Question: Sadhguru, could you talk a little bit about rudraksha and how it is different from other seeds?
Sadhguru: Every substance in the universe has a certain reverberation to it. We try to identify things that will support us in a particular direction. Not only rudraksha–all kinds of plants, flowers, animals–everything has been identified as to what will take us in a spiritual direction and what will not. A goat for example is not a good choice. A bull, a snake or a peacock is, because these creatures have a certain sensitivity.
When I was 10 or 11, I used to spend a lot of time in the forest at Chamundi Hill and elsewhere. If I simply sat in one place, I would catch five to ten cobras in an afternoon. One reason is I developed a certain skill for this. A cobra does not leave much of a trail–just a certain type of smell and small traces of its movements. You have to be extremely observant to notice that a snake has recently moved somewhere.
At that time, I was too proud of my skills. Only much later, when I really started meditating, I realised they were coming towards me rather than I finding them. Many times, it has happened to me that when I was in a forest and I simply sat still, particularly in the afternoon somewhere between two and five o’clock, when I open my eyes again, there would be at least five to eight cobras around me. The moment you become meditative, they are drawn to you. These kinds of creatures that are drawn to that kind of reverberation are considered as spiritual.
Likewise, there is a whole variety of sacred flowers. You have heard people saying that a certain flower is the favourite of Shiva, another one the favourite of Vishnu and so on. They identified flowers whose reverberations are closest to what we refer to as Shiva or Vishnu or whatever else. If you touch or receive them, they have a certain impact. Therefore, only certain kinds of flowers used to be offered in temples.
We could demonstrate this by getting different kinds of flowers and holding a rudraksha over them. If the rudraksha goes clockwise, it is a good flower to offer to Shiva. If you try this with a Ketaki flower, you will see the rudraksha does not like it. You know, there is this story about the Ketaki flower bearing false witness before Shiva and subsequently being banned from being used as an offering to Shiva. All these stories are told so that it sinks into people’s minds and hearts, but the essence of it is that the reverberation should match–only then will a connection be established.
Similarly, everything was identified according to its reverberation. Rudraksha is one of those items that have a unique type of reverberation. Just holding it in your hand, you can feel the difference. However, if you have worn your rudraksha for three to six months, it would have in a way melded with your body by now. Therefore, each person’s rudraksha will be different. That is why you should never give your rudraksha to someone else or take someone else’s rudraksha, because it would have acquired a certain reverberation that is conducive to you and that has something of you in it. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu, no one would take salt, sesame seeds, or oil from someone else’s hands. They would not even take a lemon from just anyone. This is because certain substances have the ability to imbibe whatever they come in touch with very quickly. Especially small lemons have this quality to absorb everything like a sponge–the positive and the negative. That is why they are used both in the temple and for black magic.
Rudraksha has this quality too–in a way, it becomes a part of your body. If you have worn it for one or two years, 24 hours a day, and one day, you take it off and try to sleep, you will not be able to sleep. It will feel as if a part of your body is missing, because the rudraksha has become a part of you and it functions like that–as an extra organ. The main purpose of this organ is to make you available to Grace. No matter what yogic practices or whatever else you do, ultimately, you become a possibility only by becoming available to Grace. This is why devotees attain quicker than anyone else, because they offer themselves. If that sense of offering is not brought in, yoga will be nothing but a circus.
Another thing about rudraksha is that it creates health. For all those who are only interested in living more donkey’s years, this is the most important aspect. They are not really interested in how they live–they just want to live longer. For what? If you check their ‘happiness-meter’ from morning to evening, it does not touch any heights. They want to live longer only because they are scared of death. Nothing phenomenal is happening in their lives that would make it worth hanging onto it. Only because what is next is not known to them, they want to hang on.
Whatever you do, there will be no success in any area of life–whether it is the spiritual process, health, wealth, or anything else–if you do not become available to Grace. Either you have to become consciously available to it or unconsciously, in your own way. Without some amount of Grace, no human being, no creature would be alive. But if you consciously make Grace a part of your life, everything will work easily and smoothly. It will be a well-lubricated life. Rudraksha enhances that possibility. We want to use every support that is available to us.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to addressing all aspects of human wellbeing through yoga programmes, and social and environmental initiatives.