Rudraksham seems to have an important place in the Saivite sect of Hinduism. I have seen it being worn by many Saivite temple priests and many rishis (in their portrayals). Apart from priests, I have also seen people preferring to wear Rudraksha Maala around their neck. People also use it for prayer beads. Lord Shiva himself is depicted wearing Rudraksha around his hair, neck and arms.

What is the reason for Rudraksha to have gained so much importance and popularity in Shaivism? Is there any mention about Rudraksha in the Scriptures?


The Shiva Purana, in its 25th chapter describes the following about Rudraksha's origin:

Lord Siva, the Yogeshwar (master of Yoga), was meditating for thousands of years for the benefit of people everywhere. When Siva opened his eyes, some tear-drops fell on the earth and grew into Rudraksha trees.

The Rudraksha trees grow in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Hawaii and Australia.[1] The Rudrakshas are considered holy since they are believed to be the representations of Shiva's tears. They may have upto fourteen faces (sides). Rudrakshas with different faces are believed to have different abilities. For example:

  • One sided Rudraksha is believed to bring happiness, wealth, liberation and removes problems and obstacles.
  • Two sided Rudraksha is believed to increase mental powers, calms agitated minds, helps to overcome Tamasic Guna.
  • Three sided Rudraksha is believed to help in acquiring knowledge and skills, helps increase digestive power, effective in reducing fever and in eye diseases.
  • Four sided Rudraksha is believed to increase memory and improve the power of speech.

This answer is an excerpt from http://www.hinduism.co.za/siva.htm#Rudraksha%20Beads

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  • So, there are only 4 types of Rudraksha? – Amit Saxena May 18 '16 at 7:27
  • @AmitSaxena No.See my answer . – Rickross Oct 10 '16 at 11:03

The Devi Bhagavatha Purana describes the origin and importance of Rudrakshas as follows.

The origin of Rudrakshas [dark beads of Tree, termed Elaeocorpus Ganitrus in Latin language] or Lord Siva’s tears, extensively used as Prayer Rosaries, goes back to Maha Deva’s killing Tripurasura, who sought to destroy the Universe and whom all the Devas, Brahma and Vishnu failed to control. Maha Deva concentrated with His eyes wide open for several years together to create a very highly potent weapon by name ‘Aghora’ with which to annihilate the Demon and in the process trickled tears which produced a stream from where sprang a Rudraksha Tree.

The Rudraksha Seeds are of thirty eight varieties. From Lord Shiva’s right eye, signifying ‘Surya Netra’ (Sun God), emerged from the Trees that yielded twelve kinds of yellow colour seeds;from His left eye, signifying ‘Soma Netra’ (Moon) came sixteen varieties of white coloured beads, and from the Lord’s third eye on His forehead representing ‘Agni Netra’ ( Fire) came ten varieties of black colour. The white variety of the beads are meant for wearing by Brahmanas, the red colour by Kshatriyas and the black coloured beads by Vaisyas and others. ‘Eka Mukhi’ Rudrakshas represent Siva Himself the wearing of which washes off even the worst sin of a killing a Brahmana’; two faced one represents Deva and Devi destroying two kinds of sins among ‘Pancha Paatakas’;....

Further important informations on Rudraksha from the linked page:

1)Wearing one- faced, five- faced, eleven- faced or fourteen- faced Rudrakshas is highly recommended.

2)Medical values of wearing Rudraksha malas (rosaries) are said to be immense in warding off depression, stress, diabetes, cancer, heart and blood related diseases. Close contact of body parts like head, heart, neck, ear and hands assures protection from ill health.

3)All vedic acts are to be accompanied by wearing Rudraksha Malas like Sacrifices, Vraths, Pujas, holy baths, Shraddhas, Solar and Lunar Eclipses, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana ‘Samkramanas’(entry timings), and Full Moon and New Moon days or Pournami and Pradhama days.

4)However one should not touch or consume wine, meat, tobacco, onion, garlic and such impurities as also during mating, since these constitute atrocious insults to Maha Deva.

5)However, Sage Narayana quoted Maha Deva telling Kartikeya that any human being irrespective of caste or even animals or other species carrying Rudrakshas would be immune from sins as an ass carrying a load of the beads died on way but had salvation!

&6 He who holds thirty on neck, fourty on head, six each on ears, twelve each on hands, sixteen each on arms, one each on eyes, one on hair or crown, and hundred and eight on breast totalling two hundred and fifty one become Maha Deva Himself

The importance of Rudraksha is well highlighted in the following Linga Purana verse which states that Shiva does not accept Puja of those devotees who do not wear 1) The Tripundha(on forehead using Bhasma or otherwise) & 2)the Rudrakshas.

Hence, for Shiva Devotees(or generally) the importance of Rudraksha is supreme.

Bina Bhasma Tripundhena Bina Rudrakshamalaya ||

Pujito 'Api Mahadevo Na Syaat Tasya PhalaPradah||

enter image description here

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Rudraksha as we spell it comes out of two words Rudra + Aksha. Rudra is the addressing to Lord Shiva and aksha means eyes or somewhere it is also said to be Rudra's (Lord Shiva) tears. Rudraksha is the holy eye of lord rudra which saves the sadhak from doing sins.

As we see all the Shaivites are also considered Rudra or Rudra Gana and there are many types (millions) of rudra in this universe (refer rudrastadashadyayi or shri rudram).

The rudraksha saves us from those rudras which do us harm and we get an edge over them, it stops them(harmful Rudras) from harming us.

For more info see this and this

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  • 1
    In which scriptures it is present that Rudras do us harm? – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 11 '16 at 11:09
  • @ChinmaySarupria Read this It clearly says keep away bad or harmful rudras imgur.com/HFJPPaS Tenth Anuvaka from Rudradhyaya. For more read this suyajna.org/files/rudram.pdf – Yogi Oct 15 '16 at 19:20
  • Well it says "Oh Deva! Let that terrible form of yours be away from us", so why worry when the Rudra form is also of Mahadeva? – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 15 '16 at 19:23
  • 1
    So you mean to say Mahakali is worshipped to keep her away from us? Wow! Do you really believe that? – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 15 '16 at 19:36
  • 1
    Sorry for me all gods are one, the "saumya" aspect is no better than the most terrible form. "A bit of Mother, a drop, was Krishna; another was Buddha; another was Christ. The worship of even one spark of Mother in our earthly mother leads to greatness. Worship Her if you want love and wisdom" - Swami Vivekananda on Mahakali – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 15 '16 at 19:45

The importance , Significance of Rudrakasha and it's Glory are described in Vidyesvara Samhita , Shiva Purana , Chapter 25 "Glory of Rudrakasha"

दर्शनात्स्पर्शनाज्जप्यात्सर्वपापहर: स्मृतः ॥2॥

This Rudraksha is an extremely auspicious bead and is extremely dear to Lord Shiva. By it's mere sight or by preforming japam with the same ,or using it as rosary , all the sins get destroyed.

रुद्राक्षधारणं प्रोक्त पापनाशनहेतवे
 तस्माश्च धारणीयो वै सर्वार्थसाधनो ध्रुवं ॥19॥

Rudraksha has been prescribed for the removal of the sins.Therefor one should wear this Rudraksha which fulfils all the desire.

According to this shloka from Shiv-Purana , Rudraksha is like a "Yajnopavita".

त्रिभि: शतै: षष्टियुक्ततैस्त्रिरावृत्या तथा पुनः ।
रुद्राक्षैरूपवीतं च निर्मियाद्भक्तितत्पर:॥27॥

A devotee should wear three strings of three hundred and sixty Rudraksha beads like a "Yajnopavita"

रुद्राक्षेण जपन्मत्रं पुण्यं कोटिगुणं भवेत् ।
दशकोटिगुणं पुण्यं धारणाल्लभते नर:॥58॥

The performing of "Japam" by the rosary of Rudrakasha beads ,multiplies the reward crores of times.

So from above shlokas we can see that why Rudrakasha is very Important in Saivism and its Significance.

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