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The Significance of number 108

Updated on January 29, 2011
Spiritual preceptors-Guru
Spiritual preceptors-Guru
Mantra mala with meru bead
Mantra mala with meru bead
Mantra mala-religious beads
Mantra mala-religious beads
Brahman-the ultimate truth
Brahman-the ultimate truth
Brahma-the Creator
Brahma-the Creator

The number 108 is called a 'Harshad' Number. 'Harshad'  in Sanskrit means joy giving. In Vedic mathematics, a harshad number is defined as an integer that is divisible by the sum of its own digits. The number 108 is divisible by 9. This number, 108 has held a mysterious enigma in religious pursuits of Hinduism. The Vedic sages of the ancient civilization were not only enlightened spiritually but were proficient in mathematics. They introduced the number system based on their detailed study of the Cosmos.

They believed that number 108 succinctly defines all of the existence of this universe. 108 which totals up to Number 9 represents wholeness. The number nine is a symbolic representation of Brahma, the Creator of the Universe. If you try and multiply 9 times any number, the digits of the product always total up to 9.

2x9=18 and 1+8=9.

285x9=2565 and the sum of 2+5+6+5=18 1+8=9.

8543x9=76887 and its sum is 7+6+8+8+7=36 3+6=9

Thus number 9 represents God and God times anything is always God. God in Hinduism is Brahman- everything originates from Brahman and finally emerges into Brahman. Scriptures state that Brahman (God) is symbolically represented by the figure 9. The three figures in the number 108 add up to nine (1 + 0 + 8 = 9). The figure 9 itself when multiplied by any other figure and the digits of the answer when added up will provide the answer as exactly 9. The different stages of creationand evolution are all linked to the figure 9
as seen below the following figures all add to 9.

Kaliyuga or the dark age is for a duration of 432,000 human years. Dwaparyuga lasts for 864,000 human years

The duration of Tretayuga is 1,296,000 human years

Satayuga consists of 1,728,000 human years

A Mahayuga is said to last for 4,320,000 human years

A celestial year in Brahma’s life consists of 3,110,400,000,000 human years

Brahma’s lifespan consists of 311,040,000,000,000 human years.

The digits of each of the above figures sum up to 9. The figure nine is therefore said to represent Brahman or Infinity.

According to astrological sciences the influences and aspects of 9 planets travelling through the 12 zodiac signs constitutes the whole of existence. There are 9 x 12 = 108 combinations for such aspects possible that influence human life on Earth. In astrology 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations are divided into 4 padas or parts. The four parts of the 27 nakshatras are influenced by the 4 elements of nature - fire, earth, air, water. The entire existence is influenced by the combination of 27 x 4 = 108 forces that are exerted on earth.

Our universe according to the sages has 3 dimensions, very much like the x. y and z coordinate axes. The sages expressed the entire existential sphere mathematically in terms of the powers of 1, 2, and 3. 1 to 1st power = 1; 2 to 2nd power = 4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power = 27 (3x3x3).

The entire combination of the three dimensions equal 1x4x27 = 108.

Number 1 represents the first dimensional reality, Number 2 represents the second dimensional reality, while number 3 represents the third dimensional reality. When you mulitply their powers together then it encompasses all that exists within it which is the whole of existence.
Ancient texts state the universe to abound with 108 naturally occurring elements. Our current periodic table confirms this fact.

The Sun is the central point of our Universe. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth .

The mean distance of Sun from Earth: 149.60 million km
Mean Diameter of the Sun: 1.39 million km

Ratio of 149.6/1.39 (rounded off to the nearest integer) = 108
The ancient yogis or sages measured life of a human on earth in terms of number of breaths.

Average human respiratory rate : 15 breaths a minute

Therefore in a day (24 hrs ) we breathe : 15 x 60 x 24 = 21600 = 108 x 200 breaths. Hence life is measured in multiples of 108 breaths.

The Hindu rosary or religious beads consist of 108 beads with one extra bead the Meru bead. One complete rosary or mala involves the repetition of the prayer or mantra a 108 times. The 109th bead the Meru or summit acts as the guide. An important rule in this rosary used to do counting is not to cross over the Meru on completion of the 108 counts but to retrace and do the next mala commencing at the point of finish. Thus we work back and forth from the Meru. The Meru represents the Guru or Preceptor whose importance in any spiritual discipline for guidance is unsurpassed, and he should not be crossed in any circumstance. The 108 times that the mantra is repeated is to –

cleanse the 108 types of sins

cleanse the vibrations of 108 breaths

to reach out to the 108 forms of the God figure

to ask the spiritual preceptor to guide the Atman or the human soul through 108 stages on the journey.

Only through 108 breaths coordinated with 108 chants of a mantra will make the path of enlightenment come closer.

A mortal is said to have 108 earthly desires, a human is associated with 108 lies and 108 human delusions. Multiples of 108 mantra chants are said to cleanse and spiritually uplift.

108 the God number of religious pursuit is the magic number coined by the Sages to solve the enigma of the universe and realize the maze of life and attain the state of Brahman.


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    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      interesting hub...did not realize the importance of it, until now :)