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.