In the world today there are geologists and paleontologists who collect and study fossils. There are numerous kinds of fossils of which one kind is called the ammonite, or snail shell. Some persons wrongly think that in our worship of Natural Phenomena - in the form of the Self Manifesting - Swayamvyakta Salagram that this has some symbolic representation to or in fossils or other crustations of by-gone past. Factually nothing could be further from the truth.
Certainly in Deity worship there is a certain amount of ritual symbology, which is useful to generate rememberence of the function or purpose of an action. But here whether we acknowledge, experience or realise the potency of the original pastime, still the generative expanded form (shila) before us has all the potency of the original we read of, or hear about in shastra.
The ancient text found in Sri Brahma-samhita 5th chapter text 46. "Just as with the light of One candle being communicated to expand to other candles by lighting Them, although each flame individually burns separately in Them, Each flame is of the Same burning and luminary capacity in its quality or potency. Therefore I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda Who exhibits Himself equally in the same mobile manner in His various Manifestations of Vishnu Tattwa."
WORD FOR WORD TRANSLATION:diparcir eva hi dasantaram abhyupetia
yas tadrg eva hi ca visnutaya vibhati
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
An ammonite cluster from Germany - really not the same as a Salagram shila
A practical example how in South of San Angelo West of Mertzon USA ammonite
fossil remains are being found. Although the swirling shell-like ammonite
similarity resembles the Swayam-vyakta Shalagram forms that we find in
the Kali Gandhaki river, that's where the similarity ends.
Certainly in Vedik culture we observe and honour Nature and use pure elements as mentioned is the sacred scriptures to fashion sacred icons - vighraha forms that can be used to call the Lord into. And we also honour with great respect sacred stones such as the Salagram and Shiva-Lingam that occur according to the tennents depicted in the sacred texts. Such sacred texts tell exactly what these forms look like and where they will be found. Therefore, faithfully following scriptural injunctions we accept as worshippable some forms occuring in nature, and do not others.
One example that may be given is like in the postal system of a country; New Zealand Post have their Red, black and white boxes and easiliy identifiable logos on them. We understand from their documentation that if we put a letter or card into such boxes they will guarantee that gets to its required destination. But, not any box by the side of the road will do, some are just not recognised or authorised, consequently it is risky to place confidence that by placing one's letter etc., in such a box that it will arrive safely at the required destination. Although, there is the chance it might.
So in the same way, all over the world similar ammonite remains have been found, just like these examples found in Marocco, North Africa, USA, and Europe as shown in the following site: http://www.atlasart.com/eng/fossiles/amonite.htm but the intrinsic difference can even be observed with our blunt senses.
Of course, as they are made of the elements that also come from the Lord, we wouldn't say that it is any more impossible for someone worshipping God in such an element, as one may do in Moses worshipping God in the form of a buring bush, or the Deity in the temple, although this is a slightly different discussion to that we have here as recognising the authority of shastra and understanding the Absolute potency and pledge of the Lord to reside in such a place.
In these pages connected with this Shalagram Tirtha Pradarshini page you will come across the pastime of Lord Krishna accepting the Shalagram form, in relation to Srimati Tulasi Devi and the Kali Gandaki region. The story has crossed the barriers of transcendental time to times we can know and touch. We hear that such forms are eternal, or been around from time immemorial. The rationalists and scientists with their blunt instruments, refusing to accept the statements of the sacred scriptures state time spans of years they think such shilas have been around.
Do you know the story of the five blind men confronted with describing an elephant? They each groped in their darkness, using the expanse of their experience and knowledge to describe what was before them. But factually how much can a blind man see, or a mundane scientist hear? There are systems for analysing Truth or Knowledge called Pramanas.
In the following page the author is presenting that the ammonite is from the Jurassic period of mundane history ( approximately 27,000,000 years ago ). In this way with modern day dating technologies they have understood the age as being very very old indeed http://www.geocities.com/arturjurassico/juramo.html Out of this page I gained the realisation, and it's one thing that amuses me, how they have named each one, but not according to the attribute of the fossil, instead by the name of the finder, or discoverer. This again symptomises the fact that there's no personality within the ammonite of these paleontologists, rather just a collection of stone relics from a by-gone era.
Once I was walking through South Melbourne market in Melbourne, Australia do some shopping of provisions for my Shalagrams. A new addition at that time was a geology stall displaying and selling fossils from all over the world. There were about ten or so display cases back to back forming a horse-shoe shape with another couple of displays in the middle. There were thousands of fossils, and a large number of ammonites of all different colours and sizes.
After visiting Nepal a few years prior, and before leaving gaining my certificate to remove Shalagram ammonites from the region from the Dept. of Mining and Geology, I was inquisitive to see if these people had any Shalagrams among their collection. Approaching the stall holder I asked him, "Excuse me, I see you have samples from all over the world, do you have any from the Kali Gandaki in Nepal?"
Surprised by his answer, "Na, we don't get those ones!"
"We just don't"
....immediately made me think of Lord Krishna, and His pastimes of leaving this world in Dwaraka. His pastimes complete, for the devotees, we understand that He returned to His own transcendental abode. But to satisfy the mundaners He left a material body, which resembled His, but was made of material elements. So similarly the ammonite resembles the markings on the surface of the Shalagram shilas, the chakras that are carved by the vajrakita worms. We say that the form of the Lord like this is one of the eternal forms of the Lord, the mundaners say such shilas are between 150,000,000 and 200,000,000 years old (give or take 50,000,000 years eh !!!! After all what's 50,000,000 years between friends........????)
Even in the Nepali trekking guides they echo these theories:
"The flora and fauna of Nepal, its magnificent terrain, its people and their culture, are the great attractions of this remarkable country. In an effort to help the trekker interpret what he sees, a brief guide to the geology, climate and ecological divisions is presented here with descriptions of the animals that might be encountered along a trek. The scientific study of Nepal's flora and fauna is still going on, so this chapter should not be taken as the final word. Instead, it should be considered a stepping stone to the more comprehensive references cited in Recommended Reading. The Tribhuvan Natural History Museum in Swayambhunath, Katmandu, can provide some more information, as can the Nepal Nature Conservation Society. The society can be contacted through the Katmandu Guest House, Thamel, Katmandu.
There appears to be some
agreement that the origins of the Himalayas can be explained by theories
of plate tectonics and continental drift. Geologists believe that convection
currents in the upper mantle of the earth are fueled by heat generated
from radioactivity in the core. These currents move continents millimetres
per year. Where there are ascending currents, the land mass on the earth's
surface above the currents thins out, stretches, and breaks apart. Where
descending currents meet, initially the crust is pulled in to form a depression
(geosyncline); then the land masses overlying very slowly crash together
and strong compressive forces crumple the land, producing the folds we
call mountains. Erosion and glaciation sculpt them to their present form.
Current theories on the formation of the Himalayas suggests that before the beginning of orogeny (mountain building) some seventy million years ago in the Mesozoic geologic era, there was a large ocean, caused by a geosycline, separating the Asian from the Indian continent. The Mediterranean Sea is a remnant of this ancient ocean, called the Tetheys Sea. The Tetheys Sea was fed by rivers from the two continents, which deposited their sediments into it. The Asian continent from the north slowly moved into the Tetheys Sea, whose sediments were folded into the Tibetan Marginal Range, the mountains south of the present Tibetan Plateau. This area lies on the Nepal-Tibet border today. After compression, the sediments rose up and the sea disappeared. The rivers originating in these mountains flowed north and south. The next phase occurred ten to fifteen million years ago in the Miocene period. The Indian continent began to over thrust itself against the Asian, resulting in the uplifting of the main Himalayan chain, called the Main Central Thrust. The Tibetan Marginal Range was also lifted higher, and the Tibetan Plateau was formed by the stretching of the land mass to the north. The rivers flowing south were given a steeper gradient by the over thrusting of the Indian continent. Because of the increased precipitation on the southern parts, the rivers had enough force and water to cut through the mountains faster than they were being lifted up.
The third phase took place 600,000 years ago in the Pleistocene period, when further thrusting from the continental collision gave more uplift to the main Himalayas. Some of the rivers could not erode fast enough and were dammed into lakes such of Tilicho and RaRa.
The final phase during the later Pleistocene period was the rise of the Mahabharat Lekh, the outer foothills. This dammed some of the rivers flowing south, resulting in the formation of lakes such as the one in the prehistoric Kathmandu Valley. It dried up only some 200,000 years ago. Forced to run in longitudinal valleys, the rivers broke through Mahabharat Lekh in three weak places- the Karnali at Chisapani in the west, the Gandaki at Deoghat in the middle, and the Kosi at Barahchhetra in the east.
The mountains of the Himalaya, the highest in the world, are unique among the great mountains ranges in that they are miles to the north edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The result is the world's greatest gorges, through which the trans-Himalayan rivers penetrate the mountain barriers on their way down to the Indian Ocean. The Himalayan mountains are the youngest in the world and may still be rising from the pressures of the collision of continents.
Today three main geological zones can be recognized in Nepal. The Tropical Plains and Foothills lie over Tertiary (twenty-five to seventy million years old) sediments composed of conglomerate sandstone, shale and marine limestone. Many fossils are found in the Siwaliks or outer foothills including giraffe, hippopotamus, and mastodon. Minerals found here include placer gold and coal. The Middle Region, intensely folded, is made up primarily of Paleozoic (270 to 500 million years old) sediments composed of phyllite (derived from shale) and micaceous quartzite. There are limestone, dolomite, carbonaceous shale, slate, granite and iron formations. Copper, lead, zinc, iron, cobalt, and nickel are some of the minerals found there. Few of these deposits are economically retrievable. The Himalaya is made of Mesozoic and more recent sediments consisting of metamorphic elements containing few minerals. In western and northeastern Nepal, there are granite intrusions and hydrothermal activity. The hot springs, which trekkers enjoy, correspond to rupture lines in the terrestrial crust. They appear at low points of geological relief and are close to the Main Central Thrust. Indeed hot springs do not occur outside of this area. Nepalis use the springs for certain rituals and pilgrimages as well as for bathing. The BhoTiya tend to ascribe therapeutic benefits to them.
(Stephen Bezruchka. 1972. Trekking Guide in Nepal. pages 287-288.)
..........makes interesting reading, but does not give Love of God!!!!!
Links to the sacred Himalayas