalty and love.

One use of garnets that is surprisingly at odds with the rest of its healing and enlightening reputation is the use to which it was put by Asiatic tribes. In 1892, the Hanza used bullets fashioned of garnet against British troops, believing that garnet would be more deadly than lead.


Sources of Garnet::

Today, garnets mostly come from African countries, but also from India, Russia and Central and South America. In USA garnet has been obtained in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida, California and Virginia. Notable quantities of garnets have been also found in Czech Republic and Spain. The skilled hands of cutters the world over work them into many classical shapes, but also increasingly into modern, imaginative designer cuts. Garnets remain convincing with their natural, unadulterated beauty, the variety of their colours and their tremendous brilliance.


Reference::

The Garnet is a stone of vitality and passion.

Garnet Gemstone meaning


Garnet

Garnet - Healing fire and cleansing light

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

The Qur'an declares that "reforming the Earth" is the ideal human endeavor. It also criticizes humanity for several very basic human traits: that human beings are too proud and petty, narrow-minded, and selfish.

"Man is by nature timid,"
says the Qur'an.
"When evil befalls him, he panics, but when good things come to him he prevents them from reaching others."


This pettiness causes individuals to become so submerged in nature that they lose sight of its Creator. Only when nature fails them do they turn, in utter frustration, to God. Their shortsightedness deludes them into thinking that charity, altruism, and sacrificing for others will impoverish them. This, however, is Satan's influence, for God promises prosperity in return for generosity to the poor.

The Qur'an insists, therefore, that individuals transcend their pettiness and enlarge themselves in order to develop the inner moral quality of taqwa (usually translated 'fear of God," but actually meaning, "to guard against danger"). Using taqwa, individuals can discern right from wrong and, above all, evaluate their own actions properly and so avoid self-deception, a danger to which they are always exposed. People often think they have done something consequential, although in the long run the deed has no importance. The real worth of one's deeds can be judged only through taqwa, and an individual's aim should be the ultimate benefit of humanity, not the self's immediate pleasures or ambitions.

The Qur'an (6:38) declares in no uncertain terms that:

"There is no creature upon the Earth or in the skies that does not form part of a community as you do. All things progress through life thanks to Divine guidance: some are more advanced, some are less advanced."


This means that humanity is not the only community living on the Earth. God's sustaining provisions reach all of His creatures, and thus all are worthy of respect and protection.

Prophet Muhammad regarded all living creatures as worthy of protection and kind treatment. When asked whether kindness to animals will be rewarded, he said:
"For charity shown to any creature with a wet heart, there is a reward," (wetness indicates life).
This tradition also suggests humanity's stewardship over nature.

The Qur'an does not regard nature as opposed to God for, in reality, nature is muslim, meaning "submitted to God's Will." Every creature that exists in the heavens or upon the Earth bows its head in submission to God's laws, willingly or unwillingly.

"The seven heavens and the Earth and all that exists within them sing the praises of God; there is no atom that does not praise God with thanks and gratitude, although you may be unaware of how this praise is expressed." (17:44; 3:38).


Giving thanks imparts worth and value, and the Qur'an emphasizes God's greatness and glory by including animate and inanimate creatures in His worship. Such inclusion is designed to create a respect and reverence for nature in human beings. Nature is in harmony with those individuals who give thanks. Just as when people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds overcome their fear of each other when they pray together, this shared aspect of creatureliness overcomes the alienation between humanity and nature.

There is a total harmony between God and nature. There is however, an unfolding process and progression in nature, for God placed in it a creative power that made it grow, bifurcate, and ramify.

The Qur'an asks:
"Do the unbelievers not see that We have created the planets [in this solar system from the burning, swirling gases that] We tore away from [the sun as it revolved]? Do they not see that We created every living thing from water [that is, this viscous soup of solar gases]?)" (21:30).


God gave nature the power of growth, bifurcation, progression, and change. The Qur'an abounds in statements that nature is the proof (ayah) of God's existence, unity, and wisdom. Nature is well-knit and originally without any flaw. God has created every thing according to a its proper measurement (qadar). Nature is therefore one of His prime miracles. Thoughtful reflections on this divine miracle and keen observation of it can lead us to faith in God and encourage us to worship God. Nature is the reminder (dhikr) of God. The Qur'an calls upon humanity to reflect on nature and learn from it:

"In the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and in the alternation of night and day [in which the means of livelihood are found] there are signs [of Truth] for those with the ability and will to understand. Those who, whether sitting, standing or reclining on their sides, remember God and deliberate upon the creation of the heavens and the Earth [and the purpose that underpins the whole cosmos] saying: "0 Lord! You have not created all this in vain. May You be glorified: You are far above the creation of playthings and trifles. So, 0 Lord, deliver us from the fires of Hell!'" (3:190-91).


The Qur'an emphasizes three dimensions of the human-nature relationship, with nature functioning as the proof of God's existence:

- Worship engendered by nature

- Appreciation of beauty and aesthetics derived through nature

- Gratitude based on the realization of utility and value in nature.




The Qur'an teaches that nature has surrendered itself to the laws of God and thus is muslim. Nature is not only muslim in the sense that it obeys God's laws and rules; the Qur'an goes one step further and says that all nature sings God's praises, although ordinary human senses cannot grasp that form of worship.

Whereas nature is the handiwork of God and the Qur'an speaks of its beauty, value, and goodness, it also underscores the purposefulness of creation. Everything in creation has a purpose, and everything functions as a sign of God's existence. Moreover, God created the natural world long before human beings, thus making human beings dependent on the natural order for their survival. All living creatures are part of the divine purpose, and are interconnected in the ecological system. Human beings must realize this interconnectedness with the rest of nature and must reach out to all other sentient beings.

The Qur'anic verse:
"Every created being has a size [and proportion known to God alone]"
(13:8; 15:21) proclaims the natural balance that needs to be preserved for ecological systems. The massive ecological damage caused by humanity indicates its disobedience to God. It is humanity's responsibility to maintain ecological balance as a proof of its gratitude to the Creator. In Islam, the requirement of tahara (ritual purity), usually understood in the context of Muslim ritual cleansing, has an extended application: the elimination of internal and external impurities that pollute our body and spirit. Thus water, an important source of ritual tahara and human consumption must be kept pure. This general rule applies to other ecological systems, mountain ranges, and waterfalls also, because they are essential for healthy living.

Reference::

Historical Background To The Present Environmental Crisis

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bamboo and its uses

Some of the uses of Bamboo plants that have been found in Pakistan, mainly Punjab.

Arundinaria falcata: It is used for making baskets, mats and pipes.
Bambusa bambos: This species is extensively used for construction.
B. multiplex: It is found in the plains of Punjab is a hedge bamboo.
Dendrocalamus strictus: It is used for construction and a variety of purposes.
Dendrocalamus hamiltonii: It is used for construction and ladder manufacturing and scaffoldings.
Bambusa tulda: It is used for construction purposes.

Citrus Fruits in Pakistan

Pakistan is the sixth largest producer of Kinow (mandarin) and oranges in the world,and it is also the largest producer of 'Citrus Reticula' variety (Kinow), this unique variety of citrus is indigenous to this part of the world. The exact location of origin of citrus fruits is not clearly identified, although most researchers place it in South-East Asia, at least 4000 years BC. For further information on it, read the comprehensive notes on Citrus of Pakistan, here in Pakissan.

Raat ki rani


Cestrum nocturnum is known as Night-blooming Cestrum, Lady of the Night, Queen of the Night, and Night-blooming Jasmine. Also known as Raat ki Rani (princess of the night), in Urdu language.

It is found in my garden and its scent is released at night. It serves as an ornamental plant because of its strongly-scented flowers.

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