Prayer Beads ~ Mala ~ माला (sanskrit)
*THE MYSTIC MEANING OF THE NUMBER 108
A mala is a string of beads commonly used by Hindus, Buddhist and others religions to count mantras in sets of 27, 54, 99 or 108 repetitions. The large meru bead provides a starting and ending point on the mala for counting the repetitions.
The Shiva malas or rosaries, both Tantric and Tibetan are composed by 108 beads.
Mala can be used during meditation and can be made from gemstones that
match the intention of our practice...
108 represent the whole of existence. There are said to be 108 types of meditation. Some say there are 108 paths to God. Indian traditions have 108 dance forms.
Hindu deities have 108 names, whilst in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, there are 108 gopis of Vrindavan. Recital of these names, often accompanied by the counting of the 108 beaded . Mala is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa. Accordingly, a mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra.
The number 108 is one of great significance inside of the Rosicrucian order,
since it exemplifies the time frame of some of their cycles...
Interestingly enough, a leap year displays 366 days and 3 x 6 x 6 gives 108.
((The number 108 has held a multi dimensional meaning. In geometric terms it is a natural division of circle (108=36+72=9 X 12). In the Eastern part of the world, different traditions talk about the 108 navamsas. ))
MORE ABOUT THE NUMBER 108 @ :
For keeping count while mentally repeating a Mantra or the name of God or
a Deity, also for reciting or chanting. This Practice is known in Sanskrit as Japa.
Doing one 108 beads mala counts as 100 mantra recitations. Sometimes some extra repetitions are done to amend any mistakes...
Mantras are typically repeated hundreds or even thousands of times and the mala is used so that one can focus on the meaning or the sound of the mantra...
1st repetition is usually said for each bead while turning the thumb around each bead...
When arriving at the Guru bead, we traditionally turn the mala around
and then go back in the opposing direction.
Mala beads are an ancient tool that was developed to keep the mind focused
on the practice of meditation and using a mala is very easy and enjoyable.
First, find a comfortable and quiet place and sit in a cross legged position...
(Any comfortable positions are fine if you have pain to seat with crossed leggs)
Then, clarify your intention and choose your mantra or affirmation.
Close your eyes and observe the speed and depth of your natural breath.
Begin to breathe deeply and bring your attention into your mantra or affirmation.
Hang the first mala bead gently on the middle or ring finger of your right hand.
Place your thumb on the guru bead and begin reciting your mantra.
At the end of the mantra push the mala bead away with your thumb and move on to the next bead for another round.
Continue until you reach a count on 7, 21, 27, or 108.
If you wish to do another round of mantras or affirmations, do not skip over
the guru bead. Instead, turn the mala around and move in the opposite direction.