Prayer beads are commonly known as Rosary beads which are ideally used in the practice of meditation and prayer. Prayers are repeated a lot of times corresponding with the number of beads. Traditionally, prayer beads have been associated with Catholicism, however, now, the use of prayer beads is widespread, with many religious traditions incorporating them.
The basic prayer bead is made up of 59 beads which are linked together in a shape that looks like a necklace. Each of the beads on the prayer bead is intended to have a prayer said while holding the individual bead. Of these beads, 53 are intended for “Hail Marys” to be said on them. While, the other six are intended for “Our Fathers.” These beads will provide you a physical method of keeping count of the prayers as the fingers are moved along the beads as the prayers are recited. That is why it is quite beneficial in maintaining focus while reciting prayer.
The number of beads in the prayer beads varies by religion or use, like Islamic prayer beads are known as Misbaha or Tasbih, which usually have 100 beads (99+1=100 beads in total or 33 beads read thrice & +1). Whereas Buddhists and Hindus use japa mala. The main body of japa mala consists 108 beads (which reflects a sacred number in both Hinduism & Buddhism) in addition to a guru bead, which is larger than the rest of the beads and often has a tassel.
Japa mala come in various styles, sizes and colours. You can also find Malas with 54 or 27 beads, these can help you keep track of your repetitions while giving you the option of doing a shorter meditation.
Bahá’í prayer beads consist of either “* beads or 19 beads, which are strung with the addition of * beads below. And the Sikh mala also has 108 beads (as similar to japa mala).
The oldest set of prayer beads in Western Christianity, the Pater Noster cord, traditionally consist of 150 beads for the 150 Psalms in the Bible, though Pater Noster cords of 50 beads have been made in the way that are prayed through thrice. Then Roman Catholics came to use the Rosary (prayer bead) with 59 beads.
And the Greek has an odd number of beads, that is one more than a multiple of four. [Eg. (4×4)+1, (5×4)+1.]
A wide variety of materials are used to make the prayer beads, such as, seeds and fruit stones (like Rudraksha, Vyjanti, Afzelia species, Abrus precatorius), gems & precious stones (like pearls, rose quartz, amethyst, lava stone, amber).
In Hinduism, Vaishnavas often use the prayer beads made up of tulsi beads. Whereas the Shaivites use the prayer beads of Rudraksha beads, and Aghori practitioners generally use fragments of human skull for their prayer beads.
In Hindu Tantra, as well as Buddhist Tantra or Vajrayana, materials and colours of the beads can relate to a particular practice.
Many people find it difficult, to keep their mind from wandering off. Here the prayer beads are the ideal choice. The prayer beads might be pretty to look at and soothing to touch, however these simple necklaces are more than just trendy jewellery. These prayer beads “have the aim of keeping you focused during meditation”.
The prayer beads, can help you with different aspects of meditation, which is linked to an array of health benefits.
There are 2 ways of using the prayer bead which can help make meditation easier:
1. The repetitive movement of your fingers across the beads helps ground you.
2. Touching each bead as you say a mantra helps you keep track of how many times you’ve repeated the mantra.
The following is an example of how the prayer bead may be used while reciting mantras:
• Firstly, find a comfortable seat for yourself.
• Hold the mala in one hand and dangle it easily.
• Then gently touch the guru bead with your opposite hand.
• As you move your fingers to the next bead, breathe in and breathe out and continue this in same manner.
• So, each bead gets its own inhale and exhale.
• Continue this until you feel the guru bead again.
The prayer beads are the dynamic tools that can help guide and promote mindfulness practices along with numerous benefits.
The prayer beads have been used as a tool for spiritual practice for millennia and across various faith traditions, drawing seekers closer to the divine with each bead touched and prayer offered.
There are millions of benefits of prayer beads, including, it helps in reducing stress, calms your mind and body, Reduce blood pressure & heart rate, Reduce the risk of various illness (such as heart disease, stroke), Creates new positive patterns in mind, Improves your concentration and focus, eliminate your negative thoughts and Cultivates positive emotions, Strengthens your mind, Cultivates a deep inner- strength & inner- power, Increase grit & resilience, Activate Shakti energy, Assist you in connecting with your spiritual energy , Energises the central system , Aids in attaining god- consciousness , Enhance self- awareness, Help slow respiration and Encourage overall well being.
When it comes to wearing the prayer beads, they are becoming more of a fashion statement especially among the Bohemian style and flair. The tassel will hang low if worn as a necklace, so pair it with a shorter necklace or a choker.
If you allow your mind to be gently reminded of the significance of keeping a positive state of mind, wishing good to others and opening yourself up to auspicious and blessed states of being, then the Prayer bead is an ideal way in drawing the mind closer to the celestial and divine sources from within you and around you. Prayer beads are an excellent way to bridge your mind to Spirit or deity.
The prayer beads, are very popular in India and Buddhist countries, which are generally used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name/s of a particular deity. The recitation of mantras is a very popular practice in both India & Asia. As sacred utterances, mantras can be repeated silently or chanted for several reasons or purposes. They are used predominantly by the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs as aids to meditation and devotion.
The sound vibrations produced by mantras instil concentration in the devotee and facilitate spiritual growth.
While there are wide range of traditions and styles of meditation you can practice, the prayer bead meditation is the easiest and most powerful way to meditate.
The importance of the number of beads in the prayer bead is associated with the goal of practicing a specific prayer. For example, A japa mala ( used by Hindus and Buddhists) with 27 beads is used for spiritual progress whereas a japa mala with 108 beads is used for attaining fulfilment.
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