Using a Mala for Japa
In the Indian tradition, malas with Rudraksha seed, Tulsi seed, Sandalwood or Quartz crystal are used for japa. Here at Maha Mala we have combined both the traditional wood and seeds with the beneficial properties of semi-precious stones to bring you a whole new range of malas that you can use for japa or for jewelry.
One generally practices japa in the early morning or before going to bed (although japa can be done at any time). Japa recitation is an aid in calming the mind, hence sitting cross-legged on the floor is advisable- similar to meditation.
1. Hold the Mala in your right hand with your thumb and two middle fingers (there are a few different ways to hold a mala, this is one of them).
2. Start at the bead next to the sumeru bead (the biggest bead at the end) and move each bead through your fingers towards your heart. Keep your hand at heart level.
3. One bead represents one recitation of your mantra, the recitation can be done out loud or internally- generally speaking your mantra out loud is easier than keeping your mantra internal. By reciting your mantra whilst using your mala, you ‘charge’ your mala with the energy of your mantra!
4. Once you have gone through all 108 beads of your mala- do not cross over the sumeru bead (this bead represents your goal you are trying to attain), simply turn the mala around and continue your recitation in the opposite direction. This can keep going on- some people practice 1 round, 108 rounds or even 1008 rounds of the mala!
Don’t worry if you are slow or fast, it all depends on your mantra! Over time your speed will increase as you get used to your mala and your mantra. One mala should be used for one mantra (remember that your mala becomes charged with energy from that particular mantra?)- therefore when changing mantra a new mala should be used.
Some simple mantras to recite are as follows:
- AUM. The sound of the universe, the universal sound.
- Aum Shivaayai Namaha! Salutations to the auspicious one (Shiva).
- Aum Saraswatyai Namaha! Salutations to Saraswati (the goddess of learning).
- Aum Sri Matre Namaha! Salutations to the Divine Mother.
- Aum Sri Ganeshaya Namaha! Salutations to Lord Ganesha (remover of obstacles).
- Aum Sri Lakshmyai Namaha! Salutation to Lakshmi (goddess of auspiciousness and abundance)