A Mala can refer to prayer beads in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. They are used for practicing Japa mediation, a counted repetition of the mantra. This is very similar to the Christian rosary.
But there is another way the word Mala is used: as one of three “impurities” or bondages. I was chatting with a friend of mine recently and I was struck by how similar they were to Braden’s “Three Universal Fears“, something he described as coming from the Middle Eastern Essenes.
He describes the fears as:
1. Abandonment and Separation
2. Self Worth
3. Surrender and Trust
The 3 Malas are:
Anava – the unworthiness illusion, smallness, from the word Anu or atom.
Maya – the separation illusion (I wrote about the Mayas here)
Karma – doership illusion (karma means action)
Malas are also described as pashas, a word for tether or noose. There is a sense of them being cracked, then pieces carried away as we work through and end their binding influence. This is interesting given how some people similarly describe removing energetic crusts (if they’re seen).
They are said to end in reverse sequence: first with the sense of doership, something seen through clearly in witnessing. This is a trust and surrender process. Then the sense of being separate is seen through as we connect more deeply to source. And finally, with the end of the ego smallness, we are said to be liberated.
We can also describe the post-waking process as deeper surrender, greater expansion, and increased merging. Basically a continuation of those themes.
I would suggest this is just another model for the process. Everyone’s journey is a little different. But it’s interesting to see commonality in thinking from diverse traditions.