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Monday, June 15, 2009

According to the old mythological epic "Shiv Purana", Rudraksha was the favorite tree of Lord Shiva and it grew in Gauda land (present day Gangetic plains to foothills of Himalayas).

The bead of the Rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpus granitrus) holds a very special place in Hinduism, and is credited to possess mystical and divine properties.

Necklaces made of Rudraksha beads are considered auspicious as well as powerful, and are supposed to have profound astrological and health benefits. It is believed that one who wears Rudraksha is untouched by sins, and is protected from all impious deeds or thoughts."Rudraksha" has its etymological origin in the Sanskrit words, 'Rudra' and 'Aksha'. 'Rudra' is another name for Lord Shiva, and 'aksha' means teardrop. Mythological tales have it that the Rudraksha plant was born out of Lord Shiva's tear drops.

Its botanical name is Elaeocarpus Ganitrus Roxb. and belongs to the family Tiliaceae,the Lime/Linden family.

Medicinal Value & Biomedical Properties

According to the Ayurveda's medical system, wearing Rudraksha can have a positive effect on the heart and nerves, and relieve you from stress, anxiety, depression, palpitations and lack of concentration. It is also known for its anti ageing effect, and electromagnetic and inductive properties. People with high blood pressure have been found have benefited from the use of Rudraksha seeds.

Rudraksha Tree

The Rudraksha tree inhabits areas starting from Manila, Philippines and passing through Myanmar to entire North-East India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. However, in present era, the Rudraksha tree is localized only in Eastern Nepal due to suitable climatic conditions.Rudraksha is a large, evergreen broad-leaved tree found in tropical and sub-tropical areas at the altitudes ranging from seacoast to 2,000 meters above the sea level. The tree is a perennial i.e. grows throughout the year and is about 50-200 feet high.

The main trunk of the Rudraksha tree is cylindrical with a grayish white and rough textured bark. In Nature, leafy crown of a Rudraksha tree takes a pyramidal shape. The leaves of Rudraksha tree are shinning green on the upper side with a dull leathery dorsal side. Rudraksha flowers are white with fringed petals and they appear in April-May.

Rudraksha fruits appear in June and ripen by August-October. They are globular in shape with a fleshy exterior. The bead present inside is hard and tubercled.

Cultivation of Rudraksha Trees

Rudraksha farming is a difficult process due to the slow sprouting from the beads. Depending on the humidity of the soil, it usually takes 1-2 years for a tree to sprout.
Rudraksha is grown in subtropical climatic regions with temperature ranges of 25-30 degree centigrade. The tree starts giving fruit after 7 years . A single Rudraksha tree bears beads in all different faces or mukhis at the same time. The higher mukhis or faces are very rare. Most common Rudraksha bead is the five faceted or panchmukhi. The environment andlocation of Rudraksha trees plays a major role in the bead formation and the type of bead formed. e.g: The Himalayan beads seem larger, heavier and more powerful due to the environment they grow in.

Types of Rudraksha

Rudraksha beads are classified on the basis of the number of "mukhis" - the clefts and furrows - they have on the surface( or say the number of partitions the bead is divided in). Each bead has a different effect on you, depending on the number of mukhis it has. These are vital from the astrological viewpoint, since it is believed that Rudrakshas of different mukhis please different planets. The scriptures speak of 1 to 38 mukhis, but Rudrakshas of 1 to 13 mukhis are commonly found. 14-21 are rare ones.

Here's how to identify a genuine Rudraksha bead:

  • Even if you boil a real Rudraksha 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 and natural corns and contours.
Chemical Composition of Rudraksha Beads

Rudraksha is covered by a blue outer shell on ripening so it is als called blue berry bead.
The percentage compositions of the gaseous elements present in a Rudraksha was determined by C-H-N Analyzer and by Gas chromatography.
Rudraksha beads contain 50.031 % carbon, 0.95% nitrogen,17.897% hydrogen and 3.53% oxygen.Ancient and contemporary Asian texts states extensively about the beneficial healing powers of Rudraksha bead.In recent times,the Rudrakhsa bead has gained significance again as a mode of healing and also aqs a fashion accessory.

Scientific Research on Rudraksha

In India In In recent years, scientific studies have been undertaken in India to determine the extent and mechanism of the healing powers of Rudraksha. One of the best known research papers was published by Dr. Subhas Rai of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras, India. Dr. Rai's research confirmed that as scripted in the ancient scriptures, Rudraksha beads do possess powerful electromagnetic, paramagnetic and inductive properties. The healing powers of the Rudraksha bead are derived from such properties.Blood circulation and heart beats automatically induce a magnetic field around the body and particularly the heart region. Accordingly, a balancing force is exerted on the heart to regulate it if it starts beating above or below normal rates. This action helps to ensure ideal blood circulation in the body. Depending upon the polarity and intensity of the induced magnetic field, Rudraksha beads transmit subtle electrical and inductive impulses with opposing polarity and intensity. When Rudraksha beads are placed over the heart, they act to stabilize the heart beat. Thus, the stated beneficial effects of the Rudraksha bead have been proved scientifically as well.

Tips for Care of Rudraksha Beads

Rudraksha bead is a divine gift from Lord Shiva to the mankind for helping them to combat their miseries and sorrows. Therefore these divine beads can be worn by any body irrespective of age, sex, caste, creed, culture, religion and location. However it is desirable that certain precautions be taken while using Rudraksha since it is a divine gift and therefore very pious.

First of all a person who wants to wear a Rudraksha, should make sure of the type of Rudraksha which is most suitable and idle for him taking in to account his nakshatra,zodiac sign, problems or desires for which he wants to wear Rudraksha.
While Purchasing a Rudraksha one should make sure that he is purchasing a genuine Rudraksha only otherwise he will not get the desirable effects. One of the best way is to purchase a Rudraksha from some authentic source only and not from any street vendors.
While wearing a Rudraksha for the first time, it is advisable to do so on the particular day of the week which again depends upon the type of the Rudraksha. Also it is necessary that a proper Puja (Pran Pratishta ) is done before wearing a Rudraksha for the first time to get the maximum beneficial effects.

A Rudraksha can be worn around the neck ( as a mala or pendent ) or around the wrist . It can also be kept in the Puja room to be used for Puja and Rudraksha mala can be kept in puja room for the purpose of japas.
A Rudraksha mala, Bracelet or a pendent can be made using gold,silver or even a strong thread preferably of red/yellow colour.

A Rudraksha mala should be cleaned after 15 to 20 days using Lukewarm water and mild liquid soap. One should never use a strong detergents or very hot/ boiling water.

One may periodically apply mustered oil/ sandalwood oil to the Rudraksha bead so that they remain shiny and perfumed. Rudraksha beads are very strong and if a proper care and clining is done and if protected from getting physically damaged, these beads can be passed on from one generation to another.
A person can wear more then one Rudraksha bead of the same mukhi. Alternately he can also wear a mala/ bracelet having a combination of various mukhi Rudraksha.

Rudraksha beads are a product of nature. Hence they vary in their size and colours even if they are identical in Mukhis (facets) . However this variation of size and colour dose not increases/ decreases th e effectiveness of this divine bead. Rudraksha should not be worn while attending a funeral. The best way is to keep the Rudraksha in a box before going to sleep and wear the same next morning only after taking a bath.Females may avoid using Rudraksha for three four days when nature is at its work.

Family members should not keep interchanging Neck Malas, Japa Malas or Rudraksha beads. The bond created between a wearer and Rudraksha is very private and hence the wearer must not share her/his Rudraksha with a third party. But it can be willed and passed on to the next generation.

One must not allow other people to touch his /her rudraksha beads.

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