For thousands of years Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists have used the sacred Rudraksha plant for healing, meditation, controlling stress and facilitating positive changes in body, mind and spirit. In India yogis wear Rudraksha beads to help control the senses and to cause deep states of tranquility and relaxation. In China Rudrakhas are used to stabilize yin and yang (Shiva and Shakti) and to harmonize the body’s chi the life energy known as prana in Ayurveda and yoga. The Zen Buddhists of Japan use Rudraksha to induce higher states of consciousness.
The Rudraksha is truly a spiritual tree. Ancient vedic texts say that rudrakshas were formed from the tears of Lord Shiva. In Sanskrit Rudra is Shiva and aksha means eyes. Shiva means the auspicious one.
The scriptures state that rudrakshas can bring spiritual and material well being to the wearer, as well as medicinal and astrological benefits. The shakti of the bead is associated with the number of mukhas (facets) on a seed which can be determined by counting the grooves that run from bottom to top on the surface of the seed. For instance the seed which has five lines is called a pancha mukhi rudraksha.
To sum up, the significance of the wearing of the rudraksha beads is perhaps best epitomized in the sacred Shiva Purana – “if anyone wears the rudraksha during the day s/he will be free of sins committed during the night; if worn during the night s/he will be free of sins committed during the day.”