Memories on Trees: Rudraksha

I may not remember when I met a certain person first. I however remember when I first met a tree. That has surprised me and I can’t explain why it happens. Deep down in my mind, I must be prizing trees more than human beings. [Both do not seem to complain!].

I met Rudraksha tree in Nepal when I travelled there for work. Rudraksha trees are more common in the north part of this country than the south. I was surprised when I saw a Rudraksha tree in Chiplun! I do not remember exact location, all I remember is that it was close to the highway.

I again met Rudraksha tree in a farm near Dahanu. Last week. I confess I could not recognise it, my guide helped me identify it. My association with Rudraksha began, like many others, with a rosary long ago. It was gifted to me. I never wore it, I used it for prayers, for chanting mantra for a certain number of times.

Then came a younger cousin. She told me that it was absolutely wrong to count the number of chanting of a mantra. Her reasons: When you count it only helps you grow your ego [I did it 108 times! And you say 'I did it.'] It is a distraction from prayer. I accepted this advice readily. Soon I gave up using the rosary.

The rudraksha which you normally get from the tree is ‘panchmukhi.’ I never believed in the power of rudraksha. All the talk about rudraksha only made me curious, but never a believer.

A fully grown tree attracts me, not the seeds. [This is true of me, not of others]. That’s interesting. A highly ‘evolved’ person influences me through his thoughts. That, I think, is one clear distinction between trees and human beings.

[Photograph shows Rudraksha Tree with raw Rudraksha fruits]
Vivek S Patwardhan

My photographs - Please do not use them without mentioning credit.

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