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Significance of 108 – Why Is It So Important in Hinduism?

The number 108 has always been a highly revered number for thousands of years, coveted by many spiritual traditions and ascribed special s...

Significance of 108

The number 108 has always been a highly revered number for thousands of years, coveted by many spiritual traditions and ascribed special significance in meditation and prayer. Considered to be the most auspicious number of all, 108 also happens to be the number of stitches on a baseball.

In yoga, the number 108 refers to spiritual completion. That’s the reason why malas used for japa (silent repetition of a mantra) are composed of 108 beads – with an additional “meru” bead, which when reached, prompts the practitioner to count the mala beads in reverse order.

These beads are traditionally used as a tool for meditation, repeating a mantra as you touch each bead with your fingers until you complete the mala. To meditate with a mala, sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and set an intention. If you have a mantra for this practice, chant it aloud or silently. Hold your mala in your right hand, draped between your middle and index fingers. Starting at the large bead in the center often called the “guru” bead, use your thumb to count each smaller bead. Pull the mala, pulling it toward you as you recite your mantra. Do this 108 times, traveling around the mala, until you once again reach the guru bead. It's increase your mental strength and strong commitment.

Significance of 108:

  • 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.
  • The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
  • In Ayurveda, there are 108 “Marma” points that are vital for giving life to living beings.
  • The powerful Sri Chakra yantra intersects in 54 points each with a masculine and feminine quality, totalling to 108
  • In Indian astrology we have 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals to 108.
  • In Tantra, it is estimated that every day we breathe 21,600 times out of which 10,800 are solar energy and 10, 800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 X 100 is 10,800.
  • The famous saint Bharata wrote “The Natya Shastra” which has 108 karanas (Movement of hand and feet)
  • There are 54 letters in Sanskrit each can be mentioned as masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) aspect, totaling to 108.
  • There are 108 Puranas and 108 Upanishads.

Importance of 108:

The connection of the cosmos, human life and time is fascinating, mysterious and inevitable. A deep and sacred connection, hardcoded into the DNA of our existence. While we are united, our practices are diverse - celebrating the dichotomy of the human race. While we honor our lives and traditions, we also allow people to devise practices which give solace, peace and progress to them. You could agree to the Vedic significance of 108:
  • one represents the solar masculine,
  • zero represents the lunar or feminine energy,
  • eight is the eternal symbol of infinity.  

Or you could choose to believe that 108 is a sacred, regular number. The belief aside, 108 is clearly embedded deeply in human consciousness.

108 Marma Points Cover the Human Body

Marma points are a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, yet they are much more than that. Marma points are intersections of the vital life force and prana, or breath. These points are thought to house the three Ayurvedic Doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

108 of these points cover the human body and the major Marma points correspond to the seven chakras, or energy centers of the body. Traditionally marma points are grouped into 3 categories; those on the legs and feet, Sanakha Marma, on the trunk, Madhayamanga Marma, neck and head, Jatrurdhara Marma.

These points of life force energy throughout the body are yet another reason why the number 108 is so sacred.

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