Real And Imagined Nomenclature of Saligram Silas
Posted November 2, 2008
I returned from my trip to India recently. What a trip it was at the feet of my Lord at Mathura in Vrindavan! This time I had a chance to pick up sacred Saligram Silas from Haridwar. There are now a couple of websites selling silas at high prices, but there is absolutely no limit as to how these suppliers have stretched the imagination as to the naming of the Lord. Saligrams have been given a variety of incorrect and arbitrary names — like "Sacred Adwaitya Shweta Shashidhara Chandramauli Kalp Laxmi Vishvaksena Ganesha" and "Sacred Double Golden Kamal Santan Gopal Matsya Chaturbhuj Chakradhari Bhur Bhuvas" — seemingly to attribute particular properties to them and, thus, to charge high amounts.
According to the Prapancasara (quoted in Pranatoshani-tantra), Lord Vishnu has 50 different forms, each of which may be worshipped in a Saligram stone: Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhar, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha, Damodara, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Chakrin, Gadin, Sharngin, Khadgin, Shankin, Halin, Musalin, Sulin, Pashin, Ankushin, Mukunda, Nandaja, Nandin, Nara, Narakajit, Hari, Krishna, Satya, Satvata, Sauri, Suri, Janardana, Bhudharin, Visvamurti, Vaikuntha, Purushottama, Balin, Balanuja, Bala, Vrishagnha, Vrisha, Hamsa, Varaha, Vimala and Nrisimha.
Similarly, the Nagar-khanda of the Skandapurana lists 24 varieties of Saligrams: Keshava, Madhusudana, Sankarsana, Damodara, Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Vishnu, Madhava, Ananta, Purushottama, Adhokshaja, Janardan, Govinda, Trivikrama, Sridhar, Hrisikesa, Nrisimha, Visvayoni, Vamana, Narayana, Pundarikaksa, Upendra, Hari and Krishna.
Finally, the Brahma-vaivarta-purana (Prakriti-khanda, chapter 21) gives detailed descriptions of various Saligrams. Typically, these have names like Sridhar, Damodara, Ananta, Madhusudana, Sudarsan, Gadadhar, Aniruddha or Laksmi-nrsimha, etc. For example, the Hayagriva Saligram is described as "having two circular marks and shaped like the face of a horse", while the Ranarama Saligram is described as "round and midsized, with two circular marks and prints of a quiver with arrows on his body".
However, some commercial websites are using their own nomenclature, which is contrary to the information in these scriptures. These suppliers are identifying their silas in any random way to fool people. For example, "Bhur Bhuvas Gayatri" or "Sacred Adwaitya Shweta Netradhari Laxmi Vishvaksena Maha Ganesha" cannot be authentic Saligrama Silas. Buyers should absolutely not trust the words of these suppliers. You cannot buy the Lord. Worship the Lord with sheer devotion and pure love; take any authentic Saligram Sila and see him in that.