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Saikarali

A String of Pearls

The Saikarali is an important devotional aid used throughout the Church.  The Sanskrit word saikarali means 'a string of pearls'.

Tradition states that the Saikarali was first made by St. Siphor to use as an aid in catechesis.  He was preparing a blind beggar woman for initiation and gave her a wooden bead to string on a piece of gut for every concept he taught her.  In the end the woman, using the string of beads as a mnemonic device, mastered the difficult and many theological concepts and qualified for Initiation. 

The Saikarali has not changed in form since its first use in the early 2nd century, and the main meditation, the 'Little Prayer' probably did not change much because it stills summarises the essential teaching of Yesu the Saviour and it still constitutes the essence of belief of Church of the East.

In subsequent years many other prayers and incantations were formulated to work in conjunction with the Saikarali, even a junior catechism formula.  The 'Little Prayer' is however still very popular.

Saikarali can be made with anything and we do not know of any gold, silver or very expensive elaborate Saikarali -- it is usually a simple, humble and compassionate personal meditation aid which few devotees go without.