10 Interesting Facts About Rudraksha For Spiritual Seekers

Here are 10 Interesting facts about Rudraksha that every spiritual seeker must know

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Rudraksha
Rudra is the manifested form of Lord Shiva himself and Aksha translates to eyes. Both the words come from sanskrit origin. VEDICFEED

Rudraksha, the seed produced by a large evergreen broad-leaved tree of the genus Elaeocarpus. It is abundantly found in the temperate and sub-alpine zone is a pioneer of symbolism in the Shivaism, a major tradition of the Hindu dharma where the believers regard Lord Shiva as the principal deity. Worn around their neck or wrist primarily in the form of Mala by the devotees, it is constituted of two words; Rudra and Aksha, both being of Sanskrit origin.

Rudra is the manifested form of Lord Shiva himself and Aksha translates to eyes; meaning, having originated from Lord Shiva’s eyes. Thus, A genuine Rudraksha seed has high significance, scientific properties, yet it is very mysterious and is regarded as highly sacred and precious by the devotees.

Here are 10 Interesting Facts about Rudraksha

1. Shiva’s Tears

As the Legend has it, Lord Shiva had been meditating for thousands of years with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes, some tears drops fell from his eyes on the ground. Later, these tears grew trees of Rudrakshas. The ardent followers of Shivaism thus regard Rudraksha sacred and to have originated from Lord Shiva’s own tears himself. It is thus believed to have miraculous powers and when possessed it is said bring them closer to Lord Shiva and develop a spiritual connection with him.

2. To Check Negative and Positive Prana

As, Sadhus and Sanyasis were continuously on the move, they could not drink water from just any pool because many times in nature, the water may be poisoned or contaminated in the forest. As the legend goes on, If a person well into spiritual practice; a Sadhu or a Sanyasi held a rudraksha above the water and if the water is good and drinkable, it will go clockwise. Similarly, If it is poisoned, it will go anticlockwise. It is said, if held above any positive pranic substance, it will move in a clockwise direction. If you hold it over any negative pranic substance, it will move in anti-clockwise direction.

3. The Deity and Mantras of Different Faces

Of all, only 1-14 faced Rudraksha are to be worn by humans. The deity and the Beej Mantra, which is to be chanted while wearing the Rudraksha and also the celestial body associated with, varies from one type of Mukhi appearance to another. For Single faced or Ek Mukhi Rudraksha the Ruling deity is Lord Shiva, Beej Mantra attributed is Om Hreem Namah and the Celestial body is the Sun. For all 21 different kinds, all of the three vary accordingly.

4. Ek Mukhi Rudraksha

Single-faced or Ek Mukhi Rudraksha is considered closest to Lord Shiva. When possessed, it is said to bring all kinds of materialistic pleasure and wealth. Though, the most commonly worn by all is Pancha Mukhi or five-faced Rudraksha.

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Commonly the number of beads is 108 plus one extra bead called the Bindu. Pixabay

5. The Mala

Traditionally the beads are strung together on a cotton or a silk thread as a Mala. Most commonly the number of beads is 108 plus one. The extra bead is the Bindu. There must always be a Bindu to the Mala, otherwise the energy becomes cyclical and people who are sensitive may become dizzy. An adult should not wear a Mala with less than 84 beads, plus the Bindu. Any number over that is considered fine.

6. Chanting and Japa Yoga

Rudraksha beads are aesthetically perceived to be most effective if in the practice of Japa Yoga, where, the Beej Mantra is repeated verbally or mentally 108 times a day while keeping count on a strand of Rudraksha beads and at the same time submitting oneself  to Lord Shiva’s infinite, all-pervasive presence.

7. An Umbrella of Energy

The followers of Shivaism believe that the Rudraksha beads create a cocoon of your own energy. For someone who is constantly on the move, Rudraksha is a very good support because it creates a cocoon of your own energy. The situation around you may not be conducive to your kind of energy, it will not let you settle down. In the ancient times for Sadhus and Sanyasis (sages and preachers), places and situations could trouble them because they were constantly moving. One of the rules for them was never to put their head down in the same place twice.

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You can identify a Rudraksha primarily on the basis of the face or Mukhi appearance. Pixabay

8. Faces of Rudraksha

Different types of Rudraksha beads have different numbers of segments (or faces) grooved over their surface giving the beads a unique texture. The segment or the face is called ‘Mukhi’ and the identification of a Rudraksha is primarily on a face or Mukhi appearance. The beads range from being one faced to 21 faced and each of them have different aesthetic values attributed to them.

Read More: My Journey With Internshala – From Finding Internships to Hiring Interns

9. A Shield

The Rudraksha beads, as the followers of Shaivism believe shield against the negative energies. It is possible for some people to use negative energies to cause harm to someone else. The Atharva Veda, is all about how to use energies to your advantage and to someone else’s detriment. The Rudraksha beads helps to create a cocoon of your own energy shielding the space against negative energies.

10. Significance for Health

The Rudraksha Beads has many scientific properties that holds a lot of significance in the Ayurvedic medicine . It is said to lower your blood pressure, calms your nerves and brings a certain calmness and alertness in your nervous system. It will help them calm down and be more focused. (VEDICFEED)

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Have a Look at Some Interesting Facts About Lok Sabha Elections

In Lok Sabha elections, the None of the Above or NOTA option was first used in 2014

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Empty seats seen during assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Friday. –KPN

With the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections all set kick off on April 11, IANS has compiled some interesting facts about India’s general elections.

* The first Lok Sabha elections in 1952 cost around Rs 10.45 crore, while the 2014 general elections cost almost Rs 3,870.3 crore.

* The first Lok Sabha elections were contested for 489 seats. The number of constituencies was increased to 543 in 1977.

* A total of 53 parties and 533 Independents contested for the 489 seats in the 1952 elections. In 2014, 464 political parties and 3,234 candidates contested for the 543 seats.

* The total number of voters for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has gone up by 84.3 million since the 2014 polls.

* The new voters have taken the total number of voters to 900 million of which around 15 million are in the age group of 18-19 years.

* A total of 10 lakh polling stations would be set up this time as compared to around nine lakh in 2014.

picture from- www.youthconnect.in

* In a first, candidates with criminal antecedents will have to publish information in this regard in newspapers and through TV channels on three occasions during the campaign period.

* The Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and postal ballot papers would for the first time carry the photograph of all the candidates to help voters identify the political leaders in the fray.

* The cost of the Lok Sabha elections is borne by the Government of India. Only the honorariums of the poll observers are paid by the Election Commission.

Also Read- Congress President Rahul Gandhi Challenges Modi to Debate on Corruption

* When general elections are held simultaneously with Assembly polls, the cost is shared by the Centre and the respective state governments on a 50:50 basis.

* In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Voter-verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) were used in eight constituencies. This time, VVPATs will be used in all the constituencies.

* In Lok Sabha elections, the None of the Above or NOTA option was first used in 2014. (IANS)

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10 Things to Know About Data Privacy

Data breaches carried out by hackers are expected to go up 22 percent annually, exposing some 146 billion records

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A French soldier watches code lines on his computer during the International Cybersecurity forum in Lille, northern France, Jan. 23, 2018. VOA

From hackers exposing private information online to the handling of users’ data by internet giants, online privacy has become a matter of growing concern for countries, companies and people alike.

On Monday, countries around the world marked Data Privacy Day, also known as Data Protection Day — an initiative to raise awareness of internet safety issues.

Here are 10 facts about online privacy:

* Less than 60 percent of countries have laws to secure the protection of data and privacy.

privacy
A data theft alert is displayed on a “threat spiral” at the ProtectWise booth during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, July 26, 2017. VOA

* Europe’s data protection regulators have received more than 95,000 complaints about possible data breaches since the adoption of a landmark EU privacy law in May.

* More than one in two respondents to a 2018 global survey by pollster CIGI-Ipsos said they had grown more concerned about their online privacy compared to the previous year.

* Almost 40 percent of respondents to another survey by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said they did not know how to protect themselves from cybercrime.

* A survey of tech professionals by security key maker Yubico suggested experts might not live up to safety standards. It found almost 70 percent of respondents shared passwords with colleagues.

US Intelligence, Privacy
A specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., Sept. 9, 2014. (VOA)

* More than half reused an average of five passwords across their work and personal accounts.

* About 4 percent of people targeted by an email phishing campaign would click on it.

* In 2017, almost 17 million U.S. consumers experienced identity fraud — the unauthorized use of personal information, such as credit card data, for financial gain.

Also Read: Tech Giant Google Discusses its Data Privacy Before Senate Hearing

* Data breaches carried out by hackers are expected to go up 22 percent annually, exposing some 146 billion records, including personal information such as name, address and credit card numbers by 2023.

* Data breaches cost companies worldwide almost $4 million on average for every incident. (VOA)

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Ayahuasca: The Spiritual Journey Hollywood Is Talking About

The experience is deeply spiritual, intensely psychological and can be stunningly self illuminating

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Ayahuasca means “Vine of the Spirit” or “Vine of the Dead”. Ayahuasca tea is typically made by mixing Chakruna leaves and Ayahuasca vine. This is considered to have healing properties and is popular in South America. Image
Ayahuasca means “Vine of the Spirit” or “Vine of the Dead”. Ayahuasca tea is typically made by mixing Chakruna leaves and Ayahuasca vine. This is considered to have healing properties and is popular in South America. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

Everyone in Hollywood is talking about ayahuasca and, most especially, the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat.

The retreat center is an eight day fully immersive program that include: meditation, yoga, workshops, ayahuasca ceremonies and other activities that finally allow one to confront repetitive behavior patterns to experience lasting life change.

Everything is designed to fully prepare people for the ayahuasca experience–and that includes a special “Spirit Vine” diet. While not a fast, it can be compared to the centuries-old tradition, allowing people to focus deeply and experience deep self-awareness–a spiritual purging, if you will.

“Ayahuasca is a therapy for the spirit, where we can discover the real cause of our problems. We go to places which are not commonly accessible, and it’s profound–so every element, including diet, is designed to prepare people to face their demons,” explains Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D,  founder of Spirit Vine Retreats.

Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil
Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

Polivoy even recommends that people start their vegetarian/vegan meals–organic, free of gluten, salt, sugar, fermented foods and all additives and flavorings–a few days before coming to the retreat.

“This way people can be lighter and physically cleaner before they arrive. Ayahuasca makes people purge what is not good for them anymore–both physically and emotionally–so by detoxing physically, they can cleanse more deeply spiritually.”

She continued: “Some meat-eaters are a little apprehensive at first, but then discover how wonderful eating a meat-free diet can make them feel. In fact, some of them even decide to follow the diet permanently after the retreat.”

WHAT IS THE SPIRIT VINE AYAHUASCA RETREAT CENTER?

For thousands of years indigenous peoples living in the rainforest regions across South and Central America have used the powerful hallucinogenic brew or tea known as ayahuasca, the “spirit vine” or “vine of the dead.”

ayahuasca
Ayahuasca.

The Western World is taking note, and visitors now include Hollywood celebrities, actors, spiritual leaders and well-known authors.

Ayahuasca tea is made by combining two plants known in South America for its medicinal and visionary properties.

When brewed together, these plants produce a mind-expanding, modified state of consciousness that enables the participant to experience a deeper spiritual journey, receiving messages from soul wisdom that enables one to release fears, traumas and awaken to their real life’s purpose.

Ayahuasca tea is the center of the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center of Brazil.

Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist for, for 20 years, had her own private practice specializing in altered states of consciousness.

She studied in Mexico, spending time with the shamans there and decided to focus her efforts solely on the spiritual realm. “Everything is energy,” she says, “and even one’s dreams have meaning.”

Ayahuasca sends users into intense far-flung realms of an epic visionary quest. It offers intense introspection and piercing insight into one’s own deepest mind and essence.

The experience is deeply spiritual, intensely psychological and can be stunningly self illuminating.

Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil
Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

A LIFE OF HARMONY

Silvia Polivoy Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with more than 20 years experience as a therapist. She started as a psychoanalyst and moved on to transactional analysis and transpersonal psychology.

Deeply interested in the field of modified consciousness, her work led her to the investigation of the psychotropic effects of natural plant substance and their possibilities for exploring human consciousness.

While Polivoy doesn’t consider herself a shaman, she does draw from the relationship that exists between the invisible realms and the realm of ordinary life as we know it–by incorporating her experience as a psychotherapist she does employ many shamanic tools with hypnotherapy and altered states of consciousness.

Shamans, she points out, were considered the first physicians and are seen as diagnosticians, therapists, religious counselors, storytellers and performance artists.

“ The difference between them and conventional practitioners iis the way shamans manipulate energy to enter the invisible world at will through altered states while maintaining self-control as they move within and without.”

In 2004, Polivoy co-founded The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Spiritual Center whose purpose is to bring this experience to the modern world. The eight-day fully immersive program includes yoga, meditation, workshops (such thing as past and future regressions, intuitive solutions, aligning with your higher self, and more).  A gluten free, additive free vegetarian/vegan/ organic diet, with the complete elimination of salt, sugar, and any fermented foods, is included. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are prohibited and strictly enforced.

“Safety is our main priority, ,” said Polivoy, “and we’re not commercial–we don’t sell ayahuasca nor do we just give ceremonies. We don’t accept just anyone, but only take those who understand the value of this program.”

ayahuasca
Ayahuasca.

THE AYAHUASCA CEREMONY

While they don’t just give ceremonies, it is an important part of the program.

Polivoy and a highly-trained staff lead their participants through what is called “a spirit vine ceremony, what can only be called an intense spiritual journey and awakening of self awareness, developed through uncounted centuries of traditional practice, indigenous rainforest shamans guided their people in structured sessions.

Experiencers drink the tea. “But you can still have the ayahuasca experience without it,” says Polivoy.  “Often, participants will come to experience the program, but cannot drink the tea, whether for medical or other reasons. Of course it’s better to be free of all medications and chemicals, but if that’s not possible, you can still learn plenty of tools to help you get through life.”

As the subsequent powerful consciousness-expanding effects unfold, assisting guides and healers watch over them to facilitate the process.

“Some who come to partake in a Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat might be struggling with depression, addiction or some kind of anxiety disorder or phobia,” Polivoy said, “while others may simply be on a spiritual journey and want to find a doorway that can springboard them into a higher state of consciousness or enlightenment.”

She continues:  “They all have one thing in common; that is, they are seekers.  However, ayahuasca tea is powerful and should ONLY be done in a supervised setting.

The effect is long-lasting and Polivoy says it’s common for her to receive letters from past participants, such as one who said he was still experiencing sharp perceptions, such as brighter colors, more acute hearing, and peak performances in reasoning, weeks after attending a retreat.

“Just about everyone finds the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat a profoundly transformative lifetime experience,” Polivoy said. “We constantly witness lot of peoples’ amazing transformations after only one week at our ayahuasca retreat.”

She continues:  “BUT I want to emphasize that success isn’t just coming from drinking ayahuasca tea, it is the combination of that with workshops, a special diet, yoga, meditation, group shares, etc.  We teach people tools to discover the cause of their behavioral patterns to they can understand, and integrate, the lessons after they go back home.”