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Shaligram > Worshiping a Shaligram

Worshiping a Shaligram


Since the Shaligram is considered to be a direct manifestation of Lord Vishnu Himself, it does not require any installation or initiation. There is also no special ritual of worship, nor is there any need for a qualified priest. Shaligram, worshipped by regular bathing in curds, ghee, milk or water will give untold merit and will bestow all the benefits. The learned sages have recommended a grand worship of the shila, followed by regular worship thereafter.

               शालग्रामशिलायां तु प्रतिष्ठा नैव विद्यते । महापूजां तु कृत्वादौ पूजयेत्तां ततो बुधः ॥

               śālagrāmaśilāyāṁ tu pratiṣṭhā naiva vidyate
               mahāpūjāṁ tu kṛtvādau pūjayettāṁ tato budhaḥ

                                                                                          (स्कन्ध पुराण)


According to Vaishnava belief, the worshipper of a Shaligram Shila must adhere to strict rules, such as not touching the shaligrama without bathing, never placing the shaligrama on the ground, eating only prasadam, and not indulging in bad practices. In most Vaishnava temples the main deity is usually decorated with a 'garland' mala, specifically an Akshamala, of 108 Shaligrama Shilas.

Shaligram is worshipped like one worships Lord Vishnu. Normally Tulsi is used essentially, and a Shankha is also kept near the Shaligram. As per the Shrimaddevi Bhagwat, in order to get the full benefit of a Shaligram, it has to be worshipped daily with purity of heart and body. Tulsi Offering must be with the following mantra:

               तुलसी हेमरूपां च रत्नरूपां च मञ्जरीम्। भवमोक्षप्रदां तुभ्यमर्पयामि हरिप्रियाम्।।

               tulasī hemarūpāṁ ca ratnarūpāṁ ca mañjarīm
               bhavamokṣapradāṁ tubhyamarpayāmi haripriyām


It is said in the shastras, that any type of Shaligrama Shila whether broken or chipped is also auspicious for worshipping. But devotees, as far as possible should worship a smooth and an unbroken small or medium sized shila with very good markings and good luster.

               खण्डितं स्फुटितं भग्नं पार्श्वभिन्नं विभेदितम् । शालग्रामसमुद्भूतं शैलं दोषावहं न हि ॥

               khaṇḍitaṁ sphuṭitaṁ bhagnaṁ pārśvabhinnaṁ vibheditam
               śālagrāmasamudbhūtaṁ śailaṁ doṣāvahaṁ na hi

                                                                                          (ब्रह्म पुराण)


A shaligram shila can be worshipped fearlessly by any human being regardless of caste, color and creed. Even females can worship the Shaligram.

               स्त्रियो वा यदि वा शूद्रा ब्राह्मणाः क्षत्रियादयः । पूजयित्वा शिलाचक्रं लभन्ते शाश्वतं पदम् ॥

               striyo vā yadi vā śūdrā brāhmaṇāḥ kṣatriyādayaḥ
               pūjayitvā śilācakraṁ labhante śāśvataṁ padam

                                                                                          (स्कन्ध पुराण)


The Padama Purana says that even people who are the lowest rungs of humanity, who are ruled by anger, lust and greed, even such people if they worship the Shaligram shila can be elevated to the abode of Lord Vishnu.

               कामैः क्रोधैः प्रलोभैश्च व्याप्तो योऽत्र नराधमः । सोऽपि याति हरेर्लोकं शालग्रामशिलार्चनात् ॥

               kāmaiḥ krodhaiḥ pralobhaiśca vyāpto yo'tra narādhamaḥ
               so'pi yāti harerlokaṁ śālagrāmaśilārcanāt

                                                                                          (पद्म पुराण)



A simple procedure to worship a Shaligram is as follows:

  1. Sit in a position in which you can face the East or North-East direction
  2. Wash the Shaligram with Ganga Jal poured from the conch shell. Then wash it again with punchgavya, and then wash it once more with Ganga Jal. The water that has touched the Shaligram becomes 'amrit' (holy water), and has tremendous properties. If you drink this water, it can help bring relief from various physical ailments and poor health so you can lead a more healthy life.
  3. Place the Shaligram on some peepal leaves on a plate or on a cloth.
  4. Place some kusha grass in a glass filled with water to sprinkle over the Shaligram.
  5. Light camphor, incense sticks and a lamp filled with ghee.
  6. Apply some sandal paste on the Shaligram.
  7. Place a tulsi mala around it or offer fresh tulsi leaves.
  8. Light the lamp and move it in a circular, clockwise movement of the hand in front of the Shaligram.
  9. Recite the mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare or the following mantra nine times.

  10.                ॐ ध्येयः सदा सवित्र मण्डल मध्यवर्ती नारायण सरसिजा सनसन्नि विष्टः।
                   केयूरवान मकरकुण्डलवान किरीटी हारी हिरण्मय वपुर धृतशंख चक्रः ।।
                   हरे राम हरे राम, राम राम हरे हरे । हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण, कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे ।।

    auṁ dhyeyaḥ sadā savitra maṇḍala madhyavartī nārāyaṇa sarasijā sanasanni viṣṭaḥ
    keyūravāna makarakuṇḍalavāna kirīṭī hārī hiraṇmaya vapura dhṛtaśaṁkha cakraḥ
    hare rāma hare rāma, rāma rāma hare hare, hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare


  11. Offer milk, fruits, sweets and coconut to the Shaligram. Offer some money and then give that money to a poor person.
  12. If you are worshipping more than one shaligram, then the number should be even.



 
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