The Significance and Glory of Saligramas
Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi says, “The benefits we receive from Saligramas are infinite. The power of these naturally formed sacred stones is beyond description.” Saligrama stones are the very embodiment of Lord Vishnu. They are not man-made, but are ‘svayambhu’ or naturally born. To have the darshan of Saligrama, or to be in their presence, is to receive a glimpse of God Himself. It is understood by devotees that whoever worships Saligramas receives the grace of the Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi, as She always dwells in the Heart of Lord Vishnu.
What is a Saligrama Stone?
They are black ammonite stones, the darshan of which is said to cure any mental or physical disease, bless one with prosperity on all levels and grant spiritual liberation, so it’s not surprising that they are among the natural objects held in extraordinary veneration in India and are most celebrated universally. Like the worship of Lord Shiva in the form of a Lingam, the worship of Lord Vishnu in the form of a Saligrama symbolizes the divinity of God beyond any man-made form or sculpture. Saligrama stones are shiny, beautiful and black in color, but those who can see with their ‘inner vision’ (attained through deep devotion and meditation) can see that each Saligrama emits a glorious aura, a a brilliant light in one or many of 14 different colors.
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The Formation of Saligramas
For several years, the devoted Gandaki Mata performed several austerities and meditated on Lord Maha Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was moved with her penance and blessed Gandaki Mata with His darshan.
Lord Maha Vishnu then said, “Mata Gandaki, I am pleased with your devotion. What boon would you like?” And Mata Gandaki replied, “Lord Maha Vishnu! The only wish I have is to give birth to you as my son.” The Lord responded, “Mata, when you form as the river ‘Gandaki’ on earth, I will take birth as Saligramas in your womb.”
In the Mustang district of Nepal, the Gandaki River flows through the village of Saligrama and the Ashrama of Pulaha. The MuktiNatha Kshetram (“place of liberation or salvation”) is the 107th of the 108 most sacred places for Maha Vishnu situated in the village of Saligrama between the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges of the Himalayas. The Hari Parvatha mountains are identical forms of Maha Vishnu that overlook the MuktiNatha Kshetram. The Gandaki River that flows beneath the Hariparvatha mountains in Muktinatha Kshetram is understood as the place where Gandaki Mata has incarnated as a river on Mother Earth.
Saligramas form over millions of years and are composed of a combination of particles of iron, gold and other metals that radiate an electro-magnetic field of energy. Found in the depths of the Gandaki River, they house Vajra-keetas, river worms, that are again another form of Lord Maha Vishnu. These worms are called ‘Vajra’ (diamond or thunderbolt) – ‘keetas’ because their teeth are as strong as diamonds for cutting. These worms also make a unique sound that resemble the Omkaram. Humming the Omkaram, the Vajra-keetas drill into and enter inside the sacred black stones.
These insects then carve the stones with their teeth and make patterns such as the Sudharshana Chakram and the many sacred formations of the Saligrama. To differentiate between a Saligrama and a shell, sacred Saligrama stones are known as those used as a dwelling by Vajra-keeta worms.
The Saligramas remain in the womb of the Gandaki River for hundreds of thousands of years. They naturally have their own electro-magnetic field, as the Gandaki River preserves the energy that emits naturally from these sacred stones. In addition, during their long gestation in the river Gandaki’s womb, their powers increase.
Saligrama Puja (Worship)
The worship of the Saligrama is not a difficult process. The only prerequisite is utmost devotion. True devotion means the devotee expects nothing from the worship of God. The worship in itself is the boon.
Chant Narayana mantram, ‘Om Namo Narayanaya,’ and offer tulsi to the Saligramas.
• Saligramas must never be touched with the left hand. They can only be touched with the right hand along with tulsi. One who does mantra recitation while holding the Saligrama with tulsi in the right hand gains peace, purity, happiness, health and wealth.
• We must put tulsi on Saligramas always because they release a lot of energy. Tulsi has the ability to harness this energy and store it back in the Saligramas. One must never attempt to remove tulsi on Saligramas. Doing so puts one in the shackles of heavy loads of karma.
Benefits of performing Saligrama Puja:
• Purifies the heart, head, mind, soul and body
• Burns up sins into ashes
• Liberates one from the dominance of the ego, jealousy, greed, anger, lust and other inner enemies
• Grants the attainment of salvation
• All fears related to death vanish and one attains liberation
According to the Vishnu Purana, the Saligrama stones represent the everlasting presence and power of Vishnu, the ‘nitya-vibhuti.’
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