The word Rudraksh is of Sanskrit origin and comes from two words: Rudra, which is a manifested form of Shiva, and aksha, which means teardrops. The beads literally mean ‘Tears of Lord Shiva’. These beads grow on Elaeocarpus ganitrus trees usually found in the Himalaya region.
Story of Rudraksh
According to the legend of the Bhagavat Puran, that there was a demon called Maya who began to create trouble for the gods by his powers. He built three towns of gold, silver, and iron, known as Tripur. Maya was unbeatable in war. He came to be known as Tripurasur. The gods were greatly perturbed by this. Indra went to Brahma and Vishnu to enlist their help in order to beat Tripurasur. They then decided to approach Shiva, who was the most powerful of them all.
Shiva ordered a special chariot to be built of earth. The wheels were made of the Sun and the Moon. Vishnu became the arrow of Shiva’s arch and Brahma drove the chariot. They went to confront Tripurasur. Shiva assumed his Rudra form and destroyed the demon. Thereafter, he closed his eyes and meditated. When he opened them, tears fell on the earth and became rudraksh trees. The fruits of these trees are known as rudraksh beads.
The rudraksh beads come in different mukhi (segments or faces grooved over the surface of the beads) from one to 21. Beads of 1-14 mukhis are most commonly found. The rudraksh mala should consist of not less than 84 beads plus the bindu at the top. These malas can be worn for creating an aura of energy. It is also believed to provide protection to the wearer.
An interesting story goes that if a pure rudraksh is held above a positive pranic substance such as a glass of clear water, it will move clockwise, but if it is held over a negative substance such as stale or overcooked food, it will by itself move in an anti-clockwise direction. Pranic substances are those which when consumed ignite a life force within us. These are of three types: positive, neutral, and negative.
The panchmukhi (five faced) is the most common type of rudraksh and is believed to provide immense benefits to the wearer. It creates a cocoon of energy and energises the wearer. Chanting mantras on a rudraksh mala is also considered very beneficial. It is also known to ward off negative energies and create an armour of protection around the wearer.
There are several scientifically proven benefits of wearing the rudraksh. Let us look at them.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Calms the mind
- Boosts the nervous system
- Has a stabilizing effect on the body
- Helps the blood flow smoothly through the veins and arteries
- Drinking water in which the beads are soaked provide a rich source of
Vitamin C along with its anti-inflammatory properties.
It is important to source the beads from a genuine place so that you can gain maximum benefits from wearing them and chanting the mala.
Power of Rudraksh
The rudraksh is believed to be powerful. There are some rules about wearing it.
- Never purchase a rudraksh with borrowed money—it should be your own.
- Ideally, get your rudraksh energised with pran pratishtha Check for good dates with your pundit. It is typically worn for the first time on Mondays or Thursdays.
- While the beads can be worn at all times, it is advisable to not wear them if you are going to a funeral.
- Never touch the rudraksh with unclean hands.
- If you cannot wear it every day, place it in a clean box and offer prayers to it every day.
- Keep the bead clean. Use holy water to clean it and oil it after it has dried. Never allow dust to gather on a rudraksh.
Each much or face of the rudraksh mala carries a special and unique significance. You can read about it here.