What is "prayer beads" and why are they used?
Prayer beads or worry beads are used by various cultures such as Asian, African, Middle East, Anatolian, Ottoman, Turkish, Greek and Indian for meditation, protection from negative energy and to relieve stress.
Using Prayer Beads as a tool of meditation is as old as human history. It is not a coincidence that Prayer Beads are present in almost every culture.
Prayer beads have physical, metaphysical and psychological affects on their users.
Prayer beads are full of positive energy and bring you to life.Gemstones have attracted people with their colors and charming gloss since ancient times. Since then, each stone has a special meaning.
The number of beads also vary depending on the different religions, Islamic prayer beads "Tesbih", "Tasbih" or "Misbaha" usually have either ninety nine or thirty three beads, Buddhists and Hindu Brahmanists use "Japa Mala" usually consisting 27 bead malas, a divisor of 108, whereas Baha'i prayer beads consist of either 95 beads or 19 beads strung with the addition of five beads below. Sikhs use a Mala with 108 beads. Greek komboloi has an odd number of beads usually one more than a multiple of four, e.g. (4x4)+1, (5x4)+1. Roman Catholics use the "Rosary" (Latin "rosarium," meaning "rose garden") with 54 + additional 5 beads whereas Eastern Orthodox Christians use rosary with 100 knots, although prayer ropes with 50 or 33 knots can also be used.
"Tesbih" is most commonly made of various gemstones, wooden beads, but also of olive seeds, ivory, amber, pearls or plastic. Gemstone beads (mineral and animal based) are made of; cornelian, amber, tortoiseshell, glass, meerschaum, ivory, pearl, coral, coconut, pebble, mother of-pearl, jade, rhino horn, etc whereas wooden beads are made of; Rose Tree, Ebony, Agalloch, Rosewood, Olive Tree, etc.
The rosary used by Eastern Orthodox Christians also called as "Chotki" is made of knotted wool. Roman Catholics' rosary beads are composed of crucifix and center which can be made of sterling silver and gold, beads are usually made of glass, amethyst, rose quartz stone, crystal, black onyx, lavender glass or pearl.
Mala beads are made from the seeds of the rudraksha tree, the wood of the tulasi plant, wood or seeds from the Bodhi tree, seeds of the Lotus plantbone (animal, most commonly yak). Semi-precious stones such as carnelian and amethyst can also be used, the most common material is sandalwood. Baha'i prayer beads are made from wood, gemstone, glass beads or pearls. Greek komboloi are constructed from any type of bead, mostly preferred beads are amber resin (such as faturan) and coral.