Rudraksh, the most celebrated esoteric accessory of spiritual seekers has been used extensively since time immemorial. Botanically known as Elaeocarpus Ganitrus Roxb, rudraksh are the dried seeds of a tree, which grows in select locations of Southeast Asia, predominantly in the upper Himalayan mountain range of the Indian subcontinent. A few rudraksh trees have also been sighted in parts of the Velliangriri Mountains, in the Western Ghats. The word “rudraksh” literary means “tears of Shiva.” There are many legends in Indian scriptures and mythology that describe the divine origin of the rudraksh tree. According to one legend, Shiva sat in meditation for many millennia with his eyes closed. Upon opening his eyes, he shed tears of ecstasy, which fell to the Earth and became the sacred rudraksh tree. Rudraksh beads were Shiva’s gift to the world.
To condition new rudraksh beads, immerse them in ghee (clarified butter) for 24 hours and then soak them in full fat milk for an additional 24 hours. Wipe the beads with a clean cloth, but do not wash them with soap. Conditioning should take place every six months.
Rudraksh can be worn at all times, including during sleep and while doing one’s spiritual practices. Rudraksh may be worn during bathing times. However, care must be taken that the rudraksh do not come in contact with hot water or soap. Rudraksh should not come in contact with metal, therefore it is advisable not to place them in metal containers. However, rudraksh can be cast in gold or silver if one chooses to do so. Extreme care should be taken when fashioning rudraksh in this manner, as damage may occur through improper handling. The energies of broken, cracked, damaged and defective rudraksh beads are distorted and should not be worn.