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Worship of Shaligram

Shaligram is a divine and Holy stone which is highly revered by Hindus especially the Vaishnavas and by the people of Sanatan Dharma. Many ancient Holy Hindu Scriptures mention the worship of Shaligram and the immense benefits it offers. Shaligrama is not an ordinary stone. It is the manifestation of the Supreme preserve, that is Lord Vishnu. As mentioned, Shaligram is Sakshat Vishnu Swaroop and it is awakened (Jagrut) in nature hence, the age-old tradition of invocation, also known as ‘Pran Prathisha’ need not be performed on it. Once, you install a Shaligram in the puja altar of your house, it is important to offer prayers and to worship it daily. Doing so leads to attractive peace, prosperity and positivity in the dwelling and in the life of the dweller.

Also, offering prayers to the divine Shaligram daily helps in connecting with the divine and powerful energies of Lord Vishnu. According to a strong belief, Maa Lakshmi along with Lord Vishnu dwell in the Vastu which has a Shaligram installed and worshipped daily with Tulsi leaves. Moreover, it is believed that the person who installs a Shaligram at his/her house and worships it daily with sincere and pure devotion is blessed with riches and abundance always. Cleanliness of mind and soul along with the place where Shaligram is installed plays a pivotal role as it displays the pure ‘bhav’, respect and your devotion towards the deity.

When you install the divine Shaligrama in your house, you need to worship it daily and take care of the cleanliness of your dwelling and your mind and body as mentioned above. But, in situations where you are bound to stay away from the house for a few days make sure to fill a copper plate with water and gangajal mixture and immerse the Shaligrama in it. Once you return home, do puja and re-install the Shaligrama at its original place.

Benefits of Shaligram puja

The Vishnu Swaroopi Shaligrama being Jagrut holds immense energies which can transform the devotee’s life completely. Listed below are a few of the many benefits the Shaligram offers when one devotedly worships it and performs puja every day.

  • As mentioned in the Puranas, if a devotee worships the Shaligram Shila with pure devotion regularly, he/she is blessed abundantly. The life of the devotee is filled with happiness, immense prosperity, wealth, success in all undertakings and recognition.
  • According to Brahmavaivarta Purana, in the chapter of Prakritikhand, it is mentioned that Lord Vishnu along with consort Goddess Lakshmi reside in the place where Shaligram Shila is worshipped every day especially during the auspicious day like Ekadashi
  • The Skanda Purana also mentions that any person who worships the Shaligram Shila with pure devotion in the month of Kartik will be blessed by Lord Shiva Himself.
  • Worshipping Shaligram offers all the benefits that a person receives by performing various Yagnas and visiting pilgrimages as mentioned in the Vedic Scriptures. Moreover, consuming the water in which a Shaligram Sila is placed keeps all the diseases at bay and washes off all the sins
  • When the Shaligram on auspicious occasions like the Tulsi Vivah, Ekadashi and during the Holy month of Kartik, the devotee is blessed meritoriously.

There are many such benefits a Shaligram offers when worshipped. Listed below is the detailed puja methodology for performing the Shaligram puja as per Holy Scriptures. Let us first look at the Puja Samagri (articles) followed by the detailed Puja methodology for performing Shaligram puja:

List of Puja Samagri for performing Shaligram Puja:

Puja Methodology

  • Wake up early in the morning
  • Cleanse yourself by bathing and wearing fresh clothes
  • Now be seated on an asana facing the East or North-East direction
  • You can either perform the puja by yourself or appoint a Guru who can perform the Shaligram puja in a Vedic manner
  • It is ideal to place only one Shaligram in the house. If you want to install more than one Shaligram, then you may keep an even number starting from 4. The Shaligrams must be installed in even numbers.
  • According to the Holy ancient Scriptures, a house that has 12 Shaligrams installed is referred to as the ‘Divya Desham’ meaning divine land where Mata Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu Himself reside.

Setting up an Altar

  • In your altar where the idol or framed photograph of your Ishta Deva are installed must be cleaned.
  • Fresh flower decorations or lighting can be done to the altar as per your taste.
  • Drawing a rangoli at the main entrance door of the house is an invitation for the deities to come and visit the house. Hence, keep a practice of drawing rangoli.
  • You can draw rangoli from rice flour, flowers, grains and legumes and offer Haldi and Kumkum on it.
  • A shaligram must be placed on a copper plate that has 9 betel leaves.

Pavitrikaran(Purification)

For purification vidhi, sprinkle a few drops of gangajal and plain tap water mix over yourself and all the other Puja articles and ingredients. Now chant the following

"Om Apavitrah Pavitro Va Sarva Vastan Gatopi Va
Yah Smaret Pundari Kaksham Sa Bahya Bhyantarah Shuchih"


Translation:
May all things unholy become holy, may all lower tendencies depart, just as soon as we transcend may within and without be purified!

Then Chant:
"Om Gurubhyo Namaha
Om Ganeshaya Namaha
Om Kula Devatabhyo Namaha
Om Ishta Devatabhyo Namaha
Om Mata Pitribhyam Namaha"

Translation:
I bow to guru, I bow to Ganesha, I bow to the family deity, I bow to my personal deity, I bow to my parents

Āchamaniyam (Purification)
After bathing, when you sit for puja, pour a spoonful of water from your left hand in the palm of your right hand and consume it. Repeat this process three times and while doing so, chant the following mantra to invoke the purity of mind, body and spirit
Om Keshavaya Namah, Om Narayanaya Namah, Om Madhavaya Namah, Om Govindaya Namah.
Explanation: I bow to thee Keshav, I bow to thee Narayan, I bow to thee Madhav, I bow to thee Govind.

Procedure of doing Diya Batti/ Deep Jyoti
Take a clay lamp or a metal diya, fill it with pure Ghee (clarified butter) and add a cotton wick to it. This is a symbolic representation of victory over darkness and ignorance. Now, light the diya and place the palms together in a namaste mudra and now chant the following mantra

shubham karoti kalyānām ārogyam dhana sampadah |
shatru buddhi vināshāya Deepa Jyoti namostute ||


My respect to the light that brings auspiciousness, good health, prosperity and abundance |
that which destroys the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. I bow to you ||

Ganesh Dhyaan (Meditating over Lord Ganesh)

Lord Ganesh is the God who removes obstacles from our lives. Sit in an appropriate manner with folded legs and specific hand mudras and now with a pure bhav prayer over Lord Ganesh asking Him to remove all the obstacles that can cause hindrance in the puja vidhi. Now chant the following mantras

ganānantva ganapati gum havā mahe
priyānantva priyapati gum havā mahe
nidhinantva nidhipati gum havā mahe
vāso mamha āham jā nigarvādhamvā tvamajā sigarvādhamvā

Translation:
We honour and invoke You with offerings, Lord Ganapati, Keeper of the Paths
We invoke You with love and affection, Lord Ganapati, Creator of Life
We invoke You with offerings of treasures, Lord Ganapati, Protector of Wealth
Resonate within me, and bring forth within me the realm of the Divine

Also chant the following
shukla ambara dharam vishnum shashi varanam chatur bhujam |
prasana vadanam dhyāyet sarva vighnopashāntaye ||
We meditate on the One in white attire, who is all-pervading, bright as the moon, and four-armed |
Salutations Compassionate One with a kind face, we pray to the Lord Who Removes all Obstacles ||

Performing Pranayam (Exercises of the breath)

  • Sit with folded legs on the asana and now perform the exercise by closing the right nostril with the right thumb and by inhaling through the left nostril by placing the index finger on your left nostril exhale through your right nostril
  • While doing this process keep your mind black
  • Chant !! Om Bhuh Om Bhuvah Om Suvah Om Mahah Om Janah Om Tapah Om Satyam
  • Also chant !!om tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt!! In your subconscious mind

Translation: May the light of consciousness come to shine forth its radiance through our intellectsClosing the left nostril with the right ring finger and exhale through the right nostril and the devotee chants mentally:
om āpo jyotiraso mrtam brahma bhurbhuvasuvarom

Translation: Salutations to the Divine Consciousness Who is all-pervading, ever bright, of the divine essence, immortal, bliss-filled nectar, Truth-Consciousness-Bliss

Sankalpa (Intention of the prayer)
The intention for performing the puja play a pivotal role. Intentions hold great powers to merge with the divine energy and manifest. For performing Sankalpa

  • Place the left palm on the right thigh with the palm facing upward.
  • Now turn the right palm downward, place it on top of the left palm and chant:

mamo patta samasta durita kshaya dvara |
Sri parameshvara prityartham devapujam karishye ||
To remove all negative thoughts, words, and actions that I have accrued over lifetimes |
To be worthy of the Divine’s grace, I begin this worship ||

Asana Puja
The devotee must offer prayers invoking the divine energies of Mother Earth. She is the one who gives us shelter and food

Chant: om prthvi tvayā dhrtā lokā devi tvam vishnunā dhrtā |
tvam ca dhāraya mām devi pavitram kuru ca-āsanam ||
Translation: Mother Earth, Upholder of the Worlds. Vishnu holds you |
May you hold me, O Mother Earth, and purify my seat ||

Ghanta Pujā (Worship of the Bell)
The devotee rings a bell to invite Shaligrama Lord and to dispel all the negative energies in the house and surroundings.āgama-artham tu devānām gamana artham tu rakshasām |
ghanttā-ravam karomya āadau devatā āhvāna lānchanam ||


For the arrival of the good forces and departure of destructive forces |
I ring the bell, marking the invocation of auspiciousness that comes with the Divine manifestations ||

Kalash Puja
Puja is made over the water present in the Kalash and Panchapātra (vessel made with five materials) to invoke and to invite the Goddesses of the sacred rivers to be present in the water of the Kalash which will be offered during puja
gange cha yamune chaiva godāvari sarasvati |
narmade sindhu kāveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru ||

The sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri
May your holiness be present in this water

Ātmā Pujā (Worship of the Divinity in the self)
In this process, the devotee performs rituals to invoke the divine energies present within which is awakening the Supreme Consciousness
deho devalayah proktah jivo devassanātanah |
tyajedajannanirmalayam so’ham bhāvena pujavet ||

The body is the temple. The jiva is the eternal deity of this temple.
May I remove the wilted flowers that symbolize ignorance and
Worship the Divine knowing the Divine is not separate from me.

Guru Dhyānam (Contemplation on Guru)
The Guru, by whose grace the puja can take place is invoked by the devotee.

gurubrahma gururvishnuh gururdevo mahesvarah
gurusāksat param brahma tasmai srigurave namah

The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru is Mahesvara |
The Guru is Ultimate Reality, My obeisances to the Guru ||

Shodashopachara PujaThere are five steps within the 16 which are central to the shodashopāchara pujā. They are referred to as the pancha upachara and correlate to the five senses: touch, hearing, smell, sight, and taste. The pancha upachara are gandham, pushpam, dhoopam, deepam, and naivedyam. Gandham involves touch in applying various pastes and powders to the murti. Pushpam involves sound as the deity’s name is chanted with each offering of flowers. Dhoopam involves sound as incense is offered. Deepam involves sight in the offering of light. And naivedyam involves taste from the food offerings made to and blessed by the Divine.

Dhyānam & Āvāhanam
Dhyana slokas:
dhyayami Devam Lakshmisam Shankha-chakra-gadhadharam
Peethambara paridhAnam Padhmasannibha lochanam
Mandasmitha mukhambhojam madhanayutha Sundaram
Maayanirmitha lokaougam megasyamala vigraham
Sri Lakshmi Naarayanam dhyayami

Namo Namasthe Karunalaya Namo Namasthe Kamaladhavaya
Namo Namasthe Jagatham cha srashtre namo namasthe nathsoka harthre
Thrahi maam Karunasindho! Paahi maam Kamalapathe!
Thvayi bhakthi: sadhaivasthu mama sarvarTadhayini
(Om) Namo Naarayana ….Subhamasthu.

Through the process of meditation, the devotee invites the presence of the divine Shaligram in their homes and in their life.

Chant: Om Sri Shaligram Avāhanam Samarpayāmi
Asana
The devotee offers a seat to the Lord.
Chant: om sri Shaligram āsanam samarpayāmi

Pādyam, Ārghyam & Āchamanyam
In this ritual, the devotee washes the Shaligram signifying the washing of hands and feet. Just the way we allow our guests who have come from a long journey to wash their hands and feet. Similarly, the devotee does it for the Shaligrama as a sign of inviting the divine energies at home.

Chant: Om Sri Shaligram pādyam ārghyam āchamaniyam samarpayāmi


Madhuparkam
The devotee offers Honey, sugar, ghee (clarified butter), curd (yoghurt), and water to the Lord symbolizing refreshments.
Chant: Om Sri Shaligram madhuparkam samarpayāmi



Snanam
The devotee Holy bathes the Lord with panchāmrit (honey, sugar, milk, curd, and ghee). While bathing the Saligrama, the devotee sings sacred hymns and chants mantras during this process.
Chant: Om Sri Shaligram snānam samarpayāmi

Vastram
The devotee offers clean and new Vastra to the Lord Shaligram after Holy bathing
Chant: om sri Shaligram vastram samarpayāmi
Yagnoveetam
The sacred thread is offered by the devotee to the Shaligram after Holy bathing it.
Chant: om sri Shaligram yagnopaveetam samarpayāmi
Ābhāranam
Shaligrama is offered ornaments by the devotee and then the devotee sing songs of praise to the Shaligram
Chant: om sri Shaligram ābhāranam samarpayāmi
Gandham or TilakThe devotees offer Kumkum, Haldi and sandalwood paste or vibhooti on the Shaligram
Chant: om sri Shaligram chandanam samarpayāmi, om sri Shaligram sindoor tilakam samarpayāmi, om sri Shaligram haldiyam samarpayāmi, om sri Shaligram vibhooti samarpayāmi
Offering Pushpam
The devotees offer 108 0r 1008 flowers to the Shaligram. While offering one flower one among many names of the divine is recited
Chant: om sri Shaligram pushpam samarpayāmi

Offering Dhoop incense
The devotee offers fumes of the dhoop sticks to the Shaligram
Chant: om sri Shaligram dhoopam samarpayāmi
Lighting a Diya
The devotee lights another ghee lamp and offers it to Lord Shaligram
Chant: om sri Shaligram deepam samarpayāmi

Offering Naivedya
Sweets and food made especially to offer to the Lord are served to the Shaligram by placing it in front of the Shaligram. Water too is offered
Chant: om sri Shaligram naivedyam samarpayāmi

TambulamBetel nut and leaves, which have symbolic meanings, are offered as mouth fresheners after the meal. Coins or larger monetary amounts are also given as offerings.
Chant: om sri Shaligram tambulam samarpayāmi

Kapur Niranjanam
A devotee burns camphor and offers its fumes to the Lord
Chant: om sri Shaligram karpoora samarpayāmi

Pradakshina & Namaskāram
The devotee now takes Pradakshina (turning round and round clockwise) three times in the same place by standing in front of the Shaligram. The devotee then bows down to the Lord, asks for forgiveness of any mistakes committed during the puja process and sends off the Divine form with gratitude.
Chant: Om Sri Shaligram pradakshina samarpayāmi; om sri Shaligram namaskāram samarpayāmi

The devotee chants the following closing mantra.
kāyena vācā manase indriyairvā buddhy ātmanā vā prakrteh svabhāvāt |
karomi yad yat sakalam parasmai nārāyanāyeti samarpayāmi ||

Whatever I do with my Body, Speech, Mind, or Senses, Whatever I do use my Intellect, Feelings or unconsciously through my natural tendencies |
Whatever I do, I do selflessly for others and surrender them all at the Lotus Feet of the Divine ||

Note: If one is unable to perform an elaborate Puja of Shaligram daily then he or she may keep the Shaligram on a copper plate, wash it with water, apply a sandalwood tilak, offer a fresh Tulsi leaf and incense stick, offer obeisance and chant “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” 108 times.

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