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Aksamālikā Upaniṣad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Aksamālikā Upaniṣad is a minor work in classed under the Śaiva Upaniṣads (Upaniṣads dealing with the aspects connected with Śaivism) and belonging to the Rgveda. It deals with the ritual consecration of a japamālā. It is in the form of a dialogue between Prajāpati and Guha (also known as Skanda, Kārttikeya and Subrahmaṇya, son of Pārvati and Śiva), the latter being the preceptor.

The japamālā can be made of beads of ten substances:

  1. Coral
  2. Pearl
  3. Quartz
  4. Conch
  5. Silver
  6. Gold
  7. Sandalwood
  8. Seeds of putrajivikā (Roxburghii)
  9. Seeds of lotus
  10. Seeds of rudrākṣa (Elaeocarpus seeds).

The string that holds them together can be made of gold, silver and copper, the three wires being twisted into one.

Some points of the Upaniṣad in brief from the beginning till end has been given below :

  • The Upaniṣad then gives the process of contemplation on various deities like Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and Sarasvati as situated in the various parts of the japamālā.
  • This is followed by a ritualistic process of cleansing the japamālā with pañcagavya, the five products of a cow like milk and curds.
  • Then comes a long section describing the infusing of each of the beads with the power of the deities presiding over the fifty alphabets of the Sanskrit language, by relating one bead with one letter of the alphabet. This is repeated again after 50 beads. The appropriate mantras or esoteric formulae to be used are also given.
  • After this, prayers are offered to the deities residing on earth, in the sky and in heaven, as also to the pitṛs or manes, to reside in the beads and make the japamālā holy and effective.
  • The Upaniṣad ends with prayer to the rosary thus consecrated and a eulogy of this science given in it.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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