Why The Number 108 Is Sacred In Hinduism?
Last Updated on February 1, 2023
You must have heard a lot about the number 108 while learning about Hinduism. Like the 108 beads in the mala or the 108 names of Shri Rama or any other God. But the most common thing in these things is the number, 108.
So why it holds so much significance? How 108, a simple three digit number can be so sacred?
Well, let’s find out.
Why 108 Is Sacred In Hinduism?
In Hindu mythology, 108 is considered to be a sacred number because it is believed to represent the 108 beads on a mala, or prayer beads.
These beads are used for counting mantras, or sacred prayers, and are said to help the devotee focus their mind and connect with the divine.
Another reason why 108 is considered sacred in Hinduism is that it is believed to represent the 108 elements that make up the universe. These elements are said to include the 108 Upanishads, 108 goddesses, 108 sacred places, and 108 sacred texts.
The main reason why 108 holds so much importance is this; the ancient Vedic sages, known for their mathematical acumen, were the masterminds behind the number system that we use today.
One such number that holds great significance in their teachings is 108, also known as a “Harshad number.” This number holds a mystical and spiritual significance, as it is an integer that is divisible by the sum of its digits. The digits 1, 0 and 8 when added together equal 9, and 108 is divisible by 9.
The word “Harshad” itself is translated as “joy giver,” and this number is believed to represent the entirety of existence in the universe. The Vedic sages held a deep reverence for the number 108, as they believed it to be a symbol of the interconnectedness of all things and the oneness of the universe.
Apart from mythological references, 108 is also sacred in yoga. In yoga and meditation, the number 108 also holds a significant meaning.
It is believed that there are 108 energy lines, or nadis, in the body that converge to form the heart chakra.
6 Reasons Why Number 108 Is Sacred In Hinduism
The number 108 holds a deep and profound significance in Hinduism, rooted in both mythology and astrology. Some of the primary reasons for its significance are:
1. According to ancient beliefs, the distance from the Earth to the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun, emphasizing the significance of this number in the celestial realm.
2. The Nava Graha, or nine planets, and the 12 signs of the zodiac, when multiplied together, equal 108.
Additionally, there are 27 constellations or nakshatras in Vedic astrology, and when multiplied by the four cardinal directions, they also equal 108.
3. The correlation of the metal silver with the Moon, as well as its atomic weight of 108, adds to the number’s astrological significance.
The Upanishads, which are ancient Sanskrit texts that expound on the Vedas and translate to “sitting near God”, with most scholars agreeing that there are 108 Upanishads, also contribute to the significance of this number.
4. Many Indian deities are believed to have 108 names, further emphasizing the deep and profound significance of this number in Hinduism.
5. Comprised of a total of 54 letters, each letter in the alphabet holds within it both a powerful masculine energy, symbolized by the Hindu deity Shiva, as well as a balanced feminine energy, embodied by the goddess Shakti.
6. Its divisibility and geometry are so refined that they can be used to create an infinite variety of patterns. Some of which you can see in this image below:
The combination of these two energies within each letter, when multiplied by the total number of letters, results in the sacred number 108.
How Is the Number 108 Used in Hindu Practices?
In Hindu rituals like yoga and meditation, the number 108 is frequently recited. The heart chakra is said to be the point where 108 energy lines (called nadis) in the body meet. Focusing on the breath during yoga and meditation is thought to open one up to the energy of the universe, allowing one to find harmony within.
Is There Any Significance of The Number 108 in Hindu Astrology?
Yes, in Hindu astrology the number 108 is considered sacred because it is believed to represent the 108 stars and constellations that make up the universe. These stars and constellations are said to have a powerful influence on human destiny, and by studying their positions and movements, one can gain insight into their own fate and the fate of the world.