A Japa Mala, often referred to simply as a "mala," is a string of beads, typically consisting of 108 beads, and serves as a profound meditation tool. It is commonly worn around the neck or wrapped around the wrist like a bracelet.
These sacred beads have deep roots in Asian traditions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism, where they have been employed for thousands of years. The mala's journey to the Western world began in the early to mid-20th century, coinciding with the widespread practice of yoga and meditation in Western cultures.
Materials and Symbolism of Japa Malas
Most Japa Malas are comprised of 108 beads plus one distinct Meru bead and a tassel. Each component holds symbolic significance.
108 Beads: The 108 beads symbolize the universe and the interconnectedness of all its elements. They represent unity and serve as a reminder of the holistic nature of existence.
Meru Bead: Positioned at the center of the mala and often hanging down on your chest when worn around your neck, the Meru bead is also known as the "semeru" or "guru" bead. It symbolizes the divine and our connection to spiritual guides or Gurus. It is not counted as part of the mantra repetitions but signifies the completion of one cycle of 108 mantras, indicating the start of a new one.
Tassel: The tassel, made of hanging threads knotted at the mala's end, represents the connection to your higher self. Additionally, it serves a practical function, as it can be used to diffuse essential oils during meditation.
Beyond Meditation: The Significance of Beads
While Japa Malas primarily aid in focusing the mind during meditation, the beads themselves possess unique properties. They are crafted from a variety of materials, including natural wood beads, seeds, and gemstones. Traditional malas were often made from rudraksha or sandalwood beads.
Caring for Your Meditation Mala
Japa Malas are not only spiritual tools but also delicate pieces of jewelry that warrant care and reverence. Here are some guidelines for their upkeep:
- Store your mala in its dedicated bag in a clean and dry place. If you have an altar or a special meditation space, consider keeping it there.
- As a symbol of your spiritual journey, honor your mala with a ritual before wearing it, such as placing it on your forehead where the third eye is located.
- According to tradition, avoid lending your mala to others or allowing anyone to touch it.
- If you have a mala crafted from gemstones, consider recharging the stones by placing them in sunlight or moonlight every month.
Discover Ananda Hum Malas
At Ananda Hum Malas, all our malas are meticulously handcrafted in Spain, featuring 108 carefully selected and knotted beads. We prioritize quality, durability, and aesthetics. Our collection offers a diverse range of bead compositions, or you can even collaborate with us to design a custom mala based on your bead and color preferences. Additionally, if you seek specific bead properties, we can create a personalized mala to meet your needs.
Explore our exquisite selection of meditation malas by visiting our website