Definition - What does Guru Bead mean?
A guru bead is an extra, often larger, bead on a mala, which is a string of prayer beads used in yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and some Sikh traditions. The guru bead indicates the starting and ending point of the prayer beads. This bead is also called a sumeru (“very exalted”), stupa (“summit”) or bindu (“dot” or “point”).
Yogapedia explains Guru Bead
A mala, which is Sanskrit for “garland,” typically has 108 beads, plus the guru bead. This necklace of beads, also called a japa mala, is used in meditation and in prayer.
To use the mala in meditation, begin with the bead after the guru bead and recite the mantra while holding the first bead with the thumb and middle finger. Continue reciting the mantra at each of the 108 beads, stopping at the guru bead, then reversing direction until ending back at the guru bead. A tassel is usually connected to the end of the guru bead, further indicating the starting and ending point.