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Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditation - Mala

Meditation - Mala A Meditation Mala is a string of one hundred and eight beads plus the large "meru" bead. It is a tool to keep you focused and concentrated in your Meditation practice. Malas literally mean "Rose" or "Garland", or "garland from above," or "heavenly garland” in Sanskrit. It is also called the “power beads” in today’s pop culture. Malas are used by any religion and in any spiritual prayer. The Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus utilize this spiritual tool in counting their mantras or prayers.

Since we are often distracted by little noises in our surroundings, a Mala will be a very helpful device. It aims to follow the breath rhythm and mantra, resulting to an attentive mind that will neither fall asleep nor wander off.

Here’s how to use your mala:

1. Hold it in your right hand. Start at the meru and roll the beads along one by one between your thumb and middle finger while repeating your mantra. The index finger is never used to touch the mala.

2. When you reach the meru, roll the Mala in the opposite direction. Don't cross over the meru bead. When repeating the process, the Mala is turned so you can go in the reverse direction.

There are different materials that Malas are made out of, and each of these has its own special characteristics and properties which may affect ones meditation process. Its electrical properties as minerals give positive energy and other benefits depending on its composition and how it is used. The following are some of the malas available in the market:

Bodhiseed Mala – or “enlightenment”. This is often associated with the Buddha, where he attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree.

Crystal Mala – is a great healing and protecting mala. It reenergizes the mind and drives away the negative energies.

Ebony Mala – has a black color, and is very durable. This is known to be a favorite among Indian royalties.

Lotus Mala – is believed to reduce imbalance and has cooling effects. Lotus malas are also said to improve focus and one’s speech.

“Nine-planet” Astrological (Navgraha) Mala – is made out of nine semi-precious stones representing the nine planets in the solar system. It helps in one’s destiny based on the astrological chart.

Rosewood Mala – helps in keeping the aura positive and in driving away the negative energy. This is also said to be good for the skin.

Rudraksh Mala – or the “eye of lord Shiva” is usually used for Shiva mantra. This is very effective for use in other mantras as well because of its ability to open the Heart Mantra. The Rudraksh mala help stabilize the body and lower the blood pressure.

Sandalwood Mala – has a nice, smooth texture, and natural fragrant smell. It has healing and cooling effects, giving you peace of mind, calmness, and tranquility during your Meditation practice.

Tulsi Mala – or the “sacred basil”,which is said to be very suitable in Meditation for being a divine and sacred wood in Indian worship. It develops your spiritual growth and helps you attain balance and a clear mind.

There are so many materials used in making Malas. Read more on these, and decide which will be the best for your Meditation practice.

The malas are sacred beads used in prayers and spiritual practices. Therefore, there are rules in using and taking care of these powerful prayer beads.

1. Malas are not accessories or jewelries. Treat these spiritual tools with respect and care, as these are associated with the Creator.

2. Malas should not be placed on the floor or on the ground. If you accidentally dropped your Mala, clean it and say a little prayer or mantra with your mala on the crown of your head.

3. Malas are not meant to be held by other people just for the heck of it. This excludes having it blessed by a holy person or priest, and when used as a tool for healing or blessing.

4. Malas should be stored in a safe place. Putting your mala in your pocket may lead to the breakage of its cord. Use a mala bag to keep your prayer beads safe and protected.

5. Malas should not be worn while bathing. Getting your malas wet may damage the cord and break them.

Malas as tools of prayer and meditation are sacred and should be given special care. These have special powers that work like magic by just wearing them. We strengthen and activate the malas by using them in prayers and meditation. Mala is an instrument to keep you guided and makes you feel closer to the Lord. Moreover, if used properly and treated with respect, it can lead to a healthy and positive life of prayer and oneness with the Creator, bringing peace, love, and happiness in your life.

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