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Importance of Number 108

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Importance of Number 108

This explanation of number 108 is about Mantra Jaap. Normally one should recite a Mantra 108 times, but then why 108 times? But not only this, 108 number has been found important in other areas also.

In Hindu Religion :
In Hindu religion, number 9 is very important... The addition of digits of number 108 is 9, and
number 9 is related to Brahmaa, that's why 108 is very important, and came into lot of Indian scriptures.

9 and 12:
Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions.
9 times 12 is 108.
1 plus 8 equals to 9.
9 times 12 equals 108.
Indian Ved, treat the Sun as God, and Sun has 12 signs (Zodiac signs).
In Yajur Ved, Sun is related with Lord Brahmaa (the number 9), [remember - see just above]
12 x 9 = 108; therefore for Gods Prayer,  the number 108 is very sacred.
Keeping the importance of number 9,
Rishi Vyaas has created 18 Puraan, 108 Mahaa Puraan (Upanishad).
Mahaabhaarat has 18 chapters,
Geetaa has 18 chapters,
Bhaagavat has 108,000 Shlok (verses).
Upanishad : There are 108 Upanishads -  texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.
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.
River Gangaa :The sacred River Gangaa spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31) - 12 times 9 equals 108.
Goddess' 108 Names
There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.

Devtaa's 108 Names
108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities. Most deities have 108 names.

In Time
According to Indian mythology, there are 4 Yug ---
Sat Yug          consists of   1,728,000  years (1+7+2+8) = 18  = (1+8 = 9)
Tretaa Yug      consists of   1,296,000  years (1+2+9+6) = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
Dwaapar Yug   consists of     864,000   years (8+4+6) = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
Kali Yug          consists of     432,000   years (4+3+2) = 9

The creation of this universe is by the interaction of 36 principles (Tattwa) and three (3) qualities namely Sat, Rajas and Tamas. 36 x 3 = 108

In Spirituality
12 x 3 x 3 = 108 -
The seeker prays for peace of mind throughout the year of
12 months from the disturbances created by the interactions of
3 qualities (Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas) and
3 types of afflictions due to diseases of the body (Adhi-Bhautik), natural catastrophes (Adhi-Daivik) and spiritual causes (Adhyaatmik).

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

In Occult Sciences :
Other than this, the number 108 itself has a great occult significance. It denotes accomplishment of tasks as per one's desires, and blessing of immense Will Power according to ancient Taantrik Shaastra dealing with this (there are ancient numerological Yantra prescribed by Siddha tradition - the most famous one being Bhuavanai Kakkisham by Thirumoolar). In India, some wonderful traditions have been just incorporated in to our everyday life and by following our customs, we will be automatically doing things that have wonderful positive occult significance even without consciously realizing them! This 108 is an example of this phenomenon.

Recitation of Mantra :
Recitation of Mantra does have a conclusive effect if done properly. By continuous recitation of songs and Bhajans we just reduce our Paap Karm of the present and the previous lives, at the same accumulate good Karm for our future lives. So by doing this number of Jap we are able to increase our bank balance. Mantra Jaap cleans your Karm. The more Jaap you do, the more cleansing of your past Karm is possible. Gayatri Mantra which is mentioned in Ved several times is Divine, while all other Mantra are man-created (Laukik or Paurusheya).
In one minute, we breathe in approximately 15 times,
in 1 hour 900 times, and
in 12 hours 10800 times, and
in a day 10800 * 2 times.
A day consists of 24 hours, and if we set aside half the day for our day to day routines, then one can spend 12 hours for recitation of one's Mantra. Therefore, the maximum number of times that one can recite Mantra, or perform "Jap" are 10800. If one wants to obtain 100% benefit of its Jap, then performing Jap for 108 times will give you the benefit of 100%. That's why in a "Maalaa", there are 108 beads. It is written in Ved, that 1 Jap corresponds to 1 Maalaa (which has 108 beads), therefore performing Jap 108 times (one Maalaa) will result in 100% benefit. This is called "taking Raam Naam with every breath".

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

Maalaa of 108 Beads :
To count the number of these Mantra there is a Maalaa. A Maalaa is a chain of 109 beads - 108 beads to work on and the 109th bead denotes that there is nothing greater than Paramaatmaa and nothing beyond Him, that is why while doing Maalaa, one should never cross the 109th bead (known as Sumeru). One should never touch the index finger and the smallest finger also to the beads. Turn the beads only by the help of medium finger and the thumb towards oneself. (If you are not comfortable with using Maalaa, use the time.)

8 Extra Beads :
In doing a practice of counting the number of repetitions of the Maalaa,
100 are counted as completed.
The remaining 8 are said to cover errors or omissions..
These remaining 8 are also said to be an offering to God and Guru.
Smaller divisions : Whenever the number 108 is divided, such as in one-half, one-third, one-quarter, or one-twelfth, so that some Maalaa can have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads - their addition comes to 9.

In Tantra :
Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are from the Sun, and 10,800 are from the Moon. If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, it is said that one gets enlightenment.

On the Shree Yantra :
There are Marm where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersection has masculine and feminine, Shiv and Shakti qualities - 54 times 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 Marm points that define the Shree Yantra as well as the human body.

On the Sri Yantra there are Marm where three lines intersect, and there are 54 Pentagon: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees

In Yog :
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, the Sushumnaa leads to the crown Chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization. Marm or Marm Sthaan are like energy intersections called Chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 Marm in the subtle body.

We breathe 21,600 times a day "aho-raatram", that is 10,800 times between sunrise and sunset. It may be known that one dedicates 600 units to Ganesh at Moolaadhaar, 6000 units to Brahmaa at Swaadhishthaan, 6000 units to Vishnu at Manipur, 6000 units to Rudra at Anahat, 1000 units to Jeevatmaa at Vishuddhi, 1000 units to Paramaatmaa at Aagyaa and final 1000 units to Shree Guru at Sahasraar Chakra in a normal man. There is a process by which holy men dedicate even their breath to Lord Almighty. That is one of the explanations for significance of 108.

Some say there are 108 styles of meditation.

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

Gopee of Krishn :
In the Krishn tradition, there were said to be 108 Gopee or maid servants of Krishn.

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, Sushumnaa leads to the crown Chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

Marm Sthaan :
Marm or Marm Sthaan are like energy intersections called Chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 Marm in the subtle body.

According to Indian scriptures, letter 9 corresponds to Lord Brahmaa, (the Creator of the Universe).

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")

Number 108 in Science

In Astrology :
We have 27 Nakshatra (constellations) with 4 Pad (Charan or parts) each. Thus 27 x 4 = 108. Each Charan has 3 degree and 20 minutes so if you multiply 3 degree and 20 minutes to 108 it comes out to be 360 degrees ie one cycle (Circle). This cycle represents the whole Brahmaand because all the Raashi (Signs), planets and Nakshatra are within these 360 degree in 2 dimensional horoscope. So chanting a Mantra completes one cycle of this Brahmaand. It is said that each part of each Nakshatra is pacified when one recites a Mantra 108 times. The Nakshatra are nothing but physical manifestation of the Supreme Lord and one of his countless attributes in the Universe. If the Nakshatra are pacified, in turn the planets are also modified in our individual charts, because the planets all appear in one or the other constellation. Therefore continuous recitation of Mantra or Naam Jap always tends to decrease the malefic tendencies in one's Horoscope.
There are 12 Signs, and 9 arc segments in each Sign called Ansh or Chandra Kalaa - so 9 x 12 = 108.
Chandra is Moon, and Kalaa are the divisions within a whole.
In astrology there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

In Astronomy :
Three facts that any book on astronomy can verify:
* Distance between the Earth and the Sun = 108 times of Sun's diameter,
* Distance between the Earth and the Moon = 108 times of Moon's diameter, and most remarkably,
* Diameter of the Sun = 108 times of the Earth's diameter.
The Indians knew of the first two shouldn't surprise anyone, because it can be calculated by anyone without the need for any instruments. Take a pole, mark its height, and then remove it to a place 108 times its height. The pole will look exactly of the same angular size as the Moon or the Sun.

But it is doubtful that Indians knew the fact, that the Sun is 108 times as large as the Earth, because there is no evidence of that in old astronomy manuals. If they knew it, it would be as amazing a coincidence as the knowledge of the correct speed of light before modern measurements.

Indian thought takes the outer cosmology to be mirrored in the inner cosmology of the human. Therefore, the number 108 is also taken to represent the "distance" from the body of the devotee to the God within. The chain of 108 "links" is held together by 107 joints, which is the number of Marm, or weak spots, of the body in Aayur Ved.

We can understand that the 108 beads of the rosary (Jap Maalaa) must map the steps between the body and the inner Sun. The devotee, while saying on beads, is making a symbolic journey from the physical body to the Heavens.

The other number, 1,008, has a slightly different basis. Early Indian astronomy divides the Kalp - the total period of a creation, means the day of Brahmaa which is part of an infinite cycle - into 1,008 Yug. The use of this number as a title is to boast that one knows the mystery of time from creation to annihilation.
Astronomically, there are 27 constellations  in our galaxy, and each one them has 4 directions,
Thus  27 x 4 = 108,
 In other words the number 108 covers the whole galaxy.
That is why when we recite any Mantra for any Planet 108 times, we make sure that we cover it in the whole galaxy.
Sun and the Earth
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

In Mathematics :
The ancient Indians were excellent mathematicians and 108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation (eg 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 Mathematics :
1 to 1st power = 1;
2 to 2nd power = 4 (2x2);
3 to 3rd power = 27 (3x3x3).     1x4x27 = 108.
Pythagorean : The 9 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.
Mathematically, the interesting property of 9 is that whatever number is multiplied to number 9, the addition of the digits of that addition is 9
9 x 1 = 9
9 x 2 = 18 (8+1 = 9)
9 x 3 = 27 (7+2 = 9)
9 x 4 = 36 (3+6 = 9)   ........
9 x 12 = 108 (1+0+8 = 9)

In Numerical Scale :
The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, ie 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc where 0 is not a number. 9 times 12 is 108. 1 plus 8 equals 9.  9 times 12 equals 108.

In Arithmetic :
The number 108 is among the most sacred and appears as the true or fictitious cardinal number in Hindu religious thoughts and philosophy. But it appears to be a more meaningful symbol, not only in religious, astronomical and cosmological reference, but also in natural and aesthetical realms.

In smaller divisions - When the number 108 is divided, such as in half, or in third, or in quarter, or in twelfth, so that some Maalaa can have 54, or 36, or 27, or 9 beads - all come to add to 9.

In Geometry :
There is an intimate link between the Number 108 and the Golden Section. An angle of 108 has a unique property. The ratio between the straight line uniting two points at 108 deg from each other on a circle’s circumference (in effect one of the sides of a 10-pointed star) and the radius of that circle equals the Golden Section.
Likewise, the inside of every angle of a pentagon measures 108 degrees, and the pentagon is an embodiment of the Golden Section, eg the ratio between a side of the 5-pointed star and a side of the pentagon is the Golden Section. A lot of Taantrik Rahasya (secret) is in the use of figures and Yantra having golden sections.
Pentagon : The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.

In Chemistry :
There are 108 elements in the world and ultimately everything is a combination of these 108 elements, so when we recite one Maalaa (108 beads) we are in a way paying homage to these 108 elements. hence the the importance of 108 number.

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.
Metal silver is said to represent the Moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108

In Architecture :
It is found that the Golden Proportion is naturally pleasing to our inborn tastes. Many ancient buildings are standing examples of this. In living nature, there are plenty of sequences where every member stands to the preceding member in a Golden Proportion or its derivatives (square root etc), eg the distances between or the sizes of the successive twigs growing on a branch, the layers of petals on a flower, etc. Practically everything meaningful, pleasing and long lasting has to be based on this golden section.

--This symbolizes in the law of invariance: in every stage of a development, the same pattern repeats itself. The son is to the father as the father was to the grandfather.
--Wheels within wheels: every whole consisting of parts is itself likewise part of a larger whole.
--And the principle of order: the underling obeys the orders of his master to the same extent that the master obeys the requirements of the whole.
--Even extended to an old Pauranik concept that the wife serves the husband because (and to the extent that) the husband serves the cosmic order defining his duties. [A Google search on golden section and golden ratio would reveal a wealth of information]

In Biology
100 + 1 + 7 = 108
Every human being has one hundred (100) and one Naadee in the heart.
The one (1) singular central Naadee (Sushumnaa) is for meditation, realization of supreme truth. It is also required for final emancipation ascending through
seven steps (7) (Sapt Vyaahriti) of Yaugik realization.
The passage through other 100 Naadee will lead the individual into other worlds.

In Space :
The first manned space flight lasted for 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.

Other Explanations of the Number 108

In Indian Music
There are 7 Swar in Indian music --
(1) Shadaj, (Sa)  (2) Rishabh, (Ray)  (3) Gandhaar, (Ga)  (4) Madhyam, (Ma)  (5) Pancham, (Pa)  (6) Dhaivat, (Dha)  (7) Nishaad, (Nee).
Surprisingly enough, there are 7 planets in Indian astrology.

There are 12 Octave in Indian music - so are 12 Raashi (Signs) in Indian astrology.

There are 27 Shruti in Indian Karnaatak Music - so there are 27 Nakshatra in Indian astrology
North Indian Music has only 22 Shruti - which one is logical?

In Indian Dance Literature :
The Naatya Shaastra (Dance literature) of Bhaarat speaks of the 108 Karan - combined movements of hand and feet - of dance. A few months ago in Chennai, Padma Subramaniam, the great dancer and dance theorist, told me a story of discovery connected with this number. In the 1960s, Padma had come to the realization that the four hands of the Shiv figures in Thanjaavur represented animation. Then, in 1980, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal, the Shankaraachaarya of the Kaanchee Peetham who was to pass away at the age of 100, fourteen years later - asked her to design a fresh set of Karan figures for the panels of the new Uttar Chidambaram Nataraaj Mandir in Sataaraa, Maharashtra, based on the Naatya Shaastra descriptions. Each panel had to show Shiv and Paarvatee.

So she first had to decide whether to use Shiv with four arms as at Thanjaavur or Shiv with two arms as at Kumbaakonam, together with Paarvatee with two arms as at Chidaambaram. She took pictures for advice to the Swaamee Jee, but he said there was to be no copying of existing images. Ultimately, she chose four arms for Shiv and two for Paarvatee, and created 108 new designs. Later in the 1990s, Padma was approached by Alessandra Iyer, an Italian scholar who wished to study the influence of the Naatya Shaastra on the Far East. They discovered that the Sataaraa temple panels of Padma were similar in form to the 53 surviving dance panels of the 9th century Prambanam Temple of Jaavaa, Indonesia, that was largely destroyed by earthquake in the 15th century.

This established that Padma's choices were right and her understanding of the four-armed poses as frozen movements was correct. Since her reconstruction were based on brief description, it also suggests that the Karan are archetypes of motion. The idea of archetypes brings me to Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung who, in a book wrote in 1952, called The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche, argued that our discoveries are a consequence of the preexisting patterns in our mind. Pauli wrote once, "I prefer to say that mind and matter are governed by common, neutral ordering principles "that are not in themselves determinable" ." The idea of archetype, borrowed by Jung from Yog, makes it possible for us to see how different people can come to the same discovery independently.

Parenthetically, Jung took the idea of Divinity as male-female (Harihar), suggesting that each man had a female within (anima), and each woman had a male within (animus). In his contribution to the book, Pauli indicated how the great Kepler had come by his three laws of planetary motion upon the use of Fibonacci sequences. From there the next step was the Newtonian synthesis that viewed the universe as a machine. But now we have come full circle in our realization that if the universe is a machine, it is one where the components are all connected together - it is a holistic machine.

[Reading: To get an overview of the astronomy and cosmology of the ancient world, see "The Astronomical Code of the Rigved" by Subhash Kak, Munshiram, 2000]
Taken from Jyotish Ganga Group, by Pt R Dakshinamoorthy, quoted by K Gopu on April 26, 2009]

In Sanskrit Language :
There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has a masculine and a feminine, Shiv and Shakti. Thus 54 times 2 is also 108.

108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad word is a Sanskrit word, and means "great joy".

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

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

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

108 Tattwa:
There are 108 Tattwa (elements), The 46th Tattwa is Chemistry, and the 96th Tattwa is Vedaant.

Gangaa River
The sacred River Gangaa spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31).
12 x 9 = 108.

Praiseworthy Souls:
There are 108 qualities of praiseworthy souls.

In Buddhism :
Some Buddhists carve 108 small Buddha 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.

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

In Islam :
The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to Allah.

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

In Sikh Religion :
The Sikh tradition has a Maalaa of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/17/13