The History of Malas and their Significance

The existence of the Mala beads dates back to the 8th century BCE, when the ancient seers of India began to use beads to help them focus their minds during meditation and prayers.

Later on, the use of the Mala beads during meditation began to spread to other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism and even to individuals around the globe who did not practice these religions.

At Be The Light Malas, we make Mala necklaces with a combination of authentic, high-quality gemstones from Mother Earth, pearls, crystals, and sometimes a tassel.

Spiritual Significance of Malas

All Mala usually consists of 108 beads, a Guru bead, which marks the beginning and end of your meditation or prayer, and a tassel. These are the three major elements of the Mala.

The 108 beads are used in prayer, mantra chanting, and meditation. Traditionally, in this practice, you recite mantras like "Om Mani Padme Hum" while moving your fingers along each bead until you've reached 108.

The Guru bead is larger at the end of the strand, representing the teacher or spiritual guide in one's life. The Guru bead is not counted nor crossed when one reaches the end of each meditation, prayer, or mantra chant and wants to continue.

Crossing or counting the bead is seen as disrespectful to your teacher or spiritual guide. You simply flip the Mala beads over. That way, your last bead becomes your first, and you can continue meditating, praying, or chanting your mantra.

The tassel on a Mala, which often hangs from the guru bead, represents the lotus flower, a symbol of higher consciousness, enlightenment, and attaining spiritual knowledge.

What are Mala beads made from?

According to the Mokugenji Sutra, Mala was first made from the Mokugenji, a type of tree with a seed known as the soapberry that grows in warm regions like India and South Asia.

However, in recent times, different materials have been used to make Mala beads, such as seeds from the rudraksha, wood from the tulsi plant, animal bone, sandalwood, wood or seeds from the Bodhi Tree, and semi-precious gemstones like carnelian and amethyst.

It’s important to note that each material has energetic properties that can enhance specific intentions or practices. Your intentions or the desire you want to see manifest in your life should influence your choice of Mala beads.

For someone who intends to manifest love in their life, choosing a Mala bead meant for protection or spiritual growth may not help them manifest their intentions or desires. So, it's essential to go for materials that reflect your intentions.

Below are some spiritual implications of the materials used to make Mala beads to consider before choosing them for your meditation.

Mala Beads Materials

Spiritual Significance

Rudraksha seeds

Spiritual protection

Bodhi seeds

Spiritual enlightenment and awakening


Spiritual growth and protection

Rose quartz

Love and emotional healing

Black onyx

It helps protect you by absorbing and transforming negative energy


It helps to promote abundance, prosperity, and positivity by harnessing the energy of the sun,


It's known for its ability to enhance vitality, passion, and strength while also promoting balance


Cultural Uses of Mala Beads

Even though the 108 beads on the Mala are the same in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other spiritual traditions, they hold a different spiritual significance that cuts across all religious and cultural societies.

For instance, the Hindus believe that the number on the Mala beads has a cosmic significance, which is the basis of creation, representing the universe and the wholeness of existence, and that the ultimate consciousness is that we are all the same.

Buddhists believe the number of Mala beads refers to the number of human passions one is striving to overcome to reach enlightenment.

Other spiritual traditions believe using the Mala beads when reciting a mantra 108 times can help purify the mind and soul.

How to Use Mala Beads?

The Mala beads are counters that keep track of your recitations when meditating, praying, or chanting a mantra. By doing so, each bead brings you closer to your intentions.

To use the Mala, you will start at the first bead next to the Guru bead and bring the beads towards you, using your thumb and middle finger only, as the index finger is termed the "ego" or "accusing" finger.

The moment you complete the 108 rounds, you can end your meditation practice, and if you wish to continue, flip your Mala over, being mindful not to cross the Guru bead and count another 108 repetitions.

Mala beads in meditation

Meditating with a Mala is an excellent way of focusing your mind. You can use Mala beads in various ways during meditation, but breath control and mantra repetition are two good starting points.

Breath Control

  • Choose a quiet and comfortable place to sit where you will not be disturbed.
  • To do this, you hold it with your thumb and middle finger (as explained earlier) and use it to focus your mind.
  • On each breath, you inhale, then exhale, holding the bead. Inhale-exhale, go to the next bead, and so on.
  • Doing this focuses your mind on the activity instead of all the talk and chatter in your mind. 
  • When you reach the end of the Guru bead, you turn it around and return the way you came.

Mantra Recitation

To use Mala beads with a mantra, follow the same process as you would to control your breath.

However, instead of exhaling and inhaling at each bead, begin by reciting your chosen mantra silently or aloud.

It's important to note that, while counting the repetition with the Mala, it's not only essential to repeat the word but also to be mindful and focus on the meaning of the word or phrase you are repeating. Doing this will help the practice become more powerful and meaningful to you.

I will also suggest that you use a Mala that holds a personal significance, either one that you have chosen yourself or one that a spiritual teacher has blessed.

Mala in modern-day wellness

Aside from the spiritual advantages of using Mala beads daily, they are also an excellent tool for everyday wellness.

Below are some ways to use your Mala beads to improve your everyday life.

Stress Relief

Continuous use of Mala beads aids in stress relief. Every time you move your fingers on the beads while meditating or reciting your mantra, it helps you become calm and relaxed in your mind and soul, thereby reducing stress.

Intentional Living

Using a Mala can also help you become more intentional about your life. You can use it to repeat positive affirmations such as, "I am loved," and "I am healthy." You will become more conscious of what you say to yourself daily because you know you are trying to manifest that intention in your life.

Control of Emotions

Mala beads also help you control your emotions. Suppose you find yourself in an angry situation. Using your Mala beads at that moment can help you stay in control of that situation.

You become more focused on the rhythmic movement of your fingers than the situation itself.

Energy Awareness

You become more aware of the energy around you when you constantly use your Mala beads.


Mala beads are an excellent way to improve your everyday life. They help you focus on your spiritual path and improve your physical health.

Whether you want to meditate to improve your physical health or begin your spiritual journey, I urge you to use Mala beads that suit your intentions.

And if you are wondering where to get your quality, handcrafted, durable, and easy-to-use Mala necklaces, shop our collection of exquisite Mala necklaces curated from premium gemstones, each intricately handcrafted to embody spiritual significance and durability, showcasing a diverse range of designs inspired by ancient wisdom traditions and modern aesthetics.