A Japa Mala Necklace, often simply called a Mala, is an eastern prayer necklace that consists of 108 beads that is used in a variety of religions and cultures. You can buy a mala meditation necklace to use for counting mantras or breaths during your practice, which helps with focus and concentration. A mala prayer necklace can also be worn for balanced energy or placed near an altar.
It is no coincidence that a mala necklace usually consists of 108 beads. The number 108 is sacred in Eastern religions both symbolically but also in numerology and sacred geometry. Even Shiva has 108 names! If all digits are added together (1+0+8), the number 9 is obtained, which according to numerology symbolizes completion, harmony, and compassion. The first bead of the mala, the guru bead, represents the crown chakra (consciousness). The last 8 beads of the tour are dedicated to all living things. In order to maintain the spiritual meaning, shorter strings of beads are either divisible by 9 or a factor of 108. Mala necklaces of 81 beads are therefore also popular.
Malas are traditionally made from rudrakshas. These are seeds called rudraksha beads. Rudraksha means ‘tears of Shiva’. Legend has it that while meditating, the god Shiva felt so much compassion and empathy for humanity that he started to cry. The tears that fell to the ground transformed into an Elaeocarpus tree, better known as rudraksha trees. Rudraksha is also associated with the 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether.
The mala necklaces are actually as old as Buddhism itself. A mala made from rudraksha is considered sacred in Buddhism. This is partly due to the divine meaning behind the chain. The number of beads, 108, is also important for Buddhism. For example, Buddhist temples have 108 steps, Buddha asks 108 questions, and there are 108 statements in the scriptures.
There are different types of materials for the beads with which a mala necklace can be made. Below is a handy overview so that you can decide for yourself which one suits you best!
Wood is an alternative to rudraksha beads. It gives a warm look and is often slightly more neutral.
Gemstones are stones that may have a healing effect. Malas made from gemstone beads can be purchased based on the desired meaning of the gems. This makes your mala just that little bit more personal!
A traditional bead used is rudraksha. This bead also has a divine meaning. So if you prefer a traditional mala, rudraksha is recommended.
Malas are also made from bones in some cultures. Today, this is usually ox bone.
Today, the necklaces are available online at various web shops. Whether you want a necklace made of wood, rudraksha or precious stones, Spiru offers a wide variety. So there is something for everyone.
Now that you know everything about the Mala Necklace, you can start meditating. To get comfortable during your meditation session, you can also buy a Meditation Cushion or a Meditation Bench in combination with a mala necklace. Or maybe let some spiritual incense help you create a sense of calm. You can find all your meditation inspiration at Spiru!
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