The Lord concedes to the prayers of His devotees and appears as tree or stone and Salagramam is an example. There lived a sage Sarangayana. He was meditating on the Lord. The Lord appeared before him and asked what the sage wanted. Normally, many meditate on Indra, Kubera, etc., and seek boons and so the Lord wanted to know, why the sage meditated on Him. The sage prayed that the Lord should always be there and nothing else he needed. When the Lord wanted to know how He should be present, the sage, looking at the surrounding hills and trees, said that the Lord should remain stable like the hills and trees! Immediately, the Lord appeared as Sala Vruksham. Then after very long time, the tree got multiplied and all those trees after very long periods, became fossils and are seen as Salagrama. Thus as per the wishes of the sage, the Lord was a tree and later became a stone! In Science also we have studied that plants under great pressure over long period, are converted into fossils. This boon for the sage was combined with riverr Gantaki's prayers! But discovering them and selecting them from the extreme cold water is difficult. But we can request the locals and they would get us Salagrama stones. There are many types of Salagrama like, Purushottama, Lakshmi Narayana, Thousand radii Sudarsana, Lakshmi Narasimha, Varaha, Matsya Murty, etc. On another occasion we will see various types. Today's [30th July] 2009] is from the temple of Sri Muktinath.
The Lord inside the temple, is not of Salagrama form. Only the stones found in the river are Salagrama stones. We may get a doubt as to how we could worship fossils? But the Lord decides that He would be available in some forms and we have to obey His orders. The Lord has ordained that He could be reached by certain methods. As a first step the Lord revealed that He could be worshiped in places like Muktinath, Badarikashram, Tiruppiridi, etc. These are difficult to access and worshiping in temples daily may also be difficult. So, the Lord descends another step and is available in Salagrama stones, which could be worshiped in houses. Thus in Dwaraka and in Gantaki, we obtain Two different types of 'sila' or stones. Where both are worshiped there, one gets the result of Ganga or performing 1000 Aswameda yagna! The Lord has laid certain rules and regulations in Vedas and in Puranas. That way, in Padma Purana [पादम पुराण] or in Varaha Purana, the glory and greatness of Salagrama are mentioned. We should not consider them as mere stones but, as revealed by the Lord, He is present in them. Therefore, by worshiping Salagrama, we will have Bhagavat Prapti or His blessings. Around this temple, Gantaki river flows out through 108 gomukh [mouth of cows].
pilgrims bathe in all of them, by first entering the First Gomukh water drain and running through all and completing 108 baths! Those, who can not brave this chill water, may sprinkle the water on their heads. We will wait to see inside of the temple. Now, we will see sloka 6 of Chapter 18. We saw that if we believed His words that He was existing in Salagrama, and perform poojas, He is delighted and blesses us. This sloka is very much connected with this. The Lord is going to say in this sloka that by Upasana one could get Mukti. There are many Vidyas like Sad vidya, Guhara vidya, Sandilya vidya, Bhouma vidya, etc. These are all different types of Bhakti or devotion. When one is in Upasana or in Gyana yoga, why karmas have to be performed? Is not performing Pitru Tarpanam [rites for deceased parents and ancestors], a very inferior karma? Is it necessary to perform Sandyavandanam and Pancha Maha yagna? The Lord refutes any such thinking and has been telling Arjuna, that performing those karmas was necessary. In continuation, we can see sloka 6:
etāny api tu karmāṇi saṅgaṃ tyaktvā phalāni ca
kartavyānīti me pārtha niścitaṃ matam uttamam 18.6
Me matam = My [Sri Krishna's] belief. The Lord emphatically says something is His belief and so there should be no dissenting voice on that. It is the final word. This belief is, niscitam = decisive and uttamam = the best. Arjuna needs nothing else to follow, as it is Sri Krishna's belief. The Lord is never disillusioned or careless or does not need to divert anyone. Therefore, following Him should be 100% and without any reservation! This is His final verdict. He calls it the best and one should not have doubts about any inferiority to perform karmas. Eta = these, karmani api tu= karmas also even, sangam = attachment, phalani = results, tyaktva = to be discarded. We should do karma without any attachment and with no desires. Detachment means discarding the feeling that we were doing the karma [mamata tyagam]. Karmani means all karmas like nitya and naimittika yagna, tapas, danam, etc. Kartavya = doing such karma is prescribed in shastras. Iti = such of these, karmas are to be performed and this is His belief and decision! Thus, even those desirous of Moksham, have to perform all Nitya, Naimittika and, detached and desireless of results, Kamya karmas! By adding the word 'api', the Lord says that while Upasana is the means to Moksham, karmas also have to be performed and can not be discarded. Some are of the view that Upasana alone has to be performed. This is categorically refuted by Sri Krishna and says that to start and continue Upasana, karmas like yagna, tapas, danam, etc., have to be performed to remove all obstacles in the way to reach Him. Why karmas? Is not Uapasana alone sufficient? Arjuna raised his eye brows in doubt! The Lord asks Him as to why anyone did Upasana or Bhakti. It is for His pleasure. Then, the same Lord says that He is pleased if one performed karma prescribed to his Varana and Ashrama. Worshiping the Lord in Muktinath is as rewarding as worshiping Salagrama in our house!