The Shaligram stone is considered a sacred object in Hinduism, especially among followers of the Vaishnava tradition. This small, black, smooth stone represents Lord Vishnu, who is believed to be the preserver and protector of the universe. These stones are typically fossils of ammonite shells (a type of mollusc) that lived between 400 million and 65 million years ago (according to Holly Walters, an anthropologist, mentioned in her book “Shaligram Pilgrimage in the Nepal Himalayas”).
The Shaligram stone is believed to be an embodiment of Vishnu’s energy and is treated with great reverence and respect. In this article, we will discuss the importance of the Shaligram stones, how they are worshipped, and some associated beliefs. The Shaligram Stone is commonly found on the banks of the Kali Gandaki (a tributary of the Gandaki River) in Nepal.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva killed the demon Jalandhar, the husband of Vishnu’s devotee named Vrinda through tricking. In return, Vrinda cursed that Lord Vishnu would turn into a Shaligram stone. Vrinda ended her life and incarnated on earth as a Tulsi plant. Since then, these stones have been considered a manifestation of Lord Vishnu himself.
The Shaligram Stone is usually kept in a shrine or temple, and it is considered important to follow certain rituals and procedures while worshipping the stone. Before worshipping the Shaligram stone, the worshiper must take a bath and wear clean clothes, and the stone itself must be washed and purified with water. The worshipper then places flowers, incense, and other offerings on the stone, and recites prayers and hymns in praise of Vishnu.
Various images of God are carved out of Shaligram. Some are-
Image of Vishnu in the Himalayan Badrinath
Image of Krishna in the Udupi district of Karnataka
Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Shaligram just as Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Linga. Linga stones are natural as well as man-made but Shaligram stones are found naturally.
The Significance of Shaligram Stones
The Shaligram stone is also used in various religious ceremonies and rituals, especially in the Vaishnava tradition. It is often used in the performance of yajnas (fire sacrifices) and is also used as a prop in various theatrical and dance performances. The Shaligram stone is also considered an auspicious item for gifting and is often given on special occasions as a symbol of goodwill and blessings.
Apart from its religious and spiritual significance, the Shaligram stone also has historical and cultural significance in India. The stone is mentioned in several ancient texts including the Puranas and the Mahabharata and has been worshipped in India for thousands of years.
The Shaligram Stone is also associated with several important festivals and celebrations in India. The Shaligram Stone is worshipped alongside other sacred objects, and it is believed to bestow blessings and good fortune upon its worshippers.
Beliefs Associated with Shaligram Stones
Shaligram stones are believed to have powerful spiritual energy and are considered very auspicious. Apart from their spiritual and medicinal importance, Shaligram stones are also considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. It is believed that owning a Shaligram stone can bring wealth, happiness, blessings and good fortune to the home and family of the owner.
There are many beliefs associated with Shaligram stones that are unique to Hindu mythology. One such belief is that the Shaligram stone can protect the devotee from negative energy and evil spirits. It is believed that carrying a Shaligram stone with you can provide a shield of protection from harm.
Apart from their spiritual and material benefits, Shaligram stones are also believed to have healing properties. It is believed that drinking water poured over the Shaligram stone can cure various diseases and ailments. This is because the water is infused with the spiritual energy of the stone, which can heal the body and mind.
The Shaligram stone is an important symbol of the Hindu faith and is revered by millions of people around the world. While the stone itself may be small and simple, it is believed to be a powerful source of spiritual energy and divine power. Whether used in religious rituals, cultural celebrations, or personal prayer, the Shaligram Stone is a beloved and cherished object among Hindu worshippers.
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The sacred Shaligram: 140 mn-year-old stones to be used for the idol of Lord Ram in Ayodhya
Curse of Shaligram: When Lord Vishnu cheated his own devotee
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