It's safe to say, I love rudraksha! The very first mala I made was in a workshop on a yoga retreat, and it was predominantly rudraksha seeds. I didn't realise it at the time, but I was being introduced to an ancient and sacred meditation tool that has been used for thousands of years by the great sages and rishis. That first mala changed my life, and I have been lovingly stringing mala beads from rudraksha, sandalwood and gemstones ever since. In celebration of my love of rudraksha, the new "Rudraksha Love" collection has been cfeated.
Gemstones, followed by sandalwood (or variations of the sort like rosewood etc) are the most popular materials in the Western market. So I am here today cheering for my homie and partner in meditation, Rudraksha!
Japa mala beads are the prayers beads of yogis, hindus and buddhists. Japa Mala is a sanskrit word that means repetition (japa) garland (mala). They typically consist of 108 beads plus the guru bead, and have been used since the 8th century BC to count mantras or chants during meditation. Like prayer beads of all faiths, mala beads are treasured companions of the spiritual devotee. Often for the renunciates, other than their simple garb, a japa mala is their only possession. Rudraksha seeds are predominately used for Hindu malas. The seed itself comes from the fruit of the Elaeocarpus Ganitrus tree, which is indigenous to Indonesia, Nepal and India.
There are a number of reasons why I love rudraksha so much...so here they are.
1. They are traditional.
The West has translated ancient eastern practices, yoga and spirituality in to an infinite number of interpretations. I agree that any access to yoga and a spiritual practice is better than none - but I also like to feel connected to these practices by honouring their tradition. And for my meditation practice and chanting, the connection to tradition can be felt through rudraksha.
Now don't get me wrong, wood, gemstone and even bone beads are also traditional. In fact, it was the Tibetan Buddhists that used gemstones in mala beads first. Monks began putting turquoise and red coral markers in their malas so as they could tell where in their 108 count they were up to. But there is something about the gnarly, unassuming nature of rudraksha that brings me immediately to my practice. Afterall, the practice of japa mala meditation was incepted by Buddha to assist the lay man in his spiritual journey of non-attachment while not having to abandon his secular life (1). So my mala is a tool of spiritual devotion and it needs to work as it was traditionally intended. While I have lots of beautiful malas in my personal and online collection, my rudraksha malas are created with the purpose of traditional spiritual devotion in mind.
2. They have high vibrational healing qualities.
It has been anecdotally and scientifically proven that Rudraksha seeds possess high vibrational healing qualities. And when I say anecdotally, we are talking great yogis, sages, rishis and enlightened beings over thousands of years attesting to the efficacy of rudraksha in a practice of spiritual devotion. The scientific study of rudraksha delves far deeper than we have space for here, but believe me when I say there is a SIGNIFICANT body of knowledge supporting the assistive powers of rudraksha on your path to good health, happiness and the divine.
Rudraksha seeds have what's called "mukhi", or facets, which are lines running from one end to the other. They normally range from 1 - 21, with 5 and 6 mukhi being the most common. Each number of mukhi carry with it a different significance. Malas beads on this site use 5 and 6 mukhi rudraksha, which offer support in health, peace, non-attachment, wisdom, knowledge and love (2). And when combined with gemstones you start to create a super charged meditation tool, dedicated to your practice and your path of spiritual devotion.
3. They fuse with their wearer's aura.
It is hard to explain just how unified you become with your rudraksha mala, until you have owned one for some time. Sometimes it takes no time at all, they immediately fuse with your aura and that's it, you become one.
Rudraksha are used by renunciates for the protective effects of the sacred seed. Sometimes finding themselves in a different place each night, nomadic yogis often live off the kindness of others. And so the powerful auric cocoon rudraksha offers them supports a sense of feeling protected, healthy and at peace (3). This is true for anyone that wears rudraksha, me included. Owning rudraksha is truly a gift to yourself and an act of self love!
4. They are lightweight.
Huh? I hear you say...why is this important?! If you are using your mala for chanting, meditation or during a yoga asana practice, the weight of it through your fingers or around your neck matters. There is something pretty special about laying a full string of 108, 8mm gemstones around your neck - however, if you are using your mala to count mantras in silent meditation, or you wear it around your neck or wrist during a yoga class, having a durable and lightweight seed makes all the difference.
So if you don't have a rudraksha mala yet, then now is the time to add one to your collection! Shop Rudraksha Malas.
5. They are affordable.
5 and 6 mukhi rudraksha seeds are abundant and readily available. There are a lot of malas on the market that come with an extraordinarily high price tag, and sometimes for good reason. A mala of all natural, genuine gemstones, hand strung using quality materials and an intention filled technique should come with the appropriate price tag.
When compared to the price of gemstones however, rudraksha is a beautifully affordable alternative that comes with their very own energetic qualities, as explained earlier in this blog. And this is why I love combining gemstones and rudraksha - that way you receive the divine benefits of both high vibe materials, you get to enjoy the beauty of the gemstones, and hand made bespoke malas can be offered at reasonable prices.
6. They are a renewable resource.
Something about the gemstone industry that so few of us talk about is the impact it has on the environment and the fact that gemstones are not exactly a renewable resource. Gemstones are found in the earth and can take thousands of years to form. To extract them in the quantities that the international market demands requires large scale mining and a global industry that consumes a remarkable amount of resources. This is a fact that I personally struggle with in my own business every day.
Even Sandalwood requires more resources to produce and is currently being over farmed. A sandalwood tree will take at least 20 yrs to produce its aroma (5). And like gemstones, because of the resources and expense related to producing genuine sandalwood, it is expensive and there is an abundance of fake product out there.
Rudraksha seeds however come from the Rudraksha tree, which is a renewable resource and grows in abundance in its native regions of South-East Asia. A rudraksha tree normally takes just 5 years to fruit (5.1) and will continue to bear fruit for many years with little specialised agricultural treatment. As the global population grows and our impact on the Earth increases, I believe we all owe it to our Great Mother to be conscious of the purchasing decisions we make.
7. You are far more likely to receive what you are paying for.
Because of the effort and expense required to source gemstones and sandalwood there are a lot of fakes out there. So many people are paying good money for materials that simply aren't what they say they are, or have been enhanced or treated without it being advertised as such. When you consider the demand for these products, it's no wonder big business cash in on the market with cheap and easy to produce fakes. You need to trust who you are buying from!
While we are on this point, one of the treatments that gemstones receive is heat treatment. This process heats the stones to very high temperatures in order to brighten their natural colour. Many gemstones, including some I use, have been heat treated. This is especially common for quartz stones like amethyst, rose quartz and citrine, so as to get brilliant colours the untreated variety may not achieve. This treatment does not change the mineral structure or energetic qualities of the stone. However, dying a stone and then selling it as something it is not (which happens ALL THE TIME for stones like turquoise and aquamarine) is just down right lying to your customers, and sadly happens all the time.
Now there is definitely a "fake" rudraksha industry, but it tends to be for the more rare variety of 1 or 10+ mukhis. The readily available 5 and 6 mukhi, which is what I use, are generally not faked. There's no point as they are easily acquired for a reasonable price. When you're dealing in or purchasing healing tools that work with vibrational energy, you want to be sure you're getting what you pay for. So much of the customer's choice rests in the hands of faith and the sad truth is, gemstones and wood products are easy to fake. So as I said before, be sure you trust who you are buying your malas from.
So as you can see, there's lots of reasons I love rudraksha. I hope I've managed to convince you why these amazing little seeds are the perfect companion to your meditation practice. There is good reason they have been used for so long by the great seekers of spiritual enlightenment. The Rudraksha Love collection offers a range of beautiful rudraksha and gemstone malas, and if you can't find something that quite meets your needs, please contact me for a custom order.