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Rudraksha

Rudraksha or Rudratcham is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism; specifically in shivaism. The seed is used in the making of a bead chain or mala. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra and ak?a ("eye").
Rudraksha grows in the area from the Gangetic Plain in foothills of the Himalayas to South-East Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea to Australia, Guam, and Hawaii. Rudraksha trees are also found in Nepal. Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue color when fully ripe, and for this reason are also known as blueberry beads. The blue colour is derived not from pigment but is structural. It is an evergreen tree that grows quickly. Rudraksha Tree starts bearing fruit in three to four years. As the tree matures, the roots buttress rising up narrowly near the trunk and radiating out along the surface of the ground.

Rudraksha beads are the material from which garlands (108 beads in number) are made. The term is used both for the berries themselves and as a term for the type of m?l? made from them. In this sense, a rudraksha is a rosary, used for repetitive prayer (japa), a common aid to worship in Hinduism. Rudraksha is also used for treatment of various diseases in traditional Indian medicine.

The seeds show variation in the number of grooves on their surface, and are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have. Different qualities are attributed to the rudraksha based on the number of grooves, or 'faces' that it has. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva. It can only be worn with black string or a gold chain.

Rudraksha Mala has been used by Hindus (as well as Sikhs and Buddhists) as rosary at least from the 10th century onwards for meditation purposes and to sanctify the mind, body and soul. The word Rudraksha is derived from Rudra (Shiva—the Hindu God of all living creatures) and aksha (eyes). One Hindu legend says that once Lord Shiva opened His eyes after a long period yoga, because of extreme fulfillment He shed out a tear. This single tear from Shiva’s eye grew into the Rudraksha tree. Rudraksha fruit is blue in color but turns black when dried. The central hard Rudraksha uni-seed has 1 to 108 faces and 2 to 21 faces Rudraksha are available, 1 faced Rudraksha is scarcely available, Rudraksha having 22 to 108 are almost extinct, there are claims that 22 to 108 faced Rudraksha plants still survive at the foot hills of the Himalayas and Mansarovar regions, but man is yet to see them.Rudraksha
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