(53) What is the importance of rudrãksh?
Upanishad cites details of rudrãksh and its glory.
In Ayurveda, rudrãksh is used in treating colds, hypertension, epilepsy and mental disorders.
There are two versions of rudrãksh’s origin:
(1) The demon Tripura was harassing devas and rishis. Once they requested Shivji for succour. After destroying Tripura, Shivji closed his eyes for a thousand years. Tears trickled from his eyes and fell on earth. From these sprouted rudrãksh trees. Hence arose the Sanskrit meaning of rudrãksh – ‘Rudra’s eyes’
(2) Another account cites that at the time of dissolution (pralaya), Sadãshiva (Shivji) destroyed the world with his ‘third’ eye (on the forehead). After closing this eye, rudrãksh emanated from it (Sãlagrama-Kosha 1996 II: 218).
Mãlãs and bãjubandhs (worn around the arms) are made with rudrãksh berries. One berry of the rare and expensive type having one-mukha or 21-mukha may be threaded and worn around the neck. Rudrãksh are purified before use by first washing with coconut water, then milk, ghee, yogurt and finally water. Before stringing them, specific mantras are recited and the berries consecrated. The mãlãs are usually used or worn by Shaiva devotees and for adorning on Shivlings and images of Shivji.
The Rudrãksh Upanishad stipulates diet purity for the person who wears rudrãksh. He has to avoid liquor, flesh, garlic and onion. Wearing the various types of rudrãksh confers different virtues and health benefits in a person. It removes pãp (sin) during inauspicious cosmic events such as: grahan (eclipse), vishuva (equinox), ayana (motion of the planets) and sankrãnti (the apparent changing over of the sun’s motion from one tropic to the next).