RudrakShajabala Upanishad Verse 18

त्रिशतं त्वधमं पञ्चशतं मध्यममुच्यते ।

सहस्रमुत्तमं प्रोक्तमेवं भेदेन धारयेत् ॥

The wearing of three hundred is said to be the lowest; of five hundred ordinary, and of one thousand the best. Knowing the difference one should wear it.

Does that mean the wearing of three hundred Rudraksha is the minimum? I have seen a lot of traditional as well as authentic people wearing a single bead on a thread around their neck. I wonder if there is any authentic scriptural source (pramaana) for this procedure.

  • Considering today's time a single genuine one is much better than 300 or 500 fake. BTW that advice is just for those who can do it mainly ascetics. For a householder a garland of 108 in neck is best for convenience. – SwiftPushkar Nov 26 '20 at 15:16
  • @SwiftPushkar Yes, I agree. I wonder if there is a 'vidhi' according to the scriptures for wearing a single bead; it's just because I have seen so many staunch traditional people wearing a single bead. – AN GK Nov 26 '20 at 15:34

1st quote:

The next things preparatory to practise Japam are to wear the Tilaka marks of ashes and to put on the Rudrâksa beads. He who holds thirty-two Rudrâksa beads on his neck, forty on his head, six on each ear (12 on two ears), twenty four beads on two hands (twelve on each hand) thirty-two beads on two arms (sixteen on each), one bead on each eye and one bead on the hair on the crown, and one hundred and eight beads on the breast, (251 in all) becomes himself Mahâ Deva. One is expected to use them as such. O Muni! You can use the Rudrâksas after tieing, stringing together with gold or silver always on your S’ikhâ, the tuft of hair on the head or on your ears. On the holy thread, on the hands, on the neck, or on the belly (abdomen) one can keep the Rudrâksa after one has repeated sincerely and with devotion the five lettered mantra of S’iva, or one has repeated the Prânâva (Om). Holding the Rudrâksa implies that the man has realised the knowledge of S’iva Tattva. O Brahmân! The Rudrâksa bead that is placed on the tuft or on the crown hair represents the Târa tattva, i.e., Om Kâra; the Rudrâksa beads that are held on the two ears are to be thought of as Deva and Devî, (S’iva and S’ivâ)

2nd quote:

Then recite the Mantra of S’iva (Six limbed), with “Hûm” added and collect the rosaries. Then repeat over them the Mantra “Sadyojâta, etc.”, and sprinkle water over it one hundred and eight times. Then utter the principal mantra and place them on a holy ground and perform Nyâsa over it, i.e., think that the Great Cause S’iva and the World-Mother Bhagavatî have come on them. Thus make the Samskâra of the rosary (i.e., purify it) and you will find then that your desired end will be attained successfully. Worship the rosary with the Mantra of that Devata for which it is intended. One is to wear the Rudrâksa rosary on one's head, neck or ear and controlling oneself, one should make japam with the rosary. On the neck, head, breast, or the ears or on the arms, the rosary should he held with the greatest devotion. What is the use in saying about it so often? It is highly meritorious and commendable to hold always the Rudrâksam. Especially on such occasions as taking baths, making gifts, making japams, performing the Homas,or sacrifices to Visve Devas, in performing the Poojâs of the Devas,in making Prâyaschittams (penances), in the time of S’râdh and in the time of initiation, it is highly necessary to hold Rudrâksam. A Brâhmin is sure to go to hell if he performs any Vaidik act without wearing any Rudrâksam. Note :-- It would be offering an insult to S’iva! 15-29. It is advisable to use the true Rudrâksam with gold and jewel, on the head, neck or on one's hand. Never use the Rudrâksam worn by another. Use Rudrâksam always with devotion; never use it while you are impure. Even the grass that grows with the air in contact with the Rudrâksa tree, goes verily to a holy region for ever. Jâbâla Muni says in the S’ruti :-- lf a man wearing Rudrâksam commits a sin, he gets deliverance from that sin. Even if animals hold Rudrâksam, they become S’iva; what of men! The devotees of S’rî Rudra should always use at least one Rudrâksa on the head. Those great devotees, who with Rudrâksam on take the name of the Highest Self S’ambhu, get themselves freed of all sorts of sins and pains. Those who are ornamented with Rudrâksam are the best devotees. It is highly incumbent on those who want their welfare to wear Rudrâksam. Those who hold Rudrâksam on their ears, crown hair, neck, hands, and breast, get Brahmâ, Visnu, and Mahes'vara under them as their Vibhûtis (manifestations, powers). The Devas and all those Risis that started the Gotra, the Âdipurusas (the first chief men in several families), held with reverence the Rudrâksams. All the other Munis, that descended from their families, the ardent followers of S’rauta Dharma, the pure souled, held the Rudrâksams. It may be, that many might not like at first to hold this Rudrâksam, the visible giver of liberation and so well written in the Vedas; but after many births, out of the Grace of Mahâdeva many become eager to take the Rudrâksams. The Munis that are the Jâbâla Sâkhîs are famous in expounding the inestimable greatness of Rudrâksams. The effect of holding Rudrâksams is well known in the three worlds. Punyam (great merit) arises from the mere sight of Rudrâksams; ten million times that merit arises by its touch; and by wearing it, one hundred Koti times the fruit arises and if one makes Japam every day, then one lakh koti times the punyam arises. There is no manner of questionings in this. 30-36. He who holds in his hand, breast, neck, ears, head, the Rudrâksams, becomes an image of Rudra. There is no manner of doubt in this. By holding Rudrâksams, men become invulnerable of all the beings, become respected, like Mahâ Deva, by the Devas and Asuras and they roam on the earth like Rudra. Even if a man be addicted to evil deeds and commits all sorts of sins, he becomes respected by all, on holding Rudrâksams. By this men are freed of the sin of taking Uchhista and of all the other sins. Even if you suspend a Rudrâksam rosary on the neck of a dog and if that dog dies in that state, he gets liberation! Then what to speak of others! By holding Rudrâksams, men even if they be devoid of Japam and Dhyânam, become freed of all sins and attain the highest state. Even if one holds merely one Rudrâksa seed purified and surcharged with Mantra S’akti, he uplifts his twentyone generations, gets to Heaven and resides there with respect. I am speaking now further of the Greatness of Rudrâksam. Here ends the Fifth Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the Rudrâksam rosaries in the Mahâ Purânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahârsi Veda Vyâsa.

(The above verses are from Devi Bhagavatam 11.5, which is one the scriptures that deal with Rudrakshas in the greatest of details.)

The first quote shows that, in the most ideal situation, one is ought to wear many beads at the the various places of the body and not just one.

But the second quote's bold portion shows that wearing at least one on the head is explicitly allowed. From this we can infer that the same holds true for the Rudraksha on the neck.

So, here we have an implicit approval of scriptures saying that to hold at least one Rudraksha around the neck is quite okay.

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