Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland. Mala meditation beads or prayer beads are a traditional tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited while meditating and are used by many religions throughout the world. Mala beads are used to keep your mind focused and clear from thoughts while meditating. Traditional Malas contain 108 counting beads plus one guru or meru bead. Usually, a 108 bead mala is long enough to wear as a necklace. Malas are also known as the Buddhist Rosary.