Rudraksha – Tears of Lord Shiva

Rudraksha is one of the species of flora and owes its origins to Elaeocarpus family. This species is mostly prevalent in and around Indian Subcontinent. Wealth of India, a unit of NISCAIR-CSIR, in the year 1952, stated that this typical species is found in ‘a large genus of trees distributed from south and east Asia through Malaysia to Australia and the Pacific Island.’

The origins of Rudra

There are various legends related to Rudra in Hindu mythology. Rudra is the name of Lord Shiva. Again, the collective form i.e. Rudras is also the name of Maruts (storm gods), the atmospheric gods whose number varies from two to hundred and eighty.

As mentioned in the ancient Vedic texts –

  • Rudra is the father of the Maruts and,
  • The Rudras are the sons of Rudra.

Rudra has first found its mention in the Hindu text Rigveda where his character was more of a symbolic figure. Gradually, as Hindu mythology evolved, in the later Puranic days, the character of Rudra took on a full-fledged form.

Legends associated with Rudra

While nothing much is known about the origin of Rudra, in Sanskrit the term ‘rud’ means ‘to cry’ and ‘rodden’ means ‘crying’, thus Rudra stands for the one who cries. There is a legend telling how Rudra acquired his name. As mentioned in Devi Bhagavata Skandha, Rudra took birth from the anger of Lord Brahma.

As recorded in the Puranic encyclopedia, Brahma created four entities namely Sanandana, Sanaka, Sanatana and Sanatkumara quite before the creation of Prajapatis. Brahma created these four entities for bringing progenies into this world, but all the four denied in giving this world its successive generations. This decision caused immense rage in Lord Brahma and he set off to destroy all the three worlds i.e. Swarga, Morto and Patal. A figure of extreme radiance emanated from Brahma’s beaming eyebrows which were curved with rage.

The blue complexioned radiant figure was Rudra with three eyes and, as the name suggests, he started off with crying upon his arrival. Along with Rudra, he was given seven other names by Lord Brahma and they were Bhava, Sarava, Isana, Pashupati, Bhima, Ugar and Mahadeva. Thus he acquired eight names.

Legends associated with Rudraksha

Legend 1

The meaning of Rudraksha is the tears of Rudra, where Rudra is the form of Shiva and aksha means the eyes of Shiva. A Hindu school of thought believes that while fighting with a number of asuras (demons), Lord Shiva destroyed three vibrant cities. After the fight was over, Shiva wept bitterly upon seeing the havoc which the fierce battle had caused. His tears fell on the ground and grew as fresh shrubs reaping berries which later came to be known as Rudraksha.

Legend 2

Devi Bhagavata Skandha II explains how Rudraksha earned prominence in Hindu religion. Once the devas went to Lord Shiva and requested him to fight with two mighty asuras and rescue them all. Shiva, with his open eyes, contemplated for over thousand years and after a prolonged length of time when Shiva winked his eyes, tears fell from his eyes from which Rudraksha trees grew on the earth.

  • From the Sun emerged twelve kinds of Rudraksha (blood colored).
  • From the Moon came sixteen kinds of Rudraksha (white colored)
  • From the Fire emerged ten kinds of Rudraksha (black colored).

Rules for wearing Rudraksha

Rudraksha has always taken a special position in the Hindu tradition. As written in Hindu shastras and translated by eminent scholars like Swami Prabhanandgiri, following are the rules one should abide by while wearing Rudraksha for gaining liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

o   One should always wear the Rudraksha mala, especially during the time of death to gain emancipation from the circle of rebirth (yonilokor) and attain liberation by arriving at Shivalok.

o   As described in Rudrakshajabolopanishad, a person could only achieve salvation when after wearing Rudraksha, he completely abstains himself from liquor, flesh, onions, garlic, radish, tamarisk i.e. the fruit of the Slesmakata tree, and Vidavatha.

o   As mentioned in the Rudrakskajabolopanishad Rudrakshas are divided into four castes or Varnas, viz., Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Those four kinds of trees bear four different colored beads, viz. white, red, tawny and black. Thus as per the ritual:

–      The Brahmanas should wear white beads,

–      the Ksatriyas should wear the red beads,

–      the Vaisyas should wear the tawny-colored beads, and

–      the Sudras should wear only the black ones.

The Authenticity test of Rudraksha

There are a couple of efficient tests to check whether the Rudraksha is authentic or not.

  • If the Rudraksha swings while placed between two copper coins or coils, it is original.
  • If the Rudraksha does not sink while dropped in water or milk, it is original; the one that sinks is fake.
  • If the Rudraksha begins to emanate heat half an hour after being dropped in water, it is definitely original.

Mantras for different Mukhee Rudrakshas

Various types of malas (neck pieces) are made from Rudraksha of different mukhees (faces).

A twenty-one mukhee Rudraksha, also called Indra mala, is the rarest of all and is difficult to find. The possession of this Rudraksha brings tremendous wealth and prosperity.

The mantras for Shuddhikaran of one to fourteen mukhee Rudrakshas are mentioned in Shiva Purana. They are mentioned as follows –

One mukhee à om hinngnamaha,

two mukhee à om namaha,

three mukhee à om kling namaha,

four mukhee à om hiring namaha,

five mukhee à om hiring namaha,

six mukhee à om hiring huang namaha,

seven mukhee à om huang namaha,

eight mukhee à Om huang namaha,

nine mukhee à om hirang huang namaha,

ten mukhee à om hiring namaha,

eleven mukhee à om hing huang namaha,

twelve mukhee à om krong shrongroo namaha,

thirteen mukhee à om king namaha, and

fourteen mukhee à om namaha.

A bunch of researchers also opine that the cosmic vibrations of a Rudraksha could embrace the wearer even without the chanting of any mantra.

Benefits of wearing different Mukhee Rudrakshas

The Bhagavata, Shiva Purana and Smritis elaborate on the Karmic, Ayurvedic, Theosophic and materialistic benefits of wearing different Rudrakshas. They are mentioned as below –

One mukhee Rudraksha – Rarest of rare, represents Lord Shiva’s trishula-linga-sarpa, washes away sins, enhances positive thought level, brings immense wealth and riches.

Two mukhee Rudraksha or Gaurishankara – Represents the image of God and Goddess together, worn by Shaivites, washes away all sins whether committed intentionally or unintentionally, controls sexual urges, improves concentration, awakens the kundalinl, bears great hypnotic effect.

Three mukhee Rudraksha – Represents Agni (fire) and thus represents purification, washes away sins of killing a woman, cures fever and brings strength, helps the unemployed find jobs.

Four mukhee Rudraksha – Symbolizes Brahma, Washes away the sin of killing a man, sharpens the mind, increases the ability to retain and memorize, provides medicinal benefits when boiled in milk and drunk by a mentally retarded person for 20 days.

Five mukhee Rudraksha – Represents Kalagni or the fire of death, washes away sins incurred by eating prohibited food and indulging physically with another woman, beneficial for people with heart disease, facilitates repose, helps one winning over his enemy.

The six mukhee Rudraksha – Stands for the six faced god (Kartikeva), washes away sins, brings success (siddhi) in all tasks, prospers trade, cures diseases like hysteria and blood pressure.

Seven mukhee Rudraksha – Represents Kamadeva, washes away sins of the gold theft, neutralizes a person’s bad planetary positions, protects from dying a brutal or premature death, helps get rid of any trauma.

Eight mukhee Rudraksha – Symbolized by Vinayaka-the great army General, erases the sins of the deceit, helps to acquire concentration and mental poise, helps to awaken the kundalini, benefits a businessman and brings wealth to him, cures paralytic strokes.

Nine mukhee Rudraksha – Represents Bhairava and worn on the left hand, strengthens mental power, helps to attain salvation, personifies the nine powers of the god, benefits durga devotees, erases the sins of killing a child by undergoing abortions, cures all heart diseases.

Ten mukhee Rudraksha – Extremely rare, represents the form of Janardana, protects from evil spirits and snakebite, represents Yama, provides protection against tantrik power, bears great medicinal qualities.

Eleven mukhee Rudraksha – Represents the eleven appearances of Shiva, brings the benefits equivalent to horse sacrifice when worn on head, in a woman it increases the ability to bear children and increases her husband’s longevity, controls the diffusion of contagious diseases.

Twelve-faced Rudraksha – Considered the dwelling place of the twelve Adityas, worn on the ear to propitiate the sun god, guards against various injuries, brings a god-like aura unto the wearer, also represents Vishnu, worn by the aspiring brahmacharis or bachelors, helps resist the lure of senses.

Thirteen-faced Rudraksha – Equals Kartikeya, also represents Kamadeva, fulfills all wishes, brings respect and stability, also represents the eye of Shiva, protects against diseases.

Fifteen mukhee Rudraksha – Represents Pashupati, brings spiritual poise in mind and body, guards against theft, represents god Vishwakarma, helps in achieving both wealth and spiritual power, symbolizes the earth, protects women and children against premature delivery and diseases respectively.

Nineteen mukhee Rudraksha – Embodies Narayana himself, fulfils materialistic desires, sharpens the business insight, represents Brahma, bestows mental peace, betters the visual power.

Twenty-one mukhee Rudraksha – The rarest of all, embodiment of god of wealth (Kuber), fulfills worldly pleasures and luxuries, negates all adversities.