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The name Shaaligraam is one of the many names of Vishnu. The origin of the word is traced to a remote village in Nepal near the sacred river Gandakee called Shaalgramee where Vishnu is known by the name of Shaalgraman. It is near here that the stones are found which have natural markings on them and are very sacred to the Lord and are worshipped as manifestations of the Lord Himself.

The site known as Shaaligraam Kshetra or Mukti Kshetra is about 140 miles from Khatmandu north of the river Gandakee River [also known as Naaraayanee River]. These stone pieces are direct forms of the Lord found at one place in the Gandakee River. Those which are lustrous, black, round, the size of an Aamalakee (Aamalaa) fruit, with perfect Chakra, deep navel, perfect mouth, curved back, in the shape of Varaah or Vaasudev, are said to bestow all of ones desires.

The origin of the Shaaligram Shilaa goes back to the Pauranik or mythological era. The Pauranik encyclopedia says that Vishnu and Lakshmee once had a terrible quarrel and cursed one another. Saraswatee’s curse transformed Lakshmee into a Tulasee plant destined to live on earth forever in that form. Vishnu, however, intervened and said, “Lakshmee, you will live in the world as a holy Tulasee plant and when the curse has been completed you will come back to me. On that day a river named Gandakee will start from your body which will be in the shape of a Tulasee plant. On the bank of that river I will remain as a stone image (Shaaligraam). There will be many worms with strong tusks and teeth which will pierce the stone into the shape of the Sudarshan Chakra (quoit) and they will create numberless Shaaligraam.” Pauraanik sources further state that Tulasee and Shaaligraam Shilaa are married on earth on Kaartik Poornimaa day.

Kaartik is an auspicious month and on its Ekaadashee day (eleventh day from no-moon day) a unique festival called Kaartik Poojaa is performed by women on the banks of the Gangaa in Vaaraanasee. This also happens to be the day of celestial marriage of Tulasee to Shaaligraam Shilaa. Tulasee is a plant (Ocimum basilicum or Ocimum sanctum). There are two types of Tulasee – one is Raam Tulasee with light green leaves and the other is Krishn Tulasee with dark green leaves. Its is a prerequisite for the worship of Vishnu and Naaraayan. A Shaaligraam Shilaa is an ammonite fossil which can generally be classified under Cephalopoda class which is roughly 425 million years old. This stone is one of the most sacred stones for Hindoos.

Shaaligraam Shilaas are found only in Mukti Kshetra and Daamodar Kund (north-west of Nepal). The worshipper knows no fear and by Shree Shaaligraam's grace the worshipper is blessed to attain all desirable things; worldly comforts, good wife, good sons, good health and wealth etc. The consideration of a fault in a Shaaligraam come from worshippers who have material desires. The devotee sees no fault, even if the Shaaligraam is broken or damaged. It is said that the devotee will simply worship his chosen deity in that Shaaligraam stone with great devotion. Even though a Shaligraam is broken, but its Chakra is intact; it can be worshipped.

Also continuing in the same context, though a Shaaligraam Shilaa may be broken, cracked or chipped, one should not consider the Shaaligraam to have any faults. Consideration of perfection and less than perfection in Shaaligraam is for those persons who worship it with fruit motive. Generally the small lustrous, black round ones with good features are chosen for worship, but if such are not available, then those less perfect in form may also be worshipped. The Lord resides permanently and eternally in the Shaaligraam stones and therefore no installation ceremony is required.

There is no Praan Pratishthaa ceremony necessary for worshipping a Shaaligraam Shilaa. One should simply perform a special, elaborate worship when one begins worshipping the Shaaligraam. The Lord resides in many places in which he may be worshipped, but of all places Shaaligraam is the best. With Keshav in the form of Shaaligraam Shilaa reside all Devataa, Asur, Yaksh and the fourteen worlds. It is recommended to worship the Shaaligraam with a Dwaarakaa Shilaa. A good Dwaarakaa Shilaa should be white, round or square, unbroken and without holes, and with well formed Chakra. Worshipping two Dwaarakaa Shilaa or two Shaaligram Shilaa at once will cause disturbance in the mind. If one has two Shaaligraam stones, one should worship them separately, not together. However if one has many Shaaligraam stones, one can worship them all together.

"It is offensive to buy, sell or seek faults in a Shaaligraam Shilaa. One who puts a price on a Shaaligraam stone, one who sells a Shaaligraam and one who agrees to buy a Shaaligraam for that price, and the person who inspects a Shaaligraam for good qualities or faults, goes to hell until the final devastation Pralaya)." as quoted in Vishnu Dharmottara.

Though the Shaaligraam stone may be identified by markings as particular form of Vishnu, it may also be worshipped as ones chosen deity, for all forms reside in the Shaaligraam. In a temple the Shaaligraam may be worshipped separately or worshipped along with the Moorti (idol) forms.

Those stones which have a mark of a tortoise or hoof or the cow on them are called VARAAH stones. Yellow ones represent the Devas, red ones are UGRA-ROOP and represent Nrasinh and are capable of giving Moksh. A Shaaligraam stone with a conch inside is called VAAMAN. A large one with a discus inside is called DAAMODAR. If the forehead of a Shaaligraam has the appearance of a serpents hood or golden shine then it is called VAAMADEV.

Various results have been mentioned which are caused by certain types of Shaaligraam stones;
1. The shape of an umbrella will make one a powerful man.
2. A circular shape will give great wealth.
3. One with a flat nose will bring grief.
4. One with a pointed or sharp edge will lead to conflict.

But nowadays it is considered that a Shaaligraam stone is never inauspicious even if cleaved, burnt or defaced.

The worship of Shaaligraam does not call for elaborated Poojaa, not even Mantras or sacred water are necessary. Usually the Shaaligraam Shilaa is worshipped with the Purush Sookt, and Tulasee leaves and its presence at Shraaddh ceremonies is most pleasing to the souls of the ancestors.

"All the sins including Brahm Hatyaa (killing of a Braahman) and those accruing from activities of the mind, words and body (Manasaa, Vaachaa, Karmanaa) all are instantly destroyed by the worship of the Shaaligraam Shilaa."

In the Padm Puraan Lord Shiv declares the greatness of Shaaligraam Shilaa as follows -
"The merit obtained by seeing and worshipping hundreds of thousands of my Lingams, is equivalent to that obtained by worshipping one single Shaaligraam Shilaa."

So as we wait for the God Kalki to arrive (the Mahaa Avataar (Great Avatar) of God Vishnu, the Preserver, who will come to end the current Kali Yug) we all can pray to God Vishnu in the form of great Shaaligraam Shilaa for ultimate Moksh. And as it is rightly said that God will come from the sky on a white horse, brandishing a flaming sword with which to destroy the wicked people of the current world, renew creation and bring righteousness back to Earth.

Classification of Shaaligraam
1. Sri Lakshmee Varaah Moorti Shaaaligraam:
Big and long hole and shining appearance. Two Chakra will be found inside the hole with lots of lines. Another kind of this Shaaligraam are also found which will be somewhat black and yellow color mixed and two sides Chakra will be found and both the holes will
be of same sizes.
2. Varaah Moorti: This Shaaligraam will be of Indraneel blue color and 3 big lines will be found. This Shaaligraam is rare to be found and has very great power. Another kind of the same category is found with a long faced which will be covered by flower like structure and a Chakra will be found in the hole.
3. Matsya Moorti: This kind of Shaaligraam will be long, looks like a Lotus and on its mouth lines will be found. The shape will be like a Fish and will be smooth with dots on it. On the mouth, 2 holes and a Chakra will be found.
4. Koorm Moorti: This Shaaligraam will be in Indraneel blue color with 3 lines and its end will be slightly raised upwards and has "Avartha Regai" (lines).

Likewise, lots of Salagramam are found namely
Shwet Varaah Moorti
Poo Varaah Moorti
Sudarshan Moorti
Mahaa Koorm Moorti
Koorm Varaah Moorti
Achyut Moorti
Shree Seetaa Raam Moorti
Lakshmee Gopaal Moorti
Sanaatan Gopaal Moorti
Shatsakra Moorti
Dhuvadha Sathma Madhavar

Generally, Shaaligraam represents about a particular Moorti (Perumal) and they have the shapes corresponding to that particular Perumal. This is referred to as "Vajra Kreetam". Inside these Shaaligraam, the Perumal and Lakshmee Piratti are said to be found and by doing proper Poojaa to these Shaaligraam will give us lots of credit and Mukti. Taking care of these precious Shaaligraam in a proper way may lead us towards the final destiny, the divine feet of Shreeman Naaraayan and at the same time we should follow the proper method of doing Poojaa to these Shaaligraam. So, if you have Shaaligraam in the house, by doing proper Poojaa and by dedicating daily food, pure water and expressing the proper Mantra to it can lead you to attain the Paramatmaa, Shreeman Naaraayan.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on 05/18/2008 and Updated on 06/22/2012