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Question about shAlagrama

From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian (rbalasub_at_ecn.purdue.edu)
Date: Tue Jul 22 1997 - 15:27:42 PDT

I have a question after reading the post by VVijay236@aol.com. It was
written:

>total of 28 Salagramams for the garland to adorn Lord Venkateswara at
>Buffalo. The Pratishta of the Lord took place in the middle of June 97.

In the smArtha tradition (to which I belong) the shAlagrama is
considered Lord NarAyaNa himself. I would think that the same is true in
the shrI vaishhNava tradition also. So unlike other vigraham-s there is
no need for Avahana and the usual procedures. So I am curious why the
Lord is adorned with a garland of shAlagrAma-s. Also how would the
garland be made? I would presume that a hole would have to be made in
the shAlagrAma. But this seems to contradicts with the view that the
shAlagrAma is bhagavAn himself. Or is it made without making a hole in
the shAlagrAma? Is this some thing from of the vaishhNava Agama-s?
Thanks in advance for clarifying my doubts.

Ramakrishnan.