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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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Why I Refuse to be ‘MODI’fied?

Hindu Right goons have accosted couples on Valentine's Day and beaten them up claiming the festival was a degenerate adoption from the West

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Modi
This article is about "Why I refuse to be 'MODI'fied?"

By Tania Bhattacharya

Tania
Ms Tania Bhattacharya

Narendra Modi does not represent classical Hinduism. But few Hindus are open to realizing this. Here is an inventory of points, to expand on my premise. Indeed, if Hindus are to emulate the policies of the Hindu Right Wing, we will move closer to
the Abrahamic ideology.

Modi is ethnocentric (meaning Indocentric), a vegetarian extremist promoting teetotalism, anti-LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender), can’t distinguish between traditional western culture and neoliberal westernization, has colluded in the mass murder of innocent Gujarati Muslims (not Islamic terrorists, mind you) and openly courts the bourgeoisie, while promoting complete privatization. To complete the picture, Modi, the RSS and the rest of the Hindu right wing, covertly encourage casteism and linguistic jingoism.

But in conjunction with denouncing Modi, the half-informed Marxists and the pseudo-
liberal bogey, also decry Hinduism. As if Modi’s views, are Hinduism’s faults! This is why a re-assessment of historical Hinduism is the need of the hour, so that the image of Hinduism – South Asia’s classical identity – may be rescued.

1) For the past 2000 years, Hindus have accommodated: Armenians, Zoroastrians,
Greeks, Jews, Black Africans called Siddis, Chinese and Tibetans on their soil, not
once asking any of these communities to renege on their religions. Persecuting any
of India’s religious minorities, goes against the grain of Hindu religious thought. Sure,
there have been frictions between Hinduism and the Indic religion of Buddhism at
intermittent periods of India’s bygone history, but this friction cannot be possibly
compared to the scale and ferocity of monotheism’s religious crusades.

Representational image.
Representational image.

Hinduism allows its adherents to remain atheistic. It has evolved the ‘Charvaka’ and
‘Sankhya’ schools of philosophy, which reject divinity and concentrate on atheistic materialism.

Even though Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the best-known proselytizing faiths;
Buddhism is not innocent of proselytization, either. Few Hindus want to admit, that in
endowing East Asia with Buddhism, which carried over Hindu ideas and cultural
nuances to that part of the world; Buddhism quietly subordinated and decimated the
indigenous, ethnic religions of East Asia, such as: Muism, Bonism, Tengrism,
Shenism and Satsana Phi. Only Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous, polytheistic identity,
could hold on stubbornly.

Hinduism’s all-encompassing outlook at other faiths, stands in opposition to the
dogmatic and insular approach of the Hindu Right towards India’s religious
minorities, which include Muslims and Christians.

2) Never has Hinduism – or for that matter any other polytheistic, indigenous religion
– discriminated against the LGBT. India’s anti-LGBT laws were promulgated in mid-
19th century, Christian England and were imported into India, via the British. It is
disturbing, how Hindus like Modi and his clique, have embraced the monotheistic
prejudice against the LGBT, while at the same time, projecting themselves as the
defenders of Hinduism.

The Indian epic Mahabharat, contains two characters named Shikhandi, and Aravan.
Both Shikhandi and Aravan, are transgenders. There is a temple dedicated to
Aravan named the Koothandavar Temple. It is located inside the Indian state of
Tamil Nadu. Every year, an 18-day festival to commemorate the transgender status
of Aravan, is organized there. Pagan philosophy of which Hinduism is a branch, has
had a long tradition of recognizing alternative sexuality in the form of the LGBT.

When the Hindu Right beginning with the RSS, denounces intimacy between
members of the LGBT community as being unnatural and offensive, we become a
mirror image of the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,
which condemn the LGBT community as being sinful.

Representational image.
Representational image.

3)Hindu Right goons have accosted couples on Valentine’s Day and beaten them up
claiming the festival was a degenerate adoption from the West. They are ignorant of
the fact, that Valentine’s Day has its roots, in the ancient, pagan Roman celebration
of ‘Lupercalia’, which was a commemoration of love and fertility, that was held
between the 13th and the 15th of February. Christianity, merely plagiarized the
festivals of the pre-Christian people.

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day
While original Abrahamic philosophy (and not its modern, watered down version)
looks askance at the intermingling of unmarried boys and girls, Classical Paganism
takes the opposing view. In the Polytheistic Greco-Roman observance, three days,
the 13, the 14 th , and the 15 th of February, were set aside for celebrating love, fertility,
and the socializing of the sexes, which involved paying obeisance to the Roman
wolf-goddess Lupa, who was said to have suckled Remus and Romulus, the twin
brothers who had founded Rome.

The Indian treatise Kamasutra deals with sexuality and so does the temple art of
Khajuraho. Thus, by shunning Hinduism’s long tradition of recognizing and feting
human sexuality, and by victimizing couples on Valentine’s Day, the Hindu Right has
amply displayed its slide towards Abrahamic segregation of the sexes.

4)Indocentrism is as faulty as Eurocentrism and Afrocentrism. Indocentric Hindus
are in effect, reacting to European racism, with counter-racism. 19th century
European ethnologists had forwarded ideas which proposed that non-European
people are inferior to Europeans. In the 20th century, such racist ideas were
overturned with the discovery of ancient civilizations all over the world, which pointed
at sophisticated ways of thinking, outside of the European orbit. India’s ‘Indus Valley
Civilization’ and the Native Americans’ ‘Tenochtitlan’, were just two of the ancient
non-European seats of civilization, that were unearthed. Since then, history has been
revised several times, with non-European cultures and their achievements hogging
most of the spotlight. However, the memory of European colonialism, has also had a
neurotic, and narcissistic effect on the majority of Hindus. Such Hindus have
elbowed aside all the fine classical achievements of Europe and other non-Hindu,
Polytheistic, Classical civilizations and have projected Hinduism as the creative
source of all other forms of Polytheism. It would have been hilarious, if it wasn’t so
demeaning and offensive. Does it ever occur to Indocentric Hindus, how disrespectful this is, to our polytheistic sisters and brothers in other parts of the world? European, Middle Eastern, Sub-Saharan African and West Asian polytheism, are being revived at present. How do the Indocentric Hindus reckon, our pagan fellow travellers will treat our affront to their dignity?

The ‘Indian Origin Of The Aryans’, is the pet theory of Indocentric Hindus. They put
their faith in the idea, that the Aryans originated out of India. There are serious
problems with this theory. The region which produces a race, will exhibit the
maximum diversity present in that race. If India was indeed the birthplace of the
Caucasian race, then all varieties of Caucasians would have been represented in the
population of India. But is that the case? Certainly not! Scholars have already
located the birthplace of the Caucasian race. It is the steppes of the Ukraine-Russian
flatlands. About two decades back, the Indian media had reported the finds of a
submerged metropolis off the coast of Gujarat, that was touted as being ‘Dwarka’,
the city associated with Lord Krishna. There is a thesis doing the rounds, which
supposes, that the Indus Valley Civilization, was in reality the ‘Saraswati Civilization’
of the Vedas. But both these theories have a serious flaw. Adherents of these two
theories, hold, that the North Indian Caucasians and the Dravidians of Southern
India, are essentially of the same genetic stock. Such purloining of genetic and
anthropological data, at the hands of Hindus, of all people, is unbecoming. It has
been well established through mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) testing, that North
Indians share 3/4ths of their genes with Afghans, West Asians, and Europeans,
especially the people of the Mediterranean. North Indians also bear Greek and
German blood, as in the days of yore, many pagan Greeks, following Alexander’s
invasion of India; and a good number of pagan Huns, had formed colonies in north
India, married north Indian women and settled down to build families. mtDNA
analysis has similarly established, that South Indians (and Sri Lankans), share their
genes with Australian Aborigines. Australian Aborigines, the Dravidians and the
Sinhalese, are offshoots of East Africans; in other words, the Somalis and the
Ethiopians, who branched off to constitute the fourth race, known as the Australoid
Race. How then, can North Indians and South Indians, be a part of the same race?
Indocentric Indians are so hard pressed to prove to the world that Hinduism is over
and above all the other polytheistic faiths, that if the Mongoloid people in India’s
north-east had been Hindus by majority, Indocentric Hindus would have made the
ludicrous claim, that the north-east Hindus also share the same race as that of other
Indians.

Representational image.
Representational image.

A scholarly article establishes the genetic distinctiveness of the Indo-Aryan Indians
of the North and the Dravidian Indians of the South, from each-other, by stating :“We
analyze 25 diverse groups to provide strong evidence for two ancient populations,
genetically divergent, that are ancestral to most Indians today. One, the “Ancestral
North Indians” (ANI), is genetically close to Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and
Europeans, while the other, the “Ancestral South Indians” (ASI), is as distinct from
ANI and East Asians as they are from each other. By introducing methods that can
estimate ancestry without accurate ancestral populations, we show that ANI ancestry
ranges from 39-71% in India, and is higher in traditionally upper caste and Indo-
European speakers. Groups with only ASI ancestry may no longer exist in mainland
India. However, the Andamanese are an ASI-related group without ANI ancestry,
showing that the peopling of the islands must have occurred before ANI-ASI gene
flow on the mainland. Allele frequency differences between groups in India are larger than in Europe, reflecting strong founder effects whose signatures have been
maintained for thousands o