Rudraksha
Rudraksha Mala Beads - Five facets

Indian legend relates many stories about Lord Shiva, also known as ?Rudra?. He is famous for being the embodiment of the power of destruction in an eternal cycle of creation maintenance, and destruction. Shiva is also associated with deep states of meditation where thoughts are absent and only silence and emptiness exist. It is said that Lord Shiva once entered a profound state of meditation for the benefit of mankind for a very long time. When he finally emerged from this state and opened his eyes, the deep joy, peace, and love he felt for the human race was expressed with sacred tears which ran down his cheek and fell to earth. Each tear generated a rudraksha tree whose tiny fruits are born of the tears of rudra—the Lord Almighty Himself.

The word rudraksha, in fact, comes from the two Sanskrit words rudra, a synonym for Lord Shiva, and aksha, meaning ?eyes?. Botanically, the rudraksha tree is known as Elaecarpus ganitrus Roxb. These trees grow in very few places in the world including the Himalayas of India and Nepal, as well as in parts of Indonesia. They are large trees with a wide silhouette whose flowers bloom annually. The rudraksha berry varies in size (3-40 mm; 1/8 to 1½ inches). It has smooth light green skin and pulp much like a green grape. Lodged within the pulp is a single round seed which has a rough surface and a hole running through it from top to bottom. It is these seeds which are the rudraksha beads. Each seed also possesses fron 1 to 21 vertical lines running down its surface, like the longitude lines on a globe. These lines are known as mukhas, or facets, and are natural formations of the seed. Seeds with one vertical line are known as ek-mukhi (one facet); those with two lines are dwi-mukhi (two facets), and so on.

Many different Hindu scriptures written over many different periods of history describe divine qualities of this little bead. One intriguing aspect of rudraksha lore is that it is worn and worshipped by absolutely everyone regardless of caste, religion, sect, creed, color, or sex. Given the highly secularized history of India this is quite peculiar. Even today, as in past times, it is worn by the Brahmin priest while performing solemn ceremonies, by the soldier engaged in battle, by the store owner or stockbroker conducting business, by the student for knowledge, the poorest of our society for sustenance.
Generally speaking, one who wears the rudraksha in the prescribed manner will invoke the energies of Lord Shiva and negative thoughts and emotions will be destroyed. Rudraksha has a calming effect on the central nervous system. It is said that the rudraksha helps maintain a normal blood pressure and helps maintains health. It has no adverse effects and promotes peace of mind and prosperity for the wearer. In various ancient scriptures (i.e. Padma Purana, Shiva Purana, Mantramaharnava, Rudrajabalopanishad) it is proclaimed that if a person meets his death while wearing a rudraksha he is released from the cycle of life and death and achieves moksha (liberation). These are the general qualities of the rudraksha bead; the following are the specific attributes of the beads of various numbers of mukhas (lines or ?facets?):

1. Mukhi Extremely rare and equally expensive when found. It represents the Supreme Self. Its wearer is bestowed with worldly comfort and spiritual fulfillment.
2. Mukhi Fosters harmony and oneness between those who are divided. Extremely rare. Given to children who are being married by their parents.
3. Mukhi Represents Agni, Lord of Fire. Helps dispel mental lethargy and depression. Attracts wealth.
4. Mukhi Represents Brahma, the Creator. Worn by students and those who need to renew and recreate. Helps expand vision and mental horizons. Increases attractiveness.
5. Mukhi The fullest representation of Lord Shiva. It will destroy negative thoughts and emotions and grant the wearer peace of mind and clarity of purpose. Helps achieve one?s goals. All malas which are worn around the neck or used as japa mala (prayer beads) should be of five mukhi. There should be 108 beads or, alternatively, 54.
6. Mukhi The one worn by soldiers, police, adventurers, and all persons exposed to danger. It protects one from harm and instills calm and will power in the wearer. It represents Lord Kartikeya.
7. Mukhi Represents the goddess Laxmi, and is actually stated to be her abode. This rudraksha is not worn but rather is kept in a wooden box together with a small sum of cash. It will help overcome financial hardship and bring abundance.
8. Mukhi This rudraksha represents the famous Lord Ganesha, the elephant-faced God. It will help those who have continuously failed in a specific endeavor despite many attempts to succeed. Removal of past sins.
9. Mukhi This bead represents Mother Durga and can help motivate a person who is experiencing mental inertia (tamas). Protects one?s children from misfortune.
10. Mukhi Protects the wearer from those people and things that may harm him.
11. Mukhi. This rudraksha represents Lord Hanuman, the Monkey-God. It promotes excellent general physical and mental health, gives insight and vision, and deflects evil thoughts. Increases energy, power, and mental stamina.
12. Mukhi Represents Surya, the Sun. It wearer will have the attention and respect of the world and be presented with opportunity.
13. Mukhi Represents Lord Indra and brings the wearer an appreciation and awareness of the spiritual realm.
14. Mukhi This bead is worn only on the forehead in a special headband, after being blessed by a priest in a special puja ceremony. It is said to activate the ajna chakra (third eye) and bestow subtle vision and intuitive powers. Only worn if instructed to do so by one?s guru.
15-21 Mukhi rudrakshas should be kept as a set of seven beads on the personal prayer alter where they will bring health, peace, and prosperity to the family.

How To Use and Care For The Rudraksha Mala
It is best to wear the rudraksha mala (i.e necklace) for the first time on a Monday. If at all possible it should be first brought to a Shiva temple for sanctification early on a Monday morning and then worn immediately after worship. If a Shiva temple is not available then simply wear it initially on a Monday.
At bedtime remove the mala and place it on the alter in your home. When traveling you should sleep with it on.
After bathing in the morning, hold the mala in the right hand and repeat the appropriate mantra aloud (see below) for 108 times.
Do not wear the rudraksha mala during periods of menstrual bleeding or while attending funerals.
The rudraksha mala has a very long lifespan. A properly cared for mala can be passed along to eight generations as a family heirloom.
The rudraksha mala cn be washed occasionally with warm soapy water and allowed to dry naturally. Do not soak for extended periods of time.
Rudraksha beads vary in size from 3-40 mm. The size of the bead has no bearing on its effects. However a given mala must contain beads all with the same number of mukhis.

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