Know Your Rudraksha

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Tears of Lord Shiva: Rudraksha

Rudra is the most powerful deity in the Hindu Trinity viz, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva ( Rudra )The aura of Rudra instills an enigmatic spell in Hindu mythology . From Rigved where we find the original reference to Rudra to the later Puranas and many other epics, Rudra is the most worshipped and powerful God among various Gods of Hindu religion.. It is said that when Lord Shiva found that nothing can be done to stop the cycle of birth and death and hence there can be no stoppage of the pains and sufferings of mankind, tears came in the divine eyes of Lord Shiva and wherever these tears fell, Rudraksha trees grew. Hence the fruits of these trees –Rudraksha are called tears of Lord Shiva.

Rudraksha tree is one of the many species of flora which according to The Wealth Of India 1954, is a large genus of trees distributed from South and East Asia through Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia and the Pacific islands, In the Indian subcontinent these trees are found primarily in Nepal. As per information now available these trees are also found in Bihar, Bengal, Assam, Sahayadri mountain range in Maharashtra and also in Kerala.

Amongst the various types there are 35 varieties which are found in India and some of these include the following types: El. ferrugineus, El lanceacfolius, El. serratus, El tuberculatus E. ganitrus and others. However, Rudraksha is recognized as only Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb. Rudraksha trees grow up to 120 feet in height. It has white flowers which are much shorter than its leaves. According to the CSIR Dictionary of Flora, the tree has oblong leaves and the flowers emerge from the old leaf axils, the fruits are ‘drupes deep or bluish purple, globose or ovoid enclosing a hard longitudinally grooved, tubercled, and normally five celled mukhi stone. Consequently, Dietrich Brands recorded in the Indian Tree that the fruits are spherical, hard and have varied sizes from 15 mm to 28mm. in diameter. The Tantra Shastra claim that the smaller Rudraksha have lesser beneficial powers..

In the year 1864 Lt Col Kerby Drvry recorded that the flowering time is February. However we now have the information that by October/November the new crop of dried and cleaned Rudraksha gets ready and come to the market by the year end i.e. Nov to Dec.

Every Rudraksha has cells or mukhis when seen from outside and have inner compartments from 1 to 21 mukhis. Most common is the five mukhi which constitutes nearly 70 % of the total produce. Beyond eight mukhi the beads become rare. Rudraksha above 14 mukhi are extremely rare, so much so that in one year only 6 to 10 nos of 21 mukhi are found out of several millions of Rudraksha seeds.

Indian market is full of imitation Rudraksha RRTL was established in the year 2006 to evolve and establish test methods based on good laboratory practices, where the authenticity of the Rudraksha can be tested, quality checked and graded according to natural and tested properties. We are the first in the world to establish the unique X-Ray tests which show the internal compartments to appropriately classify Rudraksha according to mukhis.It is now an accepted botanical fact that the number of mukhis as seen from outside are equal to the number of internal compartments. This is a golden test to determine the exact number of mukhis. Although, it is true that in most cases the internal number of seeds(each compartment has one seed)do not mature fully ,yet it exists even as a small dot. One needs skills(similar to that of a Radiologist)to study the X-Ray. In rare cases and in case of higher mukhi beads, it may be necessary to take help of a CT-scan as well.