In Hindu tradition, the rosary (japa-mala) has its own significance during the routine prayers. It is used for the repetition of Vedic mantras and divine names during the spiritual activities or Japa. The origin and first use of Japa-mala (rosary) dates back to the 3rd century B.C. in the Hindu religion. Later on it was adapted by the Buddhism and then by other religions like Muslims and Christians. The word rosary basically means the string of beads or the garland of roses and the use of beads within the rosary varies from religion to religion. In Hindu religion the standard rosary has 108 beads or 27 which are counted four times. The word bead has been inherited from the Anglo-English word Bede which means Prayers. The Hindu mala uses 108 beads as it is considered a sacred number in the religion with number 9 signifying nine planets within the solar system and 12 astrological houses. Thus: 12 x 9 = 108.
The basic Hindu mala comprises of 108 beads along with an additional bead called as Meru bead and a jess. The Meru signifies the pious Meru Mountain which is considered as the divine seat of Lord Vishnu. The use of mala helps to attain the sense of concentration and focus on the self-god (Ishta-deva) and also sanctify the self inner soul from the worldly sins. The beads of this japa-mala (rosary) can be made from various sacred materials like wood, rudraksha or various precious gemstones. The wood used for beads of rosary can be comprised of either wood of sandalwood tree or the stem of the sacred-Tulsi (Vrinda) plant. The rosary of Tulsi beads is basically used by the Vaishnava devotees as the Tulsi (Vrinda) is also considered as the sacred within the Vaishnava devotees and the eternal associate of Lord Vishnu. According to the mythological scriptures the cowherd maidens (gopis) associated with Lord Krishna (eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu) also numbered as 108. The mala with rudraksha beads is basically used by the Shaiva devotees and usually reflects the lifestyle of sannyasi who renounces the worldly material objects to attain the salvation.
Thus a Japa-mala is not just a mala (garland) but a pious association of beads which helps in the attainment of salvation and the eternal union of a soul with the divine power through the Japa-yoga (spiritual activity to attain the self-realization through chanting the mantras and divine godly names).. Http://essay-uk.online/essay-writer/