The rudraksha tree and its distinctive dried seeds are named after the wrathful god Rudra, a manifestation of Shiva. In Buddhism they are employed in the mantra recitations of practices related to wrathful deities. Rudraksha, or “eye of Rudra,” are believed to be especially associated with the Ancient (Nyingma) Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The lore of the legendary Indian master Padmasambhava’s visit to Tibet includes a story of his rosary, made of rare, six-lobed rudraksha beads that broke. When they were gathered a few of the beads remained on the ground. These seeds took root, becoming the parent trees of those that produce six-lobed beads, which are treasured by Tibetans.
This strand has 108 beads, an ivory guru bead, various semiprecious-stone separator beads, a pair of silver counters, and 3 additional attachments. Its unusual but very personal features are the ear picks attached to the tassels. All of these factors testify to its persistent use.