rudrAksh is one of the most important things for the devotees of Lord shiva. The word rudrAksha means the eye of Lord rudra (rudrAksha - rudra + aksha). The rudraksha beads are worn by the Lord and Its devotees. rudraxa beads proven to have very good positive effect in one who wears it properly is spiritually quite significant.
Puranic Importance of rudrAksham
On the request of the divines Lord shiva burnt the three daemon forts called tripurAsura who were into disruptive activities. God burnt them without even a weapon just by the smile itself ! Three daemons in those forts who were good and devotees of the Lord came out without any harm by the Lord's Grace ! At this point of time fromt he Three eyes of the Lord rudrAxas came out. Since it came from the aksha (eye) of Lord rudra (a role played by the Supreme shiva), it is called rudrAxa.
Glory of rudrAksha
skanda purANam (3) details the glory of this great ornament.
"Hearing or reading the glory of rudrAxam can drive away the sins of anybody. Be devoted or not, scholar or illiterate, whomsoever it be one who wears the rudrAxa will surely get rid of all the bad deeds. Philosophers call this as mahAvrata. There is no deed more virtuous than wearing rudrAxa. One who gets adorned in a sincere and proper way with thausand rudrAxas, all the divines will salute that person. If thausands are not available sixteen each in both the hands, one at the head top, each hand twelve, in the neck thirty-two, six each in the ears shall be worn. One who wears like that is worshipped by others as if they are Lord rudra. One who wears rudrAxas with pearl, ruby, spaTikam crystals, silver, gold, vaiDUryam (lapis lazuli), that person is rudra Himself ! One who wears the emblem of Lord rudra, the rudrAxam, them the sins do not approach as the darkness cannot approach the sun. The chanting (japa) with rudrAxa mala will yield lots of good result. The japa done without that will give the fruit only to the extent of its own glory. Thus very virtuous rudrAxa is not worn by anybody, their life gets wasted like that of the one who does not wear Holy Ash (2). The wise who keeps the rudrAxa at the head and bathes, gets the benefits of bathing in ganges, this is beyond doubt. Such rudrAxas even if only one beed is worn that person gets rid of the sin did in many births. One who anoints rudrAxa gets the benefit of anointing shiva linga (1). One, five and fourteen faced rudrAxas are adorable in all the worlds. Human who worships rudrAxa, even if he/she is very poor, will get all the wealth."
skanda purANa also refers to many stories that tell the glory of adorning one with shrI rudrAxam.
How to wear rudrakshas
rudrAxas are very Holy. One should wear them with respect and maintain their sanctity. Various ways are suggested by the scriptures on adorning oneself with them. Some of them are:
- Adorning with thausand rudrAxas.
- 26 beeds on head, 50 over the chest, 14 on the shoulders, 12 on the wrist.
- 16 each in both the hands, 1 at the head top, 12 in each hands, 32 in the neck, 6 each in the ears.
- Garlands of 108, 50, 27 are boonful.
- A single beed.
Different Types of rudrAksas
rudrAxas are in three colors. Tawny reddish (kapila) color represent sun (sUrya), white represent moon (chandra) and black represent fire (agni) eyes of the Lord from which they originated.
rudrAxas come with different number of faces. Though all rudrAxas are emblems of the Lord shiva, each type has its additional significance. Some of them are given here.
- one face - shiva svarUpam
- two - devadevi (shiva shakti)
- three - agni
- four - brahma
- five - kAlAgni
- six - subrahmaNya
- seven - manmata
- eight - vinAyaka
- nine - bhairava
- ten - viShNu
- eleven - ekAdasharudra
- twelve - dvAdashAditya
- thirteen - shaNmukha
- fourteen - Lord shiva
More details on rudrAksham
Trees giving rudrAxa beads grow in the himalayan regions of India and Nepal. Experienced do tests to confirm the originality of the rudrAxa beads.
upanishads that hail rudrAksh
- jApAla (bR^ihajjApAla)
1. shiva lingam
2. Holy Ash
3. skandha purANam - shankara samhita - upadesha kANDam
4. rudrAksha jAbAla upanishat
5. References to rudrAksha in thirumuRais