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Info. about Saligramma!
(from dvaita-list 26th Dec. 1998.)
The posting was very nice. I wanted to add some information which I have collected from a book called "Shubham Bhavathu" by Shri Adya Ramacharya in kannada, where the subject has been dealt with fairly authoritatively and in greater detail. The explanation for the existence of saligramas by modern science appears to be that they are Fossilised from the remains of Marine acquatic creatures in the then exisitng Seas which were elevated into the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, due to the action of the India plate on the Eurasian plate according to the Plate tectonics theory. The formation of the Himalayas and the Indo Gangetic plains due to the alluvial deposits by the main river systems by the filling up of the Sea is obviously several millions of years back. If this theory is true, it would appear that the little worms forming the Chakras in the Saligramas of today must have lived very long years back and the fossil formation itself must have taken place, BEFORE the Himalayas were elevated ! (this information is not found in the book !).
The orthodox explanation as culled out form the Puranas is as under :
i Origin : There is a place called Saligrama in Aavanthi country. You find Saligramas there.
ii. On the Northside of Gandaki river (which incidentally flows from Nepal downwards through North Bihar and eventually joins the Ganges), there is mountainous area called Giriraja (on the southern side of the Himalayas). It is believed that this place is the abode of Lord Vishnu Himself. A large number of Saligramas are found there. These are created by Golden insects which are called Vajra Keetas. There is a Chandra Teertha on the Gandaki river bank to the south. On the north of the Chandra Teertha, there is a mountain called Mahaashrunga which is very dear to Chathurmukha Brahma. The Saligramas are produced there. The Vajrakeetas have a golden electric glow about them. It is believd that MahaVishnu Himself makes the Saligramas by taking their forms.
Saligramas have the following colours - Shyama (like that of Lord Krishna), Krishna Varna (black), Shvetha (white), Kapila Varna (brown like a cow), Bahu varna (many colours). Saligramas which have the colour of Ash (Boodi in kannada) or Athi Krishna (extremely black) should not be used for worship. Irregular shapes or distorted Chakras should also not be used for worship. They should neither be too large (like the Bilva fruit) or too small (smaller than the Nerale fruit). Those which have no Chakrankitha should never be worshipped. There are different Lakshanas indicating the presence of different forms of the Supreme Being in them.
The forms indicated are :
Mathsya, Koorma, Varaaha, Laksmi Varaaha, Bhu Varaaha, Nru Varaaha, Lakshmi Nru Varaaha, Vidaarana Varaaha, Lakshmi Nrusimha, Paathaala Nrusimha, Kukshi Nrusimha, Veera Nrisimha, Kapila Nrusimha, Vaamana, Dadhi Vaamana, Jamadagni, Raama, Baala Raama, Raama Lakshmana, Kodanda Raama, Seetha Raama, Pattabhi Raama, Tharaka Brahma, BalaRaama, Samkarshana, Krishna Murthy, Baala Gopala, Madana Gopala, Santhaana Gopala, Govardhana, Kaleeya Mardana, Vijaya Saarathi, Venu Gopala, Kalki, Keshava, Lakshmi Narayana, Maadhava, Govinda, Maha Vishnu, Madhusudana, Thrivikrama, Sreedhara, Hrishikesha, Padma Nabha, Damodara, Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Purushothama, Adhokshaja, Achyutha, Janardana, Upendra, Hari, Hayagriva, Tharkshya, Dattatreya, Shimshumara, Shanmukha, Pundarika, Vishvaroopa, Chakrapaani, Sudarshana, Shankara Naarayana, Svarnagarbha, Shesha, Vaamadeva, Surya etc. The list is not exhaustive. NAPSRao