The significance of 108

Why are there 108 beads in a mala?

The number 108 (and similarly the numbers 1008, 10008 etc) have mystical significance in the Hindu religion. They are particularly relevant in mantra japa as 108 is the number of beads on a standard mala (rosary).

So whats so special about this number? I’ve compiled a number of links to interesting interpretations below.

  1. Number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet x2. There are 54 letters; multiply them by two (to symbolise the divine masculine and feminine – eg Shiva and Parvati etc), and you get 108.
  2. Power series in maths. 1^1 * 2^2 * 3^3 = 108.
  3. Intersections on a Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra. The Sri Yantra has various intersections of three lines. There are 54 such intersections; multiplying these by two for the divine feminine and masculine gets to 108.
  4. The Nexus of the Heart Chakra. The Heart Chakra is said to be the nexus of 108 lines of prana in the body.
  5. The distance between the earth and the sun. The distance has been calculated as 108x the sun’s diameter. See new research here
  6. 108 adds up to 9. The sum of each of the digits 1+0+8 adds to 9. The number 9 also has powerful spiritual significance.
  7. Astrology and the moon’s cycle. The moon cycles through each sign of the zodiac every 27 days. Each sign has 4 padas. 4×27 is 108.

Please feel free to comment and add any reasons that i’ve missed!

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About Swami Mantra Yogi

A new type of Yogi for a new Era.

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