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Identification of Shaligram

      The Shalagrama are divided into different varieties. It appears from different authoritative texts that since hoary antiquity only the sacred stones found under the current of the river Gandaki were worshipped. But with the increase of their popularity the marked stone pieces found on the slopes and even on the banks of the said river also were accepted. Acceptance of Krishna Vaasudeva as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and non availability of sufficient number of Shalagrams in the Gandaki region, a section of people accepted a new type of stone piece as a substitute for the Shalagrams, named as Dwarka-sila, because of its availability in the Dwarka region. Thus Shalagrams were primarily divided into two prominent varieties named gandaki silas or Shalagram silas proper and Dwarka silas.
    As regards the Shalagramas proper, they again were divided into different varieties, collected from 16 different places and know by the followingNames Pradyumna, Vaman, Varaha, Purushottama, Narayana, Nrisimha, Ananta, Janaradan, Vaasudeva, Matsya, Kurma, Buddha, Kalki, Vishvakesha, Hayagriva, Srikara, Harihara, Lakshminarayana (Praanatoshanitantra page 348)
 With the growing popularity of Shaligram and long experiences of the people about the result of their worship, each of the two prominent varieties mentioned above were again divided into new kinds in accordance with its colour and other qualities. Thus we find the following 20 new division of the Shalagram proper recorded in the Skandapurana. (Praanatoshanitntra page 347 )
 Glaced (polished), Black ,Brown, Yellow ,Blue ,Red,Rough ,Curved ,Big ,Unmarked, Reddish Brown, Variegated ,Broken, With many circular marks, With a single circular mark, With a long opening, With a big circular marks ,Having two or more circular marks joined with each opening, Having a broken circular mark and Having opening at the base. As regards the results of worshipping these varieties these also are recorded in the same book, which may be summarized as under The glaced type : By worshipping it daily in the proper way, a devotee can secure his salvation very easily.
Black: It offer fame to its worshippers
Brown : it removes sin
Yellow : It offers virtuous children

Blue : This type grants fortune to the devotee

According to the Yogapaarijaata worshipping shila which is white in colour or printed with teeth like mark brings good fortune (Yogapaarijaata quoted in Praanatoshanitantra 361)
In accordance with the number of circular marks also the Shalagram are said to have their different names and result in the following way (Praanatoshanitantra page 361) as regards the Shalagram with a single circular mark it again according to the Prayogapaarijaata is divided into the following varieties, each giving a different kind of result in the following way (Prayogapaarijaata quoted in Praanatoshanitantra page 361). No of Chakras Name of Shalagram Result offered by him are as below.
One Sudarshan enjoyment and salvation (bhukti-mukti)
Two Lakshminarayana kingdom of heaven
Three Acyuta Trivikrama wealth
Four Janardan Caturbhuja destruction of enemies
Five Vaasudeva freedom from birth and death
Six pradyumna fame and prosperity
Seven Sankarshan Balbhadra sons and grandsons
Eight Purushottama fulfillment of desires
Nine Navavyuha high position
Ten Dasavatara kingship
Eleven Aniruddha immense wealth
Twelve Ananta fulfillment of desires
Thirteen or more paramatma bliss and liberation
   According to the Prapanchasaara (quoted in Praanatoshanitantra page 373.) Lord Vishnu has his fifty different form each of which may be worsipped in a Shalagram Stone. His forms are given below: Keshav , Narayana, Maahava, Govinda, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Shridhar, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha, Damodara, Vaasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha ,Chakrin, Gadin, Sharngin, khadgin, Shankin, Halin, Musalin, Soolin, Paashin, Ankushin, Mukunda, Nandaja, Nandin, Nara, Narakajit, Hari, Krishna, Satya, Saatvata, Shauri, Shuri, Janaradana, Bhudhaarin, Vishvamurthi, Vaikuntha, Purushottama, Balin, Balaanuja, Bala, Vrishagnha, Vrisha, Hamsa, Varaha, Vimala, Nrisimha.
   Saaradaatantra gives some information and adds that all the above fifty forms of Lord Vishnu, When worshipped in an image should be formed with greed colour (Shyama) holding a discuss and a conch in two of the hands (Saaradaatantra loc cit). According to the Fetkaarinitantra the colour of the above deities should be like that of a new cloud and they are to be clad in yellow clothes, each having his consort on his tap. (Fetkaarinitantra loc cit)  While offering worship to a Shalagram the devotee must take special notice about its shape, difference of which brings in different results in the following way.
   (Chatraakaare bhavedraajyam vartule cha mahaashriyah duhkhancha shakatakaare shoolaagre maranam dhuram vikritaasya cha daadridryam oingale haanireva cha lagnachakre bhaved vyaadhirvidirne maranam dhruvam Brahmavaivrtapurana, Prakritikhanda, 21 78 79) Shape of the Shalagram Results offered by him. Like and umbrella gain of a kingdom. Round immense wealth. We learn from different puranas that in former days Shalagrams were divided into 24 varieties, their names according to the Skandapurana being as follows: Keshava, Madhusudana, Shankarshan , Daamodara, Vaasudeva, Pradyumna, Vishnu, Maadhava, Ananta, Purushottama, Adhokshaja, Janaardan , Govinda, Trivikrama, Shridhar, Hrishikesha, Nrisimha, Vishvayoni, Vaamana, Naaraayana, Pundarikaaksh, Upendra, Hari, Krishna. (Skanda Purana, Nagarckhanda, 244. 3-9)
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