I see more and more people wearing prayer bracelets made of beads or the necklaces made with 108 beads. In the beginning, when I would meditate in silence, I, too, used beads to focus. I would, slowly, chant the holy mantra 108 times, moving one bead at a time. One day, the repetition of the mantra became automatic and the prayer beads were no longer needed. All that I did—wearing beads, repeating the holy name, keeping a fixed image in my mind, was to help me focus. I was not taught a short cut. All this became mechanical and I was getting nowhere. I spent years experiencing nothing new. When my Master left His body in 2002, my life changed. I did not need the physical props. My prop was pain. Nothing else mattered in the world. Instead I might have needed a prop to come back to the worldly life. If something is done out of pure love, do we need prayer beads to focus? The greatest bead is pain. The best holy chant is tears. The image to focus on is the one that rips your heart apart. Then growth happens. Now I see the beads and remember the past school days. As a punishment in school, I would fill books with, “I will not talk in class,” Today this talkative person worships silence. That’s the irony of life. — Satish Daryanani

Man wearing many mala beads