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What Significance Rudraksha holds in Hinduism?

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Rudraksha seeds hold pious significance in Hindusim.
Rosemary made out of Rudraksha seeds. Wikimedia Commons.
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By Dr. Bharti Raizada

June 19, 2017: 

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, 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.

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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. Rudraksh creates an energy circle around the wearer. It removes obstacles and gives positive energy.

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 Rudraksh associated with Ganesh-Om Namah Shivay,Om Hum Namah, Om Sah Hoom Namah, Om Kam Vam Namah

Nine Mukhi Rudraksh associated with Durga-Om namah shivaya, Sarva Shakti Maha maya divya gyana Swarupini Nawadurge Jagatmantar pranamati muhur muhur, Om Hreem Hum Namah

Ten Mukhi Rudraksh 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 Rudraksh 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 Rudraksh  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 Rudraksh associated with Ram/ Mahamrityunjay Shiv- Om Namah Shivay

17 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Vishvakarma/Katyani Devi- Om Namah Shivay

18 Mukhi Rudraksha associated with Bhumi Devi- Om Namah Shivay

19 Mukhi Rudraksha 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

नमामीशमीशान निर्वाणरूपं
विभुं व्यापकं ब्रह्मवेदस्वरूपम्
निजं निर्गुणं निर्विकल्पं निरीहं
चिदाकाशमाकाशवासं भजेऽहम्
निराकारमोङ्करमूलं तुरीयं
गिराज्ञानगोतीतमीशं गिरीशम्
करालं महाकालकालं कृपालं
गुणागारसंसारपारं नतोऽहम्
तुषाराद्रिसंकाशगौरं गभिरं
मनोभूतकोटिप्रभाश्री शरीरम्
स्फुरन्मौलिकल्लोलिनी चारुगङ्गा
लसद्भालबालेन्दु कण्ठे भुजङ्गा
चलत्कुण्डलं भ्रूसुनेत्रं विशालं
प्रसन्नाननं नीलकण्ठं दयालम्
मृगाधीशचर्माम्बरं मुण्डमालं
प्रियं शङ्करं सर्वनाथं भजामि 
प्रचण्डं प्रकृष्टं प्रगल्भं परेशं
अखण्डं अजं भानुकोटिप्रकाशं
त्र्यःशूलनिर्मूलनं शूलपाणिं
भजेऽहं भवानीपतिं भावगम्यम् 
कलातीतकल्याण कल्पान्तकारी
सदा सज्जनानन्ददाता पुरारी
चिदानन्दसंदोह मोहापहारी
प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रभो मन्मथारी 
 यावद् उमानाथपादारविन्दं
भजन्तीह लोके परे वा नराणाम्
 तावत्सुखं शान्ति सन्तापनाशं
प्रसीद प्रभो सर्वभूताधिवासं 
 जानामि योगं जपं नैव पूजां
नतोऽहं सदा सर्वदा शम्भुतुभ्यम् 
जराजन्मदुःखौघ तातप्यमानं
प्रभो पाहि आपन्नमामीश शंभो 
रुद्राष्टकमिदं प्रोक्तं विप्रेण हरतोषये
ये पठन्ति नरा भक्त्या तेषां शम्भुः प्रसीदति 

इति श्रीगोस्वामितुलसीदासकृतं श्रीरुद्राष्टकं सम्पूर्णम्

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Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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Hinduism
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At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

Hinduism
Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)