From times immemorial Rudraksha beads have been worn and worshipped by sadhaks for properties of different facets or mukhis. These beads have found mention in ancient literatures like Siva Purana, Rudrakasjabalopnishad and Shri Gurucharitra.
The science behind Rudraksha beads and the spiritual and bio-medical effects of these beads on the individuals was well understood and respected by our ancients. Unfortunately today, as is true with any spiritual subject including Yog, people for their own selfish commercial interests have introduced a lot of misconceptions around these beads. A buyer comes across large quantities of Rudraksha beads of various facets which are highly priced without any proof of authenticity.
Over years of exploration and experience we bring to you information on Rudraksha beads from authentic sources in our series of articles on these beads. According to an old mythology, Siva Purana, the favourites of Lord Siva, Rudraksha trees grow in Gouda land which in the present era is the area of the Gangetic Plain on the southern border of Asia to the foothills of the Great Himalayas and middle area of Nepal.
The Legend: According to the religious text Devi Bhagwat Puran there was a demon known as Tripurasur who was very strong and had divine energy and power. Due to these qualities he became proud and started to trouble deities and sages. No one was able to defeat this strong demon in war. On seeing his immoral actions Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and other deities prayed to the Devadhidev, greatest Lord of Lords, Mahadeva Shiva to destroy the evil Tripurasur. Lord Shiva closed his eyes and meditated for some time. When he opened his lotus shaped eyes tears fell from them on the earth. Wherever his tears fell the Rudraksha tree grew. The fruits that grow on this tree are known as Rudraksha beads. Lord Shiva then used a deadly, divine weapon known as Aghor and destroyed Tripurasur. The above story in a codified form again tells us that opposites make a whole. To destroy a strong demon like Tripurasur, Aghor weapon was used for destruction, the opposite of it is Rudraksha, which is for creation of any kind.
According to another religious text Shiva Mahapuran, Goddess Parvati, the divine consort of Lord Shiva, asked him about the origin of Rudraksha. Lord Shiva answered that he had done penance for a thousand years. Tired of keeping his eyes closed for so long, Lord Shiva opened them, and a few teardrops fell to the ground and from these tears, the Rudraksha tree was born. The seeds of the tree were distributed on the earth.
The word Rudraksha, in fact comes from the two Sanskrit words rudra, a synonym for Lord Shiva, and aksha, meaning ‘tears’
Botanical Background: Rudraksha is a fruit of the plant Elaeocarpus angustifolius. Total 360 species are known worldwide under the genus Elaeocarpus including Rudraksha. Elaeocarpus species are found in Nepal, India, Indonesia, Srilanka, Tibet, China, Australia, South America and South Africa.