All that you ever wanted to know about miraculous Rudraksha beads
If you visit any Indian temple, you will find sadhus, priests and devotees wearing necklaces made of a large number of small, round, dark red beads.
And in the lanes around every temple, you will find a number of shops selling these bead necklaces.
The shop keepers will tell you that these necklaces are made of asli (genuine) Rudraksha beads and will cure a number of diseases – including heart ailments, hyper tension and blood pressure; give you peace of mind and good health; good luck; and of course, wealth.
What more can anyone possibly want?
What is Rudraksha
Have you ever wondered what the miraculous Rudraksha beads really are?
Where do they come from?
Is there any scientific basis for all the wonders they are propagated to perform?
The term Rudraksha is used for the round berries of the Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb tree; and also for the Rudraksha mala or necklace made from these beads.
A Rudraksha mala contains 108 beads.
The Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb Tree
The Rudraksha tree is a large, evergreen, broad-leaved, tree found in Indonesia, Nepal and India.
About 70% of the Rudraksha trees are found in Indonesia, 25% in Nepal and 5% in India.
The Rudraksha trees flower between August to September and bear fruit between September to November.
When fully ripe, the round berries are covered with an outer shell of blue colour and are therefore often known as blue berry beads.
But the blue coloration is not due to any pigment, it is only structural.
Each shell contains one Rudraksha berry.
The Rudraksha berries have a number of grooves or lines on their surface running from one end to the other.
These grooves or lines are called Mukhis.
The Rudraksha is described after the number of grooves or or lines (Mukhis) it contains.
Rudrakshas with 1 to 14 Mukhis are more common.
Those with 15 to 27 Mukhis, or even more, are less common and considerably more expensive.
Origin of the word Rudraksha and Mythology
The word Rudraksha is derived from the Sanskrit word rudrāksa which itself is derived from the two words ‘Rudra’ meaning Shiva and ‘āksa’ meaning eye. Rudraksha, therefore, means Shiva’s eyes.
According to the ancient Hindu scripture Shiva Purana, the Rudraksha plant was born out of Lord Shiva’s tear drops.
After Lord Shiva had meditated for many years for the welfare of all creatures, he opened his eyes.
Drops of hot tears rolled down and mother earth gave birth to Rudraksha trees.
Therapeutic & Medicinal effects of Rudraksha
In the late 1980’s, Dr.Suhas Roy and other scientists from the Departments of Biochemistry, Electrical Engineering, Psychiatry, General Medicine and Psychology of the Institute of Technology in Banaras University, India carried out a combined study into the bio-medical effects of Rudraksha.
The researchers found that the Rudraksha beads were Dielectric and exerted powerful therapeutic effects.
Rudraksha are available in different sizes
Rudraksha beads come in different sizes.
They are collected and assorted into different shapes and sizes.
The larger ones (15mm and above) are the most auspicious and effective.
They should have a natural hole.
The surface of the bead should not be over thorny, but smooth; and the bead should have good hardness.
Rudraksha beads are now sold in almost every little shop around temples and also by dealers of all kinds of alternative medicines.
There are also a host of online suppliers.
You can find Rudraksha beads of all shapes and sizes.
Unfortunately, many are cheap imitations.
Some imitation beads are carved out of synthetic materials like cork, plastic, hard foam; or made out of similar looking seeds like blueberry seeds, betel nuts and areca nuts.
Some manipulators carve out extra lines to increase the number of natural lines.
A 10 Mukhi Rudraksha can be made to look like a 14 Mukhi Rudraksha thereby increasing its price several times.
Sometimes, two small beads are carefully glued together to make a much larger bead having many more lines.
There are all kinds of manipulators.
I can only say, buy your Rudraksha beads from a reputed supplier.
Qualities of good genuine Rudraksha beads are:
· Genuine Rudraksha beads will sink in water.
· If you boil real Rudraksha beads in water for 6 hours, there would no effect on the bead. A fake will easily disintegrate.
· A good Rudraksha bead should not be broken at any end.
· A healthy bead should have well defined natural corns and contours.
Taking care of your precious Rudraksha beads
Rudraksha seeds are brittle in nature.
Protect them from chemicals and toileteries.
Wash them frequently with plain water.