On the greatness of Rudrâksams
1-21. Îs’vara said :– O Kârtikeya! Kus’agranthi, Jîvapattrî and other rosaries cannot compare to one-sixteenth part of the Rudrâksa rosary. As Visnu is the best of all the Purusas, the Gangâ is the best of all the rivers, Kas’yapa, amongst the Munis, Uchchaihsravâ amongst the horses, Mahâ Deva amongst the Devas, Bhagavatî amongst the Devîs, so the Rudrâksam rosary is the best of all the rosaries. All the fruits that occur by reading the stotras and holding all the Vratas, are obtained by wearing the Rudrâksam bead. At the time of making the Aksaya gift, the Rudrâksam bead is capable of giving high merits. The merit that accrues by giving Rudrâksam to a peaceful devotee of S’iva, cannot be expressed in words. If anybody gives food to a man holding the Rudrâksam rosary, his twenty one generations are uplifted and he ultimately becomes able to live in the Rudrâ Loka. He who does not apply ashes on his forehead and who does not hold Rudrâksam and is averse to the worship of S’iva is inferior to a chândâla. If Rudrâksam be placed on the head then the flesh-eaters, drunkards, and the associates with the vicious become freed of their sins. Whatever fruits are obtained by performing various sacrifices, asceticism and the study of the Vedas are easily attained by simply holding the Rudrâksam rosary. Whatever merits are obtained by reading the four Vedas and all the Purânas and bathing in all the Tîrthas and the results that are obtained by immense practice in learning all are obtained by wearing Rudrâksam. If at the time of death, one wears Rudrâksam and dies, one attains Rudrahood. One has not to take again one’s birth.
If anybody dies by holding Rudrâksam on his neck or on his two arms, he uplifts his twenty-one generations and lives in the Rudra Loka. Be he a Brâhman or a Chândâla, be he with qualities or without qualities, if he applies ashes to his body and holds Rudrâksam he surely attains S’ivahood. Be he pure or impure; whether he eats uneatables or be he a Mlechha or a Chândâla or a Great Sinner, any body if he holds Rudrâksam is surely equal to Rudra. There is no doubt in this. If any body holds Rudrâksam on his head he gets Koti times the fruit; on his ears, ten Koti times the fruit, on his neck, one hundred Koti times the fruit; on his holy thread, ayuta times the fruit; on his arm, one lâkh Koti times the fruit and if one wears Rudrâksam on one’s wrist, one attains Moksa. Whatever acts, mentioned in the Vedas be performed with Rudrâksam on, the fruits obtained are unbounded. Even if a man be without any Bhakti and if he wears on his neck the Rudrâksa rosary though he does always vicious acts, he becomes freed of the bondage of this world. Even if a man does not hold Rudrâksa but if he be always full of devotion towards the Rudrâksam, he attains the fruit that is got by wearing the Rudrâksam and he attains the S’iva Loka and is honoured like S’iva. As in the country of Kîkata, an ass which used to carry Rudrâksam seed got S’ivahood after his death, so any man, whether he be a Jñani (wise) or Ajnâni (unwise), gets S’ivahood if he holds Rudrâksam. There is no doubt in this.
22-28. Skanda said :– “O God! How is it that in the country of Kîkata (Bihar), an ass had to carry Rudrâksa; who gave him the Rudrâksams! And what for did he hold that?” Bhagavân Îs’vara said :– O Son! Now hear the history of the case. In the Bindhya mountain one ass used to carry the load of Rudrâksam of a traveller. Once the ass felt tired and became unable to carry the load and fell down on the road and died. After his death the ass came to Me by My Grace, becoming Mahes’vara with trident in his hand and with three eyes. O Kârtikeya! As many faces as there are in the Rudrâksam, for so many thousand Yugas the holder resides with honour in the S’iva Loka. One should declare the greatness of Rudrâksam to one’s own disciple; never to disclose its glories to one who is not a disciple nor a devotee of Rudrâksam nor to him who is an illiterate brute. Be he a Bhakta or not a Bhakta, be be low or very low, if he holds Rudrâksam then he is freed from all sins. No equal can be to the merit of him who holds the Rudrâksams.
29-39. The Munis, the Seers of truth, describe this holding on of Rudrâksam as a very great vow. He who makes a vow to hold one thousand Rudrâksams, becomes like Rudra; the Devas bow down before him. If thousand Rudrâksams be not obtained, one should hold at least sixteen Rudrâksams on each arm, one Rudrâksam on the crown hair; on the two hands, twelve on each; thirty-two on the neck; forty on the head; six on each ear and one hundred and eight Rudrâksams on the breast; and then he becomes entitled to worship like Rudra. If any body holds Rudrâksam together with pearls, Prabâla, crystal, silver, gold and gem (lapis lazuli), he becomes a manifestation of S’iva. If a body, through laziness even, holds Rudrâksam, the sin cannot touch him as darkness cannot come near light. If any body makes japam of a mantram with a Rudrâksa rosary, he gets unbounded results. Such a merit giving Rudrâksam, if one such Rudrâksam be not found in any one’s body, his life becomes useless, like a man who is void of Tripundrak (three curved horizontal marks made on the forehead by the worshippers of S’iva). If any body simply washes his head all over with Rudrâksam on, he gets the fruit of bathing in the Ganges. There is no doubt in this. One faced Rudrâksam, the five faced, eleven faced and fourteen faced Rudrâksams are highly meritorious and entitled to worship by all. The Rudrâksam is S’ankara made manifest; so it is always worshipped with devotion. The greatness of Rudrâksam is such as it can make a king out of a poor man. On this point, I will tell you an excellent Purânic anecdote.
40-49. There was a Brâhmin, named Girinâtha in the country of Kosala. He was proficient in the Vedas and Vedâmgas, religious and very rich. He used to perform sacrifices. He had a beautiful son named Gunanidhi. The son gradually entered into his youth and looked beautiful like Kandarpa, the God of Love. While he was studying at his Guru Sudhisana’s house, he, by his beauty and youth captivated the mind of his Guru’s wife named Muktâvalî. The Guru’s wife became so much enchanted by his extraordinary beauty that she, being unable to control herself, mixed with him and for some time remained with him in secret enjoyment. Then feeling inconveniences, due to the fear of. his Guru, to enjoy her freely, used poison to the Guru, killed him and then he began to live freely with her. Next when his father, mother came to know about this, he put to death instantly his father and mother, administering poison to them. He became addicted to various pleasures and his wealth was exhausted gradually. He began to steal in Brâhmans’ houses and became addicted very much to drinking. His relatives outcasted him from the society for his bad behaviour and banished him outside the town. He then went into a dense forest with Muktâvalî; and he began to kill the Brâhmins for their wealth. Thus a long time passed away; when at last he fell into the jaws of death.
50-54. Then to take him to the region of Death, thousands of the Yama’s messengers came; at the same time the S’iva’s messengers came from S’iva Loka. O Kârtikeya! A quarrel then ensued between both the parties of Yama and S’iva. The Yama’s messengers then said :– “O Servers of S’ambhu! What are the merits of this man that you have come to take him? First speak to us of his merits.” S’iva’s messengers spoke :– “Fifteen feet below the ground where this man died, there exists the Rudrâksam. O Yama’s messengers! By the influence of that Rudrâksam, all his sins are destroyed; and we have come to take him to S’iva.” Then the Brâhmin Gunanidhi assumed a divine form and, getting on an aerial car went with S’iva’s messengers before S’iva. O One of good vows! Thus I have described briefly to you the greatness of Rudrâksam. This is capable to remove all sorts of sins and yield great merits.
Here ends the Sixth Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the Greatness of Rudrâksams in the Mahâpurânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahârsi Veda Vyâsa.