What's the big deal about number 108?

The Mystical Number that binds us to the Universe

Mohit Sapru Posted On :
8 min 1408 words

Categories: Hinduism

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The number 108 mystically appears in nature, human body, universe, different faiths and also modern culture. To many it is even a sacred number and its appearance across so many diverse disciplines cannot be a mere coincidence. It's a number that resonates throughout the universe.

Consider the following facts attributed to this number...

  • Similar to a circle the Earth is considered to have 360°. Each dergree equals 60 minutes and if one minute is considered as one mile distance then the Earth's circumference is 21600 miles. Humans breathe averagely 21600 times in a day which is 10800 times in a 12hour period. This connects the human body with the planet.
  • The Indian prayer beads ("japa mala" japa meaning repetition of deity name or mantra and mala meaning garland)similar to a Catholic rosary or an Islamic Misbah, is used as an aid to count the repetition, have 108 beads in them. There are 108 beads on a juzu (prayer beads) worn by Zen priests.
  • There are 27 constellations made from the Zodiac. A constellation is an area in the sky in which a group of visible stars form a pattern/outline representing an animal or mythological pattern- like Leo the Lion, Tauras the Bull). Each constellation covers an area of 13° 20′ of the elliptic(i.e the plane of the earth's rotation around the sun). Each constellation is used as a celestial marker in the sky. Also the passage of the moon through the area of these constellation will constitute a 27day cycle. Each constellation is divided in 4parts (of 3° 30′ each), with each part being representative of a sign the Zodiac. Thus 27contellation X 4 parts = 108 which will cover the whole galaxy.
  • In Vedic Astrology there are 12 zodiac signs based on the movement of the Sun and the Moon and there are also 9 planets(Navagrahas) whose positions will represent events happening in one's life. 12 x 9 = 108.
  • The number 108 connects the Earth, Moon and the Sun. Distance between the earth and the moon = 108 times the diameter of the moon. Distance between the earth and sun = 108 times the diameter of the sun. Diameter of the sun = 108 times the diameter of the earth.
  • It's a number divisible by the sum of its digits. This in mathematics is called a Harshad number. The word "Harshad" comes from the Sanskrit harsa(joy) + da(giver).
  • There are 54 alphabets in Sanskrit and each has a masculine and feminine form (Shiva and Shakti). 54 x 2 = 108.
  • The angle formed by the the intersection of 2 adjacent lines in a pentagon is 108° OR the angles of the interior angles of a regular pentagon.
  • Ayurveda defines 108 marma points throughout the human body through which the life energy - (also known as chi or prana) of the five elements flow or are concentrated at. Ayurvedic medicine believes that stimulation of the marma points promotes physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Hinduism believes that within the human body there exists 7 chakras (from top of the head ending at base of spine) and 108 energy lines(nadis) that connect these chakras.
  • There are 108 traditional Indian dance forms. Traditional Indian dances are used to worship God or tell stories of God.
  • The sacred texts of Tibetan Buddhism are the "Kangyur" which means "translated words"(of the Buddha) and there are 108 volumes of these.
  • The ritual of "joya no kane" in Japan is the ringing of the temple bells a 108 times. This Buddhist ceremony is a bridge between the preceding and the subsequent year. Its a purification and renewal ceremony to face the new year with a clean face. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations (Bonnō) a person must overcome.
  • In Yoga 108 is the ideal number to do the Sun Salutation("Surya Namaskar") exercise. 108 is maximum number of repetitions in Kriya Yoga.
  • In Astrology there are 9 planets and 12 houses. 12 x 9 = 108
  • The number 108 is also regarded as Angel's Number. When it appears in ones life it may mean achievement of a long desired goal. Digit 1 represents authority or leadership(leading to Unity). It may represent new beginnings, taking initiative and embarking on a new path of progress. The digit 0 is mysterious - it represents both nothingness(emptiness) 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.It also represents Infinity when turned 90° either way. Thus when the number 108 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.
  • In Buddhism there are said to be 108 feelings. The 6 senses (smell, touch, taste, sound, sight, and consciousness/thought) generate 3 kinds of feelings/sentiments(like , dislike or indifference) which maybe generated under 2 conditions of the heart(pure or impure) under 3 aspects of time (past, present or future). 6 x 3 x 2 x 3= 108<
  • In Buddhism, there are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans can tell and 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.
  • In Jainism, there are 108 ways of affecting Karma. 4 types of passions(anger, pride, conceit, greed) x 3 actions(thought, speech, physical action) x 3 stages of planning (planning, procurement, commencement) x 3 ways of execution (own action, getting it done, supporting or approval of action).
  • When the internal body temperature reaches 108°F, the vital organs in the human body will start to shut down.
  • The number 108 is a hyper-factorial of 3 which means 11 x 22 x 33 = 108
  • The decimal parity of the product of multiplication of 108 by any number will result in 9 always.
    108 x 1 = 108 and 1+0+8 =9
    Similarly 108 x 2 =216 and 2+1+6 =9
    Further 108 x 3 =324 and 3+2+4 =9
    Go on...108 x 4 =432 and 4+3+2 =9
    try more...108 x 11 =1188 and 1+1+8+8 =18 and 1+8 =9
    do one more...108 x 35 =3780 and 3+7+8 =18 and 1+8 =9
  • The Nautilus shell grows at a constant rate of 1.08. Each chamber within the shell is 1.08 times larger than the previous one creating a beautiful logarithmic spiral on the exterior of the shell.
  • 108 is the number that comes up when decimal parity is applied to first 24 numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence. Decimal Parity is the method to break numbers down into single digits < 9 (Eg- the decimal parity equivalent of the number 361 is 1 i.e 3 + 6 + 1 = 10 and 1 + 0 = 1). The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers where each term of the sequence is equal to the sum of two preceding terms. 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. When decimal parity is applied we get the following 24 single digits -0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 4, 3, 7, 1, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 4, 1, 5, 6, 2, 8, 1 which adds up to 108.
  • In the Mendeleev's Periodic Table there are 108 elements. Rest of the elememts after Hassium(the 108th element) are too short lived. Hassium is the heaviest element of the periodic table and has 108 protons. According to Vedic Science our universe is made of 108 elements.
  • The Taoist Tai Chi form of exercise has 108 movements.
  • There are 108 Holy sites in Hinduism and all major deities in Hinduism have 108 names. Lord Kishna in Vrindavan had a following of 108 gopis.
  • The toll free number in India is 1-0-8.
  • Route 108 or Highway 108 refers to multiple roads.
  • The moon walk of Yuri Gagarin(first man on moon) lasted for 108 minutes.
  • Golf balls have dimples in multiples of 108.
  • FM Radio frequency upper limit is 108MHz.