Japamala is a garland made up of beads and is used for doing Japa, by chanting or meditating on a divine name or a hymn. Usually, a Japamala contains 108 beads, which help a person in the process of chanting the mantra 108 times or even names of the gods (Ashtothram’s).
When you wish to start using a Japamala for your prayer purpose, several questions come to your mind like which Japamala to use, which is the best one, how to use a Japamala, their importance, and are there any specific benefits that are attained by using specific Japamala beads and so on.
Types of Japamala’s and their Benefits – Which One to Use
There are several types of Japamala’s based upon the materials their beads are made up of and each has its own benefits. However, you can use any type of Japamala for your regular purposes.
You can find Japamala’s made up of several items like lotus beads, rudraksha’s, or from wood or even with precious gems like corals, emeralds, pearls, and so on.
Several Hindu scriptures described the benefits that you get based upon which materials the malas are made up of. For example, Rudraksha mala is known to fulfill wishes, and the one made of pearls is used to obtain fame and protection.
However, be known that it doesn’t mean, they are only useful for that specific purpose, but they can also be used normally for devotion or even Mantrajapas.
Regarding the benefits of Japamalas, clear answers can be found in the Sharada Tilaka, which is a great collection of several hymns or mantras of various gods and goddesses.
There are some lines in Sharada Tilaka on which Japamala to use and about the benefits attained by using a specific type of beads.
Here are some phrases that describes the various japamala benefits.
Rudraksha maalika stute japenn swamanoradhan
Padmakshairvi hitaa maala satrunaam naasinee maata
By doing Japa with Rudraksha japamala, one can fulfill all their wishes
The use of japamala made with lotus beads will remove your enemies from your path of success.
Kusagrandhimayi maala sarvapapa vinaasini
Putra jeeva phalaihi kluptaa kurute putra sampadam
Japamala made with darbha grass (Kusha) knots will destroy all your sins.
By using Putra-jeeva beads japamala, will help to grant a son.
Nirmithaaraushya manibhirjapamalaepsita prada
Hiranmayairvirachitha maala kaaman prayacchathi
Using japamala made with silver beads will help to accomplish all the internal desires(Ipsitha)
Use of golden bead mala will help to fulfill your desires
Pravaalairvi hitaa mala prayachhet pushkalam dhanam
Saubhagyam spatiki mala mouktheekairvi hitha sriyam
Using Japamala made with corals can benefit you to get immense wealth
At the same time, spatikamala will improve prosperity and luck, while the one made with pearls gives protection and fame.
In this way the Sarada Tilaka explains the benefits that you can get basing upon the mala you use.
Also, several Shaivite scriptures like Shiva Maha Purana mentions even the sight of Rudraksha itself gives immense benefits and doing Japa using the Rudraksha mala can fulfill your wishes and also for getting the mercy of God Shiva.
There are also Japamalas made from the wood of tulasi, bilva, sandal, red-sandal and neem trees. Even you can use those too.
Importance of Japamala in Hinduism
Japamala acts as a great symbol representing several aspects in Hinduism like Tapas or meditation, knowledge, attaining a wish, or such. You can also see a rosary in the hands of several sages, yoginis, and even some times in the hands of gods and goddess indicating the importance of tapas or meditation for attaining the moksha or even your desires.
It mainly helps to have a focus on the mantra while you do the repetition or punahcharana.
How to use a Japamala?
Japamala is used by holding it with middle and thumb fingers and turning the beads using the thumb.
At the same time, the place of joining of the threads in the mala has a separate outstanding bead called Sumeru, a representation of divine mount Meru.
The person who do Japa should not cross or never count this Sumeru bead and should reverse the direction once they have reached the 108th bead or the bead before Sumeru.
Use the Japamala only when you are clean and that too in a place with a peaceful environment like your puja area. Also, ensure that the mala never touches the ground to protect its sanctity.
To avoid mala touching the ground, try to use it in a particular height above from the waist, if it’s not possible or if you feel difficult to do so, use a dedicated cloth bag, clean cloth, or a traditional mat like Kusha mat to avoid mala touching the ground.
Once you have completed doing Japa, keep it safely in a bowl or in a small cloth bag and place it near to the god in the puja room.
Do and don’ts while using
- Sit in a quiet place or in your puja area.
- Sit comfortably
- Be clean physically and internally in your mind and heart
- Apply Vibuthi/Bhasma or Kumkuma or any other tilaka.
- Preserve the sanctity or holiness of Japamala
- Use a clean cloth or a traditional mat such that the mala doesn’t touch the ground.
- Reverse the counting without crossing the Sumeru bead
- After using Japamala keep it in a bowl or cloth and place it in your puja area.
- Never touch the Japamala when you are unclean
- Never allow the Japamala to touch the ground
- Don’t cross the Sumeru Bija or bead.
How many beads does the Indian rosary Japamala have?
Indian Hindu Japamalas normally contains 108 (108+1) beads that facilitate the chanting of mantras and also due to the significance of that number. However, there are some japamala’s that even contain a lesser or greater count of beads.
Why does Japamala contain 108 beads?
Most of the Japamala’s contains 108 beads because of the significance of that number.
The motion of the planets is divided or described in 27 nakshatras, each one has 4 padas. So, when 4 padas of 27 nakshatras each were combined it gives the number 108 (27 nakshatras * 4 padas).
So, any being born on the earth will be in one of the nakshatras and padas. To get God’s mercy all the time and for all the beings, the use of 108 got great importance in Hinduism.
Where to buy Japamala?
You can buy a Japamala online. Almost all online stores sell various Japamalas that are made with different materials. You can even get them from a nearby puja store too.
If you wish to have any specific type of mala that isn’t available online or in puja stores, you can find such in pilgrim centers.