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There are 108 beads that make up the mala, or strand of beads, hand-carved from the wood of a sacred plant in the bhakti tradition, Tulasi. The meditation practice of softly chanting mantras is called japa. One mantra is chanted per bead holding the mala with one's right 3rd finger and thumb and absorbing ones consciousness in the spiritual sound vibration. Bhakti yogis commonly chant the maha mantra, or Hare Krishna mantra, while fingering each bead, gradually progressing along the strand, completing one round of japa (108 mantras).