Significance of 108
The Indian Subcontinent rosary or set of mantra
counting has 108 beads. 108 has been a sacred number in the
Indian Subcontinent for a very long time. This number is
explained in many different ways.
The ancient Indians were excellent mathematicians
and 108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation
(e.g. 1 power 1 x 2 power 2 x 3 power 3 = 108) which was thought
to have special numerological significance.
Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2
to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108
Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the
Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and
shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
Sri Yantra: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas
where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections.
Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti
qualities. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that
define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body.
9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to
have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is
108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.
Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of
energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy
lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna
leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to
Selfrealization.
Marmas: Marmas or marmastanas are like energy
intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines
converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the
subtle body.
Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36
related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to
the future.
Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc
segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108.
Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.
Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12
houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.
Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there
were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.
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.
Sun and Earth: The diameter of the sun is 108 times
the diameter of the Earth.
Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108,
when added together equals 9, which is the number of the
numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc., where 0 is not a
number.
Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such
as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have
54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.
Islam: The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to
God.
Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined
virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25,
and 27 virtues respectively.
Sikh: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots
tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.
Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a
108 bead mala, which is called suchu, and has three dividing
beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.
Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul
or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.
Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108.
It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the
quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the
mala.
Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian
traditions.
Pythagorean: The nine is the limit of all numbers,
all others existing and coming from the same. ie: 0 to 9 is all
one needs to make up an infinite amount of numbers.
We have listed below 108 Upanishads as per the list
contained in the Muktikopanishad . We have arranged them in four
categories according to the particular Veda to which each of them
belong.
Rigveda(10): Aitareya , Atmabodha, Kaushitaki,
Mudgala, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Akshamaya, Tripura, Bahvruka,
Saubhagyalakshmi.
Yajurveda(50): Katha, Taittiriya , Isavasya ,
Brihadaranyaka, Akshi, Ekakshara, Garbha, Prnagnihotra,
Svetasvatara, Sariraka, Sukarahasya, Skanda, Sarvasara, Adhyatma,
Niralamba, Paingala, Mantrika, Muktika, Subala, Avadhuta,
Katharudra, Brahma, Jabala, Turiyatita, Paramahamsa, Bhikshuka,
Yajnavalkya, Satyayani, Amrtanada, Amrtabindu, Kshurika,
Tejobindu, Dhyanabindu, Brahmavidya, YogakundalinI, Yogatattva,
Yogasikha, Varaha, Advayataraka, Trisikhibrahmana,
mandalabrahmana, Hamsa, Kalisantaraaa, Narayana, Tarasara,
Kalagnirudra, Dakshinamurti, Pancabrahma, Rudrahrdaya,
SarasvatIrahasya.
SamaVeda(16): Kena, Chandogya, Mahat,
Maitrayani, Vajrasuci, Savitri, Aruneya, Kundika, Maitreyi,
Samnyasa, Jabaladarsana, Yogacudaman, Avyakta, Vasudevai, Jabali,
Rudrakshajabala.
Atharvaveda(32): Prasna , Mandukya, Mundaka,
Atma, Surya, NaradaParivrajakas, Parabrahma,
ParamahamsaParivrajakas, PasupathaBrahma, Mahavakya, Sandilya,
Krishna, Garuda, Gopalatapani, Tripadavibhutimahnarayana,
Dattatreya, Kaivalya, NrsimhatapanI, Ramatapani, Ramarahasya,
HayagrIva, Atharvasikha, Atharvasira, Ganapati, Brhajjabala,
Bhasmajabala, Sarabha, Annapurna, TripuratapanI, Devi, Bhavana,
SIta.
