Rudraksha, the name of both tree and seed, is a combination of two words: Rudra and Aksh.
Rudra is Bhagwan of wind, storm, and hunting. He is also known as Roarer. He has a bow and arrow in one hand and trishul in another. His symbol is deer. ‘Aksh’ means eye. Rudraksha means eye of ‘Rudra’.
In English, the Rudraksha tree is known as Elaeocarpus ganitrus, and it grows from the Himalayas to Southeast Asia, Nepal, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, and from New Guinea to Australia, Guam, and Hawaii. This evergreen tree grows very quickly and fruits start appearing in three years. The fruit, also known as blueberry bead, has a blue outer husk. The fruit is kept in water and then the soft outer part is removed. The remaining seed is called Rudraksha bead or seed. The roots of the tree grow out and spread along the ground. One tree can have different types of seeds or different mukhi Rudraksha. Rudraksha from Nepal is bigger in size than from Indonesia.
Before wearing, Rudraksha is purified and this process is called pran pratishtha. Rudraksha has many beneficial effects and these effects increase by jap and mantra chanting. Rudraksha creates an energy circle around the wearer. It removes obstacles and gives positive energy.
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Rudraksha is so auspicious and energetic that Bhrama, Vishnu, and Mahesh all do ‘jaap’ with it and wear it as ‘mala’. ‘Sadhus’ and ‘sanyasis’ also do ‘jaap’ with it and wear it as a mala or bracelet on their body.
To test water, Rudraksha on a string is held above water. If the water is drinkable it turns clockwise, and if it is undrinkable it turns anticlockwise
Quality of Rudraksha is determined by its size, texture, color, and the number of facets or mukhs on the seed. Mukh is a naturally occurring cleft running vertically or horizontally from the stalk, from one side to other. One mukhi Rudraksha as well as higher mukhi Rudraksha are rare. Four and five mukhi Rudraksh are easy to find.
27, 54, or 108 plus one extra bead of Rudraksha are used to make a mala (Rudraksha beads) which is used for Jap and personal wearing. The extra bead is called bindu , sumeru, or meru. This extra bead is not crossed when chanting mantra and moving fingers on beads. When this bead is reached, the chanter reverses the direction. Ring finger, middle finger, and thumb are used for counting. The pointer finger cannot be used while moving beads and chanting mantras.
Gauri Shankar Rudraksh is two rudrakshes having naturally joined on a tree (Rudraksha Tree).
Ganesh Rudraksh is one with a trunk like structure.
Sawar is a Gauri Shankar in which one Rudraksha has only one mukh.
Trijuti is three Rudraksh beads joined naturally on tree.
One Mukhi Rudraksh (Ek Mukhi Rudraksha) worn by Shivji—Om Namay Shivay or Om Rudra or Om Hreem NamahThere are different mantra for different types of Rudraksha and these are called beej or mool mantra.
Two Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Ardhnareeshwar-Om Namah Shivay or Om Namah or Om Khum
Three Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Agni Devta—Om Namah Shivay or Om Shree Agni Devay Namah or Om Kleem Namah or Om Namah.
Four Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Brahma—Om Namah shivay or Om shree Brahm Devay Namah or Om Hreem or Om Hreem Namah
Five Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Kaalagni Rudra—Om Namah Shivay, Om Hareem Namah, Om Hoom Namah, Om Hareem Hoom Namah
Six Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Kartikey-Om Nama Shivay, Om Hroom, Om Hareem Namah
Seven Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Mahalakshmi, Sapta Matrika-Om Namah Shivay, Om Hum Namah, Om Hrah, Om Hareem Namah
Eight Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Ganesh-Om Namah Shivay,Om Hum Namah, Om Sah Hoom Namah, Om Kam Vam Namah
Nine Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Durga-Om namah shivaya, Sarva Shakti Maha maya divya gyana Swarupini Nawadurge Jagatmantar pranamati muhur muhur, Om Hreem Hum Namah
Ten Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Vishnu/Krishn- Om nama shivaya,Om namo bhagvate vasudevaya namah, Om Hreem Namah Namah, Om Ksheem
11 Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Hanuman- om nama shivaya, Om shree hanumante namah, Om Hreem Hum Namah, Om Shreem
12 Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Surya Devta-Om nama shivaya, Om sri surya devaya namah, Om Kroam Sroam Roam Namah, Om Hreem
13 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Indra/ Kamdev- Om nama shivaya, Om shree indra devaya nama, Om shree kamdevaya nama, Om Hreem Namah Namah, Om Kshayem Staum Namah
14 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Shivji and Parvati Devi- Om namah shivaya, Om shree uma maheshswaraya namah, Om Namah, Om Nraam, Om Dum Maam Namah
15 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Pashupati-Om Namah Shivay
16 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Ram/ Mahamrityunjay Shiv- Om Namah Shivay
17 Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Vishvakarma/Katyani Devi- Om Namah Shivay
18 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Bhumi Devi- Om Namah Shivay
19 Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Narayan- Om Namah Shivay
20 Mukhi Rudraksha is associated with Brahma
21 Mukhi Rudraksha is associated with Kuber
Gauri Shankar Rudraksh-Shiv and Parvati- Om GauriShankaray Namah
Sri Rudrashtakam श्रीरुद्राष्टकम्
Composed by Goswami Tulsidas Ji
विभुं व्यापकं ब्रह्मवेदस्वरूपम्
निजं निर्गुणं निर्विकल्पं निरीहं
करालं महाकालकालं कृपालं
लसद्भालबालेन्दु कण्ठे भुजङ्गा
चलत्कुण्डलं भ्रूसुनेत्रं विशालं
प्रसन्नाननं नीलकण्ठं दयालम्
प्रियं शङ्करं सर्वनाथं भजामि
प्रचण्डं प्रकृष्टं प्रगल्भं परेशं
अखण्डं अजं भानुकोटिप्रकाशं
भजेऽहं भवानीपतिं भावगम्यम्
सदा सज्जनानन्ददाता पुरारी
प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रभो मन्मथारी
न यावद् उमानाथपादारविन्दं
भजन्तीह लोके परे वा नराणाम्
न तावत्सुखं शान्ति सन्तापनाशं
प्रसीद प्रभो सर्वभूताधिवासं
न जानामि योगं जपं नैव पूजां
नतोऽहं सदा सर्वदा शम्भुतुभ्यम् ।
प्रभो पाहि आपन्नमामीश शंभो
रुद्राष्टकमिदं प्रोक्तं विप्रेण हरतोषये
ये पठन्ति नरा भक्त्या तेषां शम्भुः प्रसीदति
इति श्रीगोस्वामितुलसीदासकृतं श्रीरुद्राष्टकं सम्पूर्णम्
-By Dr. Bharti Raizada