Why is 108 sacred and auspicious number? Why do we always wonder about chanting our prayer mantra 108 times? Why are our jap malas made of 108 beads?
Well, we all know that 108 is a and sacred number. The Vedic culture describes this number as the wholeness of existence. This auspicious and sacred number is of high importance in our spiritual teachings. We should do the japa mala or mantra 108 times to avail of its various benefits of this sacred number. This has been proved even in a scientific and a mathematical way in astronomy in bringing harmony with the vibrations in the universe.
According to our Vedic sages this mystical number is the basis of creation representing the universe and all our existence. Our tradition and culture believe that the human soul goes through 108 stages on the life journey. The 108 Upnishads in our Hindu culture consists of our four vedas- The Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.
Cultural and Scientific significance of this sacred number
This number connects the Sun, Moon and the Earth. The average distance of the Sun and the moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
Astronomically there are 27 constellations in our galaxy each with 4 directions. When we multiply it gives 27*4=108, covering the entire galaxy.
Chanting of ‘OM’ 108 times is very beneficial spiritually and scientifically. It is a universally recognized mantra. Chanting of Om is a powerful sound that creates positive vibrations in our body. It improves concentration and releases stress from your mind. It improves your digestive system by strenghting the stomach muscles. Chanting of Om places you in the meditational state bringing awareness from within.
The powerful Shri Yantra intersects 54 points. Each intersection has masculine and feminine qualities, 54 Shiva 54 Shakti qualities totaling to 108.
Importance of the Auspicious number in Yogic Culture and Ayurveda
In Yogic culture this number signifies the spiritual completion. Therefore Sun salutations or ‘Surya Namaskar’ are done in 9 cycles each having 12 positions getting a totality of 108. The ancient yogis believed we could align ourselves with the rhythm of creation while chanting 108 times.
In Pranayana, if one can remain so calm in meditation so as to take only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.
According to Ayurveda, we have 108 pressure points in our body. The chanting of mantra 108 times represents our connection with our inner spiritual self. The chakras are the intersection of energy lines in our body. There are 108 energy lines in our body converging to form the heart chakra. One of them known as Sushumna leads to the crown chakra which is believed to be the path of self realization.
Beliefs in different traditions of the Auspicious number
In Hinduism there are 108 deities each having 108 names, Jainism has 108 virtues. In the Sikh tradition108 knots are made in a woolen thread instead of beads. The Chinese Buddhists use 108 bead mala as their astrology says there are 108 sacred stars. The Japanese chime the bell in their temple 108 times to end the old year and welcome a new one. Each ring represents 108 temptations to be overcome to achieve ‘Nirvana’.
The universal meaning of mystical 108 is
- 1- supreme truth
- 0 – emptiness or completeness
- 8 – infinite or eternity
Thus, there are various ways that this magical number gets its importance in various cultures around the world.