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RUDRAKSHA SEED ROSARY
unusual prayer counter in the hand


COMPELLING AND POWERFUL
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COMBINATION OF TEXTURES
There is no available history on this humble prayer counter - other than it is very old - so one must wonder about its maker. The contrast between the rough textured, dark brown Rudraksha seed bead and the smooth surface of the black beveled cross is compelling and powerful.
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This prayer counter is like a visual bridge between the Hindu and Christian religions - as if the pray-er may have walked into the Christian faith from another.  If it could only talk, would it not tell us a powerful story of love and healing?  Holding it in your hand tells you there is something very beautiful in its healing.

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CONFIGURATION   -   BEADS
 CONSTRUCTION   -  COMMENTS



~ CONFIGURATION ~
 NO DIVIDERS BETWEEN BEADS
The prayer beads and cross measure 18 in.  There are no dividers between the 52 beads and is hard to tell if a bead broke off or the string stretched. The Rosary is circular with no pendant of beads, only the cross.
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THE 2 INCH CROSS
It is a very precise cross of either black onyx but probably beveled glass and is 2 in.  When you hold it you feel as if it has an important history of its own. It is worn from use.  The Cross has been stitched to the circle of seeds  (see below) with great care.
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~ BEADS ~
 NATIVE TO JAVA
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ABOUT THE RUDRAKSHA SEED
It comes from a small tree native to Java.  These are about 15 mm, some smaller, some larger .  Note that the rough but natural surface of the seed symbolizes austerity expected from the pray-er.  For Christians, the five natural divisions of the bead represent the five wounds of Christ.  Numbers of many counting beads depend on various symbolic prayer interpretations by sects (Hindu) or brotherhoods (Christian).
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The Rudraksha seed is a seed traditionally used to make Hindu prayer beads and is probably one of the earliest beads used to count prayers, states THE HISTORY OF BEADS by Lois Sherr Dubin.
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~ CONSTRUCTION ~
FROM THE HEART AND HANDS
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FRAGMENTS
OF CLOTH AND THREAD
This wonderful rosary was made from the heart and hands of a believer , probably with materials that were available.  The common, white cotton string the seeds are strung on, is tied at the juncture of the cross. It is still strong although frayed from wear. Note the very small fragments of black cloth which have been carefully wrapped around the string then stitched into place with white cotton thread to strengthen and hold it in place..



~ COMMENTS ~
 ... God - I think - hears every prayer ...
[I] studied for some years with a Chinese Zen/chan master in Mexico City - an ubiquitous Chinaman, a refugee from Maoist China.  Just before I left Mexico we exchanged Rosaries:  His well worn mala beads for an old wood bead rosary I had been given many years before.  He has continued to use my Rosary.  Not a conversion.  He remains a quiet cigar smoking Buddhist.  But he loves the prayers.  On his household altar has a bronze Buddha, and - now - a plaster statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a weathered Mission Cross.  Asked now what he believes?  He'll smile, answer with a quote from Hindu Scripture:  "He who prays to any God, prays to me." God - I think - hears every prayer.   William C (LA)
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... attempting to bridge two faiths? ...
"It's not entirely clear from the photo, but it seems that the rosary you have is not subdivided into decades. It's possible that the user was a Hindu who converted to Catholicism and was attempting to bridge the two faiths. Certainly, the compassionate and redemptive suffering of Jesus for mankind could have found echos in the Shiva legend.
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To draw these kinds of parallels is not as strange as it might appear to us who were raised to see Christianity as an exclusive and exclusively true path. I think it was Chesterton who said that the two most powerful faiths in the world are Christianity and Hinduism -- the former because it excludes all else, and the latter because it embraces all. In general, Historically, Hindus have not seen a contradiction in accepting Jesus and following their ancestral faith at the same time."  - Christopher Buczek (NY)



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