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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.

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.

[bctt tweet=”Rudraksha has many beneficial effects.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

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

Next Story

Christmas and Controversies

The Christmas tree came from Germany, Christmas card from England, Santa from the USA, and secular celebrations started all over the world.

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Christmas
Christmas was invented to convert people by appropriating pagan’s original practices with Christmas.

-By Bharti Raizada

Bharti Raizada
Bharti Raizada

To my knowledge, no other festival is as universal and controversial as Christmas.

As per M-W dictionary, the definition of Christmas is as follows:

“A Christian feast on December 25 or among some eastern orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday.”

Christ- Mas: is the church service that celebrates the birth of Jesus.

X- Mas: X is the Greek letter Chi that is a short form of the word Christ. In Greek, Christ’s name is Xristos. Therefore, X- mas is the same as Christ-mas. For some, X removes the religious aspect of Christmas by replacing Christ with X and this celebration then becomes more secular to them. You can fill X with anything you like.

People observe or celebrate Christmas in many different ways: religiously, in a secular way, or as a holiday. Some people do not pay any attention and become part of the Christmas in a mixed way.

Christmas
Christmas is celebrated every year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ

Those who do not celebrate are either indifferent or wage a war against it.

Pagans are unhappy for Christianization of Saturnalia. Christians are complaining about paganization or secularization of Christmas. Some Christians believe that it is not their festival at all.

Actually, if we dig deep into it, we come to know that Christ’s birthday and life have been surrounded with assumptions. There is controversy whether he was Jewish or Christian; and whether Jews or Romans crucified him.

Contrasts between Hinduism and Christmas

Now, before we go further into the roots of this topic, let us take a glance at Christmas from the Hindu point of view. Here is how I would summarize a few contrasting points.

  1. Trees are sacred to Hindus. We worship them and believe that Devi, Devtas, or Bhagwan (God) live in them. We do not believe in cutting trees at mass level and bring cut trees inside our home for decoration purposes. We do not believe in the sacrifice of living beings/trees.
  2. We have all four kinds of weather and many varieties of trees but the Christmas tree is typically not found in India.
  3. Chimney is not a common architectural entity in Indian households. Hindu children typically touch the feet of elders, in morning, and get gift of blessings every day. The focus of secular Christmas celebration is expectation of a gift by Santa. Materialism and expectation of gift is not a central part of any Hindu celebration. Hindus give gifts on many occasions but expecting a gift from someone is not a primary theme of any celebration.

    Christmas
    The tree has pagan origins but now it represents Christian beliefs.
  4. Hindus go by facts. Hindu scriptures have a birth date for Ram and Krishn. Christmas celebration is based on an assumption- the assumption that December 25 is the birthday of Jesus.
  5. In Hinduism, one is not a sinner by birth and therefore does not depend on Jesus to save him or her. We all are part of the supreme divinity.
  6. Jesus died in place of all other humans so that they can live, i.e., he rescued humanity. We believe inkarma and therefore do not need Jesus for salvation. Someone else cannot own our sins and give us Moksha. Moksha is attained individually.
  7. Vegetarianism is a common theme in Hinduism. Christmas feasts in church typically include meat and alcoholic beverages.
  8. Hindus have so many festivals. It is not an exaggeration to say that every day is an occasion or festival for Hindus. We do not need more from other religions.

Christmas was invented to convert people by appropriating pagan’s original practices with Christmas. We know, the birth of Christ is not that important to Christians as his Resurrection. Protestants/Puritans do not even consider Christmas as their festival. Initially, the agenda of this celebration was conversion by assimilation.

 When we adopt festivals and traditions, which are not our own, it dilutes our own traditions and festivals and slowly our celebrations are replaced and become obsolete. Additionally, it does not take long (takes only a few generations) to lose our own practices.

Why do some Hindus celebrate Christmas?

  1. While Hindus do not believe in Jesus and Christianity, they get attracted to the holiday by the decorated trees, lights, and Santa. They take pictures, share them on social media, and may inadvertently give the false impression that they believe in Jesus.
  2. Some celebrate it just to show that they are secular and tolerant of other religions.
  3. Some who live in Christian dominated societies celebrate it for the inadvertent fear of exclusion, or to become a part of the process.
  4. Some do not think about it much and take it in a neutral/secular/holiday way. They believe in going by the flow.

    Christmas
    Puritans worked hard to stop Christmas celebrations.

Questions/ Observations:

  1. In USA, the Church and State are separate. Still, Christmas trees shows up in all public places, schools, and government buildings. Is there any explanation for this? If almost all government offices celebrate Christmas, then how are the State and Church/religion separate?

How is it democratic and gives equal rights when non-Christian children also have to do Christmas activities in schools?

How can one avoid this festival in Christian dominated areas? There are decorations, trees, Santa everywhere, in public places, official buildings, schools, malls, zoos, movie theaters, hospitals, parks.

You can choose not to celebrate it in your own home but you cannot close your eyes when you go out.

  1. Christians do whatever the Bible says and the Bible does not give ‘instructions’ to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They have written commandments, everything else is against Christianity. Bible has no Christmas tree and no date for the birth of Jesus. So, is this celebration a violation of the Bible?
  2. Many people greet others using phrases like ‘Happy Holidays’, ‘Season’s Greetings’, Merry Christmas, Jesus is the reason, Happy HOLYdays? Does Christmas become secular by saying Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings?
  3. Are people forgetting the Christ’ birth part or real reason for Christmas and is it all traveling, feasting, gift exchange or gift giving, tree, decorations, Santa etc.?
  4. How is it justified to cut trees for decoration?
  5. If (religious) minorities cannot mingle with the majority and celebrate their festivals, should majority stop celebrating their festivals?
  6. By teaching your children not to celebrate Christmas, are you inadvertently making them more intolerant towards other people’s beliefs? If your own religion has a solid foundation, why are you scared of learning or teaching other religions or beliefs? Are you scared that you will start facing questions, which you cannot answer?
  7. How does Santa get so much money to donate? What does he do to earn? How does he choose good or bad children? What are the criteria? Is he better than parents are, as he gives gifts? Is it okay to cheat children and give them false information that gifts are from Santa? For how long this lie is going to survive and what happens when they come to know the truth? What is the long-term effect on children who do not behave well and still get a gift from Santa/parents? Do they start believing that they can get away with anything with no consequences? Is it discrimination by Santa to give gifts to good children only?

To answer some of these questions we need to know the history and take part in healthy discussions. A clear understanding of the festival and facts can make a solid foundation of the decision to celebrate or not.