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Identification of Shaligram


In the Brahmavaivarattapurana (Prakrtikhanda, chapter21.) we get the following description of the different varieties of Shaligrams:
1) Lakshminarayana : In colour he resembles a new cloud and has a single opening marked with four circular prints. A linear mark resembling a vanamala (a particular kind of garland held by Lord Vishnu, or series of forests) is also printed on his body.
2) Lakshmijanaardan: The above type without the mark of vanamala.
3) Raghunatha: He has two openings with any mark of vanamala. his body also is marked with the footprint of a cow, but not with any mark of vanamala.
4) Dadhivamana: Very small in size with two circular marks, and having the colour of a new cloud.
5) Shridhar : The above type with an additional mark of vanamala.
6) Daamodara : Big in size with a round shape and two circular marks, but not having the mark of vanamala.
7) Ranarama : round and middle in shape with prints of arrows all over hid body. He must have two circular marks and prints of a quiver with arrows on his body.
8) Rajarajeshwara : Middle in size, having seven circular marks and also the marks of an umbrella and grass (or quiver) on his body.
9) Ananta : Big in size with the colour of a new cloud and having 14 circular marks on his body.
10) Madhusudhan : Round in shape, middle in size and charming to look at. He has two circular marks and a footprint of a cow on his body.
11) Sudarshan : With single circular mark.
12) Gadadhara: With a hidden circular mark.
13) Hayagriva : with two circular marks and having the shape of the face of a horse.
14) Narsimha : having a large opening with two circular marks, and glittering to look at.
15) Laxminarsimha : Having a big opening with two circular marks, and also marked with a vanamala.
16) Vaasudeva : Evenly shaped and charming to look at, having two circular marks at the front of his opening.
17) Pradyumna : with the colour of a new cloud, and having a small circular mark and several small holes on his body.
18) Shankarshan : He has two circular marks joined with each other on the top side o his body.
19) Aniriddha: Round in shape, glaced and charming to look at, and having the yellowish or black colour.


The varieties of Shalagram recorded in the Garuda Purana (Panchanan Tarkaratna, part1 Chapter 45) run as follows:
Vaasudeva : White in colour having two circular marks joined with each other at the opening.
Shankarshan: Reddish in colour, having two circular marks joined with each other, and also the mark of a lotus on the easter side of his body
Pradyumna : Yellow in colour and long in shape with a small opening.
Aniruddha : Blue in colour and round in shape with a hole at the top side of his body.
Narayana : Black in colour with three linear marks at the opening.
Nrisimha : He holds the mark of a mace at the centre of his body, and a circular mark at the lower middle portion, his upper middle portion being comparatively bigger.
Kapila : He holds three dot like mark on his body or at his opening.
Varahashaktilinga : he holds two circular marks of unequal size.
Kumaramurthi : Big in size, blue in colour and printed with three linear marks and one or more dots.
Krishna : Round in shape with a flat upper side.
Shridhar : printed with five linear marks and mace.
Vaaman : Round in shape with a comparatively smaller height, and printed with one or more beautiful circular marks.
Ananta : Variegated in colour with many circular marks.
Damodara : Big in size, blue in colour with a deep circular mark at the centre.
Brahman : Red in colour with a small opening.
Prthu : Printed with a long linear mark, a circular mark and lotus, and having one or more holes.
Hayagriva : With a big hole, a big circular mark, horse neck shaped,five linear marks and the marks of a kaustubha gem, an Ankusha (spear head) several dots and dark spot.
Vaikuntha : Blue in colour, printed with a lotus and circular mark, and glittering like a gem.
Matsya : Long in shape and printed with a lotus and two linear marks.
Trivikrama : Green in colour, with a circular mark on his left side and a linear mark on his right side.
Lakshminarayana : Round in shape with a single opening. He has four circular marks at the opening and is decorated with a vanamala, one footprint of a cow and a golden linear mark.


In addition to the above types 13 more varieties on the basis of the number of circular marks (charkas) owned by them are also recorded in the same book. Amongst these varieties all the types excepting the last two are just the same as given in an above list.the difference is that according to this authority a Shalagram holding twelve circular mark is called Dwadashaatman and that with thirteen or more marks is called Ananata. (Dvaadashaatma Dvaadashabhirta oorddhvamanantakah’ – Garuda purana part 1: 45:30) The varieties of Shalagram as given in the Garuda Puran list are mostly found in the AgniPuran on the other hand a few new types namely Parameshtin, Kurma, Sudershan, Acyuta, Janaradan and a few more new types are given there including those having one to thirteen or more circular marks on Their body. Another noticeable point is that the vaasudeva type instead white according to this Purana should be black in colour.
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