Sanyasis clad in saffron-coloured clothes and rudrakshas around their necks and wrists are common at holy places in India. A visitor to Varanasi, Haridwar, Kailas or Kedarnath would have seen them holding their beads and chanting some prayers with their eyes closed and deep concentration. It is as if the sanyasi gains his powers to focus from the beads, and it sends him into a deep trance where he is alone and close to his god. These long strands of brown wood-like beads often leave us wondering what they are. Why are they worn? What is their significance, and how are they made? Let’s discover the answer to these questions and learn more about the enigmatic brown beads.

Rudraksha comes from the Sanskrit word comprising Rudra (another name of Lord Shiva) and Aksha (eye). It is said that the Rudraksha tree was created from the teardrops that fell to the earth from Lord Shiva’s eye. The Rudraksha beads are commonly used as prayer beads in Hinduism, especially in Shivaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Islam. The Rudraksha seeds are produced by a large, broad-leaved tree botanically known as Elaeocarpusganitrus, which grows mainly in the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Nepal, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, New Guinea, Australia, Guam, and Hawaii. This tree grows quickly and starts bearing fruit in three years. The fruit has a blue outer husk and is also known as the blueberry bead. The soft blue outer husk is removed after immersing the fruit in water. The inner seed is the Rudraksha. The Rudraksha bead is also known as the Utrasum bead. It has medicinal and divine properties. The one who has the divine blessings of Lord Shiva gets the opportunity to wear the sacred Rudraksha bead.

Significance of Wearing the Rudraksha in Hinduism

It is believed that Lord Shiva’s mantras, including the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, should only be chanted on Rudraksha mala or the Rudraksha Rosary. Various religious texts state that all individuals from all castes, ashramas, varnas should wear the Rudraksha bead. The individual wearing the Rudraksha with devotion is like Lord Shiva (Rudra) himself. Hence, all the food and drinks that he partakes in equates to the food partaken by the deities. Shiva stated that one who felt ashamed of wearing the Rudraksha would never be freed from the cycle of life and death, even after taking a million births. It also mentions that the one who criticised a Rudraksha wearer is a sinner.

Wearing the Rudraksha and Performing Japa

Rudraksha should only be worn after purification, and this process is known as Prana Pratishtha. The beneficial effects of Rudraksha are increased by the chanting of the mantras and the japas. So Rudraksha is considered auspicious and energetic. It is believed that the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara) perform Jaap with the Rudraksha Rosary and wear it as a mala or bracelet around their body.

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The Rudraksha beads make malas or rosaries for Japa and personal adornment. The malas are made up of 27, 54 or 108 plus one extra bead known as the Bindu, Sumeru or Meru. This extra bead should not be crossed when chanting the mantras and moving the fingers on the bead. Upon reaching this small bead, the chanter should reverse the direction. One uses only the ring finger, middle finger and thumb for counting. The index finger should not be used while moving the beads or chanting mantras.

Energising Rudraksha – The Proper Procedure

Energising the Rudraksha is important before wearing the Rudraksha. The energising should be performed as per the rituals to ensure that the bead imbibes its full power and bestows the wearer.

  • At the onset, one must choose an auspicious day and timing for performing the Prana Pratishtha or energising of Rudraksha. This can be performed either by the wearer or a guru or priest. To energise, the Rudraksha is to be rinsed in a vessel filled with pure ghee for approximately 5 to 7 days. Then, the Rudraksha is rinsed with holy Ganga water or cow’s milk. Once they are rinsed, the rudraksha beads must be dipped in Panchamrita, usually used for performing Abhishek in puja. This consists of 5 ingredients: cow milk, sugar, honey, curd, and ghee. It is vital to constantly chant “Om Namah Shivaay” while performing the energising rituals.
  • The purification rituals of the Rudraksha also include offering bel leaves, dhoop, flowers (usually red coloured) and lamps. In addition, the Rudraksha must be kept on the Shivalinga and worshipped chanting the mantra “Om Tatpurushaya Vidmahe Mahadevaya Dheemahi Tanno Rudra Prachodayat”.
  • Be sure to face East or North direction while wearing the Rudraksha and chanting the mantra. You may wear the single bead rudraksha or string a mala or necklace of red thread and wear the Rudraksha.
  • Wearing the Rudraksha on Purnima day is considered the most auspicious time as it absolves the wearer from all sins committed by them. Also, the days of Sankranti or Amavasya are deemed to be auspicious to wear the Rudraksha.

Rules for Wearing the Rudraksha

While there is a general belief that women must not wear Rudraksha, it is not so. Neither the Vedas nor the Upanishads or other prime literary authorities on Rudraksha such as the Rudraksha Jabala Upanishad, Shiva Purana, Shrimad Devi Bhagawatam, Padma Purana, or Mantra Mahanava verses have mentioned the Rudraksha being a male dominion. However, several facets of the Mukhis of the Rudraksha beads have been ascribed to female deities. For example, the two-face Rudraksha represents Shiva and Shakti. The 7-Mukhi Rudraksha symbolises seven mothers and is ruled by Goddess Lakshmi. The 8-Mukhi Rudraksha represents the eight female deities, and the 11-Mukhi Rudraksha is believed to bless infertile women. The rules for wearing the Rudraksha are the same irrespective of a male or female wearer. Here are a few rules to follow which is typical for both males and female:

  • The Rudraksha should be worn only after the PranPrathishta
  • Rudraksha should not be born while attending the call of nature
  • One must avoid wearing the Rudraksha during menstruation
  • Remove the rudraksha beads before going to bed
  • Rudraksha beads should not be worn during coitus
  • Never touch the Rudraksha with dirty hands or with index fingers
  • Rudraksha must not be worn while visiting the funeral grounds or attending a funeral. Upon attending a funeral, one must take a complete body bath, including cleaning the head, forehead, and neck areas. The Rudraksha can be worn after the bath.
  • Ensure that the Rudraksha does not fall to the ground and is fastened using a strong thread or multiple threads.
  • It is suggested that the brush used to clean the Rudraksha should be used only once. Then, use a new clean brush while cleaning the rudraksha bead.

Benefits of Wearing the Rudraksha

Well, you now know a lot about the Rudraksha beads, but you must be wondering, “how does it benefit me?” Wearing the Rudraksha bestows the wearer with spiritual and physical benefits. Let us explain how.

Spiritual benefits:

  • Rudraksha beads used in the meditative process and the chants of appropriate mantras have a stimulatory effect on all Chakras. It bestows the wearer with an ability to concentrate on the self with the constant chant of a select mantra in a rhythm.
  • The Rudraksha acts as a protective shield and protects the wearer from negative energies.
  • Wearing the Rudraksha gives the wearer stability and good support by creating a protective shield around them.
  • The one-Mukhi Rudraksha is considered to be extremely powerful and can induce feelings of seclusion.
  • The Panch-Mukhi Rudraksha is considered safe to be worn by all age groups, genders, etc. It is known to induce calmness. In addition, the rudraksha bead can increase focus and concentration in children.
  • The rudraksha bead brings in the wearer’s purity of life in general.

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Physical benefits:

  • The Panch-Mukhi Rudraksha is known to lower blood pressure and calm down the nervous system due to its ability to induce calmness in one’s mind and body.
  • Rudraksha helps in identifying if the water is suitable for consumption. Similarly, holding the food above positively-enriched food will move the bead in a clockwise direction. In contrast, negative-enriched food will make the bead move in an anticlockwise direction.
  • Soaking the Rudraksha in a copper vessel filled with warm water up to three-fourth of its quantity and drinking the water after filtering it close to sunrise will help serve as a cardiac tonic, improve blood circulation, cures constipation and also act as a skin and hair tonic and is extremely useful in attaining relief from skin disorders.
  • Rubbing a thick paste of Rudraksha and honey helps cure fevers, colds, coughs and other respiratory disorders.
  • A mixture of Rudraksha bead powder mixed in sesame or mustard oil can treat joint-related ailments, obscure pains, and numbness during menopause or for women having menstrual irregularities.

Rudraksha for Each Zodiac Sign

Now you must be wondering which ruthratcham is best suitable for you. We have detailed below the ideal Rudraksha

Sr.No Zodiac Sign/Rashi Ruling Planet Rudraksha
1 Aries (Mesha) Mars (Mangal) 6 Mukhi& 14 Mukhi
2 Taurus (Vrishabha) Venus (Shukra) 7 Mukhi& 13 Mukhi
3 Gemini (Mithuna) Mercury (Budha) 15 Mukhi& 19 Mukhi
4 Cancer (Karka) Moon (Chandra) 2, 13, & 16 Mukhi
5 Leo (Simha) Sun (Surya) 3 & 12 or 11Mukhi
6 Virgo (Kanya) Mercury (Budha) 15 & 19 Mukhi
7 Libra (Tula) Venus (Shukra) 7 & 13 Mukhi
8 Scorpio (Vrishchika) Mars (Mangal) 6 & 14 Mukhi
9 Sagittarius (Dhanu) Jupiter (Guru) 4 & 5 Mukhi
10 Capricorn (Makar) Saturn (Shani) 17 & 14 Mukhi
11 Aquarius (Kumbha) Saturn (Shani) 17 & 14 Mukhi
12 Pisces (Meena) Jupiter (Guru) 4 & 5 Mukhi

Rudraksha for Every Nakshatra

Rudraksha is specific for every individual based on their date of birth and the Nakshatra that they are born in. We hope this list will help you choose your ideal Rudraksha

No. Nakshatra Ruling Planet Rudraksha
1 Ashwini (Ashwathi) Ketu 8 Mukhi
2 Bharani (Bharani) Venus (Shukra) 7 Mukhi
3 Kritthika (Karthika) Sun (Surya) 3, 12 or 11 Mukhi
4 Rohini (Rohini) Moon (Chandra) 2, 13 & 16 Mukhi
5 Mrigashira (Makayiram) Mars (Mangal) 6 & 14 Mukhi
6 Ardra (Thiruvathira) Rahu 9 Mukhi
7 Punarvasu (Punartham) Jupiter (Guru) 4 & 5 Mukhi
8 Pushya (Pooyam) Saturn (Shani) 17 & 14 Mukhi
9 Ashlesha (Ayilyam) Mercury (Budha) 15 & 19 Mukhi
10 Magha (Makam) Ketu 8 Mukhi
11 Purvaphalguni (Pooram) Venus (Shukra) 7 Mukhi
12 Uttarphalguni (Uthram) Sun (Surya) 3, 12 or 11 Mukhi
13 Hasta (Atham) Moon (Chandra) 2, 13 & 16 Mukhi
14 Chitra (Chithira) Mars (Mangal) 6 & 14 Mukhi
15 Swati (Chothi) Rahu 9 Mukhi
16 Vishakha (Vishakham) Jupiter (Guru) 4 & 5 Mukhi
17 Anuradha (Anizham) Saturn (Shani) 17 & 14 Mukhi
18 Jyestha (Triketta) Mercury (Budha) 15 & 19 Mukhi
19 Mula (Moolam) Ketu 8 Mukhi
20 Purvashadha (Pooradam) Venus (Shukra) 7 Mukhi
21 Uttarashadha (Uthradam) Sun (Surya) 3, 12 or 11 Mukhi
22 Shravana (Thiruvonam) Moon (Chandra) 2, 13 & 16 Mukhi
23 Dhanishta (Avittam) Mars (Mangal) 6 & 14 Mukhi
24 Shatabhisha (Chathayam) Rahu 9 Mukhi
25 Purvabhadrapada (Pooroorttathi) Jupiter (Guru) 4 & 5 Mukhi
26 Uttarabhadrapada (Utthrattathi) Saturn (Shani) 17 & 14 Mukhi
27 Revati (Revathi) Mercury (Budha) 15 & 19 Mukhi

Different Types of Rudraksha

The Rudraksha comes with different “Mukhis” or “faces”, ranging from 1 to 21 Faces. Among them, 1 to 14 Mukhis are commonly found. Rudrakshas with more than 22 mukhis are extremely rare, and their properties are yet to be studied. One-Mukhi Rudraksha, as well as higher Mukhi Rudraksha, are rare. At the same time, four and five Mukhi-Rudrakshas are easy to find.

There are 38 types of Rudrakshas available, with Mukhs ranging from 1 to 21. Each facet serves a different purpose. Specific problems faced by the individuals require wearing rudrakshas with specific mukhas. The rosary beads are made up of 5-faceted rudrakshas. Each facet of Rudraksha signifies distinctive characteristics and should be worn with the specified mantra keeping in mind the ruling planet and god.

It is believed that Rudraksha was used to test the water by holding the Rudraksha on a string above water. If the Rudraksha turns clockwise, it indicates that the water was potable. On the other hand, turning anticlockwise meant that the water was unsafe for drinking.

Ek Mukhi Rudraksha or 1 faced rudraksha bead

The Ekmukhi rudraksha is very rare to find. It is shaped like a cashew nut and represents Lord Shiva himself. Only individuals with divine karma get the opportunity to wear this Rudraksha. Wearing this Rudraksha absolves all sins and attain moksha. The Ek Mukhi Rudraksha nullifies the malefic effects of the Sun. Wearing this Rudraksha helps cure mental illness, migraines, anxiety, disease of the right eye. While wearing this Rudraksha, the Beeja mantra or the moola mantra is || Om Namah Shivaya || or || Om Hreem Namah || or || Om Rudra||.

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2 faced Rudraksha or Do MukhiRudraksh

This Rudraksha is represented by Ardhanareeshwara (the amalgamation of male and female energy). Moon is the ruling planet. This Rudraksha represents Shiva and Shakti, and wearing this would bless you with unity and harmony. It improves relationships and maintains oneness. It nullifies the malefic effects of the moon. Wearing this helps to cure the disease of the left eye, renal failure, improving intestinal system, and mental illness such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc. The moola mantra to be chanted is ||Om Namah Shivay|| or ||Om Namah|| or ||Om Khum||

3 Faced Rudraksha or Teen MukhiRudraksh

The ruling deity is Agni (Lord of Fire), and the Sun is the ruling planet. The wearer is blessed with confidence and positive energy. It frees you the bonds of past birth. The wearer of 3 Mukhi Rudraksha is blessed with confidence and high self-esteem and helps him carve the way to success. This bead reduces the malefic effects of Mars. People with hypertension widely use this bead, which helps calm the mind and control depression, menstrual cycle regulation, stress, etc. The moola mantra for this bead is ||Om Namah Shivay|| or ||Om Shree Agni Devay Namah||or ||Om Kleem Namah|| or ||Om Namah||

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5 Mukhi Rudraksha or Panch Mukhi Rudraksh

The PanchMukhiRudraksh augments memory, word power, intellect and awareness. This is used while chanting mantras as it helps the person to connect with the divine grace of Lord Shiva more easily. The ruling deity is Rudra Kalagni, while Jupiter is the presiding planet. The Panch Mukhi Rudraksha is beneficial for those who seek to find themselves in their higher being. It also nullifies Jupiter’s negative energy on the wearer. The moola mantra for this Rudraksha is || Om Hreem Namah ||

7 Mukhi Rudrakshaor 7-faced Rudraksha

This bead represents health, wealth and fresh opportunities for the wearer. It is also indicated to help those who face financial and luck-related distresses. Goddess Lakshmi is the ruling deity for this Rudraksha and thus blesses the wearer with name, fame and abundance. The ruling planet for the seven Mukhi Rudraksha is Venus. The Beeja mantra for this bead goes as || Om Hoom Namah ||

9 Mukhi Rudraksha

The 9 Mukhi rudraksha embodies dynamism, courage, vigour and command. It provides the wearer with all the worldly comforts and fulfilment of desires and moksha or liberation. Goddess Durga is the ruling deity, with Rahu being the ruling planet. The moola mantra for this bead to be chanted is || Om Hreem Hoom Namah ||

11 Mukhi Rudraksha

Those wearing the 11 Mukhi rudraksha improve their awareness, divine consciousness, wisdom, control over their senses and vocabulary, courage, success, and a sense of proper judgment. The 11 Rudras rule this Rudraksha. This Rudraksha pacifies all planets as all of the planets rule this Rudraksha. The wearer of this Rudraksha is endowed with a power equivalent to performing 1000 Ashwamedha yajnas or 100 Vajpaye yajnas. The Beeja mantra to be chanted while wearing this Rudraksha is || Om HreemHoom Namah ||

14 Mukhi Rudraksha

The 14 Mukhi Rudraksha is the most precious divine gem and is also known by the name of Deva Mani. It symbolises firm willpower, courage and brevity, which are the qualities in Hanuman, the Rudraksha’s ruling deity. The wearer of this Rudraksha is invoked with the qualities of Lord Hanuman and protects them from the adverse effects of Mars, its ruling planet. It is also indicated to alleviate the Mangal dosh in the natal chart. The Beeja mantra for this Rudraksha is || Om Namah ||

The Legend Behind Rudraksha

The Rudraksha Jabala Upanishad, one of the 108 Upanishadic scriptures belonging to the Shaiva sect, describes a conversation between Kalagni Rudra, a form of Shiva and Sage Sanatkumara. Sage Bhusunda, also known as Sanatkumara, asks a destructive form of Shiva named Kalagni Rudra about the evolution of Rudraksha and the benefit of wearing Rudraksha. Kalagni Rudra replied that to destroy the demon Tripurasura, he closed his eyes for a thousand years in meditation. When he opened his lotus-shaped eyes, teardrops from his eyes fell on earth, which created the Rudraksha. It further states that the mere utterance of the word ‘Rudraksha’ equates to the merit of donating ten cows. The sight and touch of the Rudraksha beads equate charity of twenty cows. Sanatkumara then probed the method of wearing the Rudraksha and the associated mantra. Kalagni Rudra replied that wearing Rudraksha absolved the wearer of all sins. Wearing and doing Japa invokes one lakh crore benefits to the wearer.
Kalagni Rudra further described the characteristics of Rudraksha in the Upanishad. He indicated that the best Rudraksha is that of gooseberry (amla) sized fruit, followed by that of the size of a berry and the lowest that was the size of a black gram. The best Rudraksha should be well-rounded, well-sized, smooth, hard, thorny, and has a natural hole. A damaged, broken, worm or insect-infested rudraksha and those with abnormal size or shape should never be worn.

The beads should be woven in silk thread. Rudraksha can be worn on the hair tuft, around the head with a maximum of 30 beads, as a necklace with 36 beads, on the arm with 16 beads for each arm, with 12 beads on each wrist and 15 beads around the shoulders. The yajnopavita (sacred thread) should consist of 108 beads and be worn as 2, 3, 5 or 7 rounds. Rudraksha can also be worn around the waist or as an earring and used as a rosary. It is essential to recite the mantras while adorning the Rudraksha around a particular part of the body.

The Rudraksha Jabala Upanishad also states that Kalagni Rudra dictated the norms of wearing the Rudraksha. He said that one who wore the Rudraksha should never consume alcohol, meat, garlic, onions, etc. He further dictates that Rudraksha should be worn on eclipses, solstices (Uttarayan and Dakshina Ayana), full moon day (Poornima), New moon day (Amavasya) and so forth. Rudraksha symbolised the Hindu Trinity (Trimurti) with Brahma at the base of the Rudraksha, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva on the top, and all Gods resided in its hole.

According to Shiva Mahapurana, the conversation happened between Parvathi and Lord Shiva. And, Lord Shiva had opened his eyes after an intense penance of thousand years. The teardrops fell to the ground from which grew the Rudraksha tree—the seeds were distributed to the rest of the earth.

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