Importance of 108
For the followers of Sanatan Dharma and religions that have spawned from it, the number 108 has been considered to be sacred from ancient times and has been given a lot of importance.
Ancient Indians knew that creation has a pattern and is symbolized as the number 108. This includes heavenly bodies like planets, moons and also human beings.
In ancient times, Vedic Astronomers found out that
- Distance between the Moon and the Earth is approximately 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
- Distance between the Sun and the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun
- Diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
Based on the calculations done during those ancient times, we can say that they are quite close to those done today using modern equipment which we use to find distances between the three bodies.
It has 27 ‘Nakṣatras’ or moon signs which have 4 Padas (parts) each, which totals to 108 and gives us 108 different classes of human nature. Each Nakshatra is divided into 4 padas i.e. parts of 3.20′ (3 degrees and 20 minutes) each.
Also, there are 12 houses and 9 planets, giving the number 108 when multiplied.
In Sanskrit literature, we can observe that the number 108 shows up in many ways; e.g. there are 18 Puranas, there are 18 Chapters in the Bhagavad Gita, there are 108 Upanishads and many Sanskrit texts have 108 verses.
The Sanskrit alphabet has 54 letters with each letter having a masculine side as well a feminine side. So, if we total the 54 letters of Sanskrit alphabet with the two sides i.e. masculine and feminine (54 * 2) we get a total of 108 letters.
Many Gods and goddesses have 108 names. In a ‘Japa Mālā’ i.e. a string with beads, there are 108 beads for chanting. Also, the name of a god or goddess and their mantra is chanted 108 times during puja or any prayer.
Places of Worship
According to ancient Sanatan Dharma tradition, there are a total of 108 sacred sites called “Pithas” all across greater India i.e. the unified India which was in existence during ancient times which includes a large part of the Indian subcontinent now a days called the South Asia.
As per the measurement of time based on ancient Sanatan Dharma scriptures, we observe that One day of Brahma (one of the holy Trinity of Sanatan Dharma a.k.a. Hinduism) is equal to 43,20,000 years, which is a factor of 108.
In Ayurveda, specifically the Sushruta Samhita, which is a Surgery and Medicine text in Sanskrit from ancient India, 107 vital points are described which are spread all over the human body. Many practitioners and scholars believe that the mind is the 108th point.
These points are seen on both sides of the body i.e. front and back. There are 37 on the head and neck area, 12 points in the chest and stomach area, 22 points on the hands, 14 on the back of the body, and 22 points in the lower part of the body.
108 can also be seen in Mathematics by using the powers of 1, 2, and 3. 1 ^ 1 = 1 | 2 ^ 2 = 4 | 3 ^ 3 = 27 | If we multiply all of these, 1 * 4 * 27 = 1 * 1 * 2 * 2 * 3 * 3 * 3 = 108.
The number 108 is truly a very special number. It connects us to the universe and it to us.