A Shaligrama is Maha-Vishnu. So, what is a Shaligrama? It’s an ammonite, no? It’s a fossil. But it’s not like all other fossils. Even though it’s nature itself and is like a fossil when you look at it, in the Vishnu Purana, Narayana said that ‘This is Myself.’ This is referring to the story of Tulsi...Tulsi Devi’s husband was killed by Maha-Vishnu because She was married to a demon and that demon wanted to marry Parvati. And Parvati is the Mother of the universe. Because of that, he made a big offence. Tulsi had given him a never-fading garland called ‘the garland of devotion’, because of Her devotion to Maha-Vishnu. So, She gave a garland to Her husband.
However, Her husband was a very bad person. He didn’t really like Her. He was a womaniser, all the bad qualities were there, he was a demon. But She was sincere in Her devotion to Narayana and She was sincere to Her husband, and that protected him. So, to break that protection, only Maha-Vishnu Himself had to come. He came in the disguise of Her husband. The moment Tulsi Devi touched Maha-Vishnu, that garland that was protecting Her husband faded. And that is how he was killed by Lord Shiva.
But when Tulsi heard about that, She was very angry and, out of Her anger, She cursed Maha-Vishnu and said, ‘Maha-Vishnu, You will become a stone! Because of my devotion to You, You have become stonehearted, so You will become a stone.’ So, He transformed into a stone.
Maha-Vishnu is in charge of the balancing of nature, no? When nature stops being balanced, what happens? There is chaos. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the protector, Shiva is the destroyer. When one of them becomes inactive, what will happen? The whole of nature becomes unbalanced. So, there was chaos everywhere. They appealed to Maha-Lakshmi and Maha-Lakshmi said, ‘She is My sister-in-law’, because that demon was also the
brother of Maha-Lakshmi. Maha Lakshmi said, ‘My sister-in-law is a great devotee of Maha-Vishnu. We have to ask Her.’ So, they went and asked Her for forgiveness. Then Maha-Lakshmi said, ‘Listen, you are My sister-in-law. Because You have cursed My husband, your Lord, to become a stone, that means You have made Me a widow. Because of that, the people will always remember you in that image: that you were very angry and you were the killer of Maha-Vishnu.’
Then Tulsi Devi realised what She had done and She took the curse back. But to have this as a reminder, Maha-Vishnu said, ‘From now on, people will worship Me in the form of a Shaligrama.’ A Shaligrama is the only thing that you can just receive from the Gandhari river and worship without any invocation or Prana Pratishta or any blessing because it is Maha-Vishnu itself.
Excerpt from Paramahamsa Vishwananda's satsang on 7 June 2018 at Shree Peetha Nilaya - The Ashram
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