The nervous system enables a human being to realize the vastness of existence. “Nara” is the word for the nervous system in Sanskrit. Rishis and seers used the term “Narayana” to denote Consciousness which operates the nervous system. To them, Narayana and the nervous system are inseparable. Vishnu is synonymous with Narayana. The word Vishnu refers to the inherent impulse of the cosmos which allows it to expand in an unbound fashion. Sages and Seers say that anyone can tap into the compassionate nature of this cosmic impulse in certain ways. We can understand one of these ways through a narration which alludes to geological time scales. This narration is connected with the might river Gandaki and the revered Saligram (Shaligram or Salagram) stones. 

Saligram (Shaligram) is the fossil from Saal trees which abound in the Himalayas

Sangava, a Rishi, meditated upon Vishnu for a long time in the Himalayas. Huge mountains and tall trees dominate the views in the Himalayas. “Saal” (Shorea Robusta) or “Shala” is the most common tree in the Himalayas. (The word Saligram is derived from Saal). A desire arose in the mind of the Rishi who had realized the unbound nature of Vishnu. He desired to offer worship to a physical representation of Vishnu. He wished for a tangible representation which would remind him of the imprint of his surroundings on his nervous system. Two of the most significant of his surrounding are the hefty mountains and the tall Saal trees  The locals, to this day, revere these trees for their benevolent nature. and the mountains.

River Gandaki and Saligram

Nature began to fulfill the wishes of the great Rishi. Upheavals in plate tectonics felled gigantic Saal trees and buried them. Consequently, they became fossils. Geologists call these fossils as Ammonites. The upheavals also set a path for the powerful currents of a mighty river.  As a result, this river began to etch the mountains over the eons to slowly expose the Ammonite fossils. It’s flow smoothened the fossil stones into shiny pebbles called the Saligram.

River Gandaki separates two of the highest peaks of the Himalayas today. Thus, it has created the deepest Gorge in the world. The river has smoothened the fossilized remains of Saal trees into shiny pebbles, some big and some small. People revere the black pebbles found in the river as the Saligram. Two notable features of the Shaligram  are the tiny circular etchings on the surface and the pits. The Omnipresent Vishnu is present everywhere but in a special way in the Shaligram stone. Devotees offer leaves of the Tulasi (sacred basil) plant while worshipping Vishnu as Shaligram in their homes. In other words, the nervous system worships its own source, namely Narayana.

Also, read the blogpost related to Vishnu – Prahlada and Pantheism – Conscious Cosmos (

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