The seed of the Rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpus granitrus) holds a very special place in Hinduism, and is credited to possess mystical and divine properties. Necklaces made of Rudraksha beads are considered auspicious as well as powerful, and are supposed to have profound astrological and health benefits. It is believed that one who wears Rudraksha is untouched by sins, and is protected from all impious deeds or thoughts.
‘Rudraksha’ has its etymological origin in the Sanskrit words, ‘Rudra’ and ‘Aksha’. ‘Rudra’ is another name for Lord Shiva, and ‘aksha’ means teardrop. Ancient tales have it that the Rudraksha plant was born out of Lord Shiva’s tear drops. Ancient scriptures, such as ‘Shiva Purana’, ‘Padma Purana’ and ‘Srimad Bhagavad’ mention the greatness and wonderful powers of the Rudraksha. For thousands of years, they have adorned the bodies of sages and saints leading a fearless life in far-flung frontiers seeking enlightenment and liberation.
Medicinal Value & Biomedical Properties
According to the Ayurvedic medical system, wearing Rudraksha can have a positive effect on the heart and nerves, and relieve you from stress, anxiety, depression, palpitations and lack of concentration. It is also known for its anti ageing effect, and electromagnetic and inductive properties. People with high blood pressure have been found have benefited from the use of Rudraksha seeds.
Types of Rudraksha
Rudraksha beads are classified on the basis of the number of “mukhis” – the clefts and furrows – they have on the surface. Each bead has a different effect on you, depending on the number of mukhis it has. These are vital from the astrological viewpoint, since it is believed that Rudrakshas of different mukhis please different planets. The scriptures speak of 1 to 38 mukhis, but Rudrakshas of 1 to 14 mukhis are commonly found.
Beware of Fakes!
Nowadays, they seem to come in all shapes and sizes, and available at every little shop that sells alternative medicines, including a host of online stores. But make sure you get the real stuff. Imitations look real but don’t work! Here’s how to identify a genuine Rudraksha seed:
- A real Rudraksha bead will never float on water.
- Even if you boil a real Rudraksha in water for 6 hours, there would no effect on the bead. A fake will easily disintegrate.
- A good Rudraksha bead will not be broken at any end.
- A ‘healthy’ bead should have well defined and natural corns and contours.
~ Subhamoy Das