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...Feature Article - Auckland, New Zealand. 22nd February 1973:
..."Deity Worship--Not Idol Worship" on-line lecture by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......
...New Entries on the Web-site..... quite a few since the last newsletter.
...SEARCH for Ishthadevatas and Devotees on the site......
...Please Visit the ARTICLES pages
...The Results of Worshiping - Different Types of shilas by Sriman Padma Nabha Gosai.
...The Salagram Sila - some nice information:
...The Importance of Deity Worship Along With Book Distribution
...Article on puja successfully bringing rain......
...Mayapur-vasis gift Silas to Sukadev prabhu ACBSP
...News Item ( Pilgrimage to the top of the world - Damodar Kunda)
...Happy 2004

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Sri-murti-lakshana, aara shaalagraama-lakshana
   krishna-kshetra-yaatraa, krishna-murti-darshana

“The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the Shalagrama-shila. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka."

 (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 24:335. text - 61 Explanations of Atmarama verse)

Hare Krishna
Namaskaragalu - Vanakkam - G'day

Please accept my respectful obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupad, All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga,
All glories to all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord - Chari Vaishnava sampradaya ki jaya

Sri Swayam-vyakta Shaligram Sila, Dwaraka Sila, Govardhan Sila ki jaya

Welcome to what we hope to be the first of many newsletters. The present plan is to attempt to maintain the site nicely and keep updating with new information and pictures and additions to help enthuse everyone, and use this newsletter to help keep everyone informed about that. With my other various services we figured that Quarterly would be a feasible beginning, so we are looking at April - July - Sept - Dec for now.
We very much welcome constructive feedback to further assist the development of the site and newsletter services - always open to that.
...Feature Article:

(To view some of the texts on this newsletter you will need to have the Balaram font installed on your system. You can download it for free HERE and then go to Start, settings, control panel and Fonts and Install New Fonts)

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam  6:1:15, Auckland, New Zealand. 22nd February 1973. lecture excerpt.

A child at home without engagement, he will simply spoil things, so many. But if you send him to school, give him some
engagement, he will be peaceful. Similarly, our senses, we cannot stop the activities of the senses. That is not possible. Just like some foolish people say that “Become desireless.” How you can be desireless? I am a living man, living being. I must desire. I cannot be desireless. But if the desire is transformed to Kåñëa... Suppose instead of desiring that “I shall have a very big skyscraper building,” if I desire that “I shall have a very big, big temple for Kåñëa.” The same desire. But as soon as you desire to have a big skyscraper building, that is material. And as soon as you desire to construct a big temple for Kåñëa, that is spiritual.
Just like as you get a nice rose flower: as soon as you desire that you shall enjoy it, this is material. And as soon as you desire,
“Oh, this is nice flower. I shall go and offer it to Kåñëa,” that is spiritual. Simply change the desire. There is no question of
desirelessness. Why? We cannot be desireless... That is not possible. Change the... Purify the desire. Purify the desire.

Therefore bhakti means sarvopädhi-vinirmuktaà tat-paratvena nirmalaà [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Nirmalam. We have to cleanse the desire. We have to cleanse our seeing. Now our eyes want to see some beautiful thing. Now, if we become accumstomed to see Kåñëa beautifully decorated, nicely decorated, nicely dressed, then we forget other, so-called material beauty. So the activities of the eyes, to see beautiful thing, is not changed, but it is purified. That is bhakti. Nothing has to be changed or nothing has to be stopped, but the process has to be changed. Nirbandhe kåñëa-sambandhe yukta vairägyam ucyate. We cannot be desireless. We cannot be inactive. That is also not possible. We must be active—but active for working for Kåñëa. Then it is devotional life.
That is being taught in Kåñëa consciousness movement, that it is not simply negation. Simply negation will not help you. There must be some positive occupation. So we say, “Do not do this, but do this.” We say, “Do not eat meat,” but we say, “Eat Kåñëa’s nice prasädam, halavä.” So he forgets meat-eating. This is our process. We give immediately alternative. You dance. You don’t dance in the naked club; dance in the Kåñëa’s temple. The dancing is there, but is purified. In the club there are also girls are dancing and boys are dancing. Here also, girls are dancing and boys are..., but they are dancing for Kåñëa ecstasy. So nothing is stopped. This is bhakti. Kåñëa consciousness means you have to simply change your consciousness. Consciousness is there. At the present moment our consciousness is polluted. Just like water. Water is always pure. But when it is... Just like rain falls from the sky. You catch. Before touching the earth, you catch the water, it is distilled water. It is distilled water. Sometimes they catch, they hold the water. It is distilled water. You take so much time to distill water. Rain is distilled water, purified, without any contamination. But as soon as it touches this surface of the earth, it becomes muddy. Similarly, we are also... When we come from Kåñëa, we come pure, but as soon as we touch these material modes of nature, we become muddy, impure, the consciousness.  Therefore, as muddy water can be filtered, settled up and filtered and again it becomes clear, similarly, this Kåñëa consciousness movement is that however muddy you may be, by Kåñëa consciousness you will be picked up and you will come again clear, crystal like water. This is the process.
So there is nothing to change, nothing to give up. Simply it is clearing process. Sarvopädhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170].
This clearing process is we should we free from the designations. Just like these boys, American and European or Australian,
Japanese, so many... We have got all kinds of students, but they are now devoid of all designations. They are not thinking that “I am American.” They are not thinking, “I am Indian.” They are thinking always, “I am Kåñëa’s servant.” This is purification. This is purification. Sarva upädhi. Upädhi. This is designation. I am not American, nor Indian. This is body. This is circumstantial. I am, ahaà brahmäsmi, and Kåñëa is Supreme Brahman, and I am Brahman, His eternal servant. This is self-realization. This is called mukti. Muktiù hitvänyathä rüpaà sva-rüpeëa avasthitiù. This is mukti. Now we are anyathä rüpam. I am thinking Even there are so many human beings here, suppose in Auckland Somebody is thinking, “I am Indian.” Somebody is thinking, “I am American.” Somebody is thinking, “I am Englishman.” So upädhi, that is upädhi. But if we give up this upädhi, designation, that “I am not this...” Just like Caitanya Mahäprabhu taught that “I am not a brähmaëa. I am not a kñatriya. I am not a vaiçya. I am not a çüdra. I am not a sannyäsé. I am not a brahmacäré.” These are all upädhi. Then what You are, Sir? Gopé-bhartuù pada-kamalayor däsa-däsänudäsaù: [Cc. Madhya 13.80] “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Kåñëa.” This is called upädhi-less, or free from all designation. When we become free from all designation, then, in that purified state, if we engage ourself in Kåñëa activities, that is our success of life.
Thank you very much. [break]
"Deity Worship--Not Idol Worship"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.47-48
Vrndavana, October 5, 1976

Please listen to this wonderful lecture on-line HERE:
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......

We have started this web-site and news-letter for the purpose of sharing inspiration among like minded devotees, with a like interest in serving the Lord. On the www.salagram.net/ site there are many topics all referenced to shastra with the express purpose of helping us all over the world to have Sadhu-sanga http://www.salagram.net/sstp-sadhusanga.html So we have tried to create a sacred place in Cyber-space where devotees can find refuge, can associate, gain inspiration, share inspiration, hence it is Shaligram Tirtha, a Holy Tirtha in Cyber-space. Some of you may have noticed the Warning........ it seems appropriate to some of us it be there as many devotees were feeling they didn't want to express themselves or reveal their "bhav" least people who had no such appreciation might misunderstand - misinterpret - criticise what they saw or read due to their own vision/motivation/agenda. So following the advice of shastra we are keeping our Ishthadevas hidden while sharing mutual appreciation found in rendering some small service to the Lord.

Those of you who haven't visited the site recently, or for the many new persons on the mailing list, you will find transcendental pleasure that there are so many resources and articles, all of which you are welcome to download or copy for your personal use and to inspire others. If however you find a published article there that you would like to publish or if you have a site or some media whereby you would like to on-share with others just check with me to see who holds the legal copywrite if none are mentioned, as we don't want to offend anyone, or do anything illegal, even with our zealousness to share nectar.

If you find any inspirational articles, or items, or pictures relevant to this site please feel free to send them to us. Please include all available references and details so that everything can be appreciated fully by all.

If for some reason http://www.salagram.net/index.html isn't working or available then please go to the mirror site http://www.hknet.org.nz/Sri-Shaligram-Tirtha.htm - and please remember to save these URLs in your Favorites (IE) or Hotlist (Opera) Bookmarks (Netscape).
...New Entries on the Web-site..... last update 10th December 2003

In this section you can see all the latest additions, new picture updates of all the various devotees and Silas on the site.

We keep this page separate from the main SEARCH page so that regular nectar loving bees can quickly find their sweet flavoured source in what/Who has been recently added to the site. SEARCH and ARTICLES links and all other pages are also updated simultaneously.
...SEARCH for Isthadevatas and Devotees on the site......

"There are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet" (unknown author)

To all those devotees who are receivers of this first newsletter; if you still haven't sent in photos or introductory descriptions or stories for the Sila in your care, that's okay, time is not out, you can still send. We are continuously updating the pages, so your sending pictures etc is never too late. Please send.

If you have Photoshop please "save for web" to keep the size down, but if you don't have that too is okay, just send, I can "save for web" also, if that will help. If you don't have a scanner that too is no problem, please send me an e-mail and I'll give you the address where you can post (snail-mail) your photographs, and there's always disposable Fuji cameras if things get really tough...... Please also view the article by Param Seva prabhu www.salagram.net/sstp-HELP.html
...Please Visit the ARTICLES pages

As the late Bhakta George Harrison so nicely put it in the preface of the Krsna Book, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", so please go to the Articles section and make good use of all the links there. There's so much information and we hope and pray that you find it as useful as we have. =>:-))

This section has to be seen to be believed. We have tried, and had much success to find articles on almost every aspect of Shalagram seva pujan. All articles are clearly marked and ready for your perusal. We trust this serves you in this seva well.

Developing firm faith in the inconceivable potency of the Lord:

The episode of Shakshi Gopal:

Sripada Gopal Bhatta Goswami's Sri Sri Radha Raman Shaligram:

"The Divine Form" by Sripad Sadagopan Iyengar of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya

General information from the Puranic Encyclopedia CDRom

See many more articles on similar topics HERE:
The Results of Worshiping - Different Types of shilas by Sriman Padma Nabha Gosai.

The Gautamiya Tantra states that the worshipable stones known as shalagrama-shilas are only found in the Gandaki River in Nepal. According to the Skanda Purana, these shalagrama-shilas appear in various colours, shapes, and markings. Their colour may be either black, blue, yellow, whitish, blood-red or tawny coloured. Their shape may be either smooth, rough, uneven, very plump, or frog-shaped. They may be without markings, marked with one cakra, many cakras, large cakras, broken cakras, a cakra in the middle of a circle, or with one cakra attached to another. Some shalagrama-shilas exhibit a large mouth and others a down-turned mouth. - The Skanda Purana also enumerates the good and bad results derived from venerating different types of shalagrama-shilas. Worshiping a smooth shila brings mantra-siddhi (perfection in the chanting of one's given mantra). Black shilas bestow fame, yellow shilas give sons, whitish shilas destroy one's sins, blue shilas increase wealth, and blood-red shilas bring diseases. Rough shilas create anxiety, uneven shilas give poverty, and fat shilas decrease one's life span. Shilas devoid of markings yield no results. If one mistakenly adores a shilas with the following qualities he will certainly get suffering: tawny coloured, uneven, broken, with one cakra, too many cakras, large cakras, a circled cakra, a broken cakra, a cakra attached to another, with a large mouth, or with the mouth turned down. - The Agni Purana mentions several types of shalagrama-shilas whose worship brings unhappiness and never happiness. These include a shila with a mouth like that of a snake, a broken shila, one with cakras facing each other, with a circled cakra, a shila with a producting navel, a tawny-coloured shila known as Narasimha, a shila with many lines inside the circle, and a shila unidentifiable due to its confusing markings. - The Agni Purana further describes many shalagrama-shilas who award beneficial results to those who attentively worship Them. These benevolent shilas include those that are perfectly smooth, jet black in colour, round like a pearl, natural (not made by hand), or with an evenly shaped cakra. The Varaha-shilas, the Ananta-shila, the shila with a deeply indented navel, the tiny Vasudeva-shila that has an evenly formed mouth, shilas shaped like amalaki fruits, or those shaped like the palm of the hand (arched above and convex below) all give perfection. A devotee of the Supreme Lord should carefully adore his favorite shalagrama-shila. He will thus be blessed both in this world and the next. - As for the shalagrama-shilas that bring misfortune and sadness, as mentioned above, one should understand that this is only for worshipers impelled by material desires. But for one free from material desires there is no harm to worship these shilas. Thus in the Brahma Purana the Supreme Lord Vishnu states that any shila from the place of shalagramas can never be inauspicious though cracked, chipped, split in two though still in one piece, or even broken asunder. Lord Shiva also confirms in the Skanda Purana that even if a shila is cracked, split, or broken it will have no harmful effect if it is worshiped with attention and love by a devotee. lt further states there that the Supreme Lord Hari, along with His divine consort, Lakshmi, live in the shalagrama-shila that has either only the mark of a cakra, a cakra along with the mark of a footprint, or only a mark resembling a flower garland. - Some acaryas say that the best shalagrama-shila is the smooth blackish one and that the blood-red shila is the worst. But in the absence of the best type of shalagrama-shila one may worship an inferior one.

Different Features of Shalagrama-shilas

In the Brahma Purana Lord Narayana says, "O Brahma, I eternally reside in the form of Shalagrama-shila. Hear from Me the different names of all these shilas according to the various cakras marking them." The Vasudeva-shila is white in color, very attractive looking, and has two equal-sized cakras on the front, but off-center. The Sankarsana-shila is red-coloured, with two cakras combined in one section, a fat front portion, and is very beautiful to see. That yellow shila with small cakras and a very large mouth with numerous small holes within is known as Pradyumna. The Anirudha-shila steals the mind with His blue colour and naturally round shape. He has three lines in front of His mouth and a lotus mark on His back. The Keshava-shila is square-shaped and gives great fortune. A black shila with a cakra in His raised navel is called Narayana. The Hari-shila fulfils all desires, grants moksha (liberation), and especially gives wealth to the faithful worshiper. He has a long line and a mouth opening upward and placed right of centre. The Paramesthi-shila, is coloured red with marks of both a lotus and a cakra. The Vishnu-shila is most attractive, but it will create problems if non-celibates do His puja. Black and shaped like a bael fruit, He has two big cakras with a large mouth on His back. - In another place it is described that the Narasimhadeva-shila with three spots on it and the Kapila-shila with five spots both have two wide cakras. Only a brahmacari and no one else should do Their puja or they will suffer all kinds of Problems. Thus one must remain celibate while worshiping Them. Those Narasimha or Kapila-shilas that have two large cakras, brownish colour, and a lotus-shaped line above the mouth, along with various uneven cakras give liberation and victory in battle. In the Kartika Mahatmya of the Padma Purana it states that a shalagrama-shila that contains the above mentioned signs, a large mouth, and many lines like the filaments of saffron is called Narasimhadeva. - In the Brahma Purdana it describes the Varaha-shila as saphire-blue, large sized with three lines, two unequal cakras, two signs of shakti, and pleasing to see. According to the Padma Purana the Varaha-shila is naturally hog-shaped with uneven cakras, many lines, and awards His worshiper with material enjoyment and liberation. Giving the same blessings as Varaha, the Matsya-shila is described in the Brahma Purana as long, bronze or golden in colour, and adorned with three dots. There it also describes the shalagrama-shila named Kurma as round with an arched back, green in colour, and marked with the sign of the Kaustubha jewel. The Padma Purana says the Kurma-shila is naturally turtle-shaped and marked with a cakra. - The Hayagriva-shila has a mark shaped like an elephant goad, a line near one cakra, many other cakras, and His back is the colour of a blue rain cloud. Another scripture describes the Hayagriva-shila as bluish, with the sign of elephant goad, five lines, and many spots. The Padma Purana states that the Hayagriva-shila has a long line in the shape of a horse's mouth and His worship gives one knowledge. Elsewhere it says His mouth is like a horse's mouth, there is the sign of a lotus, and on top of the shila the sign of a lotus seed garland. - The Brahma Purana gives descriptions of the following shilas. The shila name Vaikuntha looks jewel-like in color, has one cakra, a three-cornered flag, and beautiful lotus-shaped lines above His mouth. The Shridhara-shila is black and shaped like a kadamba flower, has five lines, and the marks of a flower garland. A small beautiful shila with a cakra on the top and the bottom and that fulfills all desires, is known as Vamana. A second type of Vamana-shila is round-shaped, smaller than a marble, blue in color, and adorned with spots. The Sudarsana-shila is black, very shiny, marked with a cakra and club on His left side, and lines on His right. The Padma Purana says He has many lines in the form of a cakra and He satisfies the aspirations of His worshipers. - ln the Kartika Mahatmya of Purana it describes three types of Damodara-shila. One is plump in shape, the colour of black-green durva grass, with a cakra in the middle portion, a small mouth, and a yellow line. The second has cakras on its top and bottom, a small mouth, with a long line in the middle. His worship always gives happiness. The third is plump, with a narrow mouth, and two cakras on the middle portion. The shila called Ananta has a variety of colours, the sign of a snake's body, along with many other signs. He is also described as decorated with many different signs and numerous cakras. Like most shilas, Ananta fulfils all desires. - The Brahma Purana give further descriptions. The Purushottama-shila has many mouths on the upper portion and awards material enjoyment and moksha. The Yogeshvara-shila has a cakra on its top and worshiping Him removes the sin of killing a brahmana. A poor man will become wealthy by offering Tulasi leaves to the reddish Padmanabha-shila marked with the signs of a lotus and an umbrella. The Hiranyagarbha-shila is moon-shaped, gives off many rays, and has many golden lines on His crystal white surface. By adoring the half-moon shaped Hrishikesha-shila one attains the heavenly planets and fulfilment of all desires. A Lakshmi-Narasimha-shila is black, with two equal cakras on His left side, and some dots on the surface. This shila gives both pleasure and mukti (liberation) to His worshiper. A very shiny dark blue shila with two cakras on His left side and one line on His right is known as Trivikrama. Decorated with the marks of a forest garland on His left side, the Krishna-shila bestows grains, wealth, and happiness. - The Gautamiya Tantra states that after many, many births the fortunate person who receives a special Krishna-shila that is decorated with a cow's hoof print will never take birth again. lt also describes the Caturmukhi-shila with two cakras placed between four lines. - The Kartika Mahatmya of Padma Purana continues its descriptions with the shila with a row of many small lines called Vishnu panjara. The Shesha-shila has coils like a snake. The Garuda-shila has the sign of a lotus between two lines and one long line below. The Janardana-shila has four cakras. Awarding both material pleasure and liberation, the Lakshmi-Narayana-shila has four cakras, a small mouth, and a flower garland decorating its middle portion. - All the shilas mentioned above give auspicious results, but those that are very small are even more auspicious. Elsewhere in the Padma Purana, the Supreme Lord Vishnu explains to Lord Brahma that the smaller the shila is, the more auspicious results it gives. Such a shila should certainly be worshiped by the devotee to attain perfection in religion, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. He declares, ''O Brahma, in that shila small like an amalaki fruit or even much smaller, I eternally remain along with My divine consort, Shrimati Lakshmidevi.''

Excerpt from www.salagram.net/Shalagrams-relkultur33.html

The Importance of Deity Worship Along With Book Distribution

February 11, 1975; Mexico City, Mexico;
Camp: ISKCON, Mexico City

Touching down in Mexico City proved to be an extraordinary experience today. Srila Prabhupada, a transcendental emissary from Goloka Vrindavan was greeted with honor by his devotees here. Srila Prabhupada by-passed all the ordinary mundane customs check points and airport facilities and walked directly from the plane to a waiting limousine. Then to top it off the devotees also arranged a police escort to accompany Srila Prabhupada's vehicle through the city as it went directly to the temple. This was an extremely pleasant change from our normal grueling airport experience. We were accustomed to being treated with suspicion like potential criminals as we went through customs at other international airports.
On the drive to the temple Srila Prabhupada expressed his appreciation for the VIP treatment. Eager to continue please His Divine Grace, Hrdayananda Maharaja took this opportunity to report to Srila Prabhupada about all the exciting service the Spanish BBT had accomplished. Many books were being translated and distributed in the Spanish language. Srila Prabhupada was delighted to hear that the glories of the Lord were being spread.
When he arrived at the temple Srila Prabhupada took darshan of Their Lordships and later asked for the Deity maha. This was Srila Prabhupada's standard practice as he travelled from temple to temple. He always took personal interest to see how the Deities were being worshipped. It was as if Srila Prabhupada was Krsna's transcendental inspector making sure the Deity worship was being maintained nicely by his children.
After sampling some of the maha prasadam Srila Prabhupada said, "This prasadam is horrible. The Deity worship here is not up to standard. It is important to worship the Deities very nicely." Srila Prabhupada again stressed, "It is as important to perform first cRemembering Srila Prabhupada - .ems lass Deity worship as it is to distribute books." I was shocked! I had never heard Srila Prabhupada criticise the Deity worship anywhere before. My heart went out to the devotees doing the cooking, but I knew it was their turn to get some merciful instruction. This would be something they would never forget.
I speculated about Srila Prabhupada's relationship with the Deities. Being of mundane vision, I saw the beautiful forms of the Lord, but couldn't recognise the innate principle of reciprocal interaction (lila). Sometimes, I tried to imagine what it might be like to take darshan of the Deities and see Krsna as Srila Prabhupada undoubtedly did. Srila Prabhupada emphasised that we must understand that Krsna is non-different from His form in the temple room. He kindly reminded us again and again, "Krsna is here in His Arca Vigraha form." During this visit His Divine Grace let everyone know that it was imperative to perform first class Deity worship along with book distribution. After all, the purpose of all of Srila Prabhupada's books was to understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we are His servants. Deity worship is the application of the principles delineated in Srila Prabhupada's books. When it was time for Srila Prabhupada to leave Mexico City for Caracas the devotees arranged the same police escort to the airport hoping to alleviate the usual red tape caused by international travel. It didn't work out very well. When Srila Prabhupada arrived at the airport in the car there was a delay before he could board the plane. He had to stay in the car for almost one hour. While sitting there he said, "It would have been better waiting in the lounge. I am having to wait in the car." It was an uneasy time for all of us present realising that Srila Prabhupada did not have the opportunity for his disciples to see him off.
Srila Prabhupada transcendentally reciprocated with his many disciples at airports all over the world. For some devotees this constituted a large part of their personal asRemembering Srila Prabhupada - .ems sociation. Srila Prabhupada felt great separation from his disciples while being denied this pleasure. He understood a great opportunity to enliven us was being missed. I felt uneasy about Srila Prabhupada's displeasure. When Srila Prabhupada arrived at the temple in Caracas, Venezuela it was like an instant replay of his arriving in Mexico City. He took darshan of the Deities and later in his room sampled the maha prasadam. Again Srila Prabhupada said, "These puris are terrible, the vegetable is horrible. This prasadam is not good. Deity worship must be first class. You must worship the Deity very nicely!" Again I was surprised as this was so unusual for Srila Prabhupada to reprimand his disciples saying they must improve the Deity worship. Either way, Srila Prabhupada very kindly encouraged his pious young disciples so that they could make advancement on the spiritual path.
It was never that Srila Prabhupada was upset with us and we were doomed. He would stress the importance of performing our service with care and attention. This is the example that our beloved Spiritual Master gave us. Everything Srila Prabhupada did was with the utmost of attention and devotion to the Lord. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed his stay very much in this part of the world and was impressed with the sincerity of the devotees. I also enjoyed being at the Caracas temple since I lived there for a few months when I first left Srila Prabhupada's personal service in January of 1974. I knew most of the devotees well and it was like going home for me.
Srila Prabhupada, you have created a large family of Vaisnavas. You are the munificent father and grandfather of tens of thousands of devotees of Lord Krsna. You have very kindly made it possible for your followers to go anywhere in the world, take darshan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and enjoy the association of friends and family. This is one of the great fringe benefits of being a member of your Iskcon Society. Please allow this prodigal son to remain within your family, always.You instructed us that "Book Distribution and Deity Worship" must go side by side. Your books inspire and give us knowledge to serve Krsna. Deity worship gives us the practice. Their Lordships are the original root source of this Vaisnava family, without Them we are all lost. Your books are like attractive cordial invitations to please come and personally serve the Deity. Our duty is to remind who so ever we meet that we are all servants of the Lord. Lord Krsna's Deity worship takes place at your temples around the world. Your books invite everyone, "Please, you come and serve the Lord." Deity worship is the zenith of loving service. Your books give us the knowledge to come to this platform. You are calling us all "Back to Godhead."

- From the Srila Prabhupada Uvaca by HG Srutakirti Dasa
Srila Prabhupada's words of encouragement:

ei-mata jagannätha karena bhojana
ei sukhe mahäprabhura juòäya nayana

ei-mata—in this way; jagannätha—Lord Jagannätha; karena bhojana—accepts His food; ei sukhe—in this happiness; mahäprabhura—of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu; jutäya—become fully satisfied; nayana—the eyes.

Indeed, Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu was fully satisfied just to see how Lord Jagannätha accepted all the food.

Following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu, a Vaishnava should be fully satisfied simply to see a variety of food offered to the Deity of Jagannätha or Rädhä-Krishna. A Vaishnava should not hunger for a variety of food for his own sake; rather, his satisfaction is in seeing various foods being offered to the Deity. In his Gurv-ashtaka, Srila Vishvanätha Cakravarti Thäkura writes:

svädv-anna-triptän hari-bhakta-sanghän
kritvaiva triptim bhajatah sadaiva
vande guroh sri-caranäravinda **

“The spiritual master is always offering Krishna four kinds of delicious food [analyzed as that which is licked, chewed, drunk and sucked]. When the spiritual master sees that the devotees are satisfied by eating bhagavat-prasädam, he is satisfied. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.”
 The spiritual master’s duty is to engage his disciples in preparing varieties of nice foods to offer the Deity. After being offered, this food is distributed as prasädam to the devotees. These activities satisfy the spiritual master, although he himself does not eat or require such a variety of prasädam. By seeing to the offering and distribution of prasädam, he himself is encouraged in devotional service. (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya lila 14:36. text & purport.)

Salagrama Silas:

These are direct forms of the Lord found at one place  in  the gandaki river.  Those that are too big, bent, uneven, red, brown, spotted, without markings, broken, with big mouth, with many or one cakra, with a big cakra,  with indistinct cakra  or  broken cakra, with mouth shaped like that of a snake or pointing  down, are said to cause misfortune to the worshipper.   Those which are lustrous,  black, round,  the  size of an amalaki  fruit, with perfect cakra,  deep navel,  perfect mouth,  curved back,  in the shape  of  varaha  or vasudeva,  are said to bestow all  of  ones desires.  However, the considerations of fault in a  Salagrama come  from worshippers who have material  desires. The devotee sees no fault, even if the Salagrama is broken or damaged.   The devotee  will  simply worship his chosen deity in that  Salagrama with great devotion.

     salagrama sila bhagna pujaniya sa cakrika
     khandita sphutita vapi salarama sila subha

    Even though a Salagram is broken,  if the cakra is intact it should be worshipped.

    khanditam sphutitam bhagnam parsvabhinnam vibheditam
     salagrama samudbhutam sailam dosavaham na hi

     Though  a Salagrama sila may be broken, cracked or chipped one should not consider the Salagrama to have any faults.     Consideration of perfect and less than perfect Salagrama is for persons worshipping with fruitive motive.    Brahma Purana

 Generally the small lustrous, black round ones with good features are chosen for worship, but if such are not available, then those less perfect in form may be worshipped.

The  Lord resides permanently and eternally in the Salagrama and therefore no installation ceremony is required.

     salagrama silayantu pratistha naiva vidyate
     mahapujan tu krtvadau pujayet tam tato budhah

     There is no pratistha ceremony necessary for worshippng a Salagrama sila.  One should simply perform a special, elaborate worship when one begins worshipping the Salagrama.
                              Skanda Purana
     ato'dhisthana vargesu suryadisviva murtisu
     salagrama silaiva syad adhisthanottamam hareh

     The Lord resides in many places in which he may be worshipped, but of all places Salagrama is the best.       Skanda Purana

     salagrama sila rupi yatra tisthati kesavah
     tatra devasurayaksa bhuvanani catur dasa

     With Keshava in the form of Salagrama sila reside all the devatas, asuaras, yaksas and the fourteen worlds.  Padma Purana

It is recommended to worship the Salagrama with a Dvaraka sila.  A good Dvaraka sila should be white, round or square, unbroken and without holes, and with well formed cakras.

     dve cakre dvarakayan tu salagrama siladvyam
     etesam arcanannityam udvegam prapnuyad grhi

     Worshipping two dvaraka silas or two Salagram silas at once will cause disturbance in the mind.
                                Manra tantra prakasah

If one has two Salagrama, one should worship them separately, not together.  However if one has many Salagrams, one can worship them all together.

It is offensive to buy, sell or consider faults in a Salagrama.

     salagrama silayam yo mulyam udghatayen narah
     vikreta canumanta ca yah pariksam udirayet
     sarve te narakam yanti yavad ahuta samplavam

    One who puts a price on a Salagrama, one who sells a Salagrama and one who agrees to buy a Salagrama for that price, and the person who inspects a Salagrama for good qualities or faults, goes to hell until the final devastation.        Visnu Dharmottara

If one eats before performing Salagrama puja, one is condemned to live as a candala for the rest of the day of Brahma.

Though women and sudras are forbidden to worship Salagramas, this injunction does not apply to initiated devotees of the Lord.

     striyo va yadi va sudra brahmanah ksatriyadayah
     pujayitva silacakram labhante sasvatam padam

     If  one  is  initiated as a vaisnava then whether one is brahmana ksatriya, vaisya, sudra or a woman, one can worship Salagrama and attain the Lord's abode.      Skanda purana

Though  the Salagrama may be identified by markings as  particular form of Vishnu, he may also be worshipped as ones chosen deity, for all forms reside in the Salagrama.  In a temple the Salagrama may be  worshipped separately or worshipped along with the murti forms, or worshipped along with the murti forms.
"..........the bhakti-yogi accepts the Deity of Krishna as worshippable because there is some bodily conception fixed in the mind, which can thus be applied. Of course, worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form within the temple is not idol worship. There is evidence in the Vedic literature that worship may be saguna and nirgunaof the Supreme possessing or not possessing attributes. Worship of the Deity in the temple is saguna worship, for the Lord is represented by material qualities. But the form of the Lord, though represented by material qualities such as stone, wood or oil paint, is not actually material. That is the absolute nature of the Supreme Lord.

A crude example may be given here. We may find some mailboxes on the street, and if we post our letters in those boxes, they will naturally go to their destination without difficulty. But any old box, or an imitation which we may find somewhere but which is not authorized by the post office, will not do the work. Similarly, God has an authorized representation in the Deity form, which is called archä-vigraha. This archä-vigraha is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. God will accept service through that form. The Lord is omnipotent, all-powerful; therefore, by His incarnation as archä-vigraha He can accept the services of the devotee, just to make it convenient for the man in conditioned life."(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhagavad Gita 12:5., purport.)
Bringing Rain
      Once in a village in Karnataka, the Kanchi Acharya was camping and observing complete silence, as he does very often. The inhabitants of the sorrounding villages came on a deputation to him and complained that , because of the failure of the monsoon for several years in succession, the people were suffering untold miseries. They asked the swami what they should do. The Swami was silent, but a devotee who sat close to him had a sudden inspiration and, without realizing what he was doing, declared in an authoritative tone: "Pour 1000 pots of pure river water continuously (non-stop) on that linga in worship and devotion. The job should be done by the men alone and they should bring the water from the nearby river." Now the swami who was silently listening to this pronouncement, nodded as if in agreement. The villagers took the advice and formed a long line of men from the river to the linga and, in unceasing succession, poured 1000 pots of  the river water on it, all the time chanting in chorus the "Sata Rudriya" from the yajur Veda, which is the passage usually recited when a Siva linga is formally bathed. Lo and behold, at the very end of this 'Abhisheka', there was a downpour of rain, the like of which the neighbourhood had not witnessed for years.

Courtesy of [ARYA] Digest Number 282   ARYA@yahoogroups.com
Mayapur-vasis gift Silas to Sukadev prabhu ACBSP

I have moved to the Tucson temple from Portland, Oregon and because I have no direct source of income, there has been no question of my thinking of going to India.  That was my idea and Krishna had a different idea.  Dasaratha prabhu wanted me to go to India with him and I was agreeable but skeptical.

Anyway, by Krishna's grace it came to past that I was able to go to the Holy Land of Mayapura.  And while I was there, of course I was going to look for Salagram Silas.  I had not been to India for the last 30 years so it was going to be an adventure.

Everyone said to contact Jananivas and Pankajanghri.  So I did.  I met Pankajanghri at Prabhupada's Samadhi.  I don't know if it was the heat or travelling and not being regulated, but while talking to him, I got extremely nauseated.  Pankajanghri took me to the basement of Prabhupada's Samadhi, and by Krishna's grace I recovered.  I don't know why I got sick, but I did, and Pankajanghri prabhu was there to hold my hand and help me to recover.  During the conversation, he mentioned that he had 80 Salagramas behing the altar that he was not using.  My interest was immediately piqued.

The next day, I was able to talk to Jananivasa and I mentioned the Silas behind Lord Narasimhadeva's altar, and he said, "Oh, you've heard about them."  He said, "No problem, we can give you one."  I said, "one, I want the whole 80."  His look was one of consternation but he is very sober and very difficult to read.  He did not give me an answer, but told me to meet him in the temple room the next day and he would give me an answer.

Actually for the next two days, I got no answer and I was hanging around Lord Narasimhadeva's altar where Pankajanghri takes care of the Lord and Prabhupada''s Vyasasana, where Jananivasa oversees Prabhupada's guru puja.  I thought they might think that I was trying to stalk them.  I was just being persistent, because we were leaving at the end of the week.  It was a toss up between being persistent and not being too pushy or being too reserved and having nothing happen at all.

These two transcendenal brothers were talking to other devotees who knew me.  I had not been in Mayapura in 30 years so I was an unknown commodity.  They were doing their investigative work.  I was getting nervous.

Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja also knew about these Salagramas and said that if I got them we could worship them together.  He had already asked the brothers two times for these Salagramas and they had not given him an answer.

One morning, by Krishna's grace, I was able to do Prabhupada's Guru Puja and somehow or other I also received Radharani's garland.  So I thought, now's the time.  It is very difficult to get Jananivasa and Pankajanghri together.  They are always busy in their service and it's almost impossible to pin both of them down at the same time.

I saw Jananivasa and asked him humbly if he had come to any decision, and he said let's go over to Lord Narasimhadeva's altar and ask his brother.  Jananivasa went onto the Lord's altar, and there was discussion between the two.  At the same time, the temple room was filling up with devotees for Jayapataka's Maharaja's lecture.

They both went behind the Lord's altar, brought out a box antique looking, wooden box that they both held in their hands.  They walked to the edge of the altar and put the box on my head.  It was as if Jaya and Vijaya had put the box on my head and Jananivasa told me to take care of the Lord.  It was a completely wonderful and transcendental experience.

These Salagramas had been given to the two brothers to use as a garland.  The garland was held together by silver, but the Salagramas were too large and they kept having trouble with the garland and just abandoned the idea.  The garland was used though for 2 years.

Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja said that  garland would take on all the properties and qualities of Lord Narasimhadeva.

A confidential activity, I feel, also happened. As the box was on my head, I felt a tremendous burning on my foot as if I was having a heart attack on my foot. It wasn't like a mosquito bite, it was as if a major nerve in my foot was attacked.  I started sweating and thought I was going to pass out.  The two brothers had been watching me all week and they were just waiting for some sign from the Lord as to why they should not give me those Salagramas and I thought that if I pass out now, that is going to be the sign they need to deny me those Salagramas.  I tried shaking my toe and nothing happened.  I was getting nervous because I have had panic attacks before and I thought I might be having another one.  I looked down at my foot and I saw the biggest black ant I had ever seen crawl away.  I had the immediate realization that Lord Narasimhadeva himself had sent that huge ant to crank on my toe to let me know that I had better not screw up in my service to those Salagramas or that cranking on my toe would just be the beginning of my punishment.  It was an immediate and heavy realization, that Lord Narasimhadeva himself was putting the screws on my toe Himself.

I took the Lord and went to my room right away and put the Lord away in case someone changed their mind.  There were 87 large marble sized Salagramas and 4 small do-dad type Salagramas.  91 total.

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  They are not going to try this type of garland again, because it simply did not work.  It I hadn't gone to India personally, someone else would have gotten those Salagramas.  And I don't see anyone else bringing 91 Salagramas through customs to bring to me in Arizona. I would have to do that personally.  Acutally I brought back 104 Salagramas, but that is another story how I got those Salagramas in Vrndavana.
News Item: Now is a VERY good time to utilize this facility

Pilgrimage to the top of the world

Visit Muktinath or Damodar Kund in Northern Nepal the home of the Shaligram Sila

Fly up the Kali-gandaki gorge, the deepest natural gorge on the planet amid the towering Annapurna range of Himalayas. An experience of a life-time, with stunning views that will remain with you treasured for the rest of your life. Take a quick look here to whet your appetite....

There are two pilgrimage time periods when this region is accessible, as the rest of the year it is snow-bound.
                                                    Pre-monsoon pilgrimage:
                                                        April - May - June

                                                     Pre-winter pilgrimage:
                                               End of September - October - November

Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or plane - bus takes six - eight hours, plane takes less than an hour)

Pokhara - Muktinath (by Helicopter) where devotees get one hour to worship Muktinath and fly back to Pokhara then back to Kathmandu.
                                           Cost US $400.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)

For Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or plane) Pokhara - Damodar kunda (by Helicopter) and fly back to Pokhara then back to Kathmandu.
                                           Cost US $850.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)

  Damodar kunda Trekking Itinerary (Damodar kund now open to devotees)

          Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel
          Day 02: Half day sight seeing tour.
          Day 03: Ply to Pokhara
          Day 04: Fly Pokhara – Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni
          Day 05: Kagbeni - Tashukang O/N Camp
          Day 04: Tashukang - Tetang O/N Camp
          Day 05: Tetang - Tange O/N Camp
          Day 06: Tange - Surkhang O/N Camp
          Day 07: Surkhang – Luri O/N Camp
          Day 08: Lur i- Bas Khola  O/N Camp
          Day 09: Bas Khola – Damodar Kundai O/N Camp
          Day 10: Damodar Kunda- Luri O/N Camp
          Day 11: Luri - Ten O/N Camp
          Day 12: Ten – Tetang O/N Camp
          Day 13: Tetang- Muktinath
          Day 14: Muktinath-Jomsom
          Day 15: Jomsom- Pokhara
          Day 16: Pokhara- Kathamndu and transfer to hotel
          Day 17: Rest and explore your self.
          Day 18: Fly back to home.

·  Special Permit for 10 days US$ 700.00 Per Person & above 10 days every day 70.00 US$ more extra.
·  For Liaison officer expenses have to pay by clients
·  Client (s) should have fill up all form for permit with in 15 days before, departure for trekking

Cost - US $ 2600.00 per person for group of 5 people (Special permit fee included)

Cost Includes:
a) All domestic air and land fares within Nepal.
b) All three course meals in trekking days (not in hotels in Katmandu)
c) All staff and trekking leader wages included.
d) 4 nights at Kathmandu and 1 night in Pokhara on Bed and Breakfast.
e) Departure and arrival transportation.

(US$1900.) Cost does not include.
a) Visa fee - which will be purchased at your home country.
b) Special permit fee of Upper Mustang (US$700.)(makes the total of US$2600.)
c) Private and Personal Expenses - obviously.
d) Tips and donations that you may feel obliged to give along the way......

For those in doubt of ridiculous price of Special trekking permit, sadly these are the prices for such a remote area as Upper-Mustang. The following URLs are Nepali Government sites supporting and confirming the US$ 700 cost.http://www.manang.com/Trekking%20Permit.htm and http://www.project-himalaya.com/info-visa.html and http://www.buddhatreks.com/nepal/trekking/trekking-permit.htm sorry that's the Nepali Govt permit price!!!

Presently the going rate for The Permit is US $350

                              For Enquiries/Inquiries & Bookings send E-mail

              To get some idea of the views etc please visit HERE: Visit Shaligram Tirtha
Some correspondence:

Have a Happy 2004
...may it be, healthy and prosperous in every possible way

Sri swayam-vyakta saligram sila ki jai
|)<>(|)<>(|)<>( A Grateful Word to our Supporters )<>(|)<>(|)<>(|
Personally we find that so many devotees are inspiring us in so many different ways, by the grace of the Lord. Especially I'd like to thank HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad for saving my very life, and to HH Jayapataka Swami and HH Indradyumna Swami for all the support and encouragement in seva pujan. There are literally hundreds who have helped in this humble service of ours here, Paramseva dasa was the catalyst for the web-site, Hrsikeshananda prabhu has kindly sponsored the site and maintains it financially, so without his help it wouldn't be, and similarly for the mirror site Tirtharaj prabhu allows us space and hosts www.hknet.org.nz to both these devotees we are so much indebted. There are so many others who have and are helping so much with articles, gifting Silas, books, and paraphernalia, and support; special thanks to Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP, Ramadasa prabhu ACBSP, Kurma prabhu ACBSP, Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP, Sukadev prabhu ACBSP, Bhaktisiddhanta swami JPS, Ameyatma prabhu PVS, Aisvarya prabhu HDG, Jvala Nrsimha prabhu IDS, Matsya Avatara prabhu BTS, Kailash mataji, Hamsa Avatara prabhu, Jagjeevan and Sudevi MVG, Vikram and Aasha Murthy, and mother Neeta Sharma and Mukunda Khatiwada, and my eldest daugther Kirtida Sundari to name but a few. Sarv-lok vaishnavebhyo namo namah so as not to miss anyone, as we so much appreciate all of you who are receiving this newsletter, otherwise we wouldn't do all this, thank you so much for just being part of it.

Indeed, many thanks to all the readers who have one way or another subscribed to Sri Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini newsletter. Your interest and support makes this service possible. Those wishing to contribute in any way to this 'Net-work, send articles, and or information please do so by contacting me here ... mailto:salagram@xtra.co.nz

We are very grateful to our sponsors donations to help maintain this and similar devotional service, especially on a regular basis, so again and again thank you. ...Couldn't do it without you.

After some feedback from our readers we are trying to maintain that the newsletter go out Quarterly, (four times a year - April, July, Sept, Dec). I hope that this is okay with everyone. See you in a couple of weeks.

|_____|_____Please pardon the intrusion_|____|______|
*Legalese -- This newsletter is NEVER sent out unsolicited. If you are receiving this for an unknown reason, maybe it's because of a friend giving us your address. We do not buy lists or gather  them via "Harvesting software(s)", nor will we ever give/sell your address to anybody. If you would rather NOT receive mail from us, please send us a message saying Unsubscribe, or Remove - and we will do the needful immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

If somehow you are receiving this double - ie., at home and in the office please let me know, and your preferential option =>:-) JTCd


* Purohit JAya Tirtha ChAran dAsan
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