This set of Prayer Beads, called a Mala or Rosary is made of Sandalwood (Santalum album), a very fragrant, fine-grained, yellow wood from Asia. Treasured for centuries, having a slight, but lovely, sandalwood scent. You may keep it in your altar for positive vibrations or as a garland for your deity idol. You may also wear it around your neck. Measures approximately 30 inches long which allows for it either to be worn around the neck or coiled around the wrist. Made with the Tibetan Buddhist's traditional number of beads: 108. Also includes a guru bead, called the three-hole bead or tower bead. Embellished with a gold tassel strung from a guru bead. Handmade in Nepal.
Almost all malas have a large bead at the end called the Guru Bead, Seva Mother or Mother Bead. It validates the end of one round in the prayer cycle. One prayer, chant, affirmation is recited per bead. On a full sized mala, the guru bead is the 109th bead. The small wrist mala usually has 27 or 21 beads plus Guru Bead. The Guru bead is a reminder of the bond between teacher and student. When using the mala it is important that you turn around at the Guru Bead and continue your prayer the other direction. Counting should always begin with the bead next to the Guru Bead. Each time the mantra is repeated, the fingers move to the next bead. One bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra. Do not cross the Guru Bead with the mantra - turn the mala 180 degrees and begin chanting.