My Journey in the World of Rudraksha
They say that a ‘goal’ is what you set for yourself, but a ‘calling’ is what the universe preordains for you. This is exactly how my life has been. While I pursued my concrete goals my ‘true spiritual calling’ beckoned me, and before I knew I was on my way following it guided by the mystical designs of the universe.
I lived in Indonesia from 1990 to 2000 where I worked as a software developer and worked on Sql, Oracle power objects and Artificial Intelligence based systems, and then as a secondary school teacher in Gandhi International School in Jakarta and in Bandung International School in Bandung. I also opened an Indian Restaurant called ‘Curry Kitchen’ in Bandung. It was the only restaurant then serving Indian Tandoori delicacies in that region.
Then, in February 2000, I came back to India after a 10-year stay in Indonesia. When I arrived in India there was recession in the Information Technology (IT) sector. Hence, I could not find a job that matched my qualification and my salary expectations.
That was the time when my father came with a suggestion that eventually changed my life. He said, “Neeta, since you are free, why don’t make a website on Rudraksha.” He is an avid lover of Rudraksha beads and during my stay in Indonesia I had collected beads from many different local agents to supply to him for his own personal collection, and to be given to his friends. My father made me aware that Rudraksha was a precious heritage of India and an integral part of Hindu religion and that there was no one dealing in it who had a strong foundation of knowledge coupled with integrity and a systematic approach. I still remember his exact words. He said, “Rudraksha finds mention in the ancient Puranas and Upanishads, still there is no Brahmin trader in this business.”
Now, for a moment, let me tell you about myself and how I had lived my life till then. I was always a modern person with a broad outlook towards life. I used to live a happy-go-lucky life and was never bound by restriction and limitations. For me worshipping God and being religious meant doing good Karma in life and putting efforts in the right direction.
In fact, my mother always used to chide me saying, “Neeta ek agarbatti to laga diya kar.” I always thought that despite saying all the prayers, ringing the bell and bathing the idols of Gods my mom only lived a life of a housewife within the four walls of our house, never having earned an identity of her own. On the other hand, I had wings and I was eager fly! Hence I used to reply to my mother saying, “Till my inner voice does not tell me, I will not perform any ritual.” Little did I know that after a few years I would be on my knees saying prayers, chanting mantras, doing severe yogic practices and meditating for over six hours a day.
Coming back to my father’s advice, since I was a dutiful daughter who never disobeyed him, I heeded his advice and decided to make a website on Rudraksha. As such this was giving me opportunity to be in touch with my core interest of software programming. Even in the year 2000 the domain name ‘www.rudraksha.com’ was booked by some one in America but did not have any product apart from some Rudraksha five mukhi malas and bracelets. So the next choice of domain name for me was ‘www.rudraksha-ratna.com’. I chose this name as I realized that Rudraksha is also a precious ‘ratna’ (gem) which adorned Lord Shiva. If you see Lord Shiva’s images, his body is fully adorned with Rudraksha jewelry.
Then I began to explore the world of Rudraksha. Being a perfectionist in everything, I looked into the A-Z of Rudraksha. I also noticed that I developed an intense dislike for some beads which I later realized were fakes. I realized that I had a natural ability to see through fake Rudraksha which were carved, artificially glued, or had unnatural carvings on them like Om, trishul, snake etc or had artificial fillings. I could also make out the difference between Rudraksha which were alive and which were lifeless.
At that time there were just a few suppliers of Rudraksha in the holy cities of Haridwar and Varanasi who dealt in Rudraksha beads having various numbers of mukhis. To tell you in short, Rudraksha beads come from trees in Nepal and Indonesia, and are commonly available from 1 to 21 mukhi ( Although beads having more than 21 mukhis are also there). The difference between Nepal and Java Rudraksha is that the former beads are bigger in size and the mukhi lines appear in deep grooves on the surface apart from being thornier. On the other hand, Java beads have facets on them in the form of white threads running across the length. So, a six mukhi will have six facets, a 10 mukhi will have 10 facets and a 14 mukhi will have 14 facets, and so on. Each facet has a seed corresponding to it in the Rudraksha. These natural beds mystified me no end. Each Rudraksha had a natural hole right in the centre all through it: A nature given jewelry bead!!
At that time Rudraksha bead did not have much value and the beads that I received from suppliers were unclean, not properly maintained and dyed in different colours.
During my research I found that soaking Rudraksha in water for over three hours and scrubbing them with a plastic brush helped in peeling off the skin that was attached to the fruit, making the grooves more prominent. My parents had to stay awake at nights because of the noise generated by constant brushing that I was engaged in joined by my maid servants and even security guards!
Now, let me tell you something interesting about Rudraksha. It takes birth as a bright blue fruit (which is edible too and has high medicinal value) and once it detaches from the tree, the skin is removed to expose the Rudraksha. Thus, Rudraksha is a fruit as well as a seed. The outside structure represents a human brain.
Building Website on Rudraksha
By now I had begun constructing my website on Rudraksha all by myself as I had a degree of Masters in Computer Application (MCA). I began taking photographs of Rudraksha or scanning them and uploading them on the website and writing their descriptions. I collected all possible books available in stores having even a single paragraph on Rudraksha. Soon, I had piles of books at my home namely Shiv Puran,Shrimad Devi bhagwat, Padma Puran, Skand Puran and those written by authors in the past few decades.
As I started translating the text and writing it in a readable format for people, I ended up writing several pages for a single mukhi. However, I found that there was too much of conflict in different texts and it overwhelmed me. So, I picked up the common thread from all the texts and began to write a simple description for each bead to be put uploaded on the website. I also made combinations as per the similar properties of the beads. For example, Ganesh (8 mukhi), Laxmi (7 mukhi) and Saraswati (4 mukhi) combination for helping people achieve success in career, or Ganesh, Laxmi and Durga (9 mukhi) for achieving good health. I became so obsessed with designing that every morning I used to wake up realizing that I had prepared many designs in dreams and the day was spent giving instructions to artisans to make them. I made 12 mukhi ruled by Surya (the Sun God) with 12 rays of gold wires, 9 mukhi ruled by Goddess Durga with gold caps and painted eyes made in gold, unique Rudraksha and Gemstone bracelets in silver and gold and several combinations for meditators naming them Dhyan Yog mala, Siddha mala and so on. I was fascinated with myself too as I was always a Tomboy at heart with no interest in jewelry or “girlish” accessories and now spending hours and hours designing jewelry to perfection. I made sure they were easy to wear, not too flashy and practical to wear by the modern generation.
Once the website was completed I thought that my responsibility was over and I again began looking for opportunities to make a career in the IT sector. However, soon enough, I began receiving mails from clients within India and abroad. Sitting in the comfort of my room and being connected to the world gave me a sense of freedom and satisfaction. In no time I was supplying these beads to the customers.
The Big Break
My big break came in the form of an order I received from an American gentleman named Kevin Schneider. He asked me to make a customised mala for a handsome price. I took pains to make a beautiful artifact for him and carefully selected high quality beads. When I delivered his order, he was amazed and pleasantly surprised and placed an even bigger order. Though I had been receiving smaller orders before from Indian customers, these two pricy orders from Mr. Schneider changed the entire equation for me.
His second order was worth twice the price of the first and it propelled me to travel to far across places in India to meet suppliers of Rudraksha. I was appalled on seeing the way they operated. I found that they manhandled the beads by putting them in oil-filled plastic containers to protect them from insects and make them look heavier. Here, the beads got damaged due to rubbing against each other. I also noticed that these suppliers and dealers almost savagely made large holes in the beads to slide their thick threads inside them, leading to the cracking of those beads. I also noticed how the synthetic dyeing of beads in red, pink and orange colours tarnished their natural beauty.
In the meantime, I had made my purchases and completed Mr. Schneider’s second. However, that was not the end of our business association. Soon he expressed his desire to be my distributor in America and wanted to set-up a Rudra Centre there. At the same time I was in talks with Mr. Phil Pearson from the United Kingdom (U.K.), who was a leader of the TM Foundation there. I had made a customized order for him too. Incidentally, he too expressed his desire to open a Rudra Centre in U.K. Apart from these two gentlemen there was another couple in Germany who were interested in setting up a distributorship there. Before I realized, the chain of orders began to grow longer and longer.
Finally, I realized that the world had been waiting for me. I was fortunate enough to have been born in India. Our country is a great land rich with so many ancient treasures but there was no one who could supply Rudraksha beads to customers who were non-Hindus and non-Indians but were deeply soaked in the Hindu religion.
So, I accepted the offers that came my way and soon I travelled to Nepal for Rudraksha. With my growing reputation in the business and my commanding position built through my strong buying power I guided the collectors on taking proper care of beads, the appropriate methods of sorting, selection and their maintenance. For me, a pure bead was one that was virgin, non-dyed and not defiled while cleaning and transporting.
Expansion and Diversification
My network of customers and suppliers began to expand and I started buying beads in bulk. Farmers from the interiors of Nepal travelled all the way to meet me to supply their seasoned collection to me. There were hordes of orders to cater to. Both, Mr. Kevin Schneider and me worked 24-hours to meet the deadlines. While he worked in the night I worked in the day to make Rudraksha combinations and designs that came to our insight.
We even established an online yahoo club called Rudraksha Beads Societies club, which was joined by a few thousand people. It is through our website, club and blogs that we started spreading messages in an effort to clear the myths surrounding Rudraksha. We tried to clear the confusion in the minds of people as most individuals are caught in dogmas and taboos about Rudraksha, like they not being worn by women or by those having non-veg, alcohol etc. On the contrary, I had learnt through my research that there was no such mention in the ancient Indian texts. In fact, there are stories about women wearing Rudraksha in the ‘Shiv Puran’, not to mention a dog who too wore it. The text also state that even if ‘Chandal’ or an impious person dies close to a Rudraksha, he will reach heaven.
In the following years our distribution network expanded to as many as 24 countries and we were supplying pooja services and items, yantras, parad items, gemstones, idols of God, spiritual jewelry, Rudraksha combinations, books, CDS and meditation accessories which amounted to over 11 thousand products.
Getting Spiritual Insights
As years passed by I was drawn into the depths of spirituality. I began chanting mantras and meditating, initially only to fulfill my desires but later to discover my inner self. I meditated and chanted mantras for 5-6 hours every day and was intoxicated by it and soon began getting deep spiritual insights into life. I understood the reason for human birth and the illusory play of this ‘Leela’ in which the ‘Jiva’ is trapped. I also realized how to come out of the Leela in a detached way and play it like a game.
To use a term from the IT field, I “downloaded” deep secrets of Chakra Science into me while meditating and formed the Chakra Yog – a mission to make people aware about the Seven Chakras in the human body, their role in life and how they teach the lessons one has to learn to be aligned to life in this human birth.
I also discovered the Rudraksha Ratna Science Therapy (RRST), which is a unique way of stringing Rudraksha as per the chakras so that their complete potential is utilized using the therapy. Me and my team of distributors all over the world started helping people cure their back pain, migraine, thyroid, chronic health issues, stress, and emotional disorders. We also helped them face challenges related to personal and professional life.
In fact, I myself too benefited from the RRST developed by me. I had developed high level of TSH indicating that I was suffering from thyroid. When my doctor informed me about it after diagnosis, I used my own Chakra Therapy to reverse it completely in a period of just two weeks. I realised that pains and aches in the body are a reflection of your inner self and how changing the way you think, you can reverse it in no time. Our true self is concealed under several egos and it is through meditation, reflective understanding and by facing life with truth that one can peel off the layers one-by-one.
We are an intelligent loving consciousness in the “Now” and other than that everything else is just a play of our creation!