Take a trip to the Kali Gandaki with
(Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree.1985. Vaishnavism Through the Ages. pages 27-49.)
(Note: the information found within this page is to help one identify variety in the Salagram forms of the Lord. Some statements are made that appear to put material confines or limits, or restrict Shalagrams, and even their sevaks. These quotes are not according to Vaishnava siddhanta of Hari Bhakti Vilas so are not to be considered as our authority. The statements of HBV and other shastra as cited herein are to be followed instead. It might pay, if you haven't read these to read the statements of HBV and other Vaishnava authorities before reading this page so that one can take what is required to identify, but not to set the vidhi for the worship. This page is only for our inspiration as a guide, although some of which is said that may bring a sevak/sadhaka/pujari harm, that could cause unnecessary chalenges in our devotional service, might be worth respectfully passing up.)
The Shalagrama are divided up into different varieties. It appears from
different authoritative texts that since hoary antiquity only the sacred
stones found under the current of the river Gandaki were worshipped. But
with the increase of their popularity, the marked stone-pieces found on
the slopes and even on the banks of the said river also were accepted.
When due to the growth of popularity of the Shalagram worship, acceptance
of Krishna Vaasudeva as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and non-availability
of sufficient number of Shalagrams in the Gandaki region, a section of
people accepted a new type of stone piece as a substitute for the Shalagrams,
there arose a controversy. Majority of the Vaishnavas refused to accept
this new type as a worshipable Shalagram, whereas a minority of them accepted
it. As a result of this division of opinion the name Shaligram could not
be given to this new type, instead a new name Dwarka-sila was given, because
of its availability in the Dwarka region. Thus Shalagrams were primarily
divided into two prominent varieties named Gandakisilas or Shalagramsilas
proper and Dwarkasilas.
As regards the Shalagramas proper, they again were divided into different varieties, collected from 16 different places, and known by the following names (1) Pradyumna (2) Vaaman (3) Varaha (4) Purushottama (5) Narayana (6) Nrisimha (7) Ananta (8) Janardan (9) Vaasudeva (10) Matsya (11) Kurma (12) Buddha (13) Kalkin (14) Vishvakesha (15) Hayagrivas (16) Srikara (17) Harihara, and (18) Lakshminarayana.(Praanatoshanitantra, page 348.)
With the growing popularity of Shaligram and long experiences of the people about the result of their worship, each of the two prominent varieties mentioned above were again divided into new kinds in accordance with its colour and other qualities. Thus we find the following 20 new divisions of the Shalagram proper recorded in the Skandapurana, (Praantoshanitantra, page 347.); (1) Glaced (polished); (2) Black (3) Brown (4) Yellow (5) Blue (6) Red (7) Rough (8) Curved (9) Big (10) Unmarked (11) Reddish brown (12) Variegated (13) Broken (14) With many circular marks (15) with a single circular mark (16) with a long opening (17) with a big circular mark (18) having two or more circular marks joined with each other (19) having a broken circular mark, and (20) having opening at the base. As regards the results of worshipping these varieties; these also are recorded in the same book, which may be summarised as under.
(1)The glaced type; By worshipping it daily in the proper way, a devotee can secure his salvation very easily.
(2) Black: It offers fame to its worshippers.
(3) Brown: It removes sin.
(4) Yellow: It offers children.
(5) Blue: This type grants fortune to the devotee.
(6) Red: By offering worship to this type every day, one is sure to invite different types of diseases. Hence this type is forbidden to be worshipped.
(7) Rough: As a result of offering daily worship to this type, a devotee is bound to suffer from various types of anxieties. Hence, it is also a forbidden type.
(8) Curved: Daily worship to this type brings poverty. Hence it is also a forbidden type.
(9) Big: It brings in untimely death to its worshipper. Its worship therefore should be carefully avoided.
(10) Unmarked: This type is unable to offer any result whether good or bad. Hence, it's worship is useless.
(11-12) Reddish brown and the remaining nine types simply offer mental pain to their worshippers, and each as such, no wise devotee should offer worship to any of these types.
As regards the Dwarkasila, this variety also is found to be divided into different kinds in accordance with its colour and other qualities, which may be summarised as under (Padmapurane quoted in Praanatoshanitantra, page 360.)
(1) The blue type: It is the giver of untimely death
(2) The reddish brown: It brings in serious dangers.
(3) Variegated: It gives insanity
(4) Yellow: It causes destruction of wealth.
(5) Smoky Colour: It causes untimely death of children.
(6) The broken type: It causes death of wife.
(7) The white type with dot prints: It fulfils all desires.
(8) The type with unbroken circular marks: It removes poverty and sorrow.
(9) The type having glaced circular shape: It gives the same results as above.
(10) The type with quadrangular shape: It gives the same result as above.
(11) The type with even number of circular marks: It gives bliss and worldly pleasure.
(12) The type with odd number of circular marks: It causes sorrow and worldly pain.
The same authority adds that one should not offer worship to any of the following types because of their habit of giving undesirable results (loc. cit)
(1) The type with one or more holes on its body.
(2) The broken one.
(3) That which is neither round, nor has angles on its sides.
(4) That which has odd number of circles marked on its body.
(5) That which is shaped like the half part of the moon.
According to the Yogapaarijaata worship offered to a broken, big or rough Shalagram causes loss of wealth, intellect and longevity respectively, and that to one which is either white in colour or printed with teeth like marks brings good fortune (Yogapaarijaata quoted in Praanatoshanitantra, 361.).
In accordance with the number of circular marks also the Shalagrams are said to have their different names and results in the following way.(Praanatoshanitantra, page 361.)
As regards the Shalagram with a single circular mark, it again, according to the Prayogapaarijaata is divided into the following varieties, each giving a different kind of result in the following way (Prayogapaaraijaata quoted in Praanatoshanitantra. page 361.)
No. of Chakras Name of Shalagram Result offered by Him
one Sudarshan enjoyment and salvation (bhukti-mukti)
two Lakshminarayana kingdom of heaven
three Acyuta; Trivikrama wealth
four Janardan; Caturbhuja destruction of enemies
five Vaasudeva freedom from birth and death
six Pradyumna fame and prosperity
seven Sankarshan; Balabhadra sons and grandsons
eight Purushottama fulfilment of desires
nine Navavyuha high position
ten Dasavatara kingship
eleven Aniruddha immense wealth
twelve Ananta fulfilment of desires
thirteen or more Paramatma bliss and liberation
Colour of Shalagram His name Results secured from His worship
White Pundarika Liberation
Red Pralambaghna DEATH
Reddish Brown Rama quarrel
Mixed with two colours Vaikuntha Poverty
Mixed with many colours Vishveshvara Dependence on others
It is therefore advised that amongst the above five types, the first
one only should be worshipped.
We are further told that when a Shalagram stone of a worthy type, even after being worshipped for a long time is found to have a crack on its body, be broken into pieces, have a hole piercing its both the opposite sides, be burnt by fire, be stolen by an insane person or enemy, or lose its circular marks because of handling for a long time, its worship should be avoided. The reason given in support of the above view is that the Lord gives up such worn-up and defective symbol of His own in the same way, as a man leaves away his old and worn-up clothes('dehe jirune yathaa dehi tyktvaanyamupagacchati lingaadini tu jirnaani tathaa munchati devataa' - quoted in Praanatoshanitantra., page 361.)
When anybody disregards the above advice of the Shastras, he is bound to meet with dire misfortunes including extreme poverty and death (loc.cit)
According to the Prapanchasaara (quoted in Praanatoshanitantra.
page 373.) Lord Vishnu has his fifty different forms, each of which may
be worshipped in a Shalagram stone. His forms are given below:
Saaradaatantra also gives some information and adds that all the above
fifty forms of Lord Vishnu, when worshipped in an image should be formed
with greed colour (Shyama) holding a discuss and a conch in two of the
hands (Saaradaatantra. loc. cit.) According to the Fetkaarinitantra the
colour of the above deities should be like that of a new cloud and they
are to be clad in yellow clothes, each having his consort on his lap (Fetkaarinitantra.
While offering worship to a Shalagram, the devotee must take special notice about its shape, difference of which brings in different results in the following way: ('chatraakaare bhavedraajyam varttule cha mahaashriyah duhkhancha shakatakaare shoolaagre maranam dhruram vikritaasya cha daadridryam oingale haanireva cha. lagnachakre bhaved vyaadhirvidiirne maranam dhruvam' - Brahmavaivartapurana, Prakritikhanda, 21:78-79.)
Shape of the Shalagram Results offered by Him
like and umbrella gain of a kingdom
round immense wealth
like a cart sorrow
like the top portion of a spear death
with a deformed or ugly mouth poverty
with joint circular marks - chakras disease
with a crack on His body death
reddish brown with any shape loss of wealth
We learn from different Puranas that in former days Shalagrams were
divided into 24 varieties, their names according to the Skandapurana being
(Skanda Purana, Nagarekhanda, 244:3-9.)
In the Brahmavaivarttapurana (Prakrtikhanda, chapter 21.) we get
the following descriptions of the different varieties of Shalagram:
1/. Lakshminarayana: In colour he resembles a new cloud and has a single opening marked with four circular prints. A linear mark resembling a vanamala (a particular kind of garland held by Lord Vishnu, or series of forests) is also printed on his body.
2/. Lakshmijanaardan: The above type without the mark of vanamala.
3/. Raghunatha: He has two openings with four circular marks. His body also is marked with the footprint of a cow, but not with any mark of vanamala.
4/. Dadhivamana: Very small in size with two circular marks, and having the colour of a new cloud.
5/. Shridhar: The above type with an additional mark of vanamala.
6/. Daamodara: Big in size with a round shape and two circular marks, but not having the mark of vanamala.
7/. Ranarama: round and middle in shape with prints of arrows all over His body. He must have two circular marks and prints of a quiver with arrows on His body.
8/. Rajarajeshwara: Middle in size, having seven circular marks and also the marks of an umbrella and grass (or quiver) on His body.
9/. Ananta: Big in size with the colour of a new cloud and having 14 circular marks on His body.
10/. Madhusudana: Round in shape, middle in size, and charming to look at. He has two circular marks and a footprint of a cow on His body.
11/. Sudarshan: With single circular mark.
12/. Gadadhara: With a hidden circular mark.
13/. Hayagriva: With two circular marks and having the shape of the face of a horse.
14/. Narasimha: Having a large opening with two circular marks, and glittering to look at.
15/. Lakshminrisimha: Having a big opening with two circular marks, and also marked with a vanamala.
16/. Vaasudeva: Evenly shaped and charming to look at, having two circular marks at the front of his opening.
17/. Pradyumna: With the colour of a new cloud, and having a small circular mark and several small holes on His body.
18/. Shankarshan: He has two circular marks joined with each other on the top side of His body.
19/. Aniriddha: Round in shape, glaced and charming to look at, and having the yellowish colour.
The varieties of Shalagram recorded in the Garuda Purana (Panchanan
Tarkaratna, part I, chapter 45.) run as follows:
1/. Vaasudeva: white in colour having two circular marks joined with each other at the opening
2/. Shankarshan: Reddish in colour, having two circular marks joined with each other, and also the mark of a lotus on the easter side of His body.
3/. Pradyumna: Yellow in colour and long in shape with a small opening.
4/. Aniruddha: Blue in colour and round in shape with a hole at the top side of His body.
5/. Narayana: Black in colour with three linear marks at the opening.
6/. Nrisimha: He holds the mark of a mace at the centre of His body, and a circular mark at the lower middle portion, His upper middle portion being comparatively bigger.
7/. Kapila: He holds three dot-like marks on His body or at His opening.
8/. Varahashaktilinga: He holds two circular marks of unequal size.
9/. Kumaramurthi: Big in size, blue in colour and printed with three linear marks and one or more dots.
10/. Krishna: Round in shape with a flat upper side.
11/. Shridhar: Printed with five linear marks and a mace.
12/. Vaamana: Round in shape with a comparatively smaller height, and printed with one or more beautiful circular marks.
13/. Ananta: Variegated in colour with many circular marks.
14/. Damodara: Big in size, blue in colour with a deep circular mark at the centre.
15/. Brahman: Red in colour with a small opening.
16/. Prthu: Printed with a long linear mark, a circular mark and a lotus, and having one or more holes.
17/. Hayagriva: With a big hole, a big circular mark, five linear marks and the marks of a Kaustubha gem, an Ankusha (spear head) several dots and a dark spot.
18/. Vaikuntha: Blue in colour, printed with a lotus and a circular mark, and glittering like a gem.
19/. Matsya: Long in shape and printed with a lotus and two linear marks.
20/. Trivikrama: Green in colour, with a circular mark on His left side and a linear mark on His right side.
21/. Lakshminarayana: Round in shape with a single opening. He has four circular marks at the opening and is decorated with a vanamala, one footprint of a cow and a golden linear mark.
In addition to the above types 13 more varieties on the basis of the
number of circular marks (chakras) owned by Them are also recorded in the
same book. Amongst these varieties all the types excepting the last two
are just the same as given in an above list. The difference is that, according
to this authority a Shalagram holding twelve circular marks is called Dwadashaatman
and that with thirteen or more marks is called Ananta ('dvaadashaatma dvaadashabhirta
oorddhvamanantakah' - Garuda Purana, part I: 45:30.)
The varieties of Shalagram as given in the Garuda Puran list are mostly found in the Agni Puran (Agnipuran, Bengavasi ed., Panchanan Tarkaratna, Saka 1812, ch., 46.) as well. The difference is that the types Kumaramurthi, Brahman and Prthu are not found in the Agnipuran on the other hand a few new types namely Parameshtin, Kurma Sudarshan, Acyuta, Janardan and a few more new types are given there including those having one to thirteen or more circular marks on Their body. Another noticeable point is that the Vaasudeva type instead of being white according to this Purana should be black in colour.
Prominent types of Shalagrams with their sub-sections:
In the Praanatashanitantra (PTT., pages 351-356.) the following varieties of Shalagram with Their sub-types have been quoted from different ancient books:
1/. Keshava: (i) Marked with a small circular print, a garland and several
golden dot prints. (ii) Marked with a conch and a circle on the lower middle
2/. Hayagriva: (i) Blue in colour, shaped like a spearhead (Ankusha), and marked with a linear, a circular and several dot prints. (ii) With five linear marks, other characteristics being the same as above. (iii) Marked with a circle and a flag-print, other things being the same as above. (iv) Green in colour, shaped like the head of a horse, and marked with a circle.
3/. Paremeshthin: (i) With a hole at the top and having the marks of a lotus, a circle and several dots. (ii) White in colour, having a decent hole and a picture at the top and marked with a discus and a lotus. (iii) Reddish in colour with a circular and linear mark, and a hole at the top. (iv) Round in shape, yellow in colour with a hole at the top. (v) Reddish or yellowish in colour with the marks of a lotus and a circle on His body, its top portion being divided by a circular hole.
4/. Hiranyagarbha: (i) With the colour like that of honey and having a long shape. It has moon-like marks and several golden linear marks on His body. (ii) Black in colour and round in shape with a circular glaced opening. A sweet sound is always formed inside His body. It is marked with a charming Shrivatsa (a circle formed of hair) at its top.
5/. Chaturbhuja: He holds the colour of a new cloud. It is round in shape with four circular marks on the body.
6/. Gadadhara: Green in colour with its lower middle portion raised upwards. It has a big hole at its top, and is marked with long lines.
7/. Narayana: (i) He holds at His front side a good looking opening marked with a necklace, a golden bracelet (keyura) and other ornaments. (ii) It is marked with two circular prints on its either side with a clear circular mark at its opening.
8/. Lakshminarayana: (i) It has a single opening with four circular marks (or with a vanamala) (ii) Round in shape big in size, having a glaced opening marked with a flag, a cross and a spear-head. (iii) Round in shape with a circular opening marked with four circles, and also printed with a flag, a cross, a spear head, and a yellow spot. (iv) Green in colour, round in shape, and marked with one or four circular prints. (v) Big in size with a comparatively high top, and marked with a flag, a cross, a spear-head, a garland and a few dot prints. (vi) With a small opening, having four circular prints and also marked with a garland. (vii) Marked with three circular prints. (viii) With the colour of a new cloud and having a single opening marked with four circular prints, and also having the mark of a garland on His body.
9/. Naranarayana: Green in colour with a charming shape, having reddish circular marks at the opening and golden spots on His body.
10/. Rupinarayana: Marked with a pestle, a garland, a conch, a discuss and mace on his front side. It may also have the mark of a bow at His front.
11/. Madhava: With a colour like that of honey, and marked with a mace and a conch.
12/. Govinda: (i) Black in colour and very charming to look at. He holds the marks of a mace and a discus on His right side and that of a mountain on the left. (ii) Black in colour and middle in size, having His central portion raised upwards. He has a big opening beautifully marked with circles, and His body is also decorated with five different circles.
13/. Vishnu: (i) Big in size and black in colour with linear markings at the centre of the opening. (ii) With the mark of the mace at the centre of the opening things being the same as above.
14/. Madhusudana: With a single circular mark at the opening and the marks of a conch and a lotus on His body.
15/. Trivikrama: (i) Green in colour, triangular in shape, and glittering to look at. He holds a single circular mark on His left side and a linear mark on His right side. (ii) With two circular marks, other things apparently being the same as above.
16/. Shridhar: (i) Round in shape and decorated with five linear marks and a good looking garland mark. (ii) With linear marks standing upwards on His both sides, other things are the same as above. (iii) Green in colour, round in shape with a flat upper side and having a lotus mark at the opening. (iv) Very small in size, and marked with two circles and a garland. (v) Glittering like a gem, and having the marks of a flag and a circle. (vi) He has a glaced body with the mark of vanamala on it, and there are also linear marks on the upper side on his body.
17/. Hrishikesh: (i) Shaped like a half moon. (ii) With a single circular mark and also with marks resembling the hair of a boar.
18/. Padmanabha: (i) Reddish in colour with a mark of a lotus on His body. (ii) With a full and half circular mark, and also with the mark of a petal (of a lotus) but there is no hair mark on the body.
19/. Damodara: (i) Big in size with a small circular mark. (ii) Green in colour and big in size with a very small opening. He has a big circular mark and one or more yellow spots on His body. (iii) He has a single opening not very deep, and two circular marks one above the other. There is also a long linear mark at His centre.
20/. Sudarshan: (i) Green in colour and glittering to look at. He holds the marks of a mace and a discus on His left side and two linear marks on His right side. A lotus printed with linear marks is also found on his body. (ii) A circular mark at the top and a big opening is deeply dark.
21/. Vaasudeva: White in colour and glittering to look at. He has two circular marks closely printed but not joined, at His opening.
22/. Pradyumna: (i) Yellow in colour with a small opening and having several linear marks both at the top as well as on the sides. (ii) Blue in colour with many holes at His small mouth, and having a comparatively long shape.
23/. Aniruddha: (i) Blue in colour and round in shape and glaced, and printed with a lotus and three linear marks. (ii) Black in colour with a beautifully shaped opening and having the mark of a discus at the centre, another on a side and a small circle at the top. (iii) Yellow in colour, round in shape and very charming to look at.
24/. Purushottama: (i) golden in colour with a circular mark at the middle portion of His body and a bigger circular mark at the top. (ii) Yellow in colour and marked with dot-prints on all sides. (iii) With openings on all sides numbering about ten.
25/. Adhokshaja: Deep dark in colour with red linear marks. He is round in shape with a single circular mark and a few reddish spots on His body. He may be either big or small in size.
26/. Acyuta: With four circular marks on the right and left sides and two red circles at the opening. He is also marked with conch, discus, stick, bow, arrow, mace, pestle, flag, a white umbrella and a red spearhead.
27/. Upendra: Green in colour and glittering like a gem. He has a glaced body with one or more circular marks on His sides.
28/. Janardana: (i) With two openings marked with four circles. (ii) With two circular marks on the sides and two others at the top. (iii) With one opening at the front side, and another at the back side, each marked with two circles.
29/. Lakshmijanardana: With one opening printed with four circles.
30/. Hari: Green in colour, round in shape with one opening at the top. The lower portion of His body is marked with dot-prints.
31/. Ananta: (i) Marked with the hood of a snake and many circles. (ii) With many holes on His body and marked with several circles. (iii) Variegated in colour and marked with the hood of a snake and also with circular prints not less than 14 and not more than 20 in number. (v) big in size, cloudy in colour and marked with 14 chakra prints.
32/. Yogeshwara: The type found at the top of the Shalagram mountain.
33/. Pundarikaaksham: Printed with two eye-like marks either on a side or at the top.
34/. Chaturmukha: With four linear marks rising from the sides, and also printed with two circular marks on the middle portion of His body.
35/. Yajnamurthi: Reddish yellow in colour, with a small opening and two circular marks, one at the bottom and one the other side on the right side.
36/. Dattatreya: (i) With white, red and black spots all over His body and a mark of a rosary on the very topside (ii) Red and yellow in colour, other things being the same as above.
37/. Shishmaarga: Long in shape, with a deep triangular opening and having one or two circular marks on the front side and another on the back side.
38/. Hamsa: Shaped like a bow with a mixed colour of blue and white and having the marks of a discus and lotus on His body.
39/. Parahamsa: Shaped like the throat of a peacock, with a glaced body and round opening. Inside the opening there are two circular marks with a sun-like print on the right side of them. There are also two linear marks forming the shape of a boar on His body.
40/. Lakshmipati: Either the front or any one of his rear sides is shaped like the throat of a peacock. He is dark in colour with a big opening and a small circular mark.
41/. Garudadhvaja: Round in shape with the marks of golden horns and hoofs on the body. He is also printed with a circular mark with dark linear marks inside it.
42/. Vatapatrashaayin: Round in shape with a mixed colour of white, red and blue. He has also one circular mark with a conch on His left and a lotus on His right side. There are also four circular marks and three dot-prints inside His opening.
43/. Vishvambhara: He has 23 circular marks on His body
44/. Vishvarupa: With one opening and many circular marks.
45/. Ananta: Bigger than Vishvarupa in size with five openings and many circular marks. He is also held as a variety of Vishvarupa.
46/. Pitambara: Round in shape having some similarity with the buttock of a cow, and printed with one circular mark.
47/. Chakrapani: Round and glaced in shape, with a small circular mark and many other prints.
48/. Saptavirashrava: Round in shape with a small circular mark and several golden dot-prints all over the body.
49/. Jagadyoni: Red in colour with a circular mark at the front of his opening.
50/. Bahurupin: With many openings having the marks of a conch and discus in one of them.
51/. Harihara: (i) With two circular marks and a print like a Shivalinga on His front side. (ii) With three circular marks on the sides, other things being the same as above. (iii) With four circular marks, other things being the same as above.
52/. Shivanarayan: (i) a Harihara type with four different circular marks, and two openings. (ii) Without any opening, other things being the same as above. Both these varieties of Shivanarayan are forbidden to be worshipped; because they cause loss of wealth and land, and even they extinguish the family of their worshippers.
53/. Swayambhu: Blue in colour with a long and big opening, and having His body encircled by linear marks.
54/. Shankaranarayana: Marked with the print resembling a Shivalinga either side on the right or the left side.
55/. Pitaamaha: He has four different openings with a circular mark in each of them.
56/. Naramurtti: Yellow in colour with the marks of a Shivalinga on one side and a sacred thread on the other.
57/. Shesha: Printed with linear marks forming the coiled body of a snake.
58/. Pralambaghna: Red in colour with the marks of a coiled body and a hood of a snake. this type is forbidden to be worshipped.
59/. Suryamurtti: With twelve different circular marks either on the body or inside His opening.
60/. Haihaya: (i) With one opening and different marks of hoods. Amongst these marks two take place on the right-side outside the opening. (ii) Shaped like a lotus leaf with a golden mark resembling an arc.
61/. Vishnupanjara: Printed with several linear marks created by the insect called Vajrakita.
62/. Garuda: (i) Shaped like a lotus with three linear marks one above the other, the central line being longer. (ii) Printed with long linear marks and having two, three or four golden spots on His body. In colour he may be green, blue or white.
The Dasavatara types of Shalagrams:
Like the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu several types of Shalagram also under the names of His each incarnation became prominent, of which some sub-types also are found to be worshipped. We get a long list of such Dasavataras types in the Praanatoshanitantra (pages 348-351.). these are collected from different authoritative books and are given below.
1/. Matsya or the Fish type:
(i) Long in shape, golden in colour, and marked with three dot-prints.
(ii) Like bell metal in colour, other characteristics being the same as above.
(iii) With the colour of sphatika (crystal) other things being the same as above.
(iv) Green in colour and marked with a fish, and two circles.
(v) Long in shape with three openings, having a circular mark inside the opening and another at the tail. He has the mark of a cart on His right side and a linear fish on His left side.
(vi) With a long shape having opening at the right side, and marked with three dot prints, one discus, one lotus and one conch.
(vii) Shaped like a fish with a long mark on His head.
2/. Kurma or the Tortoise type:
(i) Shaped like a tortoise with the eastern side elevated.
(ii) Green in colour, round in shape resembling a tortoise, His upper side being comparatively higher and printed with circular markings.
(iii) Shaped like a tortoise and printed with five different marks each resembling the sun.
(iv) Marked with foot-prints of a cow on ?His sides.
(v) Marked with a conch, a flag, and three golden dot-prints.
(vi) Long in shape with openings on the left and right sides, and printed with five sun-marks.
(vii) Shaped like a snuhi (emphorbia antiquorum) flower with circular marks on both the sides.
(viii) Round and long in shape, having a circle and a tortoise printed on His sides. He has a mixed colour of blue and red.
3/. Varaha or the Boar type:
(i) Blue in colour, big in size, and printed with circular marks in odd number, as well as three linear marks.
(ii) Printed with even number of circular marks, of which at least one takes place on His right side, and also with a vanamala. This last variety is also called Lakshmi-varaha.
4/. Narasimha or the Man-lion type:
(i) With a big opening and two circular marks.
(ii) With a long opening and linear marks resembling the mane of a lion, and also with two circular marks.
(iii) Marked with three dot-prints other things being the same as above.
(iv) Uneven in shape with a mixed reddish colour, having two big circular marks above it, and a crack at the front.
(v) Reddish in colour and printed with several teeth like marks, three or five dot-marks and a big circular mark.
(vi) With a big opening, a vanamala and two circular marks. This type is popularly known as Lakshminrisimha.
(vii) Black in colour with dot marks all over his body and two circular marks on His left side. This also is a variety of the Lakshminrisimha sub-type.
(viii) Printed with a lotus mark on His left side. This also is a sub-type of Lakshminrisimha.
(ix) When any of the above types of Narasimha is marked with five dot prints He is popularly called Kapilanrisimha.
(x) Printed with seven circular marks and golden dots and also having openings on all sides. This type is called Sarvotmukhanrisimha.
(xi) Variegated in colour, having many openings including a large one and marked with many circular prints. This type is popularly called Paataalanrisimha.
(xii) With two circular marks inside the main opening and eight others on His sides. This also is a variety of Paataalanrisimha.
(xiii) Aakaashanrisimha: With a comparatively high top and a big opening and also printed with circular marks.
(xiv) Jihvaanrisimha: Big in size, with two openings and two circular marks. He being the giver of poverty, His worship is forbidden.
(xv) Raakshasanrisimha: With a fierce opening and holes, and also marked with golden spots. His worship also is forbidden.
(xvi) Adhomukhanrisimha: With three circular marks one at the top and two on the sides, having His opening at the bottom.
(xvii) Jvaalaanrisimha: Marked with two circular prints and a vanamala, and having a small opening.
(xviii) Mahaanrisimha: Printed with two big circular marks and a few other linear marks one above the other.
5/. Vaman or the Dwarf type:
(i) Round in shape, small in size and marked with five linear prints.
(ii) Small in size and glittering to look at. He has a circular mark on each of His above and below sides with the print of a Garuda bird near the circular marks.
(iii) Not very small in size. Marked with a circular print at the centre and glaced to look at.
(iv) Yellow in colour with a bit high top and having an indistinct circular mark.
(v) Cloudy in colour, round in shape, marked with a vanamala and having a small opening.
(vi) Very small in size with the colour of a cloud and marked with two circles. He is popularly called Dadhivaamana.
(vii) Yellowish in colour, marked with several dot-prints with one or more at the opening. He also is a variety of the Dadhivaamana sub-type.
N.B.: Regarding the shape of these Dadhivaamana varieties, the Matsyasukta(Matsyasukta quoted in Praanateshanitantra, page 350.) tells us that they may resemble either a vilva (woodapple) or vadara (berry) or even like the seed of any of these fruits.
6/. The Parasuram type:
(i) Yellow in colour and marked with a print resembling an axe.
(ii) With two prints resembling teeth, either at the top or on any two sides, other things being the same as above.
7/. The Ramachandra type:
(i) Yellow in colour and printed with the mark of the bow.
(ii) Green in colour and glaced, having a stick like mark on the back side and two linear marks on the rear sides.
(iii) Ranaraama: Middle in size, round in shape and marked with two circles, and arrow, a quiver and several dot-prints.
(iv) Raajaraajeshvara: Round in shape, middle in size and printed with two circular marks at the opening. His body is marked with the prints of an umbrella, an arrow, a quiver, and several dots resembling the wounds caused by arrows.
(v) Sitaaraam: (a) Cloudy in colour, with one opening, and printed with marks resembling teeth, bow, arrow, spear, umbrella, flag, chowry and garland.
(b) With two openings each furnished with two circular marks and also with a circular print on His left side.
(vi) Dashakanthakulaantaka Raama:
(a) Like an egg of a hen in size, green in colour, and having two openings with two linear marks at each of them, and also with the mark of a bow. His top side is comparatively higher.
(b) Printed with a linear mark resembling a bow on each side, other things being the same as above.
(vii) Viiraraama: Printed with an arrow, a quiver, a bow, an ear-ring, a garland, and a small circular mark decorated with petals.
(viii) Vijayaraama: Printed with an arrow, a bow, a quiver, and a big opening marked with red dots. A circular mark decorated with petals also is printed on His body or at the opening.
(ix) Raamamurtti: or Kavitavada Raama: Black in colour and glaced, having one opening with a circular mark.
(x) Dushthararaama: Cloudy in colour with the mark resembling one's knee, and also with a bow and arrow on the top side and footprints of a cow on the rear sides.
8/. The Sankarshan type:
(i) With two circular marks joined with each other on the top side.
(ii) Reddish in colour with the glaced and spotless eastern side, and marked with two circles joined with each other.
(iii) Balabhadra: Marked with seven circular prints.
(iv) Balarama: With five linear marks on the top side and a bow and an arrow on the rear sides.
9/. The Buddha type:
With a very small opening and without any circular markings.
This type is popularly called Niviita Buddha.
10/. The Kalki type:
(i) With the colour of a bee and printed with six circular marks, having a linear sword above the opening.
(ii) Shaped like a horse and marked with three circular prints.
A group of the Vaishnavas having been inclined to hold Krishna Vaasudev as the eighth prominent incarnation of Lord Vishnu, instead of Sankarshan, used to worship a new type of Saligram holding it a sacred symbol of the Lord, and giving the name Krishna type to it. With the passing of time this new type also was divided into different varieties in the following way:
11/. The Krishna type:
(i) Marked with a vanamala and a discus on His right side.
(ii) Black in colour with two equal circular marks at the opening.
(iii) Small in size with a yellow spot and several dot-prints on His sides.
(iv) With the upper side like that of a tortoise, and the entire lower middle portion resembling its mouth.
(v) Taarksya: (a) Black in colour and long in shape resembling a pillar.
(b) Shaped like a spear-head, and marked with two circles, one lotus, one ring, and one gem.
(vi) Baalakrsna: With a long opening having dot-prints on His lower side.
(vii) Gopala: Deep black in colour, big in size with a good-looking opening. He has two circular marks, and the marks of vanamala and shrivatsa on His upper side, and also teeth like marks on a rear side.
(viii) Madanagopal: A Gopala type holding a lotus mark on His upper or lower side.
(ix) Santaanagopal: Long in shape, black in colour with an opening of the half moon shape.
(x) Govardhanagopala: With a comparatively less height and round upper portion. Marked with a stick, a garland, a whistle and long lines and also having silver dots all over His body.
(xi) Lakshmigopal: Shaped like the egg of a hen and marked with a vanamala, a plough, a whistle, and a ring on different sides.
(xii) Kaliyamardana: Marked with a golden line and three dot-prints.
(xiii) Syamantahaarin: Big in size, with the colour of a sword, and having the marks of a vanamala and shrivatsa on His upper side.
(xiv) Chanooramardan: Green in colour with two red spots and a linear mark on each of the right and left sides.
(xv) Kamsamardana: Blue in colour, having a different colour either at the front or on a rear side.
Different types of Shalagram to be worshipped by different castes:
There are also injunctions found in different sacred books that, each of the four castes, is entitled to worship some particular types of Shalagram for securing desired objects. According to the popular tradition, the Vaasudeva types only are preferred to be worshipped by the brahmanas; the Sakarshan types by the kshatriyas; Pradyumna types by the vaishyas and Aniruddha types by the shudras(Hemadri quoted in Praanatoshanitantra, 357.) The brahmanas being authorised to offer worship on behalf of others, all four different types may be worshipped by them. The kshatriyas were entitled to offer worship to three different types other than the first one. Similarly a vaishya may lawfully offer worship to the Pradyumn Aniruddha types and a shudra to the Aniruddha type only.(loc.cit.) We have already seen above that kshatriyas and vaishyas are entitled to offer worship to a Shalagram stone without touching it, and that a shudra or a woman belonging to any caste has been instructed to offer worship through his or her brahmana priest.
The forbidden types of Shalagram:
While describing the different varieties of Shalagram, different authorities tell us that a few kinds of the stone should not be worshipped by householders and some other types by the mendicants. The reason is that some of such Shalagrams fail to give any result, others bring in results undesirable by the householders such as loss of wealth, death of wife or children., and the third types create worldly attachment in the mind of their worshippers. Some of such forbidden varieties with the results arising out of their worship are given below:
The following five categories of Shalagram are unable to offer any result:
(1) triangular in shape
(2) uneven in shape
(3) without any opening or with unprescribed openings
(4) broken ones
(5) shaped like a half of the moon
"trikonaa vishama chaiva chidraa bhagnaa tathaiva cha arddhachandraakritirvaa tu pujaarhaa na bhavet priye phalam notpadyate tatra pujitaayaam kadaachana (matsyasookta quoted in Praanatoshanitantra, page 347.)
The following six different varieties, because of causing sorrow
to their worshippers have also been forbidden to be worshipped:
(1) with an ugly mouth
(3) uneven in shape
(4) with different circular marks joined together
(5) A Nrisimha type with uneven lower portion
(6) a Kapila type with uneven circular or linear marks
(A.P. quoted in PTT., page 549.)
In addition to the above types many other varieties of Shalagram also,
because of bringing in undesirable results to their worshippers are found
to be forbidden. Several such varieties with the results offered by them
have already been mentioned in the fore-going pages.
There was a difference of opinion as to whether the Shalagram broken into pieces, or those having a crack on their body, or even two or more Shalagrams having a joined body, when worshipped can produce any good result or not. The Skandapurana rules that each of the above types, if an established deity, produces good results, and as such, should be duly worshipped without the least hesitation ('khanditam lagnam shalagrame na doshadam. ishtantn yasya yaa murttih sa taam yatnena pujayat - Skanda Purana quoted in Praanatoshanitantra. page 347.)
(Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree. 1985. Vaishnavism
Through The Ages. "Different Types of Shalagrams" pages 27-49. Munshriram
Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd. New Delhi. Hard bound 200 pages)