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Ready reckon-er.

Ancient texts give thumb rules to shortlist a given shaligrama among many verities. I will list them in a detailed manner at a later point but here I will summarize them out of experience.

Most of the shaligramas (80% +) we find will have two chakras. The immediate reaction to it is ‘narasimha’ !!! Huh, hold on. Narasimhas are two chakra-ed ones, no doubt, but all two chakras are not narasimhas. Texts do not prescribe a house holder should not worship a narasimha murthy but there are many varieties of narasimha and most of them are not suitable for normal householders. In order to avoid the unknown, people say ‘no’ to narasimha but few types of Him can be worshiped by all.

A round, black, smooth, small to medium sized, shiny one will be a safe bet but that does not mean bigger ones should not be worshiped by householder. The size is one of the characteristics of a specific type and texts do not say not to worship a specific form of Lord.  Some of the types are by their very nature big in size and if we know who He is and texts allow His worship, then, the bigger ones should not be a problem. Similar story for color.

The following are basic thumb rules just to shortlist a type and then move on to see greater details within the shortlist.

No Hint
1 Narasimha – Two chakras one vadana, tawny (muddy, kind of pale brown), big in size, wide opening and large chakras. With vanamala and black in color – lakshmi narasimha
2 Varaha – Two chakras one vadana, black, medium or big sized, ‘C’ or reverse ‘C’ like opening, large chakras covering the complete interior of vadana, small holes or dots; with vanamala, lakshmi varaha
3  rAma – no chakra, one,two, three, four, five, six, seven, twelve chakras, any color, any size, small and/or big chakras with the bow sign
4  balarama – 2 chakras with plough sign
5  parashurama – 2 chakras but with axe sign
6 krishna – small, medium sized body small opening, two or four small chakras not very deep, with various markings
7  keshava – square or rectangle shape with two chakras (may be parshva)
8  narayana – large chakras with fine filaments, medium sized, black or brown and chakra in middle
9  lakshmi narayana – one vadana 4 chakras small or big; chakras at the entrance of the opening or inside
10  madhava – honey color 2 large chakra in one vadana
11  govinda – 5 vadana 10 chakras
12  trivikrama – upward looking chakras 3 or 2;
13  vamana – small in size with small to minute chakras 2 at the opening or inside
14  shreedhara – reddish yellow or one with 2 chakra, vanamala and many lines on it
15  damodara – big belly, small opening, 2 medium chakra; vanamala
16  sankarshna – reddish tinge, two large chakras joined together; medium or large size
17  janardana – 4 chakras in 2 openings; two similar size opening in opposite faces. can be confusing with rama;
18  vasudeva – white or tinge of white with two small, medium 2 chakras at the entrance of the opening
19  matsya – fish appearance – 2 or 3 chakras
20  kurma – tortoise appearance; upward looking chakras (any number);  surya rekhas
21  hamsa – D-Shaped body joint 2 chakra; tinge of white;
22  hayagriva – ‘C’ Shaped body
23  ananta – 12-14 chakras
24  vishvambara – 20 chakras
25  vishvarupa – more than 20 chakras
26  sudarshana – single chakra without opening and no other marks like bow, sword etc
27 purushottama – 4 vadana 8 chakras all looking upwards
28 chakrapani – 3 vadana in front with 6 chakras; 1 vadana in back with 2 chakras; total 8
29 other types in right panel

more identification methods

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