A mala is a loop of prayer beads commonly used in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism for counting recitations when performing japa (reciting a mantra or other sacred sound).
The Anatomy of a Mala
- Beads:108 for a necklace mala, 54 for a half mala and a number divisible by 108 for a wrist mala.
- Guru Bead: The 109th bead also known as teacher, meru or mountain bead. The larger bead or T-drilled bead to signify the start and end of your 108 repetitions.
- Tassel or other adornment: Typically represents enlightenment. This is not attached after the fact and should be directly incorporated into the mala by way of the extra stringing material.
- Knots or Spacers: Provides consistent space between each bead for ease of counting. Knows are sometimes used to represent the connection between all beings.
Aksha + Eyes
Rudraksha is interpreted as tears falling from the eyes (Aksha) or Lord Shiva (Rudra). Some also believe that the Rudraksha is related to the third eye or ajna chakra.
It is said that when Lord Shiva meditated for the well being of all creatures, tears of compassion fell from his eyes onto the earth, and these tears crystallized into the seeds we now know as rudraksha.
Did you know-- Lord Shiva wears rudraksha beads as a symbol of his connection to the divine. The different faces of the beads were created to represent different aspects of his divine energy.
The Mysterious Powers of Rudraksha
According to a scientific study, rudraksha seeds contain subtle electromagnetic atoms that influence our bodies. Wearing a rudraksha mala has multiple benefits including:
- Acts as a protective shield for the body
- Radiates special energy that has a positive effect on the body, mind, and soul
- Mitigates negative karma
- Improves concentration
- Removes harmful planetary effects
- Brings peace and harmony
- Helps control stress and regulates blood pressure
- Balances the chakras and removes potential illnesses
Some Common Misconceptions
- Rudraksha can only be worn by ascetics: Certain types of Rudraksha are more suitable to be worn by ascetics due to their potency, but there are many that can be used by anyone.
- I can share my Rudraksha with family/ friends: It's not a good idea to share a Rudraksha with others because the Rudraksha adapts to the one wearing it. It creates a cocoon of energy for you.
- Rudraksha can't be worn when doing something inauspicious: Rudraksha is one with nature and everything we do derives from nature - auspicious or not. In fact, if you wear it the entire day, you will be able to derive maximum benefit of the seed.
How to know if it's fake??
Rudraksha beads have spiritual significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. As a result, there is a high demand for Rudraksha beads, and unfortunately, this has led to the production of many fake knockoffs.
To check whether a Rudraksh is genuine, put it in water. If it is, it will drown, the fake wooden dupe will float. Another test is to put it in boiling water and check if it comes out fissureless. If it does, it is genuine.