What do the two strings of black beads in the mangalsutra represent ?

Hindu Dharma considers the mangalsutra to be a soubhagyalankar (Soubhagya is marital status of a woman and alankar is ornament) of the woman. This ornament is to be placed around the bride’s neck by the groom at the time of marriage.

1. Importance of Mangalsutra

  • The woman becomes aware of Dharma (Righteousness), responsibilities and rules : The mangalsutra continuously makes a woman aware of her duties, responsibilities and rules. This way, she refrains from adulterous behaviour, remains within limits, and thus abides by Dharma.
  • Mangalsutra makes the woman as well as others aware of her marital status : Karmakanda is a science of abiding by restrictions. Mangalsutra imposes marital restrictions. The objective in this is that, a woman should remember this bond and refrain from adultery. Men should also remember the vow of fidelity towards the wife as is stipulated in the ritual of marriage. Realisation that a woman who wears a mangalsutra is married, and she should be given due respect, is also one objective of the mangalsutra. Therefore, the mangalsutra was created to restrain and control the unbridled behaviour of the society.
  • The purpose of the mangalsutra is to keep a woman continuously aware of the fact that her husband is Deity Shiva
  • The mangalsutra is the symbol of Deity Shiva and Goddess Shakti : The mangalsutra is the symbol of the bond of union between Shiva (husband) and Shakti (wife). In this, the gold symbolises Shakti, while the chain that ties the black beads symbolises Shiva.
  • Ornament that attracts the Divine Principle in greater proportion : The mangalsutra has two small cups. The specific shape of the cups, facilitates the generation of attraction waves, in their void. Hence, when compared with any other ornament, Divine Principle is attracted towards the mangalsutra, in greater proportion.
  • Mangalsutra works at the level of the three Shaktis and is the bond for attaining the nirguṇ level : ‘The mangalsutra placed around a woman’s neck after marriage, is the Shakti bond, for bestowing actual action oriented Tej. The left side of the mangalsutra imbibes and emits the ichha-shakti, the middle portion imbibes and emits the kriya-shakti and the right side imbibes and emits the Dnyan-shakti. Thus begins the nurturing of Divine Energy in the form of nature. The Embodied soul by co-ordinating with ichha, kriya and dnyan, immediately becomes one with the nirgun energy and becomes ready to function.


2. Arrangement of the mangalsutra (Mangalsutra with black beads and small gold cups)

A. What should be the length of a mangalsutra ?

  • As far as possible, the length of the mangalsutra should be such that it reaches the woman’s Anahat-chakra.
  • ‘The standard length of a mangalsutra is till the Anahat-chakra. This awakens the chakra, and due to this the Raja-predominant activity that takes place, in the form of kriya-shakti, is dissolved with the help of the woman’s own Sattva component. It takes the womanhood in her to detachment, meaning, towards a state of non-doership. This keeps her continuously in the present.’

B. Cups of the mangalsutra

  • What should be the shape of the cups of the mangalsutra ? : ‘The cups should be spherical and without any designs on its outer surface.
  • Importance of the spherical shape of the cups
    • Since the spherical shape is associated with ‘zero’, that is, Brahman in the form of a void, its ability to imbibe and emit waves at the respective levels as per the need of individual, is greater than that of any other shapes. Hence, mostly the spherical shape is used.
    • Orb is a symbol of Dnyan-shakti.
    • Orb is associated with the Sattva component of Shiva-Shakti form.
    • The centre of this orb imparts waves of onslaught in the form of Shakti, while the outer surface is associated with Brahman in the form of Deity Shiva.
  • Since the voids in the cups, which are at the centre of the mangalsutra, face the Anahat-chakra, the dissolution of the woman’s bhav and emotions emanating from the Anahat-chakra takes place in the voids and she goes beyond karma : In the arrangement shown ahead, the voids face the Anahat-chakra. Due to the spherical shape of the voids, waves of Dnyan-shakti are attracted to it. These waves lead to dissolution of the woman’s bhav and emotions emanating from the Anahat-chakra in them and take the woman beyond karma. In other words, every karma becomes akarma. This shows that God has taken every care through the ornaments not to inflate a woman’s ego.
  • The pattern of the mangalsutra cups is such that it imbibes higher level sattvik vibrations : For imbibing higher level sattvik vibrations, two spherical gold beads are placed between the cups. This arrangement is linked to Dnyan-shakti.
  • The design of the flower with four petals at the top of the mangalsutra cup is foremost in attracting the saguṇ (Materialised) vibrations : The design of the flower with four petals on the outer surface of each cup helps in creating a protective sheath around the Anahat-chakra, since this shape enables swift emission of kriya-shakti vibrations through the petal tips. These kriya-shakti vibrations concentrate in the spherical beads around the flower and are capable of acting according to the need. This arrangement of the mangalsutra is highly effective in attracting the saguṇ vibrations.
  • Importance of cups with no designs on its surface : ‘The ability of gold to imbibe and emit the Tej Principle is not obstructed due to the absence of any design on the surface of the cups. This protects the woman from the distress due to negative energies. The expanse of the radiant vibrations emitted by a surface devoid of any design is vast and it contains higher proportion of saguṇ-nirguṇ Principle. This helps the woman to get the benefit of the saguṇ-nirguṇ Principle for a longer duration.
  • Since the gold cups and beads of the mangalsutra are devoid of any design, their ability to imbibe Chaitanya from the universe and emit it increases, which helps in protecting the woman from the attacks of the negative energies.

C. Two strings of black beads in the mangalsutra

  • Implied meaning of the two strings of black beads in the mangalsutra
    • ‘The two strings of black beads denote the Shiva and Shakti Principles. Shiva is in the form of doer and the Shakti herself gives strength to the action; that is, She is karma-oriented. To lead a successful life, if Shiva as well as Shakti are merged, the karma becomes akarma, thereby achieving the desired Chaitanya-oriented result. This result is depicted in the form of cups, which serves as a golden link between the two strings of the mangalsutra.
    • The two strings symbolise dvait. Dvait also means the consistency in understanding an action, to symbolise this also the two strings of black beads are worn.
  • The two strings of the mangalsutra represent the union of Shiva and Shakti : Hindu Dharma suggests that it is through the union of Shiva and Shakti that advait is realised, that is, the realisation of Shiva-Shakti Principle is achieved.
  • The void created in one segment of two strings of black beads is rectangular, which leads in attracting the waves of ichha-shakti: Since the space created in one segment of two strings of black beads is rectangular, meaning, it attracts the waves of ichha-shakti, it carries out the woman’s task in Maya, that is, fulfils her desires.
  • The seven sections of the mangalsutra denote the seven chakras in the body and the nine black beads on a string in each section symbolise the nine forms of the Adi-shakti : The seven sections of the mangalsutra symbolise the seven chakras in the body, and the nine black beads on the string in each section denotes the nine forms of Adi-shakti. The pattern of black beads strung together in a golden wire collects the evil vibrations of numerous attacks of the negative energies on the woman’s body and then eliminates them at the same time.
  • The radiance oriented square created in the mangalsutra due to arrangement of gold beads stores the congregated kriya-shakti of the universe in its void, which protects the woman from the attacks of negative energies : The two strings of mangalsutra are divided into seven sections, each having nine black beads. They are joined by a quadrangular design comprising four gold beads to denote the sections. The radiant quadrangle so created stores within its void the congregated form of kriya-shakti of the universe. Due to this, the Shakti Principle in the woman is in a constantly activated state and this protects her from the attacks of negative energies.
  • Benefit and harm from black beads
     Benefit  Harm
    1. ‘Proportion (Percent) 70 30
    2. Level of the five Cosmic Principles in the waves being attracted Attraction of waves of Tejtattva waves of the universe, due to the contact between black beads and gold Development of inertia in the body as the Raja-Tama-predominant waves associated with the Pruthvitattva and Apatattva are attracted to the black beads
    3. Process Attraction of Raja-Tama– predominant waves in the environment and their removal by the waves of Tejtattva being emitted by gold Emission of Raja-Tama-predominant waves (which are attracted to the black beads) into the environment
    4. Result A. Creation of a protective sheath of waves of Tejtattva (emitting from the gold) around the body
    B. Less proportion of affliction of evil-eye to the woman due to disintegration of Raja-Tama-predominant waves coming to the black beads
    C. Awakening of the Shaktitattva (Divine Energy Principle) in her, since the Suryanadi in her body remains in an activated state due to the mangalsutra
    When there is an increase in the spread of Raja-Tama-predominant waves being attracted to the black beads, a swiftly moving sheath of black waves is created around the body. As a result, the woman experiences distress such as severe body ache, giddiness, restlessness
    5. Effect Protection of the woman’s body, since the attacks of negative energies is faced by the mangalsutra. Experiencing restlessness, since the body comes into contact with the Raja-Tama-predominant waves’

    Question : Why the black beads should be used if there is some harm being caused because of them ?

    Answer : The black beads perform the task of pulling the distressing energies or Raja-Tama components from the woman or from the environment. The task of eliminating the Raja-Tama components and the negative energies is performed by the gold beads and the wire. A talisman is worn around the neck for warding off the distress due to negative energy. The black string of the talisman performs the task of attracting the negative energies, and the Vibhuti in the talisman performs the task of eliminating the distressing energy. In the mangalsutra, the black beads are used in place of the black string, and gold in place of the Vibhuti.

D. Benefit of braiding the thread of the mangalsutra into a gold wire

‘The mangalsutra is braided in a gold chain in a continuous fashion. The gold eliminates the distressing vibrations of the universe with its own awakened radiant energy.

E. The arrangement of the mangalsutra is associated with the woman’s procreation energy

A cup and the two beads connected by the flower with four petals make a triangular formation. Since this formation is associated with the woman’s procreation energy, it keeps her sense of procreation constantly awakened; which is why, the basic attitude of the woman ‘to love’ is maintained.

G. The oval shape created in the middle of the circular

formation of mangalsutra performs the task of awakening of the Sushumnanadi

The oval shape created in the middle of the circular formation of the mangalsutra helps the woman imbibe the Divine vibrations at the unmanifest level, because the oval shape is associated with the unmanifest kriya-shakti (Energy of action) of Shrivishṇu. This shape performs the task of awakening the Sushumnanaḍi (The central channel of the spiritual energy flow system), it helps the prakruti in the form of woman to unite with Deity Shiva in the form of man, and thus aids in the woman’s early liberation from Maya.’

3. Mangalsutra breaking

A. When a mangalsutra breaks, the black beads become heavy due to the weight of the distressing energy.

Since breaking of a mangalsutra is an ominous sign, the broken beads of the mangalsutra get charged with distressing energy. ‘Getting charged’ means becoming heavy with distressing energy. Hence, the broken mangalsutra is said to have become ‘heavy.

4. Why should widows not wear a mangalsutra ?

‘The mangalsutra is willingly placed around the neck of the woman by the husband with his hands. Hence, it imbibes the waves associated with husband’s desire. If the wife wears a mangalsutra as fashion even after the death of her husband, the husband’s subtle-body can get entrapped in the earth’s sphere due to these vibrations. Whenever the woman looks at the mangalsutra, she remembers her husband, and the husband has to come back to the earth. This obstructs the momentum of his subtle-body’s journey to higher regions. Rationalist women in the present times wear a mangalsutra even after their husband’s demise, challenging the very underlying science. This act harms the deceased husband as well as the woman at the spiritual level. Hence, for our own benefit, we should refrain from unnecessary use of intellect, and religiously abide by Dharma

5. Why is there no tradition for men to wear a mangalsutra ?

Since a woman is more sensitive than a man, black beads are used in a mangalsutra, so that she is not afflicted by the evil-eye. The mangalsutra in itself is an ornament of wifehood, and symbolises the bond of marriage. A male temperament is naturally tougher and conducive to leadership. Since a male is considered a form of Deity Shiva, the doer, he is naturally able to operate in a pre-planned manner, and hence, within his specific limitations. Thus, he is given a position of a father in ‘Karmakand’. He is not bound by an arrangement such as the mangalsutra, since basically, the position of a father means less possibility of committing adultery.

What should a man do other than wearing a mangalsutra to get the benefits of a mangalsutra ?

Reducing one’s ‘I’-ness, developing an attitude of obedience and thus creating a patriarchal system means performing the duty of a patriarch according to Dharma. This increases the feeling of unity within the family, and the entire family keeps away from such indulgence. The janeu (Sacred thread) worn by a man represents Tejtattva and reminds him about his patriarchal duties.

Reference : Sanatan’s Granth, ‘Science underlying the wearing of Ornaments (From necklace to the waistband)’

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