A mala is a string of 108 beads with one bead as the summit bead called a ‘sumeru’.
It is a tool used to keep your mind on the practice as you are chanting or leading a group chant. Malas are generally made from different materials such as tulsi (basil) wood, sandal wood, rudraksh seeds or crystal.
How to Use?
The mala is traditionally held in the right hand and used in two ways –
In one method, the mala is hanging between the thumb and the ring (third) finger. The middle (second) finger is used to rotate the mala by one bead towards oneself with each repetition of the mantra.
In the other method, the mala is hanging on the middle finger, with the thumb used to rotate the mala just as explained – one bead at a time.
Either way, the index finger is never used to touch the mala.
The practice begins at the summit bead (sumeru) and continues around the loop until the summit is reached again. The summit bead is never passed over. So if you plan to do more than 1 round, the mala is turned around to proceed again in the reverse direction.
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