Q&A: Shalagrama worship for women/shudras and hell punishments for the selling/buying shalagramas…

Question: «Recently I have heard that shalagramas’ worship is strictly forbidden for shudras/women/chandalas. Is it a kind of recent fad or a real prohibition from Vaishnava Shastras?»

Answer by Vishnudut1926: «You can find this prohibition both in «Shree Varaha-Purana» and «Shree Padma-Purana». «Shree Varaha-Purana» says:

शालग्रामो न स्पृष्टव्यो हीनवर्णैर्वसुन्धरे स्त्रीशूद्रकरसंस्पर्शो वज्रस्पर्शाधिको मतः ।। ४९ ।। 
मोहाद्यः संस्पृशेच्छूद्रो योषिद्वापि कदाचन पच्यते नरके घोरे यावदाभूतसंप्लवम् ।। ५० ।।
shAlagrAmo na spRRiShTavyo hInavarNairvasundhare
strIshUdrakarasaMsparsho vajrasparshAdhiko mataH || 49 ||
mohAdyaH saMspRRishechChUdro yoShidvApi kadAchana
pachyate narake ghore yAvadAbhUtasaMplavam || 50 ||
«Shree Varaha-Purana», 186.49-50: «The worship of shalagrama-shilas is strictly forbidden for women, shudras and hinavarnas (हीनवर्ण — ‘hInavarNa’ = ‘outcaste, chandala’). Actually they are forbidden even from a simple touch of shalagrama-shila: if they touch shalagramas just out of moha (that is out of delusion, ignorance and similar reasons), they are doomed for the darkest narakas (hells)».
यदि भक्तिर्भवेत्तस्य स्त्रीणां वापि वसुन्धरे 
दूरादेवास्पृशन्पूजां कारयेत्सुसमाहितः 
चरणामृतपानेन सर्वपापक्षयो भवेत् ।। ५१ ।। 
yadi bhaktirbhavettasya strINAM vApi vasundhare
dUrAdevAspRRishanpUjAM kArayetsusamAhitaH
charaNAmRRitapAnena sarvapApakShayo bhavet || 51 ||
«Shree Varaha-Purana», 186.51: «Shudras, women and chandalas endowed with Vishnu-Bhakti can ask upper castes (that is vaishyas, kshatriyas and brahmins) to conduct Shalagrama-Archana instead of them. Shudras, women and chandalas can be cleansed from all their sins (including the above-mentioned sin of shalagrama’s touch) by the charanamrita, used in such ‘substitute’ Archana».

«Shree Padma-Purana» states:

ब्राह्मणैःपंचपूज्यास्युश्चतस्रः क्षत्रियैस्तथा
वैश्यैस्तिस्रस्तथापूज्याएकापूज्याप्रयत्नतः 
तस्यादर्शनमात्रेणशूद्रोमुक्तिमवाप्नुयात्
brAhmaNaiHpaMchapUjyAsyushchatasraH kShatriyaistathA
vaishyaistisrastathApUjyAekApUjyAprayatnataH
tasyAdarshanamAtreNashUdromuktimavApnuyAt
«Shree Padma-Purana», Uttara-Khanda, 131.5-6: «Brahmins, kshatriyas and vaishyas have the eligibility to worship shalagrama-shilas according to the standard rules of Archana. Shudras can’t worship shalagramas — actually, the glance at shalagrama-shilas is quite enough for shudras in order to get Mukti».
नजातुचिस्त्रियाकार्यशालग्रामस्यपूजनम् भर्तृहीनाथसुभगास्वर्गलोकहितैषिणी २३
मोहात्स्पृष्ट्वापिमहिलाजन्मशीलगुणान्विता हित्वापुण्यसमूहंसासत्वरंनरकंव्रजेत् २४
najAtuchistriyAkAryashAlagrAmasyapUjanam|
bhartRRihInAthasubhagAsvargalokahitaiShiNI 23
mohAtspRRiShTvApimahilAjanmashIlaguNAnvitA
hitvApuNyasamUhaMsAsatvaraMnarakaMvrajet 24
«Shree Padma-Purana», Patala-Khanda, 20.23-24:«Women are strictly forbidden from worshipping and even touching the shalagramas. Even the pious and devotional women are certain to fall into the deepest hells due to a simple touching of shalagrama-shila, because all their punya-karma burns at the moment of the touch».

Question: «Nowadays I also often stumble upon the statement about ban for selling/buying shalagrama-shilas. The ban is quite obvious for me: no any sane person would sell/buy shalagramas, because this mad act is equal to the selling/buying of the Murti, sanctified with prana-pratishta rite, that is equal to the buying/selling of Lord Shree Vishnu alive. 

Anyway, just out of curiosity, I would like to know if this ban is mentioned in Vaishnava Granthas?». 

Answer by Vishnudut1926: «This ban also hails from «Shree Varaha-Purana» and «Shree Padma-Purana».

विक्रेता क्रयकर्त्ता च नरके नीयते ध्रुवम् 
vikretA krayakarttA cha narake nIyate dhruvam
«Shree Varaha-Purana», 186.55:«A person, selling shalagramas and a person buying shalagramas — the eternal hells will be their future».
शालग्रामशिलाययोमूल्यमुद्घाटयेन्नरः विक्रेताचानुमंताचयःपरीक्षानुमोदकः १२
सर्वेतेनरकंयांतियावत्सूर्यश्चसंप्लवः अतस्तद्वर्जयेद्देविचक्रक्रयणविक्रयम् १३
shAlagrAmashilAyayomUlyamudghATayennaraH
vikretAchAnumaMtAchayaHparIkShAnumodakaH 12
sarvetenarakaMyAMtiyAvatsUryashchasaMplavaH
atastadvarjayeddevichakrakrayaNavikrayam 13
«Shee Padma-Purana», Patala-Khanda, 79.12-13: «Darkest hells are awaiting the sellers and buyers of shalagrama shilas».

Article, translations from Sanskrit to English + Sanskrit text OCR 

by Vishnudut1926, Moscow, May 2019

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