A popular piece of adornment these days is the wrist mala.Yoga practitioners and fashonistas alike can be spotted wearing bracelets made of everything from sandlewood to semi-precious stones. Many are unaware of their significance and few are aware of their use as a sacred spiritual tool.
Elizabeth Gilbert patterned her best seller, Eat Pray Love, around the structure of Hindu prayer beads or malas dividing the chapters of her famous book into fractions of 108 --the number of beads on the mala’s sacred circle. Traditionally, malas are used to repeat a mantra or prayer-much like the Catholic rosary. Interestingly, there are also also 108 beads in the Bhuddist prayer beads while the early Catholic rosary had exactly half that number or 54 beads.
What is the significance of 108? In Indian culture 108 is considered to be a number of completion and wholeness. In numerology, zero, the circle represents unity. Eight is the number that represents infinity. One and eight equal nine which represents completeness.
In astronomy, the average distance of the sun and the moon to earth is 108 times their respective diameters. It is said that in India their are 108 sacred sites throughout the country and 108 marma (sacred) points on the human body.
Wrist malas are a smaller version of the standard mala which has 108 beads.
Many wrist malas, although not all, are composed of a fraction of 108. Twenty-seven is a common number. Once you learn use how to use them you will imbue your own precious spiritual energy into the beads and they will become a protection for you.
1. Remove the bracelet and place your thumb and forefinger on one of the beads.
2. In your mind repeat a sacred phrase--a word or words that are sacred to you. It might be the name of the divine according to your wisdom tradition, the words peace harmony, well-being, or joy, peace, bliss. Whatever you choose repeat the same phrase with the tongue of the mind as your fingers move from bead to bead.
3. Complete one circle on the beads..
4. Replace them on your wrist. Do this at least once daily.
As you become adept in this ancient practice, you will find that the malas become a great friend and a sacred time for you to connect with your indwelling spirit.