You may (or may not) have seen that I've been creating some very special rudraksha mala as an offering and extension of Kandala Yoga recently. Rudraksha have a very special place in my heart and I have a deep connection to their sacredness after my time in an ashram that was dedicated to Shiva. As part of my duties, I use to thread mala with mantra to sell in order to help raise funds to maintain the running of the center. There have been so many questions about them that I wanted to take some time to share just how special rudraksha are, how to use them for japa meditation (+ what that is) and even have a quick chat about the potency of sanskrit.
"Rudraksha literally means “the tears of Shiva”. It is said, while contemplating Man’s suffering, Shiva — the great Mahadeva, the Supreme God and divine gift-giver — unexpectedly began to cry tears of compassion. As his tears fell, he guided them towards Earth and transformed them into divine seeds…for the benefit of those seeking freedom from suffering and union with the Divine."
Rudraksha are said to hold a very special vibration that helps the wearer to ward off negative energies. Usually strung on cotton or silk thread, a Rudraksha mala most commonly consists of 108 beads and a Guru Bead. 108 is a very auspicious number and the purpose of the Guru Bead (Bindu) is to end cycles so that one doesn't get caught in spiraling patterns or become physically dizzy.
Japa Mala Meditation
Japa mala meditation is where the rudraksha (or another method of counting) are used to count the number of mantra recitations in order to protect and focus the mind. The more that a person uses japa mala, the more pure their mind becomes and the greater the protective vibration of the rudraksha becomes. The mantra or word chosen then becomes a shielding force in the person's life that guides them, contains their mind in a focused and connected container as well as becoming an anchor in the tides of life.
To Practice Japa Mala Meditation
Choose a word or mantra that has meaning for you; something that you wish to attain. It could be as simple as "peace" or even longer like "Gayatri Mantra" or another phrase that one is connected to. Sit in a comfortable position with your knees lower than your hips (you can sit on a cushion or in a chair to help with this) and then place the first bead between your thumb and middle finger. Begin to recite your mantra by holding onto the first bead next to the Bindu (Guru Bead). Then, move the mala through your palms as you move to the next bead with the guidance of your index finger. Continue repeating your mantra for each bead until you reach the Bindu and then you have completed one round. Begin a daily practice with one round of repetition (108) and then you can slowly increase the number of rounds you take of your mala.
The Power of Sanskrit
Of course, if you wish to really stick to the traditions of Japa Mala then you may want to find a Sanskrit word or mantra that resonates with your heart. And there's good reason for this..
Sanskrit is more than a language. It is a science of sound that has the ability to pinpoint the exact vibration of the vision we wish to create or attain. The "alphabet" of sanskrit is known as the Mantrika ~ meaning "matrix" or "mother". It is both a mantra in itself as well as a deity and it is mapped out within our body. This means that we literally hold every elemental sound that makes up the entire cosmos within our being. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm.
There are 50 phonemes that stand for the 50 fundamental principles of reality and these are housed within each cell of our body. It's like having the DNA or blueprint of the cosmos stored within us. The beauty of this means that nothing is unattainable. We have the potential to use our words and our thoughts to create our reality and this becomes especially true when we connect to sanskrit. This is also a reminder that if there is a quality or achievement that we admire in another then that is a true, existing possibility that can be manifested for us too. We can be empowered by the knowing that we too hold the exact same capabilities within us as well. Afterall, we hold the blueprint of the cosmos within us so anything that is manifest already exists within us too.
But, in order to access the potency of these vibrations we must be able to articulate them properly. We must place the accent on the correct syllables where relevant and be able to place our tongue in the correct places to articulate the sounds precisely. It becomes like a recipe for creating your reality. But, sanskrit pronounciation is a whole other lesson and one that we can save for another day. If you are really curious about learning how to articulate sanskrit properly then I would highly recommend listening to sanskrit mantra and songs and learning to read and sing along with it. A great piece for this (and the way that I learnt how to speak sanskrit) is "Shri Guru Gita". You can find the words and music online ~ it is a super beautiful and awakening practice in itself.
So, why not give it a go? Japa Mala is the easiest way to start a meditation practice of your own and a great way to feel more connection and meaning in your life. A rudraksha mala will just take it to the next level. Happy meditating!
P.S. the online store is going through a transition as the last of the Anahata Collection has been sold. Keep an eye out for the next range of mala which will be available very soon. Another quick reminder too, that if we have worked together, there is the opportunity to win your very own mala simply by leaving a Google Review. Be sure to be following @Kandala_Yoga on Instagram for the updates of when these sacred pieces return.