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Re: Saligram

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Jul 24 1998 - 13:13:45 PDT

Balram Sanjay, quoting from a sAlagrAma book, wrote:
> The Skanda Purana also anumerates the good and bad results derived from 
> venerating diffrent types of Saligrama Silas. Worshiping a smooth sila 
> brings mantra-siddi (perfection in the chanting of one's given mantra). 
> Black silas bestow fame, yellow silas give sons, whitish silas destroy 
> one's sins, blue silas increase wealth, and blood-red silas bring 
> diseases. Rough silas create anxiety, uneven silas give poverty, and fat 
> silas decrease one'slife span. Silas devoid of markings yield no 
> results. if one mistakingly adores a sila with the following qualities  
[ .. rest deleted .. ] 

In my opinion, based on my exposure to the sastras of our
sampradaaya, Sri Vaishnavas should only obtain and perform
sAlagrAma worship in the spirit of loving service.  Going
to the extent of worshipping a sAlagrAma for the sake of 
some material or non-material wealth could not be further
from the spirit of Sri Ramanuja's teachings.

With this in mind, the very thought that pure-hearted worship 
can cause any kind of detrimental effect should be banished.

Emberumaanaar (Ramanuja) begins the "nitya grantha", his manual of
daily worship, with the words:

	atha paramaikAntino bhagavadArAdhanaprayogam vakshye |

	Now I will speak about the procedure of worshipping
	God for the extremely single-minded one.

The word 'paramaikAntin' is significant, as it refers to extreme
single-mindedness of purpose.  Devotees of the Lord are classified in
three ways: mere Vaishnavas, ekAnti-s (single-minded in purpose), and
paramaikAnti-s (extremely single-minded in purpose).  

Sri V.V. Ramanujam explains this classification in the following
manner.

The "Vaishnava" worships Narayana as the means to liberation but
thinks of Him as being distinct from the supreme goal. God here is
simply a means to attain a greater good. [ yas tu upAyatayA nityam
nityanaimittAdikam / satkRtyam kurute vishnoH vaishnavaH sa udAhRtaH
// ]

The ekAnti realizes that the means and the goal are one (God Himself)
and does what is ordained as His command, to secure His favor.  He is
"single-minded" in his desire to serve Narayana for this purpose.  
[ vishnor Aj~natayA yas tu satkRtyam kurute purah / ekAntIti
samunibhih procyate vaishnavottamaH // ]

But even superior to the ekAnti is the great person of God who
practices these acts purely as loving service to God, purely out of
the selfless desire to please Him.  This person is the paramaikAnti,
since he is extreme in his single-mindedness. [ yas tu bhogatayA
vishnoH satkRtyam kurute sadA / sa eva paramaikAntI
mahAbhAgavatottamaH // ]

While we may be attracted to worship in the beginning out of a desire
for "siddhi-s", or some selfish benefit or another.  To my regret, I
personally cannot yet say I am wholly above that feeling.  But let's
always keep the real goal in mind, and not get embroiled in the fear
(or selfish delight) of what may happen through the worship of a
particular sila or the other.

SrI kRshNArpaNam astu

Mani