Thursday, August 16, 2007
amulets and rudrakshas-the new spiritual anchors
from the dawn of civilisation,man has been in awe of the forces of nature.to protect himself from natural calamities, ghosts and spirits,diseases and accidents,he has worn around his neck a talisman on a cord of chain carrying images of different gods and goddesses or symbols which supposedly would endow him with magical properties both in life and death.
inspite of advances in science and technology and progressive thinking,the belief and dependence in astrology,the occult and animism remain strong.people under heavy physical and mental stress in today's troubled times are resorting to supernatural aids for help.india and thailand are two countries where this phenomenon is currently very much in evidence.
the thais are resorting to wearing jatukam ramathep amulets.these are quite unbuddhist for a nation where buddhism is the religion for the majority.but they would do anthing to seek justice and security by turning to superstition.have religion and other social and judicial systems failed is a question that needs to be addressed.these amulets became a nationwide phenomenon after their creator died last year at the age of 104.these are named after a legendary warrior prince jatukam ramathep.he is depicted in a sitting posture in the talisman which is the size of a silver dollar.from the poor to the rich,street food vendors to corporate executives and rich businessmen all wear them and exhibit them proudly.they want to attract good fortune and ward off evil.some are discreet but many wear more than one.prices vary from one dollar to 30,000 dollars.demand is more than supply and the manufactures are working in three shifts and are making a killing.some amulets fly off the production line without any consecration while others wait for holy monks to bless them.the image of jatukam is cast from metal or piece of wood,ivory or resin,coloured plastic or many different ingredients pressed in a mould and heated and baked.in thailand no one buys amulets.they rent it.but they don't have to give it back.
back home,the picture is no different.it is not the jatukam amulet though. it is the rudraksha.rudra is an alternative name for shiva.and aksha in sanskrit mean's eye.the eyes of lord shiva.an object of veneration,it is supposed to endow powerful and profound astrological and health benefits on the wearer.grown on large evergreen trees with broad leaves in the gangetic plain right upto the foothills of the himalayas,the bead is covered by an outer shell having a blue colour.it is therefore also called blueberry beads.you have ekmukhi,domukhi and right upto 27 mukhis rudrakshas.the ekmukhi is very rare and hence extremely pricey.and the rudrakshas are now competing with diamonds and other forms of jewellery.recently,a rudraksha necklace was sold for rs 50 lakhs.
the marketers of rudrakshas say that they are natural and have a spiritual and medicinal value to them.for some other experts there is no logical explanation for this phenomenon.how can you guarantee,they say, that these have healing powers? many consider the boom as a marketing gimmick and hype created to lure gullible people.added to this problem is the proliferation of fakes where sellers are cashing in on this craze by selling duplicate or fake rudrakshas.hardwar is supposed to be the biggest duplicate market.nepal the home for rudrakshas is seeing booming business.how long this demand will remain strong is anybody's guess.it is a faith market and as long as faith remains strong, rudrakshas will sell. why bother about it? make hay while the sun shines is the guiding principle.
david beckham wears it.so do sylvestor stallone and richard gere.will it deliver the desired results? we have to watch david's performance for 'los angeles galaxy'.richard gere seems to have had some luck already a la shilpa.if as the marketers claim that it propitiates the gods and is bound to bring good health and fame,why not give it a try.you can buy one for rs 20.and if you can afford it then for rs 12 lakhs.amulets and rudrakshas are man's spiritual anchors.the price is worth paying if you are supposed to be safe in this life and beyond.