Malas or Prayer Beads, have traditionally been used when repeating Buddhist and Yogic mantras. In Yoga, this is called Japa Yoga. Mantras are Sanskrit prayers which are used to invoke specific frequencies to facilitate spiritual progress.
Although any language can be used to repeat prayers, Sanskrit is a sacred language whose sounds are said to produce particular frequencies. It is taught in the ancient traditions that Mantras gain Shakti (loosely translated as ‘power’) the more they are repeated by devotees. Thus Sanskrit Mantras are sacred chants with a long history of use in spiritual practices.
Malas are used to keep the practitioner’s focus on the meaning of the Mantra, as well as to keep track of the number of repetitions. Running one’s fingers gently over the Mala beads helps to integrate the physical body with the inner consciousness of devout prayer.
An important point about using a Mala: when one has said the mantra or prayer on each bead, and has reached the Buddha bead (the large bead at the beginning and end of the Mala) it is traditional to turn the Mala around and go back in the opposite direction rather than crossing the Budda bead to begin again.
Traditionally, a disciple or practitioner repeats a mantra thousands of times. Saying one repetition of a longer Mantra, prayer or intention on each bead builds the energy within the mala.
Malas can be made with stones or metal objects at the end of the Mala. Here at Meaningful Malas we retain the Himalayan practice of mainly using tassels. The tassel enables the owner of the Mala to bless it with a sacred essential oil, further enhancing its energy.
However in recognition of other traditions and personal preferences, at Meaningful Malas, we also create beautiful malas with options other than tassels.