The Meaning of Mala Beads + The Significance of 108

The Meaning of Mala Beads + The Significance of 108

What is the meaning of Mala beads and the purpose of 108?

After reading this you will have a better understanding of Mala beads and why it is so significant in the the esoteric religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.

And although many people where these beads for jewellery now, there is an important and powerful meaning behind them — and spiritual.

What Are Mala Beads?

They are special beads that are connected to the strings of beads known as Malas. These beads have an upmost importance and have been used for thousands of years by spiritual people, yogis, and various esoteric religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. The special beads are made of

  • gemstones
  • rattan, lotus seeds
  • pearls
  • crystals
  • silver, gold, copper
  • woods, and more

It all depends on the type of meditation and purpose one wants to use them for. The beads are then put together with 108 strands of Mala to complete the final piece

wooden beads
Wooden beads

Mala Beads Aid in Prayer & Meditation

They are used to help in meditation, specifically to count each recitation of a mantra or verse. Yogis, monks, and other spiritual people on the Path have been using them in their special meditations and healing. These days they are also used during Yoga sessions. But there is special and hidden meaning to Mala beads.

It also signifies our connection to source, the universe and the higher self. It is a symbolization of our spiritual awareness in our thoughts, deeds, and prayers. And although some use it as a fashion statement, it true meaning of it should not be forgotten.

Yoga Practitioner wearing mala beads
Yoga practitioner wearing mala beads

In the simplest way, they are used to keep track of the mantra chant, so that your mind can be focused purely on the mantra (sound and meaning), rather than the number of times you say it. Depending on the number of chants, a certain number of beads will be used (up to 108).

As you may know, these gemstones and crystals have special frequencies which resonate with our chakras, and energetic body systems. And this may be a clue as to the real significance of mala beads, and why we use it in our prayers and meditations.

These days there are custom Mala beads made with your preferred gemstones. This can give you a personal piece that you can wear in your meditations and healing.

The Significance of 108

The practice of Japa (Sanskrit) is when you keep track of the amount of times you chant, recite, or say a prayer. The mantra you repeat can be tracked with the Mala beads. And with each recitation, a bead is meditated on, and connects you with the ultimate source, and universe. It is like an awareness you keep with each passing chant, prayer, etc. The number of beads used can be 18, 27, 54, 108.

Mala Bead in Hand

Depending on the meditation, chant, or intent, a certain amount of beads will be used. For example, it is widely known that Tibetan Buddhism uses primarily 108 beads in the practices and meditations, along with 21 or 28.

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to importance of 108 beads. One is that in Buddhism and Hinduism believe that there are 108 “states” that can cloud our mind. In other words there are 108 illusions of life that we must overcome or transcend to connect with source, or the creator of all things, and of course our higher self.
These 108 “steps” of beads is used as a way to keep track of the meditation towards enlightenment.

Another school of though is that 9 is the symbol of “God” or the higher power, and 9 multiplied by the number of main chakras (12) equals to 108.
108 has a significance here, so does the number 12, and 9. All these numbers are sacred, and play a major role in spiritual sacred numerology.

The number 108 is not only sacred in esoteric teachings and religions. It is also considered a powerful number in mathematics. It is known to be an “abundant” number, which means its sum of its factors is greater than the number itself.

In Vedic astrology there are 27 Nakshatras. When you multiply that by 4 quadrants you get 108.

There are many more such examples of the number 108 and why it is important in sacred numerology, astrology, and geometry. So when you connect the dots you will see that this number appears to have a spiritual “frequency” associated with it. This number is special!

What Does It Mean If Your Mala Breaks?

There are beliefs that if your Mala breaks it can signify an important thing. There are two schools of thought about this:

1. Meditation and Karmic Release

Some schools of thought say that if your Mala breaks and falls apart it is a sign of fulfillment of meditation. A karmic release of your attachments, fears, and emotional blockages that have been causing problems for you.

When the Mala breaks then these things are said to come to and end and your meditation has reached a new phase of awareness and release.

2. Negative Energy

When your mala breaks it can also be an indicator of release of negative energy. If someone has sent you ill intentions, or some form of witchcraft, then the breaking of mala is a sign of the energy that was sent your way. The mala breaking can be because of the energy sent towards you. Some people that the mala beads are protecive in this regard.


The fact is that your intention, energy, and awareness is the most important factor when it comes to wearing the beads. They are simply a tool that you can use to increase your spiritual power, and aid you in your meditations. You can use it during your chants, prayers, and mantras.

It must be said that each schools of thoughts and religions has there own rules when it comes to wearing Mala Beads. And this must also be considered if you are religious and place importance on such matters.

But the spiritual aspect must be remembered and meditated on. At the end of the day it is what matters to you that is most important. Wear the Mala beads with good intention and an open heart. Your clarity of mind and spiritual maturation is the first influence of your chants, prayers and meditations. And that is greatest meaning of all.

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