Beggar's Bowl

Friday, July 12, 2013

Prayer Beads

Prayer Beads by Jamila

In practically every mystical tradition, from Buddhism to Sufism, practitioners have always used tools to help them keep their focus on the spiritual, rather than finite, realm. One such useful tool, that is used across creeds, is prayer beads. The number of beads varies from tradition to tradition but the practice and the purpose is essentially the same: each bead is pulled as a mantra, incantation, or prayer is invoked (either verbally or mentally.) One circles around the prayer beads repeating the incantation over and over again. This puts one in a meditative state while one is still fully conscious and aware. You can use prayer beads as you work, commute, walk or even talk! Like sitting meditation, the use of prayer beads alters thought patterns turning negative self-talk, doubt, fear and insecurity into radiance, confidence, beauty and prosperity. 

In the Sufi tradition, prayer beads are called tasbih. They can be long consisting of 102 beads divided into 3 sections of 33 beads (3 x 33 = 99) 99 signifying the 99 Most Beautiful Names of Allah. A short tasbih consists of 36 beads divided into 3 sections of 11 beads (3 x 11 = 33) if you circle the beads with prayers 3 times it adds up to 99. The practice is called dzikr, translated into English means "remembrance." In the Hindu and Buddhist tradition, prayer beads are called mala. They consist of 108 beads: 1 signifying One God, or Divine Truth, 0 signifying zero consciousness and 8 signifying infinity. 108 is also the number of human afflictions which cause suffering. The incantation is a mantra, thought and/or sound projection, which helps burn karma liberating one from human suffering. In Catholicism, it is called a rosary. Originally the rosary had 150 beads, for the 150 psalms in the bible. It is used to count and say the "Hail Mary" and an "Our Father" is said on the divider beads.

No matter what your tradition or religious affiliation, prayer of this type is a science and a medicine. There are mantras and prayers for whatever ails your body, or your spirit: from protection, to prosperity, to Divine Union. Your prayer beads carry the vibration of your prayers and your subtle energy serving as a tool to take your practice off the mat and into your daily life. And if they break there is no need to fret. It is believed when your mala breaks that your prayers have been answered. 

If you would like a personalized one-of-a-kind mala or tasbih with a personal mantra or prayer, please send your request to Jamila aka Luz at 

Prices vary depending on length and material. Use of semi-precious stones and charms increase price. Prices range from $45 to $90. The price includes a FREE consultation, a personal mantra or Sufi prayer, and shipping within the United States.

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