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.

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.

Rudraksha has many beneficial effects. Click To Tweet

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