What is a Mala? | Now.Here
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What is a mala?

Malas come in all different forms and shapes. They have been around since ancient times and are traditionally referred to as prayer beads. Their use can be found in various spiritual traditions that cultivate meditation practice. Japa Mala is an ancient Hindu practice in which you repeat a mantra or phrase to calm, center, and overcome the noise of the mind.

During meditation, malas anchor your focus through the simple sensation of the beads running past your fingertips.

At Now.Here, we design malas that are inspired by this beautiful Indian-Hindu tradition. Our malas are a set of 108 uniquely chosen beads, hand strung in a circular form and grounded by the guru bead. We utilize traditional rudraksha and stringing techniques while blending an assortment of healing gemstones and modern pendants. These beautiful ancient tools support you in your spiritual practice and bring you to the present moment. During meditation, malas anchor your focus through the simple sensation of the beads running past your fingertips. They are also believed to shield you from negativity, and regular meditation can even increase their power. Your mala is a perfect daily prompt to privately reflect throughout even the most hectic of days. At Now.Here, we are seeking to spread the mala love, and hope that people of any background can feel welcomed to wear one of our pieces.

This German woodcut from the 15th century images a paternoster maker cutting stones into beads.
This German woodcut from the 15th century images a paternoster maker cutting stones into beads.

Mala history

Mala beads were created long ago to act as a physical reminder to focus on mantra and meditation. Their purpose was to recite Sanskrit prayers or mantras upon them. These ancient spiritual symbols can be seen in all facets of religions and cultures throughout history. If you look hard enough, you can see mala like beads all around you, within Rosaries, worry beads, Misbaha and simply prayer beads. Though each religion and culture creates and uses their prayer beads in unique ways, their spiritual significance is their universal tie.

These ancient spiritual symbols can be seen in all facets of religions and cultures throughout history. Though each religion and culture creates and uses their prayer beads in unique ways, their spiritual significance is their universal tie.

Beaded jewelry has been used throughout history for a variety of different intents and purposes. The oldest surviving beads were made of shells and were discovered upon the continent of Africa over 10,000 years later. Ancient malas are believed to have come to existence in the 8th century in Buddhist India. These prayer beads were traditionally made from Bodhi seeds or rudraksha and sometimes from lotus seeds and sandalwood. Mala beads are now made from a variety of different materials and are purposefully created using stones and seeds with specific properties and energies.

Ancient malas are believed to have come to existence in the 8th century in Buddhist India. These prayer beads were traditionally made from Bodhi seeds or rudraksha and sometimes from lotus seeds and sandalwood.

Japa mala beads come in sets of 108 or a divisor of that number (27 or 54). One cycle of mantra recitation is 100, so the spiritually significant 108 allows for a few human errors along the way. Japa mala literally translates to “garland recitation”. Recitation of prayer or mantra upon this garland has been used upon prayer beads has been a powerful awakening tool.

Feeling inspired to start your spiritual practice? Find your prayer beads here.

How should I choose a mala?

Each mala created by Now.Here has it’s own unique design and intention, and finding the perfect one is a truly personal decision. We believe that choosing a mala should be based on the feeling that it gives to you. When selecting your mala, you might be drawn to the color or a specific healing property of a gemstone, or perhaps you will decide to focus your decision upon a specific intention in your life. Use your intuition as your guide and know that any mala that you choose will be a great step into meditation and balance

 

What makes our mala beads unique?

  • Our malas are not mass-produced, they are hand-strung by a Brahman family that follows strict Balinese spiritual ethics when stringing the malas:
    • Malas can only be produced in certain time periods that are seen as fitting within the vedic astrologic calendar.
    • If the person stringing the mala has a “bad day” or can not focus, then the mala will be restrung. Mental and emotional equanimity are seen as 100% necessary to fulfill the stringing task.
  • All malas are blessed and activated by Ida Resi Alit, Bali’s famous Water Priestess, through ceremony before being sold around the globe.
  • Now.Here’s designs are unique. They are modern and fresh with a contemporary twist, while keeping the essence of traditional mala making alive.
  • Our Rudraksha seeds are harvested from a special region in Central Java that is revered amongst people in the know as the producer of the highest quality rudraksha beads on the planet. Mala lovers from all over the world seek out rudraksha from this region.
  • We offer accessible prices while retaining the highest quality of gemstones and materials.
  • We are much more than just a mala producer, we are a growing community that inspires each other to meditate. We share tutorials, documentaries and hold workshops to assist in and inspire spiritual practice in a modern context.
A Wandering Sadhu. Display Artist: Chajju Lal. Creation Date: ca. 1900. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, The San Diego Museum of Art
A Wandering Sadhu. Display Artist: Chajju Lal. Creation Date: ca. 1900. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, The San Diego Museum of Art
Miniature painting of indian  using his mala
Miniature painting of indian using his mala
Sadhu on his pilgrimage, photo taken around 1930's
Sadhu on his pilgrimage, photo taken around 1930's

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