Mala prayer necklaces may be a new fashion trend, but they certainly aren’t new by any means. These stunning pieces of yoga jewelry date back centuries and they have an incredible history. In order to truly understand the power of mala beads, there are some things you have to know. So, consider this your go-to guide to answering your question, “What are mala beads?”
Physically, mala prayer beads are beaded necklaces. That’s a no-brainer, but answering, “What are mala prayer beads,” goes deeper than that. Mala prayer beads are much more than a fashion statement.
Mala Prayer necklaces, also known as Buddhist beads, were traditionally used in prayer and meditation. Since they’re created with various types of natural materials, from
sandalwood to lava stone and everything in between, the mala beads are believed to provide spiritual healing. Additionally, they're also believed to bring certain qualities out from the wearers’ character, such as strength, calmness, happiness, clarity, etc.
The history of prayer beads is vast and it's believed to have originated in India back in the 8th century B.C.E. This is also why mala prayer beads are also known as Buddhist beads or Buddhist prayer beads.
As time went on, many other religions started using prayer beads within their religious practices and mala prayer beads became common in china, Korea, Tibet, and Japan. Eventually, prayer beads extended into Europe during the late Middle Age in the form of Catholic rosaries.
Today, more than two-thirds of the world use some kind of prayer bead, whether a string of Buddhist beads, a Rosary, a Subha, mala or something else. So, needless to say, there’s a long history of beads being used to connect with the world on a spiritual level.
But why beads, you ask? This is a tough question to answer in a quick blog post, but here’s a quick breakdown. The English word ‘bead” comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘bede’ and ‘bidden’ which mean 'prayer' and 'to pray'.
Additionally, the natural stones and materials used to create mala prayer beads are believed to have deeper meanings and healing capabilities. To put it simply, praying for happiness while holding prayer beads found in our Kampa mala necklace that bring cheerful energy makes sense. It’s like praying for something while channeling it from the natural stones, which is why many people also burn things, such as sandalwood and sage. Natural materials from this beautiful earth emit specific energies that people can channel through meditation, religion, seances, and whatever else you're into.
Traditionally, prayer beads were made with 108 beads plus one guru bead. The significance of 108 malas can be linked to many things. For example, there are 108 sacred texts, 108 sacred sites in India, and 108 marma points in the body. There are 108 lines of energies that connect in order to form the heart chakra, the sun’s diameter is 108 times the diameter of the Earth, and the sun’s distance to the earth is 108 times greater than the sun’s diameter. 108 is a multiple of 18, which is the number linked to the word, “Chai” which means, “life”. We could go on for 108 days talking about the significance of 108, but you probably get the point by now.
Now for the most important thing about mala prayer beads – you don’t have to be religious at all in order to reap the benefits of Mala Prayer necklaces. At least, not in today’s day and age. While mala bead necklaces were traditionally used in prayer and meditation, times have changed. They’re now used to connect the human spirit and soul with the earth and all of its surroundings. So, religious or not, you can take advantage of the beauty and benefits of Mala Prayer Necklaces.