What are Mala Beads ?


What are Mala Beads ?

'Mala Beads' (or Japa Mala) is a string of prayer beads commonly used by Hindus, Buddhists and some Sikhs for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as JapaThe word ‘japa’ means ‘to rotate’.  One way the rotation of consciousness is achieved is by use of the tool of a ‘mala’, a garland or string of beads. 


What is the significance of number 108?

A japa mala usually consists of 108 beads in addition to the guru bead. The number 108 is considered as a sacred number in Hinduism and Yoga. According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.


What are the benefits of chanting mantra on a Mala?

The primary purposes of this practice is to purify the mind and release us from the Samskaras (past impressions) and Vasanas (future desires).  The practice of chanting a mantra is used as a form of meditation. Read more about Mantras 


How to use Mala : 

  1. Keep the index finger and thumb spread so that they are perpendicular to each other.
  2. Make a group of rest of the three fingers and bring them together to make them perpendicular to the index finger.
  3. Place the mala on the middle finger while keeping the index finger pointing away from you. Index finger symbolizes our ego. So, we need to ensure it does not touch any bead.
  4. Start chanting the mantra from bead next to the Guru bead, i.e. starting bead is above the Guru bead so that the Guru bead is not crossed.
  5. Continue chanting the mantra for each bead till you reach the Guru bead.



When the Guru bead is reached, mala should be turned around to start the next cycle of chanting from the last bead (108th). To pay respect to the Guru, while counting the beads, Guru Bead should never be crossed. The movement of beads should always be towards you, to invite the auspicious Divine Energy into you.



Check out our collection of Mala Beads


Sample Malas from OmShanti Mala