Basics of Rudraksha
Rudraksha (also called as Rudraksh) are dried seeds of a tree, which grows in select locations of South East Asia, botanically known as Elaeocarpus Ganitrus. It is also called “Tears of Shiva” and there are many legends connected to Lord Shiva that describe its origin. The word Rudraksha comes from "Rudra" (name of Shiva) and "Aksha" meaning tears.
Rudrakshas (also called as Rudraksh) are very supportive in maintaining physical and mental balance. For spiritual seekers, it supports to enhance one’s spiritual growth. It’s curative properties have been utilized worldwide for a number of physical, mental and psychosomatic illnesses.
Anyone, irrespective of gender, cultural, ethnic, geographical or religious background can wear Rudraksha. They are intended for persons at any stage in life irrespective of mental and physical condition. It can be worn by children, students, the elderly and ill for many benefits. Please see question 5 below.
They are of the same quality; it is just that it's a question of convenience. The smaller ones cost more simply because the rudraksha is not plucked from a tree, they wait for it to fall down, fully ripe and fall down. So, it is much harder to pick up the smaller beads in the mountain so they cost more; otherwise they're about the same.
Rudraksha offered by us are carefully selected, checked for quality and consecrated. The benefits of each type are mentioned below:
- - Panchamukhi: These are five-faced Rudraksha which can be worn by anyone above 14 years of age. It helps cultivate inner freedom and purity.
- - Dwimukhi: These are two-faced Rudraksha intended for married persons. It is supportive for marital relationships and should be worn by both husband and wife.
- - Shanmukhi: These are six-faced Rudraksha intended for children below 14 years of age. It aids in proper physical and mental development.
- - Gowri Shankar: These are beads which look like two beads fused together and can be worn by anyone above 14 years of age. It aids in prosperity and balancing of Ida and Pingala Nadis (energy channels) and activates the seven chakras.
To condition new Rudraksha beads, immerse them in ghee (clarified butter) for 24 hours and then soak them in full-fat milk for an additional 24 hours. Wash it with water and wipe the beads with a clean cloth. Do not wash them with soap or any cleaning material. Due to this conditioning, the color of the Rudraksha may be altered and it is perfectly normal as these are natural beads. It is also normal that some color of the thread may also come out during the conditioning. Conditioning should be done every six months as explained below.
Conditioning of Rudrakshas should be done every six months. To condition Rudraksha mala or beads, immerse them in ghee (clarified butter) for 24 hours and then soak them in full-fat milk for an additional 24 hours. Wash it water and wipe the beads with a clean cloth. Do not wash them with soap or any cleaning material.
The mala can be worn all the time. You can even wear it when you sleep or shower. If you take cold water baths and are not using any chemical soap, it is especially good for the water to flow over it and upon your body. But if you are using chemical soaps and warm water, it becomes brittle and will crack after sometime, so it is best to avoid wearing it at such times.
No. Traditionally, the number of beads is 108 plus one, the bindu. It’s recommended that an adult should not wear a mala with less than 84 beads, plus the bindu - but any number over that is fine! Depending on the size of the Rudraksha seeds, the mala will have varying number of beads.
All Panchamukhi Rudraksha have the same quality, impact, and benefits regardless of the size. You can choose any of the seven sizes depending on your preference. The smaller beads are rare to find hence the difference in the price.
No, you should not share your Rudraksha with anyone else, since the Rudraksha adapts to the wearer.
It’s best to store Rudraksha in a silk cloth or in a copper vessel. Remember, copper can oxidize milk products so you should not use a copper vessel while conditioning the Rudraksha.
The bindu on a Panchmukhi mala doesn’t have to be positioned at any particular part of your neck – when you walk, sleep, do your sadhana, your Rudraksha will shift. It is best to reposition the bindu to be at the center of your chest, but once you start to move again, so will the bindu. This is okay.
Rudraksha have a certain quality by nature, so it is important to wear them on the body in a way that treats the Rudraksha with respect and care. Rudraksha should not be worn like jewelry and kept aside later. When a person decides to wear a Rudraksha, it should become like a part of them.
If someone decides not to wear their Rudraksha for an extended period of time, it should be kept in a silk cloth, preferably in a pooja room.
There are certain situations that are not conducive for Rudraksha. For example, if Rudraksha are kept on a cement floor for a full 48-day mandala or longer, it should not be used. Conditioning will not help in reversing this process. A Rudraksha in this state should be buried in the soil, if possible, or offered to a body of water, like a river or a well.
Storage & Maintenance
Cracked beads on a Rudraksha mala should be removed, as their energy will be altered and may not be conducive to the wearer. Individual beads need not be replaced as long as the total bead count on the mala is 84, plus the bindu, for people who are age 14 or older. Any number above this is fine to wear for those who are 14 years or older.
To remove the cracked beads, the mala can be opened and re-strung. When re-threading, any bead can act as the bindu – it doesn’t have to be the one that was originally used. People under the age of 14 should only wear the Shanmukhi Rudraksha.
To experience the full benefits of Rudraksha, the beads should always touch each other in a mala. This has to do with the energy movement in the mala. It is important not to thread the mala too tightly or else the beads may become pressed against each other and crack. Gently strung, with all the beads touching, is ideal.
Since Rudraksha are natural seeds with a unique composition, it is best to store them in natural vessels. When conditioning, using mud, glass or wooden bowls are best. Alternatively, gold or silver bowls can be used, if available. When conditioning, it is important not to use copper bowls as the ghee and milk can react to the copper. But it is fine to store Rudraksha in copper when not conditioning. Using plastic to store or condition a Rudraksha is not ideal because plastics can react and leak harmful substances.
When wearing Rudraksha, silk thread is the best natural option to use due to its quality and strength. Thin gold or silver chains can also be used if malas are threaded with utmost care to ensure no seeds are cracked or harmed in the process.
A Gauri Shankar Rudraksha comes with a metal loop intended for you to tie to the end of a Panchmukhi mala, or to easily tie to any silk thread or gold or silver chain. When adding a Gauri Shankar to a Panchmukhi mala, it’s important to leave the bindu in place; the Gauri Shankar can be added as an additional bead below the bindu. The bindu is important because it ensures that the energy flow in the mala is not circular. If it becomes circular, it might cause some people to feel dizzy.
Sadhguru: Traditionally, malas were always dealt with by people who held it as a sacred duty in their lives. For generations, they did only this. They also made their living out of it, but fundamentally it was like a sacred duty of offering it to people. But once the demand became too much, commerce came in. Today in India, there is another seed called badraksh which is a poisonous seed, which grows extensively in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and that area. To look at, both these seeds look the same. You cannot make out the difference. Only if you take it in your hand and if you are sensitive, you will know the difference. This should not be worn on the body, but these are being sold as authentic beads in many places. So it is important that you get your mala from a trusted source.
Conditioning is meant to help prolong the lifespan of Rudraksha by preventing them from becoming brittle and cracking. Being immersed in ghee and milk every 6 months, and sesame oil every 1 to 2 years, is beneficial for the integrity of the Rudraksha. Conditioning does not “re-energize” Rudraksha. Rudraksha beads are of a certain quality by nature alone.
After conditioning Rudraksha, it may be slightly slippery and may smell of ghee and milk. Rudraksha can be covered with vibhuti as the final conditioning step to aid in removing any excess oil. To do so, take some vibhuti in your palm and gently roll the Rudraksha in it. Rudraksha should not be washed with water or soap before doing this. Vibhuti should be applied to the Rudraksha directly after removing it from the milk.
Once you have conditioned Rudraksha for 24 hours in ghee, the ghee can be used as plant food, as oil in a lamp, or can be saved for the next time you condition Rudraksha. The leftover ghee should not be consumed or used in cooking.
The first time a Rudraksha is conditioned after purchasing, there may be some leakage from the beads. The color can vary but is usually yellow or black. This is due to a protective process where mud is used to cover the Rudraksha after receiving it from the growers. When mud is applied to Rudraksha, it ensures the seed is maintained in its original condition, exactly how it was when it came from the tree. The differences in color depend on where the mud originated.
Rudraksha tend to become darker with time because of the substances it absorbs; this will be a combination of the ghee, milk, and sesame oil used for periodic conditioning, as well as your natural body oil and sweat. This is a natural process; it does not have to do with sadhana or yogic practices.