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A mālā typically consists of 108 beads and an additional bead called a sumeru. With each bead one repeats the mantra. A round of japa begins with the sumeru and ends when it is reached again. Subsequent rounds always begin with the bead upon which the previous round ended. The mālā should be held in the right hand with the middle finger and thumb. The index finger, which is considered inauspicious, should not be used to perform japa. “Japa is a kind of communication between “here” and “beyond”, between the part and the Whole. As with any type of communication, it cannot be a mumbling of empty words, or a mechanical or robotic repetition, but must be the expression of an authentic and sincere intention. The mantra should be recited with the highest attention and deeply interiorized.” Swami Ramakrishnananda Rudraksha Mala - Lord Shiva Rudrākṣa means “the eye of Lord Shiva” in Sanskrit. Rudrākṣa beads are the seeds of a Himalayan fruit tree, which according to the scriptures, sprang up from the tears shed by Lord Shiva while he was meditating with open eyes to save the world from the forces of evil. Rudrākṣa beads are treasured for the manifold powers they bestow, such as tranquility, concentration, and above all—assistance on the path to enlightenment. Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya