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Rudraksha


Botanical Name Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb.
Common NameBlue-marble tree / Utracham bead tree, Rudraksha (Sanskrit)

Distribution

Eastern Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and the Konkan Ghats

Lord Shiva depicted wearing rudraksha beads


Religious association

The Rudraksha bead is associated with Lord Shiva and considered very sacred by the Hindus. The deity is often depicted wearing the sacred beads.

Rice is the staple food for a large part of India. Rice straw is used for animal feeding. It can also be made into paper and board pulp. Bran oil is used for cooking and is also used in textile and leather industries as a finisher.

All legends pertaining to the origin of Rudraksha describe them as tears shed by Lord Shiva for the benefit of humanity. According to one story, Lord Shiva once entered a profound state of meditation for the benefit of mankind. When he emerged from this state and opened his eyes, the deep joy and peace that he felt were expressed as tears, which ran down his cheeks and fell on the earth. From his tears emerged the Rudraksha tree. The word Rudraksha, in fact, comes from two Sanskrit words – ‘Rudra’,a synonym for Lord Shiva and ‘Aksha’ meaning eyes.

Uses

The white wood from the tree has a unique strength to weight ratio, making it valued for its timber. The wood has been used to make aeroplane propellers, which obviously have to be light and strong.

The Rudraksha berry is sweet in taste. It is used for a variety of treatment including indigestion, vomiting, injuries, epilepsy etc. The fruits also constitute the diet of the fruit bats or flying foxes in the Himalayan region.

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