Neck Beads [Kanthi Mala]
Devotees of Krishna wear Tulasi neck beads, often as three strands at the base of the neck. Tulasi beads worn around the neck indicate a devotee's surrender to the Lord; such a person is dear to the Lord.
Tulasi beads are said to protect one from bad dreams, accidents, attack by weapons, and inauspicious destinations at death. For these reasons and because she is dear to Krishna, devotees always wear Tulasi.
Tulasi wood is light and soft. Please note that in time, and with wear, the beads will soften and crack. Especially smaller beads, or beads exposed water, skin or sunlight for long periods. For that reason we cannot offer a long-term guarantee on our neck beads.
Mantra Meditation Beads [Japa Mala]
Devotees of Krishna use Tulasi japa beads to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra because Tulasi brings progress in devotional service to Krishna. Most japa malas are made of 108 beads with one 'head' bead, but some are designed for convenience with 54 or 27 beads meant to be counted around several times ti make up the full 108 mantra repetitions. Learn more about how to chant on japa malas.
Japa beads are also made of
- neem wood, an auspicious wood (not as sacred as Tulasi)
- sandalwood, a wonderfully fragrant wood
- rosewood, a beautiful dark colored wood
- semi-precious stone, offers a variety of elegant options
- rudraksha, these bumpy, reddish beads are actually seads
Usually japa beads are stored, carried and used in a soft cloth bead bag. They are tear-drop shaped, with a large hole to insert your hand and a small one for your index finger. They also have a long thin strap for carrying the bag around your neck or for hanging so it does not fall on the floor. Most bags are cotton and can be machine washed and dried, while some are silk, tapestry, or embroidered.
Some japa malas are designed to be worn and do not require a bead bag, but they are still meant to be care for nicely.