Dandavats Sir, Gauranga! Nitayananda! Hare Krishna! I am the unworthy servant of a small number of Shaligrama Silas. I live in a part the UK where fresh Tulsi leaves are not easily available . Would it be permissable to offer rehydrated dried Tulsi leaves?
thank you, Peter.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Dear Peter, Dry Tulasi leaves are perfectly ok to be used in the service of the Lord according to Hari Bhakti Vilasa. But please wash them very nicely and they should not be hard or rough when offered to the Lord. Also you can use the artifical light therapy for growing Tulasi devi at your place if the sunlight is a problem.
The following are the verses from Hari Bhakti Vilasa glorifying the worship of Lord Shaligrama:
One who eats food after offering it to Shalagram Shila, he achieves the results of performing one hundred times one thousand times one million fire sacrifices
YE PIVANTI NARA NITYAM SALAGRAMA SILA JALAM PANCA GAVYA SAHASRAIS TU SEVITAIH KIM PRAYOJANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/20 from PADMA PURANA)
Any person who has drank the water which has bathed Shalagram Shila, what is the need for them to drink thousand and thousands of times pancagavya? (Pancagavya is made from five auspicious products of a cow offered to the Lord.)
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/360 from BRAHMA PURANA spoken by the Supreme Lord)
Oh Brahma, if someone makes an offering of food grains in front of Shalagram Shila (who is non-different from Me), I just by looking at it eat it, but I taste the food when My devotees touch it with their tongues (eat it).
GANGA GODAVARI REVA NADYO MUKTI PRADAS TU YAH NIVASANTI SA TIRTHAS TAH SALAGRAMA SILA JALE KOTI TIRTHA SAHASRAIS TU SEVITAIH KIM PRAYOJANAM TIRTHAM YADI BHAVET PUNYAM SALAGRAMA SILODBHAVAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/293,294 from PADMA PURANA)
The water which washed Shalagram Shila includes the water from the Ganga, Godavari, Reva and other liberating rivers. If this bath water from the Shalagram Shila is available, then there is no need for thousands of other places of pilgrimage.
GANGA PRAYAGA GAYA NAIMISA PUSKARANI PUNYANI YANI KURU JANGALA YA MUNANI KALENA TIRTHA SALILANI PUNANTI PAPAM PADODAKAM BHAGAVATAH PRAPUNATI SADYAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/301 from NRSINGHA PURANA)
Ganga, Prayaga, Gaya, Naimisa, Puskara, Kuruksetra, together with other places of pilgrimage, remove the sins of a person after long connection with them. But water which has washed the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at once purifies a person.
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/257,258,259 from SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.27.12-14)
Stone, wood, iron or metal, mud, picture, sand, mind and jewels are the eight ingredients that Deities can be made from in this world. Therefore, there are two kinds of Deities, movable and immovable, into which the Supreme Lord is called. Oh Uddhava, with both the movable and immovable forms, the Lord may be invited or sent away, but in the form of Shalagram Shila, this principle in not applicable He is eternally there. Bathing of wooden or clay Deities is done with a wet cloth. Otherwise, all the Deities are bathed with water.
GANDAKYAS CA IVA DESE CA SALAGRAMA STHALAM MAHAT PASANAM TAD BHAVAM YAT TAT SALAGRAMAM ITI SMRTAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/296 from GAUTAMIYA TANTRA)
Near the Kali-Gandaki River (in Nepal), there is a big place called Shalagram. The stones which appear in that place are called Shalagram Shila.
SNIGDHA KRSNA PANDARA VA PITA NILA TATHAIVA CA VAKRA RUKSA CA RAKTA CA MAHA STHULA TU LANCCHITA KAPILA DARDURA BHAGNA BAHU CAKRAIKA CAKRIKA BRHAN MUKHI BRHAC CAKRA LAGNA CAKRATHAVA PUNAH BADDHA CAKRA ATHAVA KACID BHAGNA CAKRA TV ADHOMUKHI
(HARI BHAKTI VILAS 5/297,298 from SKANDA PURANA)
There are different kinds of Shalagram Shilas available such as oily ones, black ones, yellow ones, blue ones, crooked, dry ones, red ones, huge ones, without any marks, brown ones, in the shape of a frog, broken, with one or many disk marks, with many faces, non-specific? grand disk mark?, with a broken disc, facing down, complete disc, half disc, etc.
KHANDITAM SPHUTITAM BHAGNAM PARSVA BHINNAM VIBHEDITAM SALAGRAMA SAMUDBHUTAM SAILAM DOSAVAHAM NA HI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/309 from BRAHMA PURANA spoken by the Supreme Lord)
Even if the Shalagram Shila is broken in half or broken a little, or having a broken back, even in such a condition, Shalagram Shila is free from fault and can be worshiped.
KHANDITAM TRTITAM BHAGNAM SALAGRAME NA DOSABHAK ISTA TU YASYA YA MURTIH SA TAM YATNENA PUJAYET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/310 from SKANDA PURANA spoken by Lord Siva)
Broken, deformed or slightly broken Salagram Shila can be worshipped. There is no fault in worshipping Shalagram Shila in these conditions. Whatever form one appreciates, he should worship Him very carefully.
Those people who are the lowest of mankind and who are controlled by lust, anger and greed can be elevated to the abode of Lord Hari by worshiping Shalagram Shila.
DIKSA VIDHANA MANTRAJNAS CAKRE YO BALIM AHARET SA YATI VAISNAVAM DHAMAM SATYAM SATYAM MAYO DITAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/374 from PADMA PURANA)
Anyone who has attained mantra diksa initiation properly and is worshiping Shalagram Shila, whatever he offers to Shalagram Shila, he achieves the abode of Lord Visnu. Of this, there is no doubt. I personally say this.
SALAGRAMA SILA CAKRAM YO DADYAD DANAM UTTAMAM BHU CAKRAM TENA DATTAM SYAT SASAILAM VANAKANANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/382 from PADMA PURANA)
Giving charity of Shalagram Shila is the best of all charities. Any person who has given this charity has achieved the result of performing all auspicious activities and he has given charity of the whole earthly planet, decorated with forest, jungles, and mountains.
Lord Shiva spoke to Skanda, his son, saying that any person who has seen Shalagram Shila, paid obeisances to Him, bathed and worshipped Him, has achieved the results of performing ten million sacrifices and giving ten million cows in charity.
YO DADATI PHALAM VISNOH SALAGRAMA SAMUDBHAVAM VIPRAYA VISNU BHAKTAYA TENA ISTAM BAHUBHIR MAKHAIH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/407 from SKANDA PURANA)
Any person who has donated a Shalagram Shila to the devotee of Lord Visnu (Vaishnava) or to a qualified pure brahmana, he has achieved the results of performing unlimited sacrifices and austerities.
SA DHANYAH PURUSO LOKE SAPHALAM TASYA JIVITAM SALAGRAMA SILA SUDDHA GRHE YASYA CA PUJITA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/409 from SKANDA PURANA)
In any house, if a person worships Shalagram Shila properly, those persons are glorified and their existence is successful in this world.
SALAGRAMA SILARUPI YATRA TISTHATI KESAVAH NAVADHANTE'SURAS TATRA BHUTA VETALAK ADAYAH SALAGRAM SILA YATRA TAT TIRTHAM TAT TAPOVANAM YATAH SANNIHITAS TATRA BHAGAVAN MADHUSUDANAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/427,428 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA)
In any place, if Lord Keshava is situated there in the form of Shalagram Shila, there, neither demons, nor ghosts, nor devils, can create any obstacles to that person or place. Any place where Shalagram Shila is situated can be turned into a place of pilgrimage and a place for performing austerities because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Madhusudana (killer of the Madhu demon, personally resides there.)
SALAGRAMA SILAYAM YO MULYAM UDGHATAYET NARAH VIKRETA CA ANUMANTA CA YAH PARIKSAM UDIRAYET SARVE TE NARAKAM YANTI YAVAD AHUTA SAMPLAVAM ATAH SAMVARJAYED VIPRA CAKRASYA KRAYA VIKRAYAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/436,437 from SKANDA PURANA Lord Siva to Skanda)
Oh brahmana, under no circumstances should anyone ever buy or sell Shalagram Shila. One should not even suggest a price to be paid for Shalagram Shila. No one should find faults in Him or explain some mistakes in Him. All of these persons must go to the hellish planets and live there until the complete annihilation.
SALAGRAMA SILAYANTU PRATISTHA NAIVA VIDYATE MAHA PUJANTU KRTVADAU PUJAYET TAM TATO BUDHAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA, 5/438 from SKANDA PURANA)
There is no installation process for Shalagram Shila. The learned and purified souls have recommended a grand worship of Him and then regular worship thereafter which requires proper qualification.
SALAGRAMA SILAYANTU SAKSAT SRI KRSNA SEVANAM NITYAM SANNIHITAS TATRA VASUDEVO JAGAD GURUH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/444 from PADMA PURANA)
The worship of Shalagram Shila is the worship of Lord Hari directly. Jagat Guru, the spiritual master of the universe, Lord Vasudeva, eternally resides within Shalagram Shila.
STRIYO VA YADI VA SUDRA BRAHMANAH KSATRIYADAYAH PUJAYITVA SILA CAKRA LABHANTE SASVATAM PADAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 5/452 from SKANDA PURANA conversation between Lord Brahma and Narada Muni)
Worship of Salagram Sila can be done by women, brahmanas (twice born), kshatriyas (administrators), sudras (low caste), etc. and they can all achieve the eternal abode of Lord Gauranga Krsna perfectly.