Featured photo: yogapractice.com

I recently bought a mala to practise **mantra chanting** with the use of prayer beads, a practice also known as **japa meditation**. The first obvious question I got when I got the **mala beads** was why are there **108** of them?. And why does this mysterious number appear quite frequently in topics related to Dharmic (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism) religions mostly (*the number 108* *is considered sacred by the Dharmic Religions*)? I had to find out and here’s what I got based on my little research.

- Cosmic geometry
- Chakras and Shri Yantra
- Astrology
- Yoga
- Meditation
- Hinduism
- Buddhism
- Feelings
- Geography
- Mathematics
- Fibonacci sequence
- Numerology
- 108 degrees Fahrenheit
- Christianity
- Jainism
- Summary

**1.** **Cosmic geometry**

- The diameter of the sun and the distance between the earth and the sun is 108 times.
- The diameter of the moon and the distance between the moon and the earth is 108 times.
- The diameter of the earth and the diameter of the sun is 108 times.

**2. Chakras** **and Shri Yantra**

- According to Ayurvedic texts the human body has between 108 and 117 marmani points. Marmani is a Sanskrit term, plural of marma; a set of energy points found on the surface of the body which are vital for health and wellbeing, as they contain prana (vital life force energy). It is also believed that there are 108 energy lines that converge to form the heart chakra.
- On the Shri Yantra (referred to as
**an instrument for Wealth**) there are marmas (points) where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersection has masculine and feminine qualities, which represent Shiva and Shakti. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body. The beauty of the Shree Yantra is that it symbolises all Gods and Goddesses.

**3. Astrology**

- Vedic astrology observes the movements of nine planets through 12 houses (12 times nine is 108), and also recognises 27 constellations spread throughout four directions (27 times four is 108).
- There are 12 zodiacs and 9 planets and when multiplied, we get 108. Additionally, there are 27 lunar mansions and they are divided into 4 quarters. When 27 is multiplied by 4, the result is 108.
- There are 108 stars in Chinese astrology and while 72 of them are malevolent, the remaining 36 are beneficial.

**4. Yoga**

- Sun salutations, yogic asanas that honour the sun god Surya, are generally completed in nine rounds of 12 postures, totalling 108.
- In Kriya yoga, the maximum number of repetitions per session is said to be 108.

**5. Meditation**

**Mantra meditation**is usually chanted on a set of 108 beads. This is why all mantras are chanted 108 times because each chant represents a journey from our material self towards our**highest spiritual self**. Each chant is believed to bring you 1 unit closer to our God within.- There are said to be 108 styles of meditation.
- In
, the yogic practice of regulating breath, it is believed that if an individual can be so calm as to only breathe 108 times in one day, enlightenment will be achieved.**pranayama** - An average person is said to breathe 21,600 times in a 24-hour period. Half, 10,800, are solar energy (breaths during day), and the other half is lunar energy (breaths during night). 100 multiplied with 108 equals 10,800.

**6. Hinduism**

- Sanskrit, the ancient language the
**Vedas**were originally written in, possesses 54 letters. Each letter can either be feminine (Shakti) or masculine (Shiva), which totals 108. In addition, there are**108 Upanishads**, which are a compilation of texts that clarify and expand on Vedic teachings. - Each deity in Hinduism has 108 names.
- Both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva have 108 names each.
- 108 epistemological doctrines in Hinduism tradition

**7. Buddhism**

- The Buddha has 108 names and there are 108 lamps devoted to him.
- In Buddhism, there are said to be 108 Earthly desires, 108 lies, and 108 delusions of the mind. Some of these sins and delusions are callousness, blasphemy, anger, abuse, and aggression.
- In Buddhism, it is also believed that the road to nirvana is laden with exactly 108 temptations. So, every Buddhist has to overcome 108 earthly temptations to achieve nirvana. In addition, the ring of prayer beads worn around the waist of Zen priests is usually made of 108 beads.
- In Tibetan Buddhism, the number 108 mainly stands for the Kangyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, a loosely defined collection of 108 volumes of sacred texts recognised by various schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and described as the Word of the Buddha.
- The Lankavatara Sutra, a Buddhism Mahayana text that figures prominently in Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, has a section where the Bodhisattva Mahamati asks the Buddha 108 questions.
- In Buddhism, it is among the tenets that there are exactly 108 types of defilements – no more and no less. This could be the reason a bell is usually chimed exactly 108 times in Japanese Buddhist Temples to mark the end of an old year and to usher into a new year.
- Kathmandu is said to be the capital of Buddhism and there are exactly 108 images of Lord Buddha, erected in and around the place in reverence of the Buddhism deity.
- Tibetan legends are made of 108 Masters and 108 initiates.
- 108 saints are celebrated in Japan and they are also known as Vajradhatu.
- Most Buddhist temples usually have 108 steps and 108 columns. A very good example of such temples is the temple at Angkor. The temple is built around 108 huge stones.
- In Tibet, a nomad woman braids her hair into 108 tresses.

**8. Feelings**

- Both Buddhism and Hinduism believe that every human being has 108 different types of feelings. 36 of these feelings revolve round their past, 36 revolve round the present, and the remaining 36 are based on their dreams and future ambitions.

**9. Geography**

- River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91) and latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31). 12 multiplied by 9 equals 108.
- Stonehenge’s diameter has been measured to be 108 feet in diameter.
- PhNom Bakheng, an ancient Shiva Temple located in Cambodia has 108 towers around it.
- There are exactly 108 sacred sites (also called pithas) all over India.
- 108 steps in temples mentioned in the Lankavatara Sutra.

**10. Mathematics**

Ancient Indians discovered the links between 108 and 9, a more sacred number. The link between 9 and 108 is much more than one being a multiple of the other.

- 108 is a Harshad number. Such a number is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. (108/9 = 12). In Sanskrit,
*harsa*means “joy” and*da*means “give”. Thus,*Harshad*translates to “joy giver.” - 11 x 22 x 33 = 108. This means (1) x (2×2) x (3x3x3) = 108
- 1 squared plus 2 squared plus 3 squared equals 108
- When 108 is divided by 2, the answer is 54 and 5 + 4 = 9
- When 54 is further divided by 2, it will lead to 27 and 2 + 7 = 9
- When 1 is added to 0 and 8, the answer is 9 (1+0+8 = 9)
- When 108 is multiplied by 2, the resultant figures will result in 9 when added together – 108 x 2 = 216; 2+1+6 = 9
- When 108 is multiplied by 3, the resultant figures will result in 9 when added together – 108 x 2 = 324; 3+2+5 = 9
- 366 days in sidereal year; 3x6x6 = 108
- 108° degrees on inner angles of a pentagon

**11. Fibonacci sequence**

Applying decimal on the first 24 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence and adding them up gives us 108.

Ex: Decimal parity of 455 = 4 + 5 + 5 = 14 and 1 + 4 = 5. So the decimal parity of 455 is 5.

The first 24 numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence are: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657.

If we apply decimal parity to the Fibonacci sequence we find that there is a repeating series of 24 digits as seen here: (0), 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 4, 3, 7, 1, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 4, 1, 5, 6, 2, 8, 1.

If we add these 24 digits up, we get the number 108.

0 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 4 + 3 + 7 + 1 + 8 + 9 + 8 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 4 + 1 + 5 + 6 + 2 + 8 + 1 = 108

Also, the 1.08 constant growth rate the nautilus uses to build its spiral shell involves the same pattern which repeats every 24 numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.

**12. Numerology**

Numbers can be seen as messengers. When the number 108 appears in our life it may mean that we are about to attain a long-desired goal or achievement. The number 108 consists of the individual numbers 1, 0 and 8.

- The number
**1**represents authority and leadership. It also represents new beginnings, taking initiative, and embarking on a new path of progress. - The number
**0**is a mysterious one in that it represents both nothingness and eternity, but when combined with other numbers it will amplify the vibrational influence of the other numbers. - The number
**8**is related to power and influence, abundance and achievement and the power to manifest desired outcomes. When this vibration becomes dominant in our lives we can expect to wield a great amount of influence in the chosen area of interest or in our professional lives.

Another explanation is this: 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.

The number 108 may also be thought of as a special number or a special combination that represents the number 9. Number 9 is considered to be a highly spiritual number and entrusts us with a high spiritual energy associated with altruism and humanitarianism. So when number 9 “shines” through the number 108 it signals that we should share our gifts and abundance with those less fortunate than us. The abundance we attract, we must remember, has come to us by aligning with the Divine Source. Conversely, when we align our thoughts with the Divine Source, our whole attitude changes and we become generous, altruistic and benefactors of the world, naturally – all the while maintaining a sense of gratitude for all that we have.

The Divine Source keeps giving without expecting anything in return. We can best maintain a connection to that source by an attitude of gratitude and generosity – such an attitude will continue to attract prosperity into our lives, materially and spiritually.

**13. 108 degrees Fahrenheit**

When the internal body temperature reaches 108 degrees Fahrenheit, the vital organs in the body will begin to shut down.

**14. Christianity**

- The division of Christian holiday from Soul’s day which is on November 2nd to 25th December has 54 days and 54 nights. The significance of the number lies in the fact that within those two dates, light transformed into darkness a total of 108 times and the reverse also occurred the same number of times.

**15. Jainism**

- There 108 virtues in Jain tradition

**Summary – Theology and Culture**

- 108 beads on a mala
- 108 repetitions of a mantra
- 108 types of meditation
- 108 dance forms in Indian traditions
- 108 time frame in Rosicrucian cycles
- 108 gopis of Vrindavan in the Gaudiya Vaishnavism
- 108 defilements in some schools of Buddhism
- 108 earthly temptations
- 108 beads on a juzu (prayer beads) worn by Zen priests
- 108 questions for Buddha in the Lankavatra
- 108 previous incarnations remembered in modern Gnosticism
- 108 chances or lifetimes to rid the ego and transcend the materialistic world
- 108 earthly desires/lies/delusions in Buddhism
- 108 is maximum number of repetitions in Kriya Yoga
- 108 Sun Salutations in yoga
- 108 breaths in a day to reach enlightenment
- 108 energy lines or nadiis converging to form the heart chakra
- 108 sacred books in the holy writings of Tibet
- 108 epistemological doctrines in Hinduism tradition
- 108 virtues in Jain tradition
- 108 steps in temples mentioned in the Lankavatara Sutra
- 108 sins or 108 delusions of the mind in Tibetan Buddhism
- 108 pressure points in body according to Marma Adi and Ayurveda

Most of the beautiful findings above were picked and compiled from the following sites. Huge kudos to them! 🙏