“A mantra must connect you with the sacred… The use of mantra sets up one thought, one wave that repeats over and over again, dislodging your attachment to all other thoughts, until they are like birds gliding by… You pass the beads across your fingers, bead by bead, with each repetition of the mantra. If your mind wanders, the activity of the hand or the touch of the bead will remind you of the mantra. The rhythm becomes more compelling, the experience more total as your body works in harmony with the mind.” ~Ram Dass: Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook
A Japa mala or mala (Sanskrit: mala, meaning “garland” is a set of beads commonly used by Hindus and Buddhists, usually made from 108 beads, though other numbers, usually divisible by 9, are also used. Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This practice is known in Sanskrit as japa. The 109th bead on a mala is called the sumeru, bindu, stupa, or guru bead. Counting should always begin with a bead next to the sumeru. In the Hindu, Vedic tradition, if more than one mala of repetitions is to be done, one changes directions when reaching the sumeru rather than crossing it. There are numerous explanations why there are 108 beads, with the number 108 bearing special religious significance in a number of Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Sue Robson, who lives in Northern California, created PrayerMalas.com in 2010. She is a Licensed Prayer Practitioner / Spiritual Counselor. She enjoys making and selling her malas as well as writing and being in nature.
“I love to help facilitate a place where we can learn to be all we are supposed to be and practice what allows us to feel closer to the Divine. This allows us to embrace who we really are, to see the power that is within each of us. To know and feel the freedom we have and walk in it. To dance with our creative gifts and live in that place of peace which is always available.”
Would you like to share about your experiences using Prayer Malas as part of your spiritual practice? Email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org.