Japamala The Power Of Chanting

Mantra – A sacred utterance, word or a sound chanted repeatedly to fulfill desires like

material gains, favors from Gods, to ward off planetary afflictions etc. Mantras should be

chanted for a certain number of times as prescribed in the scriptures. It needs to be

counted to keep track of number of chanting. To keep count of chanting, a rosary is

used which is nothing but a string of beads of various materials and in different numbers

as per traditions.

These rosaries are called Japamala. Generally 108 plus 1 bead makes one Japamala

but number of beads in Japamala can be different as per the purpose or traditional

practices. 109 th bead in the mala or the bead at the joint of mala is called Sumeru or

Stupa. Counting of Mantra starts from the bead next to Sumeru. Each bead is passed

through the ring finger and thumb. After chanting the Mantra once, one bead is passed

in clockwise direction. Generally the index finger is avoided as it represents ego which

hampers the process of self-realization. When all the beads of mala are passed through

and reached up to where it was started i.e. Sumeru, mala is turned around without

crossing Sumeru, and counting of Mantra continues. This completion of one round is

also counted with the help of some sacred produce like rice etc. One grain of rice is kept

aside in a pot or box after completion of each round.

Beads are made up of different variety of materials which are then strung together to

construct Japamala. Beads made from the seeds of Rudraksha tree are sacred to

Shaivites whereas beads made from Tulsi plant are sacred to Vaishnavas. Other seeds

from plants like Lotus, Vaijanti, Muktaphala, or wooden beads of Sandalwood, Turmeric,

Red Coral (Praval), Sphatik, Garnet or semi-precious stones are used to make


Krishna narrates – ‘यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि’

Of all the Yagnas performed, I am the Japa Yagna.

Japayoga is considered one of the best Yoga to practice. String of beads i.e. mala is

necessary part of Japayoga. As per scriptures, Japa done without keeping count fails to

give benefits or it cannot reach up to the desired deity.

All religions prescribe to use string of beads in different form and in different name.

Oxford dictionary mentions rosary used by Christians. It generally contains hundred and

sixty-five beads divided into fifteen sets. Other rosary of fifty five beads is also used. In

some catholic tradition even knotted prayer rope is also used. In Hindi Vishwakosha,

Kamil Bulke writes—“59 beads rosary is used by Roman Catholics while praying. In

Urdu a Japamala is known as Tasbeeh which is made up of 33, 66 or 99 and plus 1

beads. Small mala of 27 beads is called Sumarni in Hindi. Followers of Jain religion

preferably use mala made with 11 silver beads which is called Ganitaya or Kanchaniya.

In Sikh religion even mala made by cotton balls is used for japa, and also iron beads are

used to make Japamala. Japanese use beads made from Pipal tree wood. 112 beads

mala is used among Buddhist in Japan. They use mala for Japa as well as accessories.

It is interesting to know that in Egypt, during last rites rituals one thousand beads mala

is used.

As per Padma Purana, Japa done using Rudraksha mala gives million times more

blessings. In Mantramaharnava it is mentioned that Putrajeeva mala is better than

Arista mala, Shankha mala is better than Putrajeeva mala, Padma mala is better than

Shankha mala, Mani mala is better than Padma mala, Kushagranthi mala is better than

Mani mala, and Rudraksha mala is better than Kushagranthi mala. No wonder

Rudraksha mala has its place on the top.

Following Mantra states—

रुद्राक्षैः शत्त्कि-मन्त्रस्तु दिवा यो जपति प्रिये ।

स दुर्गतिमवाप्नोति जपस्तस्य निरर्थकः ॥

In scriptures it is mentioned that Rudraksha mala should not be used for Shakti-Mantra

Japa during the day. It will be fruitless and it even can bring misfortune.

Mantras to appease Uttaramnay Deva should not be done on the Japamala made from

Putrajeeva. Whereas Mantras for Devi Tara and Kalika should not be done with

Japamala made from Shankha. Instead of getting success it will bring harm and bad

luck. The following Mantra states:

मणिभिःपुत्रजीवोत्थैर्न जपेदुत्तरेश्वरीम्।

शङ्खमाला विधायाथ यस्तारां कालिका जपेत्।

मन्त्रक्षोभमवाप्नोति विद्या-सिद्धिर्न वै भवेत् ॥

Once chanting of Mantra is begun on a Japamala one round should be completed

without interruption or else the Japa of that particular round is not effective. In that case

whole round has to be redone.

During chanting, a person sits on the Asana which is stable and Japamala moves in

between his fingers and thumb. On the other hand there are fifty one Shakti Peethas

which are fixed and devotee goes to every Shakti Peeth and does Pradakshina around

  1. This is also one way of Japa. These holy places are symbolical beads which devotee

visits and completes his Japa. In the same way Dwadash Jyotirlinga also make one

mala of twelve beads. Prayers should be offered to Japamala before starting the japa

with mala.


ॐ मां माले महामाये सर्वशत्त्किस्वरुपिणी ।

चतुर्वर्गस्त्वयि न्यस्तस्तस्मान्मे सिद्धिदा भव ॥

ॐ अविघ्नं कुरु माले त्वं गृहणामि दक्षिणे करे

जपकाले च सिद्धयर्थ प्रसीद मम सिद्धये ॥

ॐ अक्षमालाधिपतये सुसिद्धिं देहि देहि,

सर्वमन्त्रार्थसाधिनि साधय साधय,

सर्वसिद्धिं परिकल्पय-परिकल्पय मे स्वाहा ॥

After completion of Japa, prayers should be offered again to Japamala.

ॐ त्वं माले सर्वदेवाना प्रीतिदा शुभदा भव ।

शिवं कुरुष्व में भद्रे यशो वीर्यञ्च देहि मे ॥

Japamala should be kept in the special bag (Gaumukhi) and no other person should

touch the Japamala. Mala used for chanting should not be worn on the body as keeping

it in open will make it lose all the power it acquired by chanting of Mantra. In case of

emergency mala which is used for wearing can be used for Japa. If Japamala is broken

it should be remade with the same procedure and all the Abhishek and consecration

rituals should be performed on the newly made mala.

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