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Using japamala for prayer

Using japamala for prayer

One bead in the rosary is a bigger bead or dangling outside the loop. It is called 'Someru', a name derived from the mountain of the same name that allegorically represents being composed of gold and gems.

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Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 22:21 IST
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 22:21 IST
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Rosary is used by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs as tool of prayer. The colour and number of its beads vary for different religions/sects. Using it while praying or chanting, helps in focusing on the sounds, vibrations and meaning of the words being uttered. It helps in keeping track and count. 

The loop of prayer beads, commonly used in Indian religions, like Hinduism, Buddhism Jainism and Sikhism, is called japamala denoting jaap or chanting and mala (string/garland). Its 108 beads could be either rudraksh  tulsi or vaijyant  seeds, coloured glass beads, pearls or even precious or semi precious gems. However, rudraksh is the most preferred because of its germicidal and magnetic properties.

In Angira Smriti it is said: Just as no religious ceremony is complete without the kusha grass, and no charity is complete unless one gives with one’s hand, praying without a rosary has no count and will not bring results. According to the Yogachudamani Upanishad, 108 is the 100th part of the number of breaths we take in our waking 12 hours and 1000th of the degrees of movement of the Earth, around the Sun in one year. According to astrology, 108 is auspicious because it is 12 zodiac segments multiplied by 9 – the number of planets of the Nava Graha, representing our universe. One reason given by Hindu sages is that each of the located 27 constellations has 4 steps so 27 × 4 = 108.  

One bead in the rosary is a bigger bead or dangling outside the loop. It is called 'Someru', a name derived from the mountain of the same name that allegorically represents being composed of gold and gems. This mountain is accorded a coveted position in the universe. One begins using the rosary from the Someru. And on completing one round, crossing it is not recommended. Instead, one reverses the rosary and continues moving one bead at a time in the opposite direction. Thus, materialism is skipped and turned away from on reaching the Someru.  

Shivapurana’s Panchakshar Mantra, shloka 28, says that when using a rosary, if one uses the thumb, salvation is achieved. Used along with thumb, the forefinger helps conquer foes, the middle finger ensures attaining prosperity and the ring finger brings peace.  In shloka 65-66 of the Srimaddevibhagwata, punya of Ashwamedha yagna is accrued when one adorns the 108 beaded rudraksh around the neck; we find a place in heaven and it benefits 21 generations. Also, spiritual growth is attained, blood pressure is maintained and flow of bile in the body is balanced.  By using the japamala while praying, we benefit tenfold!

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