Padma, my darling Ma, celebrated her birthday on the weekend. Padma is so special to me and I wanted to find her a present that she would really love. I have been thinking for a while what that perfect gift might be.
Suddenly it dawned on me…what about Padma’s secret passion? Yes, her secret passion for…malas! She hardly wears any jewellery but instead dons a well selected mala to jazz up her outfit each day. So what is this japa mala that Padma loves so much. Japa malas or malas are a set of beads used by Hindus and Buddhists. In Sanskrit mala means a garland. It usually consists of 108 beads or a number divisible by nine. You use your mala to count as you recite your mantra. For example “om mane padme hum” or “om namo narayani”.
I have always wanted to make a mala myself. So last week I set out to combine the two and make a mala for Ma’s birthday. I went to a beading shop and purchased a few supplies. Padma’s favourite colours are pink, white and navy so my eyes scanned the shop for beads that fitted that description.
I then went home and put on my favourite Kirtan Alive disc, by Edo and Jo, and got started. It took me a while to get the hang of the knotting between the beads but after a while I got into a good rhythm. I recited my own mantra as I knotted all the beads. Finally, after I had attached my own, home-made tassel the mala was finished…YIPPEE!
Padma was delighted with the mala and for my first attempt it didn’t turn out too badly. I actually found making the mala to be the most wonderful and relaxing activity. I loved reciting my own mantra and infusing the mala with love and good intentions. I have now started on a second mala. I think malas are becoming my passion too!
More on making malas to come…