Rudraksha, also rudraksh, Sanskrit: rudrākṣa (Sanskrit: रूद्राक्ष)("Rudra's [Shiva's] Teardrops"), is a seed traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is produced by several species of large evergreen broad-leaved tree in the genus Elaeocarpus, with Elaeocarpus ganitrus being the principal species. Rudrakshas are primarily used in India as beads for organic jewellery and mala and are valued similar to semi-precious stones. As such, they are also the source of superstitious claims similar to beliefs related to magnetic or crystal bracelets, faith healing and other medical pseudoscience.
- 1 Significance
- 2 Etymology
- 3 Value and Mukhi definition
- 4 Size
- 5 Surface Texture
- 6 Face appearance/Mukhi appearance
- 7 Rudraksha Beads (1 to 21 Mukihi)
- 8 Modification
- 9 Worked
- 10 Contamination and Treatment
- 11 Description of the tree
- 12 Spiritual use
- 13 See also
- 14 References
Usually the beads of Rudraksha are strung together as a mālā. Traditionally, it is believed that the number of beads used should be 108 plus one. The extra bead is the "meru", bindu or "guru bead". If the mālā lacks a bindu, the energy is said to become cyclical and wearers who are sensitive may become dizzy.
When the beads are strung, it is advisable to do so with either a silk or a cotton thread. It is then advised to change the thread every six months to prevent it from snapping and the 109 beads from scattering. The Rudraksha mālā may also be strung with either copper, silver or gold, typically by a jeweler. A common issue with mālās wired with such metals is the mālā being tied too tightly. This may result in the insides of the Rudraksha seeds cracking and crumbling from excessive pressure. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that the mālā is tied loosely.
The mālā can be worn all the time, including when showering. Wearers may believe that it is beneficial to allow bath water to flow over the beads on on the body when bathing in cold water without chemical soaps. Wearing the mālā while in contact with chemical soaps and warm water is best avoided, however, as it can result in the Rudrakshas becoming brittle and eventually cracking.
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Rudraksha beads are believed to provide good support for those who are constantly on the move and who eat and sleep in a variety of places. This is because they are claimed to create a cocoon made of the wearer's own energy. It is said that if the situation around one is not conducive to one's kind of energy, one will experience difficulty settling down. This was noted as being especially difficult for sadhus and sannyasis, as they were constantly moving, and were traditionally never supposed to rest their heads in the same place twice. Likewise, the Rudraksha may be helpful for travellers and professionals who eat and sleep in a variety of places.
Sadhus or sannyasis living in the forest would have to resort to naturally available water sources. A common belief was that, if a Rudraksha were held above the water on a string, it would turn clockwise if the water was good and drinkable. If it was unfit for consumption, it would go counter-clockwise. This test was also believed to be valid for other edibles.
When worn on a mālā, Rudrakshas were also said to ward off and shield against "negative energies".
Value and Mukhi definition
Rudrakshas are valued and graded similar to semiprecious stones in India and the quality is judged primarily by the size, texture, color and the number of facets (or "mukhis" - naturally occurring grooves in the pod running vertically or horizontally from the stalk). Naturally occurring facets are valued higher than facets that are manually created or modified in a pod.
Most Rudrakshas have a small opening at the stalk point resulting from the extraction and cleaning process; this is sometimes further expanded by drilling, so as to allow the Rudraksha to be used for its benefits. The opening might be limited to the surface or it might be like a drill-hole.
Depending on the quantity of the grooves present on the bead, beads are named and traded in the industry. The 1-mukhi Rudraksha is one of the rarest types, whereas 5-mukhi Rudrakshas are the most commonly used and available.
Size is always measured in millimeters.
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.
Face appearance/Mukhi appearance
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 faces.
Rudraksha Beads (1 to 21 Mukihi)
|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||Ardhnareeshwar||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||O 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||Mahalaxmi||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||Ganesh||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||Sun||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 Ram||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 & Narayan||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.|
Sometimes an incomplete groove is completed by human process to increase the sellability of the bead or to fetch more value...in other words, to fool the customer. 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.
Few Rudraksha are ground or sawn for proper mounting jewellery. GJSPC Laboratory considers this as worked Rudraksha. The grinding/sawing should be negligible; as long as it is, the Rudraksha should not be termed as Modified, as the grinding or drilling is not done to improve the appearance of any mukhi or face, it is just done to facilitatethe bead's usage and wearability.
Contamination and Treatment
If incorrectly maintained, Rudraksha pods are susceptible to fungal infection which can affect their integrity and value. Sellers may wrap Rudrakshas in cotton cloth to avoid surface contact and pesticides to preserve the dried pod.
Some sellers may use vegetable or mineral oils to coat and protect the surface and/or darken the colour of the pod. Many sellers include a note if explicitly using treatments that affect the color.
Description of the tree
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. 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. 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.
Rudraksha beads are the material from which mālās () are made. The term is used both for the berries themselves and as a term for the type of mālā made from them. In this sense, a Rudraksha is a rosary, used for repetitive prayer (japa), a common aid to worship in Hinduism and other faiths. Rudrakshas are also used for the treatment of various diseases in traditional Indian medicine.
Rudraksha malas have been used by Hindus as rosaries from at least the 10th century  for meditation purposes and to sanctify the mind, body and soul. The word rudraksha is derived from Rudra (Shiva—the Hindu god of all living creatures) and aksha (eyes). 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. The Rudraksha fruit is blue, but turns black when dried. The central hard seed may have 1 to 21 faces.
Definition and meaning of the word Rudraksha
The word rudraksha is derived from two words - rudra (रुद्र) and aksha (अक्ष).
A. Aksha means "Teardrops". Rudra and aksha together mean "the one that is capable of looking at and doing everything" (for example, the third eye). Aksha also means "axis". Since the eye can rotate on one axis, it too is known as "aksha".
B. Rudra is one of Shiva's Vedic names. A (अ) means to receive and ksha (क्ष) means to give. Hence, aksha (अक्ष) denotes the ability to receive or give. Rudraksha is the one that has the ability to wipe our tears and provide happiness.
The rudra (rudhir, rudraksha) tree
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
B. 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. The Yatis (Ascetics) in the Himalayas survive only on these fruits. These fruits are also known as amritphala (Fruits of Nectar). They satisfy thirst.
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- "Rudraksha - Everything you need to know about it".
- The translation of rudrākṣa as "Rudra's Teardrops" and definition as berries of Elaeocarpus ganitrus see: Stutley, p. 119.
- Stutley, M. (1985). The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 81-215-1087-2.
- Koul, M. K. (2001-05-13). "Bond with the beads". Spectrum. India: The Tribune.
- 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.
- 108 beads in number
- For use both to refer to the beads and to a mālā see: Apte, p. 804.
- Das, Subhamoy. "The Holy Rudraksha: Super Seed".
- For the five-division type as signifying Shiva's five faces and terminology pañcānana, see: Stutley, p. 119.
- Seetha, K. N. (2008). Power of Rudraksha (4th ed.). Mumbai, India: Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7992-844-8.
- Laatsch, M. (2010). Rudraksha. Die Perlen der shivaitischen Gebetsschnur in altertümlichen und modernen Quellen. Munich: Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft München. ISBN 978-3-89975-411-7.
- Source : Sanatan's Holy text ''Shiva''