This article was written by me back in 2004 and published in the Italian book “Libri Feroci”, which you can find in our library by clicking below:
Many years and studies have passed and this writing could be expanded. For the moment, I am reporting only the original article, which in my opinion contains interesting initial ideas.
Dear Guru Maharaja, accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga and Sri Sri Radha Govinda.
Surely the number 108 is of fundamental importance in spirituality, in fact 108 are the Upanisads, and 108 are the main queens of Krishna.
108 is also the number of Maha-Mantra which is used to chant a complete round of japamala, which in fact represent the queens of Krishna, but 108 are also the beads of the jazu, the Buddhist crown.
Another analogy is the Christian rosary, made up of 54 beads, but which become 108 after two turns.
In short, I believe that they are not mere coincidences, but precisely that 108 is endowed with particular powers, or spiritual influences.
Can you describe its glories to me?
Your eternal servant ***
The question “why is the number 108 so important?” it has been posted to me numerous times. The answers I have given have always been quite short because they involve rather complex concepts that take time and mathematical skill which is not part of my field of study.
The point is that the principles of absolute Truth can be expressed with a variety of languages, including the numerical one. Philosophical concepts can be expressed with words, but also with music, with sensations and also described by numbers. Generally we are used to describing them in words. But mathematics is a philosophical science.
The number 108 is the numerical description of creation. It is also a map of the reality we perceive. But it’s hard to understand unless you have done extensive studies.
The ancient Vedic sages were expert mathematicians. Our science comes from theirs. According to them, the number 108 is the number that most of all describes the completeness of the Lord’s creation.
I’ll say something here.
* The number 9 represents completeness. The internal numbers of 108, added together, give 9, i.e. 1 + 0 + 8 = 9
* If you multiply any number by 9, the internal sum of the figure that will come out will always be 9. Try the test
2×9 = 18, i.e. 1 + 8 = 9.
285×9 = 2565 2 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 18 1 + 8 = 9.
8543×9 = 76887 7 + 6 + 8 + 8 + 7 = 36 3 + 6 = 9
16 (rounds) x 108 (beads) = 1728 1 + 7 + 2 + 8 = 18 1 + 8 = 9
This means that no matter what the Lord does, He always remains complete and never disappears in his creation (see Sri Isopanisad, invocation).
* The nine planets that travel through the 12 signs of the zodiac make up the whole existence. 9 x 12 = 108
* The 27 nakshatra, the lunar constellations spread in all directions, which are 4. 27 x 4 = 108
* In some parts of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the directions are 10. 27 x 10 = 270. 2 + 7 = 9
* Consider the powers of the numbers 1, 2, 3 in mathematics.
The number 1 raised to its power is 1 The 2 raised to its power is 4
3 raised to its power is 27 1x4x27 is 108
The philosophical importance of the numbers 1, 2 and 3 is well known.
* According to some ancient texts the universe is made up of 108 elements.
* The diameter of the Sun is 108 times greater than the diameter of the earth. The distance of the Sun from the earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
* The average distance between the Moon and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
* In the Sanskrit alphabet there are 54 letters, each having its own masculine feminine form. 54×2 = 108
* In astrology there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12×9 = 108
* The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon is equivalent to 108 degrees.
* In astrology, silver is said to represent the moon and its atomic weight is 108.
* The Gopis are 108. The spiritual master is awarded the numerical title 108 because he is their representative.
* Some traditions state that there are 1008 earthly desires, 108 lies, and 108 forms of ignorance.
* In yoga, there are 108 lines of energy that converge to form the heart cakra.
* in yoga it is said that if one is so calm as to have only 108 breaths in one day, one will gain enlightenment.
* There are 108 Upanishads.
* The tantras estimate that the average number of breaths that humans take daily is 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy and 10,800 are lunar energy. The two numbers are multiples of 9 and 108 is present.
* some religious traditions have mala made of 54, 36, 27 or 9 balls, all multiples of 9 and derivatives of 108.
* Each deity has 108 names.
* In Islam the number 108 is used to refer to God.
* In the Jaina religion 108 is the sum of the five categories of virtues, which are 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27.
* Sikhs instead of a mala have 108 knots in a rope made of wool.
* The number 108 is particularly auspicious in the Buddhist religion.
* In astrology the number 108 recurs all the time
* 108 symbolizes the union of Shiva and Shakti, the creation of the world.
* when the ocean of milk was smoothed, there were 54 devas on one side and 54 demons on the other to obtain amrita. The sun in a year crosses 10 navamsa-pada. The 54 demons are in the southern part of Solo (dakshinayana) and the 54 devas are in the northern part of the sun (uttarayana).
* according to the Muktikopanishad there are 108 Upanishads.
* traditionally there are 108 holy places for the Vaishnavas.
:: Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)::
2 Video on the number 108
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