In Indian mythology, Rudraksh has its own space. It is believed that the Rudraksh stone has got beneficial powers and those who keep these stones, enjoy various benefits. It is supposed to take away our sufferings and bring wisdom and health.
There is an interesting legend associated with Rudraksh. We will tell you the origin & history of Rudraksha. Literally, Rudraksh means tears of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva meditated for several years for the wellbeing of all creatures. But, when he opened his eyes to see around, he saw people suffering. Lord Shiva could not see the sufferings and miseries of people and started shedding hot drops of tears. These tears fell upon the earth and became the trees of Rudraksha.
Another ancient story explains the origin of Rudraksha that Lord Shiva was upset and depressed following death of “Gauri”, his wife. He started crying and roaming here and there in search of Gauri. And while searching he was crying and his tears were falling on the earth. These tears were converted in Rudraksha.
Another story is around three demons Tripurasuras who had innumerable powers. They lived in three Purams and the Purams were protected by a boon from Lord Ganesh and nobody can harm them, unless they come into a single axis. That moment comes only once in every thousand years. All gods prayed to Lord Shiva to kill those Demons. He performed Tapasya (penance) with half-closed eyes. (Ardha Nimeelita neetra). He opened his eyes, concentrated on the axis and burnt Tripurams. Due to the stress caused by Tapasya, tears came out his eyes while opening them. They turned into Rudrakshas.
The story of Gunanidhi
In the country of Kosala there was once a noble brahmin named Girinatha who was rich, erudite and well-versed in the Vedas. Considering his greatness people called him Girinathadiksita. Gunanidhi was his son. When Gunanidhi grew up he started his education under Sudhisna. Sudhisna had a wife named Muktavali. After some time Gunanidhi started having clandestine relations with Muktavali. Gunanidhi gave poison to his guru and killed him. His parents came to know of this and they came and reprimanded him. Evilnatured Gunamdhi thought that the presence of his parents would be an annoyance to him in future.
So Gunanidhi and Muktavali planned together to kill his parents and one day they poisoned them.After some time Gunanidhi and his wife
lost all they had and gradually gunanidhi turned himself into a thief and drunkard. Nobody in the village liked the couple and all the villagers combined together and sent the couple away from the place.
Gunanidhi and Muktavali went to the forests and there they started a life of looting the travellers. After some years of a sinful life Gunanidhi one day died lying beneath a Rudraksa tree. Servants of both Yama and Siva came to claim the soul of Gunanidhi. The servants of Yama said that the right place of Gunanidhi the sinner, was in hell but the servants of Siva said that even if he was a great sinner his place was in heaven because he died
lying beneath a Rudraksa tree. In the end the Sivadutas won and took Gunanidhi to heaven.
The story of an ass
There was once in Kikata a merchant who had an ass to carry his merchandise. Once the merchant was returning home from Bhadracala with his ass loaded with bundles of costly Rudraksas. The old ass fell down dead on the way, the weight of the Rudraksa bundles having been too much for it, and immediately it assumed the form of Siva and went to Kailasa. Even if a man does not know what he is carrying, if he carries sacred things he will certainly attain salvation, like the ass that attained salvation in this case.
For scientifically inclined souls, the botanical name of the Rudrakhsha tree is Elaeocarpus Granitrus.