Just like Tulsi/ Basil is dear to Lord Vishnu, Lotus to Goddess Lakshmi, Marigold or Modak sweet to Lord Ganesha or Sindhoor to Lord Hanuman, Rudraksha beads are the dearest object of divinity to Lord Shiva. The term “Rudraksha” itself symbolizes Lord Shiva. “Rudra” stands for Lord Shiva and “Aksha” for Shiva´s tears. Lord Shiva himself is the first ardent user and admirer of Rudraksha. Shiva Purana mentions that the berries of Rudraksha symbolize the sacred tears of Rudra (Shiva) that dribbled down His cheeks after he returned from his deep meditational state. The tears fell on the earth and turned into seeds out of which Rudraksha trees grew. Later devotees and sages began using Rudraksha as a blessing from Lord Shiva himself to protect mankind from worldly sufferings and miseries.
The glory of Rudraksha Beads is praised in the Vidyeshwar Samhita as: “This Rudraksha is closest to Shiva’s heart. It is the most sacred. It is said that by the virtue, touch and worshipping of Rudraksha brings about destruction of all evils.” Similarly the Samhita also says in Chapter Twenty Five of Shiva Purana as “Rudraksha is a beloved bead of Shiva. It is highly sanctifying. It removes all sins by sight, contact and Japas.”
In the Shiva Padma Purana, Lord Shiva Himself states: सर्वेषामपि वस्त्राणा धोरणे यो समो भवेत, तस्मा त्सर्व प्रयत्नें रुद्राक्ष पुत्र धाराय “A person who wears Rudraksha becomes like Me. So, a human being should try from all levels to wear Rudraksha.”
Those men who wish to have wealth, fulfilments and salvation (moksha) should wear the Rudraksha get the blessings of Shiva. Shiva Purana says वर्णेस्तु तत्फलं धार्यं भुक्तिमुक्तिफलेप्सुभिः, शिवभक्तिर्विशेषेणा शिवयोः प्रीतये सदा “If they desire their benefit, namely worldly pleasures and salvation and if the devotees of Shiva wish to gratify Shiva they must wear Rudraksha.” In short, this mystic bead is impartial to all. It satisfies the innermost spiritual quench of a saint and the worldly desires of a householder. This is the unique position or nature of a Rudraksha bead. It does not see any cultural barrier, be it a Brahmin, a householder, a Yogi, a spiritualist, a scholar or a person from any background irrespective of his or her social status. Anyone can wear this Rudraksha bead and take advantage of it. म्लेच्छों वापी चांडालों युक्तो व सर्वपापतकै, रुद्राक्ष धारयेद्यस्तु सा रूद्र नत्र संशय says Shiva Puarana “The men who are Mlechchha, chandaal (impious and inhumane) or he who is full of all kinds of vices wear Rudraksha, they attain the form of Lord Rudra. There is no suspicion about it.”
In the context of spirituality and meditation, Rudraksha beads sanctify the mind, body and soul of the meditator. When the mind is purified of all the disturbances, one can focus on the Divine and spiritually feel charged-up. ध्यान धरन हीनोअपि रुद्राक्षम धराय बुद्धा, सर्वपाप विनिर्मुक्तो सा याति परमं गतिम् “A man with meditation and perseverance and a wise man who wears Rudraksha gets rid of all the sins and attains the supreme goal of the human life.”
Whoever wears Rudraksha beads on their body is under the divine protection of Lord Shiva who Himself wears them. Rudraksha beads draw you closer to Shiva who wishes all of us return to His eternal abode, where there’s nothing but peace, love and Mahadeva (Shiva).