Rudraksha beads have been synonymous with the spiritual history of India . The beads are known to increase ones spiritual energy and help one work their way to Moksha. Taking into account the vast literary history of Indian Vedic tradition the authentic information about Rudraksha is very sparse. This has led to many MYTHS, DOUBTS about the usage of Rudraksha.
There is a general belief that Rudraksha must not be worn by women and the bead is just a males dominion. I would like to discuss here about the authenticity of these beliefs and would carry the conversation forward about the methodology of Rudraksha usage for spiritual and health benefits.
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SHOULD WOMEN REFRAIN FROM WEARING RUDRAKSHA….?
The answer is plain NO. Instead of taking my word for it , I would put forth a logic explanation for my proposal.
VEDAS AND TREATISE OF IMPORTANCE………
We start of with narrowing down on prime literary authorities on Rudraksha. References of importance can be found in the following treatise
- Rudraksha Jabala Upanishad
- Siva Purana (Vidyesvara Samhita), Chap. 25
- Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, 11th Skanda, Chap. 3-7
- Padma Purana, Chap. 57
- Mantra Maharnava, verses 158-174
Shankaracharya [who was the prime saint to re-establish Vedic authority in an era when the Vedas were losing their significance in ancient India] classified Vedic knowledge into two forms;
- The lesser knowledge [Vedas, for people with common intellect]
- The higher knowledge of intellect [Upanishads].
Upanishads can hence be considered as the highest authority which is then followed by Smritis, Sruits , Purans in whatsoever manner scholars can interpret. But no can dispute the fact that Vedas have the supreme knowledge and any other treatise that contradicts the vedas must not be taken as an authority. Hence Rudrakshajabal-upanishad can be considered as the purest authority on the beads.
Rudraksha Jabala Upanishad (among the 108 Upanishads) is a minor Upanishad belonging to Sama Veda. It is a dialogue between Lord Kalagnirudra (Lord Shiva) and Yogi Bhusunda , where Lord Shiva explains about the origin of Rudraksha beads and their benefits on the request of Yogi Bhusunda. No where in the entire dialogue does one come across a verse where it is mentioned that Rudraksha beads can only be used by males. To be honest none of the above mentioned treatise have any references to testify to the theory.
Certain scholars debate the validity of Rudrakshajabal-upanishad hypothesizing that the treatise must have been added to the vedas after the Shaivite tradition [followers of lord shiva] gained prominence in ancient India.[Shankaracharya was also considered to be incarnation of Lord Shiva]. However there are very few valid arguments to support this claims
THE CONCEPT OF SHIVA AND SHAKTI…..
Vedic tradition emphasizes the unity of Shiva and Shakti [God and Goddess [Parvati]] . One cannot be imagined without the other. Though the worship of Shakti was introduced much later [prior to that only Lord Shiva was worshipped in form of a Linga [male reproductive organ] and the worship of Shakti in unification of Shiva in form of Linga and Yoni [female reproductive organ] together came much later , treatise like Shiv Purana and Shrimad Bhagwatam validates the concept of Shiva and Shakti which means that women can wear Rudraksha.
Male preference of Rudraksha contradicts Monism. Verses like “Aham Brahamasmi”[all is self], in simple words , interpret as all animate and inanimate objects in the universe being multiple representations of ONE SELF and realizing that fact leads to liberation. Hence there could be no support of Rudraksha usage as per different sexes
RUDRAKSHA -FACETS OR MUKHIS……..
Rudraksha beads as per their facets [Mukhis] have been attributed to female deities. For example; Two faced Rudraksha represents Shiva and Shakti. Seven faced Rudraksha is considered to represent seven mothers. Eight faced Rudraksha represents eight female deities. Eleven faced Rudraksha is said to bless infertile women with a child.
RUDRAKSHA, RULES OF USAGE
RUDRAKSHA BEAD SHOULD NOT BE WORN WHILE ATTENDING CALLS OF NATURE (TOILET)
The concept is more to do with ones devotion towards the beads. Rudraksha beads are termed as manifestation of Lord Shiva himself and hence as we preserve cleanliness towards our altars the beads must be held in the same light. So it is advised to avoid wearing them while going to toilets to maintain their sanctity
RUDRAKSHA BEADS MUST NOT BE WORN DURING MENSES….!
This is the most frequently asked question. We take a precise look through the concepts of Ayurveda. Ayurveda suggest women to refrain from any physical work, follow a very light diet and prevent taking a bath during first 3 days of menses. The reason for this is that during cycles maximum amount of blood pressure is required at the uterus and any such activity would divert the blood flow to other organs resulting in not so optimum cycle. Even taking a bath is considered as a high physical activity and hence women are advised having a bath for first 3 days of the cycle. This is the prime reason why Rudraksha beads are advised against during the menstrual cycle so that the sanctity of the beads be maintained and the devotional discipline is reinforced by having attention to detail. Vedic tradition advises one to worship only after having a bath [Bath is known as Snana and it has much to do with physical cleansing and inner cleansing , however we keep that discussion for some other time] and hence Rudraksha must not be used during Menses for this reasons. However all other reasons as bad omen, curse etc are myths.
RUDRAKSHA BEADS MUST NOT BE WORN DURING SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
Sex is considered as a urge born out of the Tama Guna [Sattva , Raja , Tama are considered 3 perennial qualities where former is considered as higher refinement than the later.] Rudraksha beads are meant to drive you away from Tama Guna towards Sattva. Healers inform that if a person chants “Aum” mantra for a period of time with the Rudraksha beads; his sex drive decreases and his mind moves towards detachment from the samsara.
For the very reason people who are very much into Samsara and have not decided to take the spiritual path of detachment must avoid wearing Rudraksha during a sexual intercourse since it may hinder they total fulfillment of third important aspect of KAMA [sex and other urges] on the road to liberation [MOKSHA].
RUDRAKSHA BEADS MUST NOT BE WORN WHILE SLEEPING
The theory has more to do with integrity towards once deity as during sleep our conscious mind is resting and hence it is a possibility that you one damage the beads. Apparently the beads might accidentally be touched to the private parts of our body which invalidates the overall sanctity of the operation of worship.
RUDRAKSHA BEADS, MUKHIS [FACETS] AND POWER
Rudraksha Mukhi in brief refers to the longitudinal lines found on the bead. They could be anywhere between 1- 21 although descriptions referring to only 8-12 are found in ancient text while later kept adding. There is lot of talk about which faceted [Mukhi] bead is good for you. These beads cost a dime to huge amounts as per their availability, 4,5 facets being common while the other ones being more expensive. This has lead to fake market and the tricksters are so good at their work that even an expert eye cannot make out the difference.
The indepth reasoning and application of each faceted Rudraksha is a discussion for another topic and hence better left for future. Many good effects are written about various faceted Rudraksha bead but remember these effects are in conjunction to material gains. For spiritual progress any Rudraksha with clean facets is equally powerful. Hence i would advise against running behind exclusivity and focus on spiritual progress.
RUDRAKSHA BEADS OBTAINED FROM ANY SPECIES IS SIMILAR IN PROPERTIES….!
Rudraksha with its described attributes corresponds to the Nepali Rudraksha; [Botanical species ==E. ganitrus]. Indonesian beads, Haridwar beads which generally flood the market must not be considered. However this is my personal OPINION and not a rule. Since I stick to the Vedas, I account all the benefits to the beads E.ganitrus
Nepali beads however have some functional problems when they need to be used for meditative purposes. The most common 5-faceted Nepali beads are huge and prove difficult to use as rosary. The small rosary necklace we see in the market are made from Indonesian beads which are comfortable to use for meditation but I wont attribute the properties mentioned in treatise to them.
Well I do not think it is required to elaborate on the spiritual benefits of Rudraksha. There is lot of literature available as to its manifold uses and many of you who must have had the privilege to visit some great saints must have received the different ways Rudraksha can be used.
Rudraksha beads with proper meditative process and chants of appropriate Mantra have a stimulatory effects on all Chakras. Rudraksha meditation does not require one to know difficult Yogic Poses or accurate knowledge of Pranayama. The ability to concentrate on the self with the select Mantra in focus at constant rhythm is enough
I might be one of the very few practitioners who uses Rudraksha for internal consumption. Rudraksha in small doses has many beneficial effects. It improves circulation, serves as a nervine tonic, improves immunity to cold and cough, serves as a cardiac tonic etc.I would list some simple home remedies for general use for women disorders
- Soak 5-faceted Nepali Rudraksha in copper vessel filled with warm water unto 3/4th of its quantity. Cover the vessel with a copper/silver lid and place this vessel near you head when you sleep. Next morning as close to sunrise as possible. filter the water and drink. Regular use of this serves as an cardiac tonic, improves blood circulation., helps cure constipation and acts as a skin and hair tonic. Continue this procedure for 3 months. Then take a gap of 15 days and continue again. Avoid having spicy diet and restrict salt as much as possible for maximum effects.
- Rub a Nepali Rudraksha in water to obtain a thick paste [2 – 3 gms]. Add honey and to the paste to make a linctus. This is very beneficial to treat fevers, cold , cough and other respiratory disorders.
- Crush 20 -30gms of Rudraksha beads and cook them 500ml of sesame oil till they turn black. Filter the oil and store in a glass bottle. Regular massage with this oil on the legs and calf muscles improves circulation and prevents obscure pains and numbness generally experienced when one approaches menopause or having ,menstrual irregularities.
Hope this small informative may help you unleash the power of Rudraksha to enrich you lives.