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Identification of Shaligram

However, one must accept a salagrama which has already been worshipped, and one must gift the salagrama after worshipping it. Both the receiver and the donor will obtain merit. The place where Salagramas are kept and worshipped is pure by that very act. There is no offence or transgression in keeping or worshipping the salagramas which are split, burst, broken or cut open. Elsewhere also it is said, a salagrama is still auspicious and worthy of worship if it has a chakra (intact), even if the stone is split, burst or broken.

The different salagramas indicated for celibates, householders are mendicants:
The celibate and the mendicant may worship salagramas with multiple chakras, salagramas which are muddy coloured, rude and crooked, and which are shaped like a lion (lion’s mouth). The mendicant and the householder should worship the salagrama stones which have fire in the navel. In a house, two lingas or two salagramas must not be worshipped, nor should two Dvaraka-silas or two sun-stones should not be worshipped.Two conches should not be worshiped. As per Skanda Puran an icon (Shaligram Shila) that is damaged may receive worship; likewise ten salagramas, Dashavtara Sangraha (Matsya-murti and so on) must be positively worshipped in the house.Dashavtara has all the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and hence this Sangraha is considered most auspicious and a complete Sangraha. In a house, the salagramas that are burnt or damaged in fire must not be worshipped, for otherwise great anxiety will be occasioned. An even number of salagramas must be worshipped, except when they are only two (in which case, they must not be worshipped); and an odd number of salagramas must never be worshipped unless it is only one salagrama (when it may be worshipped). The merit of sipping water in which the salagramas have been washed. One who sips the water in which the salagrama has been washed in the presence of Vishnu, will be freed from all sins and will eventually enter the realm of Vishnu to abide with him.

The merit that accrues from studying this section on salagrama-characteristics or from listening to it: O Narada (says Brahma), thus have I explained to you the glory of salagrama; you should comprehend this with devotion, for the sake of pleasing Vishnu. One who listens to this section which details the merits of salagramas will obtain the four values of life (righteous living, wealth, pleasures and emancipation), and he will be dear to me. One who studies this text which extols the merits of salagrama day and night, especially during the annual obsequies, will receive untold benefits from whatever he offers to the ancestral spirits. Having heard this, Narada bowed before Brahma and worshipped him.
Narada says: "You have explained to me, O Brahman, the differentiation of the salagrama-stones, their characteristics and deity-specifications, as also their shapes and colours, which are meritorious or otherwise."

Brahma says: " Listen, Narada, I shall tell you about something which you did not ask: namely, the different effects according to the different colours of the stones. The salagrama stones occur in many colours: black, blue, yellow, gray, red, tawny and white: they may be ash-coloured. The stones indeed are of numerous kinds. But they must be examined with regard to their beneficent characteristics and only then accepted for worship. The tawny coloured stone, when worshipped, will kill the worshipper’s wife, while the blue-black stone will bring in wealth. The black stone will cause nourishment and increase of wealth; the white stones will facilitate liberation."
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