Mala beads, mala beads, they’re everywhere! From fashionistas to yogis, everyone is donning some stunning mala bead necklaces around their neck. What might surprise you though, is that mala beads aren’t just a fashion trend. They have a significantly deeper meaning found within the 108 beads and one that showcases the beauty that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Authentic mala bead necklaces are made with 108 beads - not 100 beads or 109 beads. Although, some today may have double that amount or half or a variation of the number, such as 18 or 27, which is ok too since they’re still in sync with the significance of 108.
If you were to look into the history of yoga and eastern philosophy, you’d see that there are 108 chapters of the Rig Veda, 109 primary Tantras, and 108 Upanishads. All of these texts are written in Sanskrit which is a language made up of 54 letters for both the Shiva (masculine) and feminine (Shakti) form. Times 54 by two, and you get 108. It’s ancient history.
Traditionally, mala beads were known as prayer beads, which were used to meditate and repeat a mantra. With every mala bead touched, one would repeat the mantra until all 108 beads are done. This was believed to channel intentions, goals, and aspirations, and is still commonly used for the same thing today.
Ayurveda is the term used to describe the traditional Hindu practices of medicine. These were based on balancing the body with herbs, breathing, and a special diet. This practice also identified with 108 sacred places found in the body, all of which are crossways between matter and consciousness. Ayurveda used these points in the body to awaken the spirit and align one’s energy to give them the healing they needed.
Chakras resonate with the 108 mala beads in terms of the seven energies in the body. This practice believes that there are 108 energy lines that connect to the heart and that each of them leads to the path of self-realization.
Veda is the most ancient Hindu scriptures known to man. It contains hymns, philosophy, and guidance, with a large significance places on 108. The members of this tradition interpreted the number as being the wholeness of the universe. One represents the solar, zero represents the lunar, and either represents the nature of all things. Thus, the entire universe.
108 is often used by mathematicians for its countless patterns and various divisions. It can be divided, multiplied, added, and subtracted in several ways, making it a mathematician’s dream. 108 is to mathematics like candy is to a toddler – it’s life.