Rudraksha

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Rudraksha tree, Elaeocarpus ganitreus
Collection of Rudrakshas

Rudraksha (IAST:Rudrākṣa, Devanagari: रुद्राक्ष, Telugu: రుద్రాక్ష[1] , Tamil:ருத்ராட்ச[2]) is a seed traditionally used as prayer beads in Hinduism (especially Shaivism). The seed is produced by several species of large evergreen broad-leaved tree in the genus Elaeocarpus, with Elaeocarpus ganitrus being the principal species. They are associated with the Hindu deity Lord Shiva and are commonly worn for protection and chanting Om Namah Shivaya mantra by devotees. The seeds are primarily used in India and Nepal as beads for organic jewellery and malas, and are valued similarly to semi-precious stones. Various meanings and potencies are attributed to beads with different numbers of segments (faces), and rare or unique beads are highly prized and valuable.

Etymology[edit]

Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound word consisting of the Rudra (Sanskrit: रुद्र) and akṣa (Sanskrit: अक्ष ).[3][4] Rudra is one of Lord Shiva's vedic names and Akṣa means 'teardrops'. So it means Lord Rudra's (Lord Shiva's) teardrops.

Significance[edit]

14 mukhi (face) Rudrakha made into pendant.

There is a long tradition of wearing Rudraksha beads in India, particularly among Shaivites, due to their association with Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva himself wears rudraksha garlands. Om Namah Shivaya mantra is repeated (japa) using the rudraksha beads.[5]

Although there are no specific prohibitions, it is more common for women to wear beads made of other materials, such as pearls.

Rudraksha beads may be strung together as a mala and used to count the repetition of a mantra or prayer, similar to the use of rosaries in Christianity. Most garlands contain 108 beads plus one, as 108 is considered sacred and a suitable number of times to recite a short mantra. The extra bead, called the "meru", bindu or "guru bead", helps mark the beginning and end of a cycle of 108, as well as having symbolic value as a 'principle' bead. It is believed that, as a sacred material, rudraksha beads are able to hold onto to energy of the recited mantra and aid the worshiper in his or her concentration and spiritual development.

Single rudraksha beads may be worn around the neck as a form of protection, or on the skin in other forms of jewellery such as bracelets and earrings.

When the beads are strung, silk or a cotton thread is commonly used. Less often, jewellers may use copper, silver or gold wire, though the Rudraksha may be damaged if strung too tightly.

The mala can be worn all the time, excluding in shower as water can hydrate the rudraksha seed. Observant Hindus may follow other rules while wearing a Rudraksha bead, such as avoiding to eat meat and alcohol, as part of chosen lifestyle.

It is possible to carry a single seed or several seeds strung on the same thread. The small grains are used for rosaries which usually contain 27, 54 or 108 seeds (sometimes 109 when "the seed-guru" is added, with the image of the guru whom the disciple worships).

Mukhi definition[edit]

8 Mukhi (faced) Rudraksha

In sanskrit mukhi (Sanskrit: मुखी) means face. So Mukhi means opening on Rudraksh, Like one Mukhi Rudraksha means Rudraksha with one mouth or opening, 4 Mukhi Rudraksha means Rudraksha with 4 mouths or opening. The Rudraksha comes with ranging from 1 to 21 faces.[6]

Face appearance/Mukhi appearance[edit]

There are many examples of undeveloped, naturally joined, partially formed, or unformed faces in Rudraksha from all locations. Fully developed faces are the easiest one to count and can command greater value than their normal market standards. Undeveloped faces, joint faces, partially formed faces, and unformed faces create confusion among traders, and can actually alter the price of the Rudraksha considerably. There is not a single standard used amongst traders to describe the method of counting a Rudraksha's face

Modification[edit]

X-ray of 10 mukhi Rudraksha reveals 10 seeds storing chambers and one central chamber in the Rudraksha.
7 Mukhi Rudraksha cut into half

Sometimes an incomplete groove is completed by human process to increase the sellability of the bead or to fetch more value. Such work on grooves is done with basic tools like saw blades, files, etc. A Rudraksha face should be naturally formed not made by any human effort; if any Rudraksha has any modified faces, those faces should not "count", and the bead should be classed as Modified or Tempered Rudraksha.

Size[edit]

Size is always measured in millimeters. they range from as small as pea seeds to larger ones, some almost reaching the size of a walnut

Surface texture[edit]

A Rudraksha's surface should be hard and the projections should be well grooved, as found in most of the Nepalese Rudrakshas.Indonesian Rudraksha has a different appearance.Rudraksha from India shows very high and deeply grooved projections resembling natural deep hills and valleys.

Rudraksha beads (1 to 21 Mukhi)[edit]

Rudraksha Ruling God Ruling Planet Beeja mantra Major benefit
1 Mukhi Shiva Sun Om Hreem Namah Enlighten the Super Consciousness, provides improved concentration and mental structure changes specific to renunciation from worldly affairs. The wearer enjoys all comforts at his command but still remains unattached.
2 Mukhi Ardhnareeshwara Moon Om Namah Blesses the wearer with 'UNITY'. It could be related to Guru-Shishya, parents-children, husband-wife or friends. Maintaining ONENESS is its peculiarity.
3 Mukhi Agni Mars Om Kleem Namah The wearer gets free from sins or wrongs from his life and returns to purity . Ideal for those who suffer from inferior complexes, subjective fear, guilt and depression.
4 Mukhi Brahma Mercury Om Hreem Namah The wearer gains power of creativity when blessed. Increases memory power, wit and intelligence.
5 Mukhi Kalaagni Rudra Jupiter Om Hreem Namah Wearer gains health and peace. Lowers blood pressure.
6 Mukhi Kartikeya Venus Om Hreem Hum Namah Saves from the emotional trauma of worldly sorrows and gives learning, wisdom and knowledge. Affects understanding and appreciation of Love, Sexual Pleasure, Music and Personal Relationships.
7 Mukhi Mahalakshmi Saturn Om Hum Namah It should be worn by those who are suffering from miseries pertaining to body, finance and mental set-up. By wearing this man can progress in business and service and spends his life happily.
8 Mukhi Ganesha Rahu Om Hum Namah Removes all obstacles and brings success in all undertakings. It gives the wearer all kinds of attainments - Riddhies and Siddhies . His opponents are finished i.e. the minds or intentions of his opponents are changed.
9 Mukhi Durga Ketu Om Hreem Hum Namah Wearer is blessed with lot of energy, powers, Dynamism and fearlessness, which are useful to live a life of success.
10 Mukhi Vishnu None Om Hreem Namah This contains the influence of ten incarnations and the ten directions. It works like a shield on one's body and drives evils away.
11 Mukhi Hanuman None Om Hreem Hum Namah Blesses wearer with wisdom, right judgment, powerful vocabulary, adventurous life, fearlessness and success. Above all, it also protects from accidental death. It also helps in Meditation and removes the problems of yogic practices.
12 Mukhi Surya Aum Kraum Sraum Raum Surya Namah Wearer gets the quality of the sun - to rule and to move continuously with brilliant radiance and strength. Good for ministers, politicians, administrators, businessmen and executives. Removes worry, suspicion and fear. Increases self image and motivation.
13 Mukhi Indra Venus Om Hreem Namah Showers all possible comforts of life one can ever desire. It gives riches and honor and fulfills all the earthly desires and gives eight accomplishments ( Siddhies), and the god cupid ( Kamadeva) pleases with the man who wears it.. It is helpful for meditation and spiritual and materialistic attainments
14 Mukhi Hanuman Saturn Om Namah Most precious divine gem - Deva Mani. It awakens the sixth sense organ by which the wearer foresees the future happenings. Its wearer never fails in his decisions. Its wearer gets rid of all the calamities, miseries, worries. It protects from ghosts, evil spirits and black magic . It provides the wearer safety, security and riches and self power.
15 Mukhi Lord Pashupati None Om Namah Shivay This represents Lord Pashupati and is specially beneficial for economic progress. Its possessor is neither bereft of wealth nor inflicted by any kinds of skin diseases.
16 Mukhi Lord Rama None Om Namah Shivaya It represents victory and the possessor is never affected by heat or cold. It is especially useful for the saints living in jungles. The house in which it is kept is free from fire, theft or robbery.
17 Mukhi Vishvakarma None Om Namah Shivaya It represents Vishvakarma the builder of this world. It is very effective in gaining unexpected money. It is specially useful in attaining property, vehicles and all physical assets.
18 Mukhi Mother Earth None Om Namah Shivaya It represents the mother earth. The possessor remains happy and healthy. It is specially beneficial for the pregnant women in protecting their child.
19 Mukhi Lord Narayana None Om Namah Shivaya It represents Lord Narayana. The possessor is bestowed with all worldly pleasures. There is no scarcity in their life.
20 Mukhi Vishwasu Sadhu & Narayana None Hidden It represents Vishwasu Sadhu Praani. The wearer of this Rudraksha is known for his words. he always speak truth and his wordings becomes truth. Lord Shiva opens the power of truth for his words. This Rudraksha reaches to the Sadhu, saints and brahmins by the virtue of their devotion for Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bless them with 21 mukhi Rudraksha and removes their sins. It provides Moksha (liberation) in the end.
21 Mukhi Ek Alakh Niranjan that is Omkar None Hidden It is called Ek Alakh King. It is the creator and do preservation of the universe and it is the past, present and future itself. This Rudraksha belongs to each and every Shakti (power). Lord Brahmma, Vishnu and Mahesha along with all other God and Goddess live in this Rudraksha. The wearer of this Rudraksha gets all the comforts, leisure and happiness and in the end get the Moksha ( Blessing).
Gauri Shankar Shiva & Parvati Moon Om Shree GauriShankaraya Namah Regarded the best for peace and comfort in the family. If a man worships Gauri Shankar at his worshipping place, the pain and suffering and other earthly obstacles are destroyed and the peace and pleasure of family are increased.

Description of the tree[edit]

Blue colored Rudraksha fruits

Elaeocarpus ganitrus grows in the area from the Gangetic plain in the foothills of the Himalayas to Southeast Asia, Nepal, Indonesia, New Guinea to Australia, Guam, and Hawaii.[7] Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer husk of blue when fully ripe, and for this reason are also known as blueberry beads. The blue colour is not derived from pigment but is structural.[8] It is an evergreen tree that grows quickly. The Rudraksha tree starts bearing fruit in three to four years from germination. As the tree matures, the roots form buttresses, rising up near the trunk and radiating out along the surface of the ground.

General information on the Rudraksha tree: found from sea level up to 3000m above. The Rudraksha tree grows in a narrow space, not on open ground. Its leaves resemble those of tamarind or nux vomica, but are longer. It yields one to two thousand fruits annually. These fruits are also known as amritphala (Fruits of Nectar). They satisfy thirst.[9]

Spiritual use[edit]

Prayer beads made of rudraksha seeds

Rudraksha beads are the material from which malas [10] are made. The term is used both for the berries themselves and as a term for the type of mala made from them.[11] In this sense, a Rudraksha is a rosary, used for repetitive prayer (japa), a common aid to worship in Hinduism (especially Shaivism) and other faiths. Rudrakshas are also used for the treatment of various diseases in traditional Indian medicine.[12]

A common type has five face, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva. It should only be worn on a black or red string/thread or, rarely, a gold chain.[13][14]

Rudraksha malas have been used by Hindus as rosaries from at least the 10th century [15] for meditation purposes and to sanctify the mind, body and soul. One Hindu legend says that once Lord Shiva opened His eyes after a long period yogic meditation, and because of strong feelings He shed a tear. This single tear from Shiva's eye grew into the rudraksha tree. It is believed that by wearing the Rudraksha bead one will have the protection of Lord Shiva.

Mention of Rudraksha in Scriptures[edit]

They who walk the twin paths of charya and kriya ever praise the twin feet of the Lord. They wear holy emblems—the twin rings in earlobes, the twin rudraksha garland around the neck—and adopt the twin mudras, all in amiable constancy. : Tirumantiram 1423. TM[16]

Thinking of Him, great love welling up in their heart, if they finger the rudraksha beads, it will bring them the glory of the Gods. Chant our naked Lord’s name. Say, “Namah Shivaya!” : Tirumurai 3.307.3. PS, 217 [17]

The rudra (rudhir, rudraksha) tree[edit]

A. Creation of the rudraksha tree from the tears of deepest meditation shed by Rudra ( Shiva ) upon seeing the unrighteous conduct of demon Tarakasur's sons, and their destruction by Shiva :

Through their righteous conduct and devotion unto Shiva, Tarakasur's sons Tadinmali, Tarakaksh and Kamalaksh, attained divinity. After some time, seeing that they had returned to their original unrighteous conduct, Shankar (Shiva) was grief-stricken and went into deepest meditation, and His eyes were filled with tears. A few of these tears fell onto the earth; a tree sprang up from these, which came to be known as the Rudraksha tree. Later, Shiva destroyed the sons of Tarakasur." -Gurudev Dr. Kateswamiji

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "rudraksha uses is Telegu". 
  2. ^ "rudrasha in tamil". 
  3. ^ The translation of rudrākṣa as "Rudra's Teardrops" and definition as berries of Elaeocarpus ganitrus see: Stutley, p. 119.
  4. ^ Stutley, M. (1985). The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 81-215-1087-2. 
  5. ^ "Dancing with Siva". www.himalayanacademy.com. Retrieved 2018-04-07. 
  6. ^ "Different Types of Rudraksha Beads and their benefits". 
  7. ^ Koul, M. K. (2001-05-13). "Bond with the beads". Spectrum. India: The Tribune. 
  8. ^ Lee, D. W. (1991). "Ultrastructural Basis and Function of Iridescent Blue Color of Fruits in Elaeocarpus". Nature. 349 (6306): 260–262. doi:10.1038/349260a0. 
  9. ^ Source : Sanatan's Holy text Shiva
  10. ^ 108 beads in number
  11. ^ For use both to refer to the beads and to a mālā see: Apte, p. 804.[citation needed]
  12. ^ Das, Subhamoy. "The Holy Rudraksha: Super Seed". 
  13. ^ For the five-division type as signifying Shiva's five faces and terminology pañcānana, see: Stutley, p. 119.
  14. ^ Seetha, K. N. (2008). Power of Rudraksha (4th ed.). Mumbai, India: Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7992-844-8. 
  15. ^ Laatsch, M. (2010). Rudraksha. Die Perlen der shivaitischen Gebetsschnur in altertümlichen und modernen Quellen. Munich: Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft München. ISBN 978-3-89975-411-7. 
  16. ^ Dancing with Siva. Himalayan Academy. 1997. ISBN 9788120832657. 
  17. ^ Dancing with Siva. Himalayan Academy. 1997. ISBN 9780945497479.