Often while flipping through the pages of the old scriptures, paintings, albums I always noticed a beaded garland in the hands of many sages or holding of the mala in a meditative state. Eyes closed fingers counting their beads a calm smile.
It always intrigued me,how a set of beads, 108 beads alongwith some mantras could be so calming.
Talking about the origin of the Mala or beads,they are derived from the sanskrit word “mala” meaning garland, are string of beads that are traditionally used for prayer and meditative/mantric practices in and around the Indian subcontinent. Many religions have adopted it so it gets tough to draw back it’s exact origin. However, there are many myths about the origin.
Beads have been used for many thousands of years in various parts of the world and mala beads are special in that they have primarily been used as a spiritual tool for specific types of mental and spiritual (mantric, meditative) exercises .
Japamala or prayer beads,has many advantages.Like, enhances self awareness, slows down respiration bringing calmness., allows you to stick to your sense of purpose, breaks a negative thought pattern. A mala, is made up of special materials like bones, stones, rudraksha, wood, pearls, crystals, and lava stone. To all these malas, there are numerous explanations as to why there are 108 beads, with the number 108 bearing special religious significance.
These malas are very pious and need to be energized and used very sparingly . This is the meditative repetition of a mantra and sacred word (OM) or divine name. This practice works perfectly with malas.
Comes let’s see how best can we use it:
Make yourself comfortable by finding a serene quiet and nice place where you can sit or lay down untroubled.
Choose a mantra that connects with you. This could be a sacred word like OM, or gayatri mantra.
Hold the mala bead in one hand and let it hang relaxedly.
With your opposite hand touch the guru bead.
As you move your fingers to the coming bead, repeat your mantra out loud, as a whisper or simply quietly in the privacy of your own mind. (Continue until you arrive to the guru bead again)
If you desire to do another set of mantras, consider not jumping over the guru bead (interestingly enough some accounts describe it as disrespectful). Rather, turn the mala around and move in the opposite direction. You could sit in the dhyaan mudra while chanting the mantras.
All the Mantras are typically repeated in a rhythmic way, in hundreds or even thousands of times,to enhance focus. The next time you use,the mala make sure to energi it.