Your Guide to Malas and Mantras
Today everything revolves around technology, social media and all things that can be found on the World Wide Web. With all that time spent on the internet, we end up rushing through our work and other daily activities. Have you noticed when you are stressed, you keep telling yourself, ‘you can do this’, repeatedly? That, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of a mantra, and mantras are almost always in partnership with the use of Malas or beads, especially during meditation.
What are Malas and Mantras
Mantra is a word, sound or phrase that is repeated during a meditation. Whereas, Malas are strings of 108 beaded rosaries or prayer beads with one “guru” bead. It was believed that number 1 stands for God and Universe, the number 0 stands for emptiness and humility and the number 8 stands for infinity. Malas are used to keep count of the mantra recitations. Malas enable you to focus on awareness and concentration during meditation. By practicing mantra repetition, you will be able to achieve unity with the main idea of the mantra or your chosen deity.
Choose your Mala and Mantra
Take the time to relax, and let your heart decide what it is you desire while choosing your Mala or Mantra. Malas can be made from sandalwood, tulsi, rudraksha or semiprecious stones (eg. Quartz). These beads carry certain energies, for example Rose Quartz is the stone of the heart and love there forth making love the intention being set. Using mala beads made of rose quartz would allow you to give or receive love. There are a lot of options and combinations as well. Trust your intuition eventually, you'll find the one that feels right for you.
Now let’s talk about mantras. Mantras are either chanted or spoken sacred sounds. It is a concise syllable, word or phrase which contains the essence of the various spiritual teachings. An example is “om” which is pronounced as “aum”. It is said to have high spiritual and creative powers to the person who practices it. Your mantra is normally given to but at times you can choose a mantra for yourself. It would depend upon you and what your desires are and also your inner motivations in doing the practice, for example, ‘I am capable’.
How to use Malas and Mantras
Before beginning, you should think of your inner motivations in starting the practice. Sit down with your mala and light a candle. Begin by clearing your mind from all the stray thoughts. Breathe deeply and be aware of yourself. Until you feel well and connected, begin reciting your mantra. Note that you hold your mala in right hand with beads between your middle finger and thumb. You start at the first bead after the guru bead. One finished mantra is one bead. The guru bead is not counted and you don’t cross over it. Instead, you turn your mala to a 180 degree and continue. Crossing over the guru bead is like stepping over our teacher, which is a symbolic no-no.
In counting Mala during recitations, it preoccupies the mind and is like an affirmation to keep the mind focused on the practice. You will be less distracted by any stray thoughts. In this way, you will be able to only allow positivity in your life. Thus whatever desires it is that you want, the power of words strengthens the meaning as it is when spoken. Achieve the desires of your heart through mantra recitation and learn how to Make Your Own Mala with a workshop lead by Mafer Parvati on August 20, 2016. Sign up now at the Bagua Center and awaken yourself to a new and better you.