Rudraksha beads are a sacred bead for followers of the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen, and have been so for 5000 years. It is said that God looks favorably upon those who wear a Rudraksha bead, purifying them of their sins. Rudraksha beads are used in both meditation and everyday life. These naturally beautiful seeds can be used alone for a simple bracelet, necklace or prayer bead rosary, or combined with other beads. Rudraksha offer a low cost way to make beautiful mala and other great pieces.
The term "Rudraksha" literally means "the eyes of Lord Shiva" (also known as Rudra). It is written than Shiva meditated for years for the welfare of all living things. When he opened his eyes, tears dropped to the ground, giving origin to Rudraksha trees.
We obtained our Rudraksha from a Sumatra farmer, who harvested the seeds from a local forest floor. Our staff then scrubbed each clean and drilled wholes. The primary cost was not the seed itself but rather the labor that was required to turn a seed into a bead.
The vast majority of Rudraksha have five faces (mukhi), or facets. Rudraksha with anywhere from 1 to 38 facets have been described. Virtually all of the Rudraksha we processed were the common 5 mukhi type. We would occasionally get a four, six or seven mukhi rudraksha, but that was about it.
Several times a month a person would contact us asking for a rare faceted Rudraksha. "I would like to order a 13-mukhi and a 16-mukhi rudrasksha," for example. Of course, all we could do was tell them that Lord Shiva had not gifted us with such a treasure! We had and sold what nature provided.
The Rudraksha Tree
The botanical name for the Rudraksha tree is Elaeocarpus Ganitrus Roxb; its English name is Utrasum Bead Tree. This tree is native to Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, and Timor), Malaysia, India, Burma, Borneo and Nepal. One source reports that most Rudraksha come from Indonesia. The Rudraksha seed is very hard and can last for years, even generations. Our Rudraksha come from the forest floors of Sumatra, Indonesia.
A number of medicinal claims have been made for Rudraksha, including lower blood pressure and stress reduction. Most benefits are said to come from wearing Rudraksha or holding a Rudraskha seed in ones hand. In some regions, a Rudraksha is placed in water, which is then ingested (sans the seed). This is said to be an especially effective treatment for controlling blood pressure.
There is a myth circulating that the market is inundated with fake Rudraksha made of cardboard. This myth is based on a claim made in a book on Rudraksha published many years ago. We have never seen a fake Rudraksha and have no idea how one could be fooled by a cardboard imitation. In any regard, the possibility can be addressed simply by placing your Rudraksha in a glass of water. A fake would fall apart in seconds. We believe this myth is perpetuated to justify the truly outrageous prices that some web merchants charge for their Rudraksha. The primary cost of these beautiful beads is the labor that goes into cleaning them and drilling a hole for stringing, not the seed itself.