You might have noticed odd, orange/brown seed-like beads becoming popular malas in the yoga community recently. Just like crystals, these seeds hold sacred energy and are said to have deeply mystical properties. They are called rudraksha and have been used in the East by yogis for thousands of years. So, where do rudraksha come from and why are they considered so sacred in spiritual practice?
Rudraksha are said to hold all 9 dimensions of Paramashiva (the cosmic Source/creator) and are said to be the only substance in the world that can do this, as explained by Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam. Bhagavan Kalagnirudra of the ancient Sanskrit scriptures also said: “He (who wears rudraksha) attains Siva Sāyujya, the ultimate space of complete Oneness with Shiva. He does not come back (to rebirth).”
Rudra translates as a name for Lord Shiva, one of the most powerful and well-known godheads of Hinduism. He is the creator of Yoga and the destroyer of all illusion. Aksha translates to eyes…thus making rudraksha “from the eyes of Shiva.” The story goes as follows...in the Mula Agama in the Rudraksha Dharanam, Bhusunda asked Lord Kalagnirudra:
"'What is the beginning of Rudraksha beads? What is the benefit of wearing them on the body?'
Lord Kalagnirudra answered him thus:
'I closed my eyes for the sake of destroying the Tripura Asuras. From My eyes thus closed, drops of water fell on the earth. These drops of tears turned into Rudrakshas. By the mere utterance of the name of Rudraksha, one acquires the enriching benefit of giving ten cows in charity. By seeing and touching it, one attains double that benefit. I am unable to praise it any more.
I closed my eyes for one thousand celestial years. Then when my cakshu, the infinite Divine Eye opened and unconcealed drops of water dropped down on earth, and the place where the Divine drops fell, formed the Maharudrāksha Vrksha, the Great Tree of Rudraksha, and attained the state of immobility for the cause of showering anugraha, blessing and liberating the devotees.'"
You heard it directly folks, rudraksha are literally a divine manifestation from Shiva's third eye to help human beings reach liberation, enlightenment. Rudraksha harness the cosmic power of Shiva Himself and are believed to hold one thousand times more energy than any crystal. It is the one thing you should be wearing at all times, because it radiates the highest spiritual power possible. When you wear it at all times and use it for japa (repetition of mantra using rudraksha mala to count), it reaches the maximum energy level.
Rudraksha even have the power to destroy all negative karma. It is said the wearer should follow a satvic vegetarian diet: no alcohol, meat, onion, or garlic. This keeps the body in the highest and purest spiritual energy, aka the satvic state. It's important to note you should also avoid wearing rudraksha that are worn by others or broken.
One of the coolest things about rudraksha is there are many different types, all used for different powers and purposes! Rudraksha are classified by how many faces, or mukhis, that they have. Here is the direct yogic scripture explaining all about the different faces or Mukhis and what you can use them for:
"Bhagavan Kalagnirudra said:
The Rudraksha bead with one face is of the essence and form of the Supreme Truth, Para Tattva Svarupam. A disciplined one, who is transcending his senses (indriyas) unites himself with the Eternal Truth, after adorning these Rudrakshas.
The Rudraksha bead with two faces is of the inner-embodiment of Ardhanarishvara and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Ardhanarishvara (Shiva united with Shakti).
The Rudraksha bead with three faces is of the form of the three fires and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Agni (fire element).
The Rudraksha with four faces is of the form of the four-faced Brahma (the creator) and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Brahma.
The Rudraksha with five faces is of the form and nature of Panchabrahman, the five-faced Sadashiva, and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Panchabrahma i.e. Sadashiva and drives away the sin of killing a human.
The Rudraksha with six faces is of the form of the six-faced Kartikeya or Ganesha and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of wealth and health, clear intellect and wisdom, and purification.
The Rudraksha with seven faces is of the form of the seven Mātras (Mother Goddesses) and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of wealth and health, right perception, and purity of mind.
The Rudraksha with eight faces is of the presiding Divinity of the eight-fold Nature (five elements, mind, ego, and matter) or the eight Vasus and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of these Devatas and becomes truthful being (satya vādi).
The Rudraksha with nine faces is of the form of the Nava-Shaktis and the devotee wearing it attains the grace and love of the Nine Powers.
The Rudraksha with ten faces is of presiding Divinity of the ten Yamas who grants immortality and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of achieving peace of the mind; of this there is no doubt.
The Rudraksha with eleven faces is of the presiding Divinity of the eleven Rudras and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of always increasing well-being, prosperity and wealth.
The Rudraksha with twelve faces is of the form of Mahavishnu (sustainer of the universe) or the twelve Adityas and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Moksha (liberation).
The Rudraksha with thirteen faces is of the presiding of the Kama, the god of fulfilling desires, and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of Kāma in gratifying all desires.
The Rudraksha with fourteen faces is of the form of Rudra being generated from His eyes and the devotee wearing it attains the grace of destruction of all diseases.
One who wears Rudrakshas, should not use intoxicants, meat, garlic, onions, carrots and all such prohibited things. By Rudraksha Dhārana, adorning Rudrakshas during eclipses, Vishusankranti (the end of Mina and beginning of Mesha Masa), new moon, full moon and other such auspicious days, one is freed of all sins."
One thing is for certain, if you are a yogi or spiritual seeker, make sure you are utilizing the cosmic gift of rudraksha in your life! Many people notice the difference even after wearing rudraksha for just a few days. They can also be hugely beneficial in your meditation practice as well. This is a real, spiritual science dating back thousands of years and practiced by hundreds of enlightened beings.
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Blessings on your journey,