When ever we think about the name Rudraksha a picture of wooden bead or seed type structure comes in our mind. Or even the beads or mala worn by the sadhus or baba's catches our attention. But it is not only a bead or seed but it's having sacred and spiritual values which is a most powerful and awesome bead for ever.
Rudraksha a seed has created attention and interest worldwide due to its mystical properties. It is known and has been used from times immemorial. Rudraksha stems from Hindu mythology and means "the eyes of Shiva". The mythology that surrounds the Rudraksha is that the Hindu god Shiva meditated on the welfare of all mankind and cried tears of compassion, peace and joy. These tears upon hitting the earth crystallized to form these seeds. The divine qualities of this bead were first noted in ancient Hindu scriptures. They bless one with peace of mind; protect against evil doers and spirits; and bless with peace and prosperity.
Basically the word Rudraksha is used for both tree as well as the fruit. In Sanskrit Rudraksham means Rudraksha fruit as well as Rudraksha tree.
Literally the word Rudraksha in Sanskrit means :("Rudra-eyed") is the name of the dark berries of Elaeocarpus ganitrus, used to make prayer beads.
Rudraksha tree grows on mountains and hilly region of Nepal, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra and Burma. Its leaves are green in colour and the fruits are brown in color and sour in taste. The Rudraksha fruits also adorn the human beings because of spiritual values.
Rudraksha is worn singly or in multiples in the form of malas, necklace, bracelet or as arm band. It is not only used by Hindu religious saints but its users are celebrities, artisans, housewives, students, businessmen. It has been used for different purposes. When sadhus wear them, they believed to have attained special powers and also known as trademark for devotees of God. Many wear Rudraksha for its good omen, many wear just for good health. There are so many who wear it without knowing its qualities and virtues as an ornament only because of its rare beauty.
Even also a joint study and research conducted by a group of scientists of Banaras Hindu University in coordination with Department of Biochemistry, Electrical Engineering, Psychiatry, General Medicine and Psychology have proved the powers of Rudraksha scientifically with reproducible results which proved that Rudraksha have electromagnetic, para-magnetic, inductive dia-magnetic and dynamic polarity or the ability to change its polarity. It has also been shown that Rudraksha have anti-ageing properties based on their electromagnetism.and also have ayurvedic properties.
The bead of rudraksha has ayurvedic references. This rudraksha bead posses the curative properties for many diseases that affect humans, for example the unprecedented exposure of body cells to electromagnetic waves created by cell phones, the electronic gadgets and processes or the changing lifestyles in term of food work schedules and stress. It also offers a protective shield to the human body. Rudraksha beads have many other powerful properties in transforming one's personality and outlook in a positive way.
Apart from the bead of Rudraksha, the outer skin of the fruit and leaves and bark of the Rudraksha tree can be used for making useful herbal products.
There is nothing on this planet that matches Rudraksha in its natural wild beauty, which is full of energy and usefulness both for body and mind. Rudraksha is a true bio-jewellery that has its own beauty and power. Its aura and glow whether you see in day light or night time are divine impressive and unique.
Legend behind Rudraksha / Its origin and Myths
Hindu scriptures associate Rudraksha with Lord Shiva. Rudraksha is believed to be the direct blessings of Lord Shiva.
Union of two words, 'RUDRA' and 'AKSHA', forms Rudraksha. Rudra is the name of Lord Shiva and Aksha means 'tear'. Thus, literally Rudraksha means the tear of Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva the highest in the Hindu religion considered the "Creator" of Rudraksha. Rudraksha is a symbol of spirituality, power, that make the person fearless and arogya (without any disease) and provide peace and prosperity. The most appealing about the power of Rudraksha is that it is worn by the lord Shiva as an ornament in his zata (locks of hair), as necklace, as wrist band and armband.
We get the details about Rudraksha in number of "Granthas" and "Shastras" (the holy books of Indian Mythology). There are various stories about the origin of Rudraksha. One can find the greatness and detailed literature about the properties of Rudraksha in ancient Vedic scriptures like, Padam Purana (Chap 57), Mantra Maharnava, verses 158-174, Jabbalaoapanishada, Maha Shiva Purana, Srimad Bhagwata, AkshaMaalikaoapnashida, Mantra Maharnava, and etc.
Vedic Literature :
As per Srimad Devi Bhagwat Puran
Rudraksha subsist by the tear of lord Siva. According to the religious text Devi Bhagwat Puran there was a Demon known as Maya who was very strong and had divine energy and power. Due to these qualities he became proud and started to trouble deities and sages. No one was able to defeat this strong demon in war. He built three towns of three different metals. Towns were built by gold, silver and iron. These towns were non-destroyable and known as Tripur. After ruling these towns by him and his two brothers he was known as Tripurasur. He started crusade against gods and easily own battle against god's king Indra. He looted angles, power and treasure of god and ruled Eden. Being helpless and powerless Indra and other gods went to beg help from Bramha. Lord Bramha gave advice to them that he could not beat Tripurasur and went to beg help from Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu also told them that he also cannot beat Tripurasur and suggested them to beg help from all gods of Lord Shiva. All gods including Bramha & Vishnu went to beg help from Lord Shiva to destroy Tripurasur and his non-destroyable towns.
Bramha, Vishnu and all gods started to state their grief to lord Shiva and prayed to ruin Tripurasur and his towns. Shiva as always ready to help his devotees and revealed to all gods that he will ruin Tripurasur. He ordered to build a special chariot to executed demon Tripurasur. Chariot was made of earth; wheel was made of sun and moon, Lord Vishnu himself became arrow of Shiva's arch and the lord Bramha drove chariot.
After the completion of the chariot Lord Shiva lead with Bramha, Vishnu, Indra and all gods to battle and destroy Tripur. He reached the place where he can destroy Tripur by one arrow. At that time Shiva took Rudra (anger) rup (pose). When he was ready to burst the arrow all gods became so happy and start to pray. Lord Shiva execute arrow and ruin Tripur and demolish all devil.
After the demolition of Tripur lord Shiva, Bramha, Vishnu, Indra and other gods went to Himalayas to get rest. Lord Shiva closed his eyes and meditated for some time. When he opened his lotus shaped eyes tears fell from them on the earth. Those tears decent over Sitsail hill. Sometime after those tears became Rudraksha trees. The fruits that grow on this tree are known as Rudraksha Beads.
According to another religious text Shiva Mahapuran, Parvati the divine consort of Lord Shiva asked him the origin of Rudraksha. On hearing her question Shiva said that he did penance for a thousand years. Tired of keeping his eyes closed for so long, Shiva opened them. A few teardrops fell to the ground and from these tears, the Rudraksha tree came into existence. The seeds of the tree were distributed on the earth.
According to another puran, once lord Shiva went into deep meditation for a long period for the well-being of all living beings. After waking from the state of meditation, he opened his eyes and instantly tear drops fell on the earth. On reaching the ground, tear drops took the form of a seed which later grew into Rudraksha tree.
One ancient story explains the origin of Rudraksha as . Once upon a time, Lord Shiva was very upset and depressed due to the death of "Gauri", his wife. He started crying and roaming here and there in search of "Gauri". And while searching too he was crying and his tears were falling on the earth. These tears took the form of a seed and grew into Rudraksha tree.
There are also many other different conceptions regarding Rudrakshas in Shiv Puran and other Pauranic scriptures but one thing is upheld in all of these that:-
"DIVYA VARSHA SAHASRAM TU CHAKSHURUNMEELITMAYAA,
SHIV UVACH: - "For one thousand divine years I kept closed my eyes then tear drops fell from my eyes."
"TATRASHRUBINDTO JAATA MAHARUDRAKSH VRISKSHKAH
Those drops of tear which fell from my eyes gave birth to the tree of Maharudraksh on my command for the benefit of all.
Ancient Vedic scriptures talk on different circumstances leading to the creation of Rudra. All the epics are centered on Lord Shiva the god of eternal cycle of creation and destruction, and falling of tears from his eyes.
Types of Rudraksha
The magical Rudraksha are found in different types. If we closely examine the beads of Rudraksha we may find that no Rudraksha is identical in shape. So to understand its properties and effect Rudraksha is differentiated into 1 to 27 categories which we call mukhis.
Every Rudraksha has cells or Mukhis which differ in numbers. A mukh or facet is a line or groove which runs from one end of Rudraksha to the other end. The Rudraksha bead has a top portion from where the line originated this is called Brahma. From this top portion the fruit is connected with the tree so it is called the top portion. The middle portion having the largest diameter that is known as Vishnu and the bottom portion where the lines end is known as Shiva.
On the basis of these mukhis the Rudraksha may be classified into 1 to 27 mukhis. In ancient epic like Shiv Puran, Shri Mad Devi Bhagwat, and Padmpuran etc. Rudraksha upto 14 Mukhis have been described along with their effects and purposes for which they are useful. Higher Mukhi Rudraksha from 15 to 27 Mukhis have also been found in the later countries their benefits recorded as per experience of the learned people. There are other Rudraksha like Gauri Shankar (two Rudraksha having naturally joined on the tree), Ganesha (a Rudraksha having trunk like protrusion on its body) Sawar (a Gauri Shankar in which one bead has only one line or Mukhi), Trijuti (three Rudraksha beads joined naturally on the tree.
Rudraksha are available in different sizes. The auspicious and effective ones are those which are larger in sizes (15mm and above) and have natural hole in it. The surface of the bead should not be over - thorny and should have good hardness.