The word Rudraksh is a combination of two Sanskrit words, “Rudra” and “Aksha” where the word “Rudra” stands for the Lord Shiva and the word “Aksha” stands for the tears of Rudra (Lord Shiva). It is believed that wherever the tears of Lord Shiva fell upon earth a fruit bearing tree emerged known as rudraksha tree.
Scientifically known as Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb, Rudraksha tree is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree, which grows in the area from the Genetic Plain to the foothills of the great Himalayas and the middle area of Nepal. The main trunk of Rudraksha tree is cylindrical and has circular section. Rudraksha tree has grayish white bark and rough in texture with small vertical lenticels and narrow horizontal furrows. Its branches spread in all directions. Its leaves appear shining green externally and dull coriaceous internally. It has ovoid, conical and elongate flowers, nearly 1 to 2 cm in diameter. Its fruit is globose and drupaceous having a fleshy exterior and is light green in color.
Rudraksha beads are covered by an outer shell which is blue in color and is hard and tubercle on the inside. When plucked from the tree and allowed to remain, as it is, the colors of the skin become blackish blue. The fruit starts appearing in June and ripens by august to october.Farming of Rudraksha is a difficult process due to its slow sprouting from the beads which usually takes about 1 to 2 years depending on the humidity of soil. The diameter of the seed is up to 1 inch (2.54 cm) and is nearly round in shape, and belongs to Eliocorpus Genetic type of herb. Rudraksha trees are grown in India, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia. The tree is as big as banyan tree. It takes 15 to 18 years to ripen the fruit.
Most of the Rudrakshas are found in round shape with different number of faces (“mukhi”) on it. But few Rudrakshas are also found with the shape of cashew nuts. The seed can have 1 to 14 mouths (Mukhi’s) or faces and Rudraksha up to 21 Mukhi’s (faces) have been obtained by some collectors. Sometime they are found as a pair of two Rudrakshas, naturally joined with each other, known as “Gauri Shankar Rudraksha”. It is believed to have the blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. And sometime, though very rare, a pair of three Rudrakshas is also found, again naturally joined with each other, known as “Trijuti Rudraksha”. It is believed to have the blessings of Great Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva all together.
Rudrakshas are found with different faces (mukhi), 1 to 21 faced. 2 to 8 faced Rudrakshas are normally found Rudrakshas, 1 faced, 9 to 21 faced Rudrakshas are rare found Rudrakshas. Each Rudraksha has its own benefits and properties. Each Rudraksha is blessed with auspicious energies of Lord Shiva, but still is believed to under the Lordship different Gods and Goddesses, thus having the blessings of those Gods and Goddesses too.
The rudraksha beads are found to contain 50.031 % carbon, 0.95% nitrogen, 17.897% hydrogen and 30.53% oxygen. These four elements essentially forms the blue print of life on earth. Besides this the radiographic analysis suggest that it also contain copper, iron, silver, manganese, gold and barium. The Rudraksh seeds are brittle in nature and therefore need to be protected from chemicals.The best way to find the authenticity of a rudraksha is to get it X-rayed and count the number of compartments inside. If they are equal to the number of lines outside the rudraksha is real and also rudraksha seeds sink in water.
In astrology, Rudraksha is used as remedy of malefic planets. Unlike gems and stones, Rudrakshas are said to be always beneficial for the wearer. The most profound property of Rudraksha as reported by wearer is that the feel fearless.
The outer skin of the fruit has been found to posses several medicinal properties like boiling the skin in water and drinking that water has been known to cure cough, cold and fever. The leaves possess antibacterial properties and are used in treating headache, migraine, wounds, epilepsy and some mental disorders. Other then this people wearing rudraksha have reported to drive benefit in hypertension, stress, arthritis, stomach disorders, insomnia etc.
Some of the places from where Rudraksha is procured include India, Tibet, Nepal, Myanmar, Hawaii, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Philippines, China, Japan, Madagascar, Sikkim and Bhutan. The islands of Borneo and New Guinea also grew these trees.
The teachings and the path of spirituality is highly symbolic. There are many mythologies describing an event or a character in every culture and religion, but understand that they all are symbolic. The divine truth is something that has to be uncovered by you only and no other can make you unveil that, at best he just assist you in the process, only if he has realized the truth. The idols that we worship in temple are physical representation of God. We must ask ourselves that we worship and do penance but still we are suffering, why ? The answer lies in our ignorance about God.
Let us take a leap towards tatva gyana. When the Goswami Tulsidas ji was authoring the great epic Ramayana, a thought struck his mind that what is God Shiva and from where does this divine power that make us do wonders come ? The answer lies in a verse means faith is Shiva and devotion is Parvati. The human and matter in this universe passes through three stages namely creation, maintenance and destruction. Take an example of body cells, they are part of the above trinity. The Shiva symbolizes destruction, change, transformation and dynamism. He says that change is the law of universe. The Shiva in his Rudra form is the destroyer of evil and suffering.
Shiva wears skin of tiger which symbolizes courage, fearlessness and audacity. He put ash on his body all over, it symbolizes being unperturbed by the outside forces and situation. When the Shiva is happy he wears skull’s garland and dances, this symbolizes that in the end everybody goes empty handed whether he be a king or a beggar. The Shiva holds the poison in his throat which emerged from churning of the ocean. It symbolizes that we should neither indulge in negativities nor spread it outside, just like shiva neither allowed the poison to go down his throat nor does he spread it outside. We must remain undisturbed by the things like insult that others do with us.
Bull is the carrier of Shiva which symbolizes light of divine power, hard work and purity. The crescent moon symbolizes peace and balance. Moon is relate to happy state and so does the state of a yogi. Moon also symbolizes complete knowledge. The flow of the Ganga represents gyanganga (divine knowledge) and nectar of Immortality. His wearing of serpents denotes wisdom and eternity. Drum in his hand symbolizes joy and bliss. We should not loose our achievements due to any disappointment instead we should be happy every time. It also represents art, knowledge, literature and winning.
The shivlinga signifies that even if the universe and existence have form but it is the soul which is the basis of all. It also denotes the primeval energy of the creator. The life of Shiva is an example of how one can spent a married life and still be a yogi, a sadhak. Shiva is considered as ‘pashupati’, this symbolizes controlling the extremely bad habits and brutal deeds (as if an animal will do).
In a nutshell, a shiv yogi must understand that the DESTRUCTION OF attachment, hatred, pride, lust (for life, sex and materialistic things), anger, greed, fear and rise of purity of thoughts and divinity in oneself must be the aim. The one who has conquered these is Shiva. The divine energies of Shiva like Mrit-Sanjivani and Shambhavi should be utilized in overcoming above poisonous influences and not for materialistic gains.