Hinduism is a religious belief with countless rituals, customs, and traditions. Most of them have been in practice since the Vedic age. You may have noticed the predominance of the number 108 in several instances related to Hinduism. Through the significance of 108 counts in Hinduism, we will look into its origin, meaning, and importance.
As per Surya Sidhantha (an ancient book on astronomy), the people in the earlier period calculated the speed of light by focusing on the solar system and human beings. The number mentioned in the book is approximately equal to the modern-day calculation on the speed of light.
Concerning the solar system, the distance between the Moon and the Earth is 108 times its diameter. It is the same for the Sun as well. When it comes to our human body, there are 114 chakras, and two of them are outside our bodies. While we are working on the chakras, we need to focus on 108 of them. Four other chakras acquire the benefit based on the functioning of the other 108 chakras.
Apart from Hinduism, there are other religions across the world that give significance to the 108 counts. Jainism and Zen Buddhism focus on 108. Zen Buddhism connects it with the principle of Nirvana or salvation. In Buddhist temples, chiming the bell 108 times is highly beneficial.
In Hinduism, the deities have 108 names. There are other significances associated with the number 108 with Hindu Gods. Lord Shiva had 108 attendees, and as per Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Lord Krishna had 108 flowers in his Brindavan.
Significance of 108 count: There are a plethora of significances linked with the counting of 108 in Hinduism and Yogic practices. Here, we will look into some of them that play a crucial role in our physical and psychological wellbeing.
1. In Sanskrit, there are 54 letters in total. However, each letter in Sanskrit has a feminine or Shakti energy and masculine or Shiva energy. As per the calculations, there are then 54*2 letters, which is equal to 108.
2. While meditating or praying, most devotees use a Japa Mala made up of prayer beads and a guru bead. Mala has 108 prayer beads that stand for the planets revolving around the Sun. When we count the beads and complete one circle, it is highly significant in Hinduism. Many consider it equal to attaining Moksha or a depiction of the cyclic nature of our life.
3. As per yoga, there are 108 Pithas or sacred sites in India. 108, thus, offers spiritual completion. It is highly beneficial to perform the Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation nine times. As there are 12 postures in the Surya Namaskar, it becomes 9*12, equal to 108. It helps in realigning our mind and body with the cyclic nature of reincarnation. Apart from the Sun Salutation, you can also practice breathing exercises and other Asanas 108 times to acquire the maximum benefit from it.
4. As mentioned earlier, there are 108 chakras in our body. However, we focus mostly on seven chakras. There are 108 energy lines in our bodies. They are known as the Nadis. The Nadis help in the formation of our health chakras. We can remove the imbalances of the heart chakra by focusing on the 108 Nadis in our bodies. All the chakras are interdependent. So, it is essential to ensure the well being of all the chakras.
5. Our body has 108 marma points. They are vital life-giving forces in our bodies. Apart from that, we commonly have 108 Earthly desires and 108 feelings. Of these 108 feelings, 36 are present in the past, 36 in the present, and the rest in the future.
6. There are other significances of the 108 count in Hinduism. There are 108 Upanishads and 108 degrees Fahrenheit is the initial temperature of our bodies.
7. 108 also connects with the cosmic order. It depicts the concept of wholeness of existence. It is mainly because of the connection between the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. Even before the modern people found the distance between the Earth and the others, the ancient Vedic scholars had found it. For instance, the High Temple of Lamani of the Mayans is 108 feet tall. It shows the relevance of the number 108 way back in the past.
8. In Astrology, 108 is a number with a close connection with our destiny. The astrological cycle of the Earth is 2160 years. We have obtained it by multiplying 20*108. Along with that, in Astrology, there are 12 houses and nine planets. There are 12 constellations and nine arc segments. Each of these elements forms 108 as their total.
9. The chanting of the mantras and prayers 108 times can help us attain liberation. It would improve our concentration and focus. You can move beyond the material realm to the non-materialistic arena. It takes us a step closer to enhancing our connection with the Brahman or the ultimate consciousness.
The chanting or usage of 108 in Hinduism has profound significance. It has a close connection with the repetition of the "Om" mantra while chanting or meditating. We can perform the Surya Namaskar, recite prayers, or mantras 108 times to attain more benefits. It would take us away from the world of earthly desires.