Shaligram – the Divine and Mystical Stone of Lord Vishnu
The ‘Shaligram’, a dark-colored stone, is a sacred and divine gift from Lord Vishnu to his ardent devotees. On the whole, the Shaligram Mystical Stone is a boon to the welfare and betterment of the whole mankind in this world. The worship of the shaligrams can uplift an individual’s spiritual life. It leads us to a life of salvation and austerity.
The shaligram mystical stone is popularly known as the ‘shaligram shilas’ or the ‘shalagrams’. It is regarded as the most auspicious stone by the followers of Lord Vishnu known as the Vaishnavas. The worshipping of the shaligram is considered as worshipping of Lord Vishnu in an abstract form. The shaligrams are generally found in the River Gandak near Muktinath in the country of Nepal. It is also known as the divine and mystical stone of Lord Vishnu.
There is a region near the river Gandaki in Nepal which is abundant in Shalagram shilas and hence, this place is called Shalagram. It is believed that these stones provide a shelter to an insect which is very small in size and is known as the ‘Vajra Keeta’. It is said to have a diamond tooth, which has the capability to cut through the Shaligram stone. Long ago the Himalayas were just an ocean bed with many shaligram stones lying inside them.
A very amazing fact about the shaligram is the significant markings on it that resemble the ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ of Lord Vishnu. Different shapes and forms of Shaligrams represent the different forms of Lord Vishnu like the ‘Kurma Avatar’ and the ‘Narsimha Avatar’.
The shaligrams are not only regarded as the symbol of Lord Vishnu but they are known to be the home of Lord Vishnu. They say that the Lord resides in the shaligrams. The person who keeps a shaligram in the house must offer daily prayers to it to receive its benefits. There are some other rules that a keeper of the shaligram should follow like not touching it without cleansing oneself or bathing and never placing it on the floor. Non-satvic food should not be eaten too by the person, and he must lead a pious and righteous life.
Nearly all the shaligrams are auspicious and sacred while some others are thought to be a good luck charm to bring about luck, wealth and happiness in one’s life. The shaligrams are considered very invaluable by the Vaishnavas and all the wealth of this world put together cannot be worthy enough to be equal in terms of value with the shaligram. This is because the shaligrams are one of the four incarnations that Lord Vishnu had taken due to the curse of Sati Brinda’s sati dharma.
It is said that even Lord Shiva said that the worshipping of a thousand Shiva lingams will be equal to the worshipping of one Shaligram. This is amazing because the Lord himself stated the greatness and auspiciousness of this divine symbol of Lord Vishnu. This also shows the greatness of the deities as they gave more importance to each other and shunned away their personal ego.
According to the Skanda puranas and the other religious scripts, a shaligram’s worshipper is always fearless, and is blessed to get all the worldly pleasures and comforts. He also stays protected against all bad things. All the mental stress of the person vanishes and nearly all his desires get fulfilled. There is yet another interesting fact about the shaligram that the water run over the shaligram turns into ‘Amrit’ and the person who is suffering from any disease, must drink it if he wants a speedy recovery.
Many people used to follow the concept of making a witness hold the Shaligram in one hand to testify his statements. This custom is still followed by many Indian Village Panchayats where many disputes are settled. Many Indian homes have seen keeping beautiful Shaligrams in their homes, which serves the purpose of both a decorative as well as a religious object.
This is why many people prefer to gift a Shaligram on special occasions like a housewarming occasion, or any other auspicious event held in the homes. The Shaligram stone has always been taken as an object of great value in the Indian culture.
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