A rosary or bracelet made of rudrākṣa (rudraksha) beads. Many gods like Brahmā (Brahma), Śiva (Shiva), Gaṇeśa (Ganesha), Sarasvatī (Saraswati), Pārvatī (Parvati), et al, can be seen holding or being adorned with akṣasūtra (akshasutra). The famous Citrasūtra (Chitrasutra) part of Viṣñudharmottarapurāṇa (Vishnudharmottarapurana), while explaining the significance of akṣasūtra carried by gods, has said that akṣasūtra is suggestive of the rapacious eternity.
Poets have commonly used the term akṣasūtra to signify the rigours of religious austerities of meditation or being a sage. For instance, Umā’s (Uma’s) asceticism in Kālidasa’s (Kalidasa’s) Kumārasambhava (Kumarasambhava)—
kuśāṅkurādāna-parikṣatāṅguliḥ/ kṛto’kṣasūtrapraṇayī tayā karaḥ;
Or the example of the string of beads worn by sage Sutīkṣna (Sutikshna) on his wrist in Raghuvaṃśa (Raghuvamsha).
According to many researchers, the akṣasūtra on Brahmā’s wrist signifies the series of letters from ‘a‘ to ‘kṣa‘ (ksha), that is the entire range of alphabets, because it was from Brahmā’s mouth that Sarasvatī, representative of all words, emerged.
- From the moment he was born, the great sage Agastya had akṣasutra around his wrist, and an ascetic’s bowl (kamaṇdalu or kamandalu) in his hand.
- When Viṣṇu’s (Vishnu’s) avatar Vāmana (Vamana) was born, he was greeted by Brahmā’s spiritually conveived son Pulaha with akṣasūtra.
- It is required that akṣasūtra be placed on top of Ṛgveda (Rigveda), which in turn is placed on an earthen pot (ghaṭa; ghata), while performing the ceremony of Mahābhūtaghaṭa Dāna (Mahabhutaghata Dana), a ceremony of giving away an earthen pot which represents the five natural elements. Actually, akṣasūtra here is used to symbolise Ṛgveda, like vīṇā (vina; lute) and flute are used to signify Sāmaveda (Samaveda).