A mala is a string of beads, used to mediate or to chant mantras or prayers, it is worn as a bracelet or around the neck. The term « Mala » is a Sanskrit means « garland of meditation”. Traditionally, malas are used for a special type of meditation called “. « Japa » meaning « recite »
In traditional Hinduism and Buddhism, the mala is made of 108 beads of either wood, seeds, pearls or precious stones. Some mala’s have a 109th bead called the Meru bead. The Meru bead typically sits at the centre of the mala. (Meru is a mountain that would be the summit of the universe).
The mala helps us to count each mantra represented by a bead. The meru indicates the start of the 108 repetitions of the mantra. If the mantra is recited 108 times, it can be a fraction of this number. For example: half, third, quarter, twelfth one. As a consequence certain mala have 54, 36, 27 or 9 beads.