A legend says Lord Shiva was meditating for many years, when one day he opened his eyes to look down on earth, at this point out of compassion several tears fell down and grew to become Rudraksha trees.
The miraculous properties of the Rudraksha are mentioned in the ancient Indian scriptures such as Shiva mahapuran and Jabal Upanishad. The fruit is blue in colour but can be green or turn purple with age. The trees originated in South East Asia, namely Java, Borneo, Sumatra and later the seeds were planted in Nepal and other parts of India.
The scientific evidence is that the Rudraksha acts as a capacitor, storing energy and can send out subtle electrical impulses and induce vibrations. This results in helping our nervous system, lowering blood pressure, increased concentration, and reducing stress. The Rudraksha is also a kind of shield against negative energies which may harm the body.
It is also said in the scriptures that Hindu yogis wearing these experienced tremendous amount of tranquillity and inner peace which helped them meditate in focused manner.
Originally there were 108 types in the form of different faces, known as mukhis this can be counted by the series of lines across the seed, but today there are only 38 types. Each mukhi has different electrical impulses. Most Rudrakshas are five faced as in the example shown here. The rarest being the one faced symbolizing Lord Shiva himself. The Rudraksha possess mystical and divine properties and create a protection for the wearer. The smaller the Rudraksha the more auspicious. They range from 4-25mm in diameter. The larger variety are mainly produced in Nepal, whilst the Asian countries produce the smaller bead. Rudraksha is usually worn by devotees of Lord Shiva, but can be worn by anyone, regardless of race, gender or faith.