Rudraksha beads bear a great spiritual, religions and materialistic significance. As per Hindu belief system, Rudraksha is symbol of link between earth and heaven. It is believed that it contains the secrets of evolution of entire cosmos within itself (Chaturvedi B K, 2004). For centuries, the Hindu sages believe that one can cultivate mental, physical and spiritual prowess to attain fearlessness to achieve the ultimate enlightenment (Seetha K N, 2008). Shiva Purana has highlighted divine properties of Rudraksha beads. It channelizes positive flow of energy and leaves a rejuvenating and calming impression on our mind and body. Hence, it is worshipped and worn for seeking benevolence of Lord Shiva and the benefits it holds.
Rudraksha tree is common name of the 300 species of Elaeocarpus ganitrus, 35 are found in the Gangetic plain in the foothills of the Himalayas to Nepal, South and Southeast Asia, parts of Australia, Guam, and Hawaii. Rudraksha (dried herbal fruit), chemically contain alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, steroids, triterpenes, carbohydrates, and cardiac glycosides.
Scientific studies have been conducted world-wide and discovered that Rudraksha due to its Electro-Magnetic properties works magically on our body. A scientific study reported that the electromagnetic properties of Rudraksha beads activate body’s energy wheel, which in turn influences the bioelectrical properties of human body and heals various chronic diseases like blood pressure, heart rate, diabetes, gynaecological problem, neurological disorders, mental problem, insomnia and rheumatism. The Rudraksha have been found to balance/neutralize any excess charge deposited on human body.
One of the best-known research papers was published by Dr. Suhas Roy of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Banaras, India. Dr. Roy's research confirmed that the healing powers of Rudraksha beads flow from their electro-magnetic properties. When Rudraksha beads are placed over the heart, they act to stabilize the heartbeat. Similar to magnets, the beads work on the principle of Dynamic Polarity. Blood circulation and heart beat automatically induce a magnetic field around the body and particularly the heart region. Depending on the polarity and intensity of this induced magnetic field, Rudraksha beads transmit subtle electrical and inductive impulses with opposing polarity and intensity. Accordingly, a proportionate balancing force is exerted on the heart to regulate it if it starts beating above or below normal rates. This action helps to ensure ideal blood circulation in the body.
Scientific researches have concluded that Rudraksha beads are anti-asthmatic, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-oxidant, analgesic, etc.
Rudraksha finds mention in Hindu texts – Upanishads, Shiva Purana etc. In Shiva Purana, it is mentioned that after performing penance for thousands of divine years, when Shiva opened the eyes, drops of tears which cropped up the Rudrakṣa plants. These Rudrakṣas are of auspicious nature.
The colours of the four types of Rudrakṣas are respectively white, red, yellow and black which are worn according to their own Varna (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra respectively). The Rudrakṣa of the size of an Emblic myrobalan (awla) is excellent; one of the sizes of the fruit of the jujube tree (bair) is medium class; one of the sizes of a gram is lower class. (7-15)
That which is of the size of the emblic myrobalan is conducive to the destruction of all distresses. That which is of the size of the berry is conducive to the achievementof the fruit of all desires. The lighter the Rudrakṣa, the more fruitful it is. The wearing of Rudrakṣa is recommended for the sake of destroying sins. Six types of Rudrakṣas shall be discarded - that which is defiled by worms, is cut and broken, has no thorn like protrusions, has cracks and is not circular. That which has a natural hole from end to end is the most excellent; that which is bored through by human effort is the middling one. (17-23)
Rudrakṣas based of faces are of various types as under (63-82):
Rudraksas should be worn after being consecrated with the mantra. All evil spirits, ghosts, witches like Dakini and Sakini, other malignant spirits, evil charms and spells etc. fly away on seeing a man with the garland of Rudrakṣas. Seeing a devotee with the garland of Rudrakṣas, Shiva, Viṣhṇu, Devi, Gaṇapati, the sun and all the deities are pleased. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 84-86).
If eleven hundred Rudrakṣas are worn on the person, the man assumes the form of Rudra. A devout man shall make a coronet consisting of five hundred and fifty Rudrakṣas. A person of pious nature shall make three circular strings in the manner of the sacred thread, each having three hundred and sixty beads. Rudrakṣas must be worn on the tuft, the ears, round the neck; round each of the arms, elbows and wrists. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 28-30)
Rudraksas shall be worn on the head repeating “Ishana” mantra; on the ears with “Tripuruṣa” mantra; round the neck with “Aghora” mantra and on the chest; round the forearms with “Aghora Bija” mantra; round the stomach with “Vamadeva” mantra. Or all beads of Rudraksas can be worn with the “Panchakshara” mantra. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 40-42)
A devotee of Shiva shall refrain from eating meat, garlic, onion, red garlic, potherb, Sleṣmataka and liquors. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 43)
People of all Varṇas and asramas even women can wear Rudrakṣa at the bidding of Shiva. The ascetics shall wear it with the Praṇava. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 47)
Those who wear Tripuṇḍra, the matted hair and the Rudrakṣa do not go to Yama’s abode. (Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shloka 49)
Reference: Shiv Purana - Vidhyeshwara Samhita chapter 25 Shlokas