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Mālā (also japamālā). A ‘rosary’ for Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs.


Basically, mālā is a garland made of beads and/or berries, presented to honoured guests, and to symbolize victory. They consist (usually) of 108 berries, and are then used in the practice of japa. 108 is the number of evil passions to which humans are subject.


The number of beads is the same, and they are used to count repetitions in the recitation of dhāraṇīs, mantras, and the name of a buddha (nembutsu).


It is usually made of wool, and has 108 knots, though smaller ones of twenty-nine knots are also used. They are used to aid concentration on the name (nām) of God.

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