Rudraksha beads have a great place in the path of spirituality. No other tree has such a position like that of rudraksha because of the legend and its sanctity. There are lot of scriptural references for the rudraksha and its tree. It is considered, the Lord Shiva Himself. Though the rudraksha beads are considered as the tears of lord Shiva, they have medicinal and magical properties that has been experienced, when worn.
Rudraksha trees flower generally during the rainy season and the first fruit is said to bear in the first five years. Some of the type in the species takes around twenty years also. The best quality beads are categorized based on the shape and its segments – called as mukha (face). Number of faces of rudraksha has spiritual significance for any spiritual aspirant. The number of faces are as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 22, out of which single faced rudraksha is the Lord Shiva himself.
There are different mantras based on the number of faces of one rudraksha bead. The common one is the pancha mukhi (five faced) while the single faced is very rare. Pancha mukhi is worn by most of the religious devotees and is available in common. Two faced – dwimukhi rudraksha symbolizes the ardha narishwara form of lord Shiva. It is otherwise the male-female energy or the symbolic expression of Shiva and Shakti. It has serious effects on the tantric sadhaks and is helpful in awakening the kundlini Shakti. This is also widely known as Gauri Shankara rudraksha.
Each rudraksha has bija mantra, based on the number of faces it has. It should be understood that just by wearing the rudraksha rosary, one cannot possess the spiritual powers. The beads can be of help to attract the cosmic energies helpful in making the spiritual evolution to higher levels, that also based on the personality, attitude etc. of the wearer.
It is also believed that rudraksha beads have even castes. They are not the caste system in the modern world. It is like the brahmanas, Kshatriyas, vaisyas, and shoodras. It should be worn based on one’s spiritual evolution, samskaras, etc.