## 108

September 6, 2013 Comments Off on 108

##### 108 signifies the wholeness of the divinity, perfect totality.

**India:**

The Significance of the number 108

The Indian Subcontinent rosary or set of mantra counting has 108 beads. 108 has been a sacred number in the Indian Subcontinent for a very long time. This number is explained in many different ways.

The ancient Indians were excellent mathematicians and 108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation (e.g. 1 power 1 x 2 power 2 x 3 power 3 = 108) which was thought to have special numerological significance.

Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2×2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108

Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Sri Yantra: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body.

9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.

Heart or Anahata Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

Marmas: Marmas or marmastanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.

Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.

Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or cowherd friends of Krishna.

1, 0, and 8: 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.

Sun and Earth: The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 … 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.

Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.

Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.

Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.

Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.

Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.

Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

Pythagorean: The nine is the limit of all numbers, all others existing and coming from the same. ie: 0 to 9 is all one needs to make up an infinite amount of numbers.

108 Upanishads as per the list contained in the Muktikopanishad .

JYOTISH SHASTRA {VEDIC SYSTEM}

This universe was created by the five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. From these elements came the three attributes: Raj {birth}, Sat {protection} and Tam {destruction or death.}

The mathematical or geographical evidence proves that one circle has 360 degrees in space. Why is this circle or wheel of life considered to be of 360 degrees only? If we take a circle and start dividing it using the four elements and three attributes, all the logic can be observed.

The circle itself, is considered the first element of space, since we must consume space in drawing a circle. In this space {or circle}, the four remaining elements and three attributes create the idea of time. The circle is divisible by the product of four elements multiplied by three attributes. This involves the belief that the three attributes exist in the circle. By moving three times, each element completes its revolution.

So now we have the number 12 {3 x 4}. This division gave birth to our 12 months, and also to the 12 horas {1/2 of the day or Ahoratri}. We now have 360 degrees as well as 12 divisions. We can now further divide the wheel of time: there are 27 fixed stars (nakshatras) along with three attributes that divide the time in smaller portions. So this 27 + 3 = 30 is interpreted as 30 degrees or days of one part of the wheel (circle) or month. All of this is only half of a day. The night is yet unaccounted for. Therefore, we multiply these 30 degrees by 2. This gives us our reference of 60 seconds in a minute.

Thus the 360º x 30º = 10,800. Zero {0} is considered ‘Purna’ or complete. So we take out the last zeros and are left with 108. The idea of our total universe is represented by this number of 108. Offering 108, devotees believe that they are showing ultimate or complete respect to the Supreme.

There are many other justifications but all can be traced back to this system. A few are explained below:

SHOSHU BUDDHIST

Followers use 108 beads in their malas. They implement the following formula:

6 x 3 x 2 x3 = 108

6 senses [sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought]

3 aspects of time [past, present, future]

2 condition of heart [pure or impure]

3 possibilties of sentiment [like, dislike, indifference]

BUDDHA’S FOOTPRINT

All Buddhists accept the Buddha Footprint with its 108 Auspicious Illustrations. These areas are considered to have been marked on the Buddha’s left foot when his body was discovered.

BUDDHISM

108 beads on the Hindu maalaa {rosary}

108 Arhats or Holy Ones

HINDUISM

108 Gopis {consorts} of Lord Krishna

108 Holy places for Vaishnavas

108 beads on the Japa maalaa {rosary}

108 Upanishads

108 Divyadeshes – Divine or Sacred Tirtha throughout India and Nepal

108 sacred water taps in Muktinath – Nepal

TANTRA SHASTRA

108 Pitha {Sacred Places}

The story goes that Lord Shiva was in deep and incessant meditation. His asceticism was creating great heat in the universe. All existence was in peril and Lord Brahma was deeply concerned. Lord Brahma asked the Mother of the Universe, Maa Shakti, to use Her strength and wile to seduce Lord Shiva. Maa Shakti agreed and was born as Sati, daughter of Shri Daksha. Lord Shiva was so entranced by Sati’s asceticism and extraordinary beauty that he took human form and they were married. Years later, at a feast, Sati’s father insulted Lord Shiva. Sati was so humiliated that she began a deep meditation which led to her immolation. Lord Shiva was completely heart broken. He reached into the sacrificial fire and pulled out as much of His beloved’s body as he could grab. As He ascended to heaven, bits of Sati’s body fell to earth. 108 bits to be precise! In time, these places were acknowledged and worshipped.

SANATANA DHARMA

In a book by Khurana, the explanation closely mirrors the original Vedic justifications:

A circle has 360 degrees, which when multiplied by 60 gives us 21,600 minutes in a circle. 60 comes from the 60 ‘ghatis’ which Sanatana Dharmiks believe in. One ghati is equal to 24 minutes and 60 ghatis come to 24 hours.

One ghati is divided into 60 parts or ‘palas’.

So the 60 ghatis multiplied by 60 palasa comes to 3,600.

This is further multiplied by 60 (becase a pala contains 60 vipalas) which gives us 21,600.

Half of this is for the day, and the other half for the night. So, 21,600

divided by 2 gives us 10,800. For practical purposes, we use 108. Using the

number 108 helps us coordinate the rhythm of time and space & we remain in harmony with the spiritual powers of nature.

** Meaning of 108 beads on a mala**

by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

On a mala, or set of mantra counting beads, there are generally 108 beads, or some fraction of that number. The question often arises: Why are there 108 beads on a mala? |

Below are some of the many reasons that have been given for having 108 beads on a mala, as well as a few other points of interest. None of these reasons are being promoted here as more or less true than the others. However, you may notice that 108 appears to be somewhat like a road map of reality in general, and the human in particular.

Regardless of the meaning of 108, it is important that if a mala is used to count mantras, the mantra be remembered with sincerity, devotion, feeling, and full attention. (More on use of mantras)

**9 times 12**: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.

**Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math**: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2×2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108

**Harshad number**: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means “great joy”)

**Desires**: There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.

**Lies**: There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell.

**Delusions**: There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.

**Heart Chakra**: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

**Sanskrit alphabet**: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

**Pranayama**: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.

**Upanishads**: Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.

**Sri Yantra**: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 times 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body.

**Pentagon**: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.

**Marmas**: Marmas or marmasthanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.

**Time**: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.

**8 extra beads**: In doing a practice of counting the number of repetitions of the mala, 100 are counted as completed. The remaining are said to cover errors or omissions. The 8 are also said to be an offering to God and Guru.

**Chemistry**: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100.

**Astrology**: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

**River Ganga**: The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31). 12 times 9 equals 108.

**Planets and Houses**: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

**Goddess names**: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.

**Gopis of Krishna**: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.

**1, 0, and 8**: Some say that 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.

**Sun and Earth**: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

**Moon and Earth**: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.

**Silver and the moon**: In astrology, the metal silver is said to represent the moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108.

**Numerical scale**: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 … 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.

**Meditations**: Some say there are 108 styles of meditation.

**Breath**: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600.

**Paths to God**: Some suggest that there are 108 paths to God.

**Smaller divisions**: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.

**Hinduism**: 108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities. Some say that each of the deities has 108 names.

**Jain**: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.

**Sikh**: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.

**Buddhism**: Some Buddhists carve 108 small Buddhas on a walnut for good luck. Some ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year. There are said to be 108 virtues to cultivate and 108 defilements to avoid.

**Chinese**: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars.

**Stages of the soul**: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.

**Meru**: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.

**Dance**: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

**Praiseworthy souls**: There are 108 qualities of praiseworthy souls.

**First man in space:** The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.

Lastly and most importantly, the beads represent, in a simple yet powerful way, the ideas of karma and reincarnation–a rarely disclosed fact. The thread that the beads are strung upon symbolizes the Sutratma, the Spirit or Thread Soul. This is the reincarnating Ego, our true Self, that dons a new garment, a new personality for each lifetime. Each bead strung on the thread is one of those lives that has served its purpose in the evolution of the Higher Self, our God within. We are supposed to join with that inner divinity by building a bridge, called Antahkarana, through meditation and other disciplines……this

is enlightenment.