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Rudraksha Significance

rudrAksh is one of the most important things for the devotees of Lord shiva. The word rudrAksha means the eye of Lord rudra (rudrAksha - rudra + aksha). The rudraksha beads are worn by the Lord and Its devotees. rudraxa beads proven to have very good positive effect in one who wears it properly is spiritually quite significant.

Puranic Importance of rudrAksham

On the request of the divines Lord shiva burnt the three daemon forts called tripurAsura who were into disruptive activities. God burnt them without even a weapon just by the smile itself ! Three daemons in those forts who were good and devotees of the Lord came out without any harm by the Lord's Grace ! At this point of time fromt he Three eyes of the Lord rudrAxas came out. Since it came from the aksha (eye) of Lord rudra (a role played by the Supreme shiva), it is called rudrAxa.


Glory of rudrAksha

skanda purANam (3) details the glory of this great ornament.

"Hearing or reading the glory of rudrAxam can drive away the sins of anybody. Be devoted or not, scholar or illiterate, whomsoever it be one who wears the rudrAxa will surely get rid of all the bad deeds. Philosophers call this as mahAvrata. There is no deed more virtuous than wearing rudrAxa. One who gets adorned in a sincere and proper way with thausand rudrAxas, all the divines will salute that person. If thausands are not available sixteen each in both the hands, one at the head top, each hand twelve, in the neck thirty-two, six each in the ears shall be worn. One who wears like that is worshipped by others as if they are Lord rudra. One who wears rudrAxas with pearl, ruby, spaTikam crystals, silver, gold, vaiDUryam (lapis lazuli), that person is rudra Himself ! One who wears the emblem of Lord rudra, the rudrAxam, them the sins do not approach as the darkness cannot approach the sun. The chanting (japa) with rudrAxa mala will yield lots of good result. The japa done without that will give the fruit only to the extent of its own glory. Thus very virtuous rudrAxa is not worn by anybody, their life gets wasted like that of the one who does not wear Holy Ash (2). The wise who keeps the rudrAxa at the head and bathes, gets the benefits of bathing in ganges, this is beyond doubt. Such rudrAxas even if only one beed is worn that person gets rid of the sin did in many births. One who anoints rudrAxa gets the benefit of anointing shiva linga (1). One, five and fourteen faced rudrAxas are adorable in all the worlds. Human who worships rudrAxa, even if he/she is very poor, will get all the wealth." skanda purANa also refers to many stories that tell the glory of adorning one with shrI rudrAxam.

How to wear rudrakshas

rudrAxas are very Holy. One should wear them with respect and maintain their sanctity. Various ways are suggested by the scriptures on adorning oneself with them. Some of them are:

  • Adorning with thausand rudraxas.
  • 26 beeds on head, 50 over the chest, 14 on the shoulders, 12 on the wrist.
  • 16 each in both the hands, 1 at the head top, 12 in each hands, 32 in the neck, 6 each in the ears.
  • Garlands of 108, 50, 27 are boonful.
  • A single beed.

Different Types of rudrakshas

rudrAxas are in three colors. Tawny reddish (kapila) color represent sun (sUrya), white represent moon (chandra) and black represent fire (agni) eyes of the Lord from which they originated.
rudrAxas come with different number of faces. Though all rudrAxas are emblems of the Lord shiva, each type has its additional significance. Some of them are given here.

one face - shiva svarUpam two - devadevi (shiva shakti)
three - agni four - brahma
five - kAlAgni six - subrahmaNya
seven - manmata eight - vinAyaka
nine - bhairava ten - viShNu
eleven - ekAdasharudra twelve - dvAdashAditya
thirteen - shaNmukha fourteen - Lord shiva

More details on rudraksham

Trees giving rudrAxa beads grow in the himalayan regions of India and Nepal. Experienced do tests to confirm the originality of the rudrAxa beads.

upanishads that hail rudraksh

  • bhasmajApAla
  • jApAla (bR^ihajjApAla)
  • rAmarahasya
  • akshamAlika
  • dakshiNAmUrti
  • rudrAkshajApAla

Form of Lord Shiva - Nature adorned

Why is this Lord Shiva, leaving away gems decorated crown, wears the moon as the crown, instead of various perfumes smears in ash, in place of golden ornaments puts skull garland, instead of nice silk clothings appears naked or wear skin of tiger ? Why should the Supreme God appear in such a cheap decoration ?

While the other divines appear with many cosmetics and materials that decorate them, with glaring crowns and silk, golden robes, Lord shiva appear in a form which is too simple with moon, river, snakes and skulls. This makes one wonder, why should the Supreme that commands the whole universe and has none above Him, appear in such a form ! To find an answer let us look at the ornaments of the Lord. A river, skull, feather, various leaves, crescent, snake earring, skull garlands, snakes as sacred thread, waist thread and ornaments - roughly these are the adornments of the Lord. Isn't there one thing in common across all these ? Yes, all these are non made items - they are naturally existing ones !! Neither is the moon nor the river made by someone; Nor are the skulls and feathers made by a sculptor.

Who is there to make crowns and ornaments for the Supreme That existed when none else were present and Which would exist even when all others cease to exist. The ash smeared on the Lord's form in fact indicates this ever-being of the God. Who can make clothing for the Lord standing limitless, hence He is naked. There are beautiful purANic stories about each of the Lord's ornament worn by the Lord. For example refer (1).

All these natural ornaments indicate the God's uniqueness which controls the whole nature. The moons, rivers and creatures are all ornaments to the Supreme. These are not cheap, but invaluable ornaments in deed ! To that Lord, Who made the beauties of the world, Who Itself is nothing but beauty, what decorations of us would add value other than His own creations !! Salutations to that Lord of nature, salutations to that Lord of creature.

1. daxa kandam in shankara samhita in ska.ndha purANa.
shiva lingam - A Glorious Worship

shiva lingam is the holy symbol of Lord shiva that is considered quite sacred and worshipped with devotion by the devotees. The sanskrit word li.ngam means symbol, so shiva lingam means symbol of shiva. It is considered the foremost sacred symbol for shaivaites and has been worshiped for ages. The purANas like shiva mahA purANam discuss about the superiority of li.nga worship. (1) (The Indus valley excavation is an example for the presence of this worship in olden times.)

Once the god of creation brahma and the god of protection mahA vishNu entered in an argument on deciding who is greater. When those two great gods were fighting between themselves, the Greatest of all Lord shiva who is formless and transcends everything appeared as a pillar of flame. God told brahma and vishNu that whoever finds the head or the foot of His flame form would be considered greater. brahmA took the form of swan ( ha.msam ) and set out to reach the top of the Fire. vishNu became a wild pig to see the foot of the Fire. Where are the limits for the infinite God ? They could not succeed in spite of their heavy effort. They realized their mistake and the peerless greatness of Lord shiva. The God who can never be reached by ego appears as the form of love to those who surrender to Him. Lord shiva appeared in the form of shiva li.ngam (which is the shape of flame) for their benefit. They worshiped that oldest form of Him and got blessed. The God who came to bless them from the Flame, from the li.ngam is known as li.ngodbhava (2). This incident is depicted in shiva mahA purANam (1) and many other scriptures.

As the God stood as pillar of flame, the natural adornment for the Lord is Holy Ash. (As ash would be found on the surface of the fire). As the God stood as the Luminat Flame that stood up the shiva sahasranAma hails God as Urdva retas and the shiva aShtottara as hiraNya retas. The hymn that starts nidhana pataye namaH, refers to many similarities of Flame and shivalinga.

God is formless, attributeless and omnipresent. This state is called arUpa (formless). For the benefit of the pashus, He took the form of shiva li.ngam which is neither form nor formless but is a symbol. This symbol of Him is called arUparUpam (formless form). He took many forms out of His mercy to bless all, which are called rUpams. (2). shaivam worships the God in all these three states. The oldest form that the formless God took namely the shiva li.ngam is called sadAshiva mUrtam and is worshipped in the altar of His abodes (temples). The forms that He later took which are called mAhEshwara mUrtam are worshipped in the outer circles in a temple.

This shiva li.nga worship is superior because it makes the worship simple because of the form while maintaining the truth that God is not having any definite form. There are a lot more marvelous principles behind the shiva li.nga worship which could be found in detail in standard scriptures.

Ref :
1. sanatkumAra sa.mhita (shiva maha puranam)
3. mayamatham (about the procedures of installing shiva lingam )
4. thirumandhiram - seventh thandhiram
Posted by Adiyaarku-adiyen at Lord Shiva - God Of All

(Shaivam A Perspective)

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