These are Utrasum seeds. These are grown on trees, which are mostly found in the Himalayan region of India , and also found in other countries like Nepal and Indonesia . These vary in sizes. The most common size is about half an inch in diameter. The smaller the beads, the more expensive they get. These seeds have groove –like lines running at their sides, longitudinally. These are called facets of the Rudraksha. The most common are the ones with five facets. These are easily available. Actually, the Rudraksha have facets from one to fourteen. It's almost impossible to find one with one or two facets. In Sanskrit, they are termed as Mukhi. Mukhi means faced. So a five faceted would be called – Panch-Mukhi. You may find a three, four, five, six, and even seven faceted Rudraksha. Others are literally impossible to find. Rudraksha beads of various facets have some special spiritual significance.
One Faced Rudraksha is said to impossible to find. It represents lord Shiva himself. The one who wears this is blessed with bhakti (devotion) shakti (soul power) and mukti (liberation).
The two faced Rudraksha is said to be governed by Shiva and Shakti, the Goddess of divine power. Wearing this is very beneficial spiritually. This can said to be like the Ying and Yang energy.
The three faced Rudraksha is said to represent the three manifestations of God. Namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This also brings divine knowledge, and is good for wealth and education.
The four faced Rudraksha is ascribed to Ganesha, the elephant headed God, the son of Shiva. The wearer of this will get increased intellect and wisdom. It gives Siddhi (spiritual accomplishment) and Buddhi (Spiritual knowledge) It also protects from the evil eye.
Five faced Rudraksha is common and easy to get. It is said to help in overcoming diseases and control blood pressure.
Six faced Rudraksha is ascribed to lord Kartika, the other son of lord Shiva. It is good for business and material success.
Seven faced Rudraksha is said to represent the seven great saints. It's wearer will get all comforts and blessings of the saints.
Eight faced Rudraksha is said to represent Goddess Durga. It helps the wearer in overcoming extreme difficulties in the world.
Nine faced Rudraksha represents the nine planets. It is said that one would get relief from all malefic planets by wearing this.
The ten faced Rudraksha represents lord Vishnu, the provider, the sustainer, and giver of all comforts in the world.
I have in my years of research found some rare ones, like two joined together called- Gauri-Shankar and two or three faceted ones. But they were the works of some master craftsman, not nature! Yes, they were fakes. Many people have been conned into buying a single faceted Rudraksha for thousands. Now, I shall tell you why there is a craze for a Rudraksha bead or rosary. These Rudraksha beads is said to be worn by Lord Shiva himself. Rudra is another name of lord Shiva. It is said that wearing Rudraksha cures you of many diseases. It protects you from evil and gives you spiritual energy. Lord Shiva watches over you and protects you.
All saints are seen to be wearing Rudraksha beads and rosaries. It is said that doing a Mantra on a rosary of Rudraksha gives the maximum spiritual benefits. It is then worn around the neck to give you spiritual protection. The Rudraksha rosary is auspicious and holy, and one should not disrespect its significance and spiritual value. It's better to remove the rosary from around the neck while going to bed, and put it at the altar for the night. In the morning, after the usual prayers, one can put them on again. This maintains the sanctity of the holy beads, and does not interfere with the conjugal life. The Rudraksha rosary can also be uncomfortable around the neck when going to sleep. Therefore it is best to remove it at night. One may put it under the pillow before going to sleep. That way you are assured of the Rudraksha being next to you even at night.
The single Rudraksha beads are to be worn vertically hanging, and not horizontally, as one would pass a thread through it and sling it on. The single beads are designed in a specific fashion so that it is hung vertically. A very thin wire is passed through the vertical hole of the Rudraksha bead. A loop is made at the top, and a smaller loop or a stud is made at the bottom to prevent the bead from slipping out. Then the bead can be slung through at the upper loop by a strong thread or a chain and then worn around the neck.
Some times, a small ‘cap' is made and the top and bottom slots of the Rudraksha are covered by these small pan like caps, which have small holes through the center of the caps to allow the wires to pass through. The Rudraksha bead is then sort of sandwiched between the caps. These caps act like conductors and a micro energy is released when the Rudraksha is compressed.
The scriptures say that only three metals are suited for any spiritual purposes. They are – Gold, Silver and copper. Therefore the caps or the wires that are used for these Rudraksha beads have to be made of any of these three metals only. These too, should be pure. In fact even the astrological gemstones are only set in these metals. These three metals are supposed to be good conductors of spiritual currents.
Once these beads are set in the manner mentioned, then they are purified and energized by performing some processes and reciting some Mantras to invoke spiritual blessings in the name of the wearer. It then acts as a protective talisman and the wearer is blessed by Shiva!
Smaller Rudraksha beads are strung in a rosary of 108 beads. Incidently, the number 108 is considered very auspicious by the Hindus. It is said to be the number of God. The number 108 when added together makes the number 9. This is the last of all the numbers, and there is nothing beyond it. This is something like which is before the beginning, and beyond the end. Thus it is the endless number. The number 9 is the only number, which when multiplied by any number, gives the number 9 itself. See for yourself!
9 X 3 = 27 = 9
9 X 7 = 63 = 9
9 X 12 = 108 = 9
9 X 23 = 207 = 9
9 X 113 = 1017 = 9
9 X 256 = 2304 = 9
9 X 2056 = 18504 = 9
Thus, we see that no matter what number it is, any number multiplied with 9 gives 9 finally. It is also spiritually symbolic that after all earthly karmas, we all have to eventually merge with God. Some books on numerology translate the number 9 as a material number and that people born under this number have to struggle in the material world. It is also claimed that this is a violent number. This is not true at all. In fact, it is only after you struggle with materialism that you can rise above it. Spiritualism begins where materialism ends. When we seek spiritual life, and wish to have liberation, then of course you have to work out all your karmic effects during this lifetime. Then your cumulative karmas also add up to your present birth karmas, so that you are once for all over and done with all karma and Maya. So the number 9 has a great spiritual substance, and not to be interpreted as a material number, as understood by some people.