Mala is a tool, a spiritual object before being a spiritual jewelry. But it is clear that a mala has the qualities required to be qualified as a jewelry, especially when we know the symbolic alchemy of the jewelry.
Created in India more than 3000 years ago, mala has its roots in Hinduism, Buddhism, meditation and yoga. The term “Mala” is a Sanskrit word (Hindu language) which means “garland of meditation”. Originally, malas were mostly used for a special style of meditation called “Japa”.
Mala is the rosary of Hindus and Buddhists. It is used to count the mantras, which are sacred formulas and names of the Divine.
Each bead represents a repetition of the mantra.
The Mala is made up of 108 beads. They can be wood, stones, bones or seeds.
There are many meanings of the number of beads: 108. I will retain the one that is most original, related to meditative breathing.
In the Upanishads, it is said that a person breathes 21,600 times in 24 hours. Thus, during the day, one breathes 10 800 times and, at night, 10 800 times too.
The repetition of the Mantra, ideally, should be practiced with each breath, and it is said that every time a mantra is sung, its fruits are multiplied by 100.
Thus, repeating the mantra 108 times is actually equal to 10,800 times…
108 is a Harshad number, that is to say an integer divisible by the sum of its digits.
Harshad means “great joy” in Sanskrit.
Japa Mala: The recitation of mantras
The word “Japa” in Sanskrit means “recitation”. The repeated recitation of a mantra harmonizes the centers of energy inside the body.
The japa mala of rudrakshas is the ideal tool of the meditator which is made of Japa Mala Beads .
In the practice of meditation, mala is used as a counter. At each recited mantra, the practitioner advances a bead between his thumb and middle finger, circling the mala to the head bead called Meeru . The Meeru allows to guide and to note that the turn of mala (the 108 repetitions) is finished. (The Meeru is not part of the 108 beads).
It is said in the ancient texts that if one arrives to make a full turn of Mala to 108 beads in this way without having been at any time distracted by a thought, one has become a being awake!
For people who have no interest in meditation, religion or yoga, wearing a mala can just help you feel better. Indeed, in Hindu popular belief, mala allows one to purify oneself, and to repel negative energies and evil spirits.