Spotlight – Hiranyagarbha Shaligram

Depending on which of the Puranas you read, there are variably 18 names of Shaligram and 13 chakra distinctions (Skanda Purana), 24 types (also Skanda Purana, though referencing an unknown earlier text), 19 types (Brahmavaivartta Purana), or 21 types (Garuda Purana). While there remains a fair degree of overlap between the types listed in each Purana, they are not precisely the same. This isn’t necessarily surprising, however, as different texts reflect practices from different times and different places and subsequent Vedic commentaries are included or revised in an effort to add clarity. By and large, in any case, the discussions found in both Skanda Purana and Garuda Purana remain the most often referenced religious texts in Shaligram practice throughout both India and Nepal.

As is typical among the majority of Shaligram devotees, the most commonly sought after Shaligrams are representative of Vishnu (or one of his ten avatars). These Shaligrams include a wide variety of Krishna Shaligrams (such as Govinda, Gopala, and Damodara), Laksmi-Narayan and Narasimha Shaligrams, as well as Dasavatara and Mahavishnu Shaligrams. But aside from these types (which are well represented in my research) I have recently taken an interest in some of the less well known Shaligram forms. Some of these forms are also mentioned in the Puranas (though not as extensively) and others not at all, instead reflecting more regional or local traditions of Shaligram worship. My interest today is to discuss some of these less attended to types, particularly the ones which are not detailed in the Puranas but may be referenced elsewhere in the Vedas.

Two in particular have caught my attention for the past few weeks: the Hiranyagarbha Shaligram and the Ganesh Shaligram. Today, I’ll discuss Hiranyagarbha and I will save my commentary on the Ganesh Shaligram for another post.


Hiranyagarbha, literally “Golden Womb” or “Golden Egg,” (and often poetically rendered as “universal gem”) is the source of creation for the universal or manifested cosmos in Hindu theology. It is mentioned in one hymn of the Rig Veda (RV 10.121), known as Hiranyagarbha Sukta, which suggests a single creator deity identified in the hymn as Prajapati.

In many interpretations of this Shaligram, it is said to express the creative urge of Narayana. The “Golden Egg” here is often interpreted as that from which all of the objective world emerges. The term thereby suggests that the entire creative power of the divine is but an expression of The Self, Narayana. This Shaligram is therefore often linked with transcendental consciousness, meditation, and Bhakti yoga practices.

What is more, in some Himalayan Hindu traditions, this Shaligram is also identified as Chandra (The Moon) or as an expression of Shiva appearing as the full moon (note its similarities with Shiva Linga). In fact, among many Hindus of the Himalayan regions, this Shaligram was more often associated with Shiva worship than any other Shaligram (save possibly Shiva Linga and Ananta Sesha Shaligrams) and is highly prized due to its golden color and rarity.

Vedic References: Rig Veda 10.121, Vishvakarman Sūkta (RV 10.82), Manu Smrti 1.9, The Mahābhārata, Book 12: Santi Parva. Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr. Section CCCIII.

Vedic Descriptions: The Upanishads call Hiranyagarbha “The Soul of the Universe” or Brahman, which floated in emptiness and the darkness of non-existence for a year before breaking into two halves which formed the Svarga and the Prthvi.

In classical Puranic Hinduism, Hiranyagarbha is the term used in Vedanta for the “creator.” It is also Brahma because he was born from a golden egg (Manu Smrti 1.9). The Mahabharata calls it “The Manifest.”

Hiranyagarbha/Chandra Shiva Shaligram

Hiranyagarbha/Chandra Shiva Shaligram

Hiranyagarbha/Chandra Shiva Shaligrams

Hiranyagarbha/Chandra Shiva Shaligrams

One thought on “Spotlight – Hiranyagarbha Shaligram

  1. Another thought might be intresting maybey for some who like to understand the HG ; If the HG (hyranya garba shali) is the cosmic egg, it will mean its a replica from sound and vision. The cosmos is consisting out of sound and vision. This is called in sanskrit Nanda and Bindu i think. If i remember well. But both are illusionairy. The whole cosmos is nothing but a thought , and a thought is born from light. When there is no thought there is no cosmic egg. Like in deep sleep. If the HG sila is the creation, it must exist out of sound and light. The yellow half football is the sun, Surya. Not Siva. If you place a good HG sila against your ear you will hear a sound from inside this HG sila. Everything what exists is atom, atom is energy and energy is light. When light touches light sounds come; When your shoe and leg atoms touch the street atoms a sound can be heard. When the wind (air) atoms touch a tree atoms a sound will be heard. Because the HG is the cosmic egg the yellow ball must be Surya and not a Siva lingam.
    Now this; When you look at a sila for a while your mind gets tranqilised, concentrated. You become without mind, or less mind .
    So it can WATCH better. When you watch something it disappeares. Watch is this; , Dont do anything with what you watch and the pain or awarness or stresses go. If you WATCH them. Its an old tric. Repeat the name of God and WATCH your Words, Actions, Thoughts , Caracter and Haert (= feelings on the mental and fysical leval). When you Watch it it goes out of your awareness. When you repeat at the same time a name of God the mind cools and so you can WATCH better. All this 5 from WATCH are in the HG sila. Because its the total cosmos. This 5 are in the mind and the mind is comming from light touchings (light touches itself by its refelctions. thats a light caracteristic) , because thought is a vibration comming from light touches light .
    Also like with Light and Thunder streaks.
    When you do pooja for the HG sila, you look at the HG sila and so you look at the whole cosmos.( The power of the sila itself cools your mind activity). Wich is an illusionairy sound and light thing. And so it disappears. When you look at some object including your mind it goes away. And thats why it is said; The worshipper of the HG has no intrest in relative enyouyment. Enyouyment on the relative leval is enyouyment of the cosmos. And all what is in it and what can be preceived by the senses. (and so, by the mind) The senses give it to the consiousness and this one makes a thought from it. Wich is illusionary because the mind lives in the past and future. Life does not takes place there so remove mind awareness by the HG sila. When you direct your awareness to the HG sila a few seconds a day , wich is sound and light illusion, the cosmos goes out of your mind.
    Its the central point of the Veda and its lessons and sanskrit vibrations. To hunt for relative cosmos related eyouyment is suffering bringing. And so this sila removes sufferings.
    For Kali yuga the only yoga is to repeat the name of God and WATCH. Both mind and light are comming and going so they are illusion. The remainder is Siva. Siva is your super consiousness, your trancendental being, your 4 th dimension. (the other three are sleeping, dreaming and awakening). When the illusion of light and sound are gone you will be entlighted, and be with Siva. Or better to say you will be Siva. But Siva is not the golden ball in the HG sila. Your inner trancedental consiousness is Siva. Not light or sound. Light and sound are comming from Siva but its not the same. Like with the comsos as a total; All galaxys are comming from the black holes and going into it when their lives ended.

    This is in my opinion the effect of the HG. It is an entlightment bringing sila. Of course for that activity you will get boons, also from this particulairy sila. After all, Maha Visnu created the creation, as can be seen in the HG, for to be removed from your mind more or less. And so it brings you closer to your destiny wich is to get entlightment. MV likes that. And so you become a favorite of Siva and MV. ( Maha Visnu is Siva and Parvati both in one. )
    Thats my explaination , my opinion, of the MahaVisnu created HG sila. Its helpfull for not to loose your mind in illusions. In light and sound. It removes a thorn by a thorn in our minds it looks to me. But very gently. It removes light and sound by the light and sound called Hyranyagarba sila. And also by a direct intervention in the form of MV made manifest. He is doing that job for us mainly. And thats why the worshipper of the HG has almost only desire for trancedantal counciousness. Indeed, its true what is said about this sila and it works like that. Like in my life also. More and more trancedental expieriences desire and expieriences itself comes in the place of your 5 sens desires in your life. Automaticly, after the pooja, more and more.

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