Rudraksha | Origin of Rudraksha

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Origin of Rudraksha           

The eye of Shiva


          The term ‘Rudraksha’ (Elaco carpus seeds) literally  means  ‘the  eye  of  Rudra’.  They  are worn  especially  by  the  devotees  of  Siva  and also  strung  in  the  form  of  a  rosary  to  aid  in the recitation of japa. The  Vidyesvara  Samhita  of  Siva  Purana gives  an  elaborate  treatment  to  the  various aspects of the worship of Siva. In so doing it takes into consideration Siva’s name, the holy ashes  (vibhuti)  and  the  rudraksha  beads.  The three  are  very  holy  and  are  on  a  par  with Triveni, the confluence of the three holy rivers (Vidyesvara  Samhita  23.10).  Thus  they  are integral. 

Origin of Rudraksha

          Sage Suta addresses Saunaka and describes the  glory  of  rudraksha  saying  that  it  was propounded  formerly  by  Siva  himself  to  the goddess in order to help the worlds.According to  this  account,  Siva  had  been  performing penance for thousands of years. Out of sport (lila), he opened his eyes, wanting to help the worlds, and then drops of tears (asrubindu) fell from  his  half-closed  eyes.  It  was  from  these tear drops that the rudraksha plants came into e x i s t e n c e   a n d   t h e y   b e c a m e   ‘ i m m o b i l e ’ (Vidyesvara Samhita 25.5-7).

          Padma Purana has a slight variation about the origin (1.59.131-135). Tripura a demon in Kritayuga  after  having  killed  the  gods  and destroyed  the  worlds  stayed  firm  in  the intermediate region (antariksapuri). Siva heard the pleas of gods and stringing his  bow  with  an  arrow  he  killed  the  demon whom  he  saw  with  his  divine  eye.  Drops  of  perspiration  (svedabindu)  fell  from  (the  body of)  Siva  who  was  tired  with  exhaustion (vyakula).  The  great  rudraksha  was  produced from these drops.

          T h e   t h i r d   v e r s i o n   i s   f r o m   t h e   Devi Bhagavata (Skanda 11). Here it is said that Siva sat  with  open  eyes  thinking  as  to  how  he should  kill  Tripura.  He  sat  for  thousands  of years and after a long time winked and tears dropped down from which the rudraksha tree originated. Twelve  types  of  rudrakshas  came  from the  sun-eye  of  Siva,  16  from  the  moon-eye and 10 from the fire-eye. The first ones were blood-coloured,  the  second  white  and  the third black.

          W h e r e   a r e   t h e   rudrakshas  g r o w n ? According to Siva Purana, those that are grown in Gauda are the favourites of Siva. They are also  grown  in  Mathura,  Lanka,  Malaya  (a mountain range in the west of Malabar), Sahya (a  mountain  range),  Kasi  and  other  places (Vidyesvara Samhita 25.9-10).

By Himanshu Nayak

Leave your comment