The Significance of ‘108’ in India

The number 108 is long been considered sacred in India. One may wonder, why Indian prayer mala (japa mala, laces or rosary) come as a string of 108 beads. The number 108 is considered sacred by Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. With the 108 beads Japamala, a Manthra is repeated 108 times or multiples of it. The Significance of 108 doesn’t end there.

Significance of 108 in Hinduism

Significance of 108 in Hinduism

Devotees of Lord Shiva believes that whoever chants the 108 auspicious names (AshtaaShatanaamaavaLi) of Shiva will be blessed by the Lord.

In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, there are 108 gopis of Vrindavan.

In Vaishnavite tradition Lord Vishnu has 108 Divya kshethras known as Divya desasams. Out of these 108 temples, 105 are in India, one is in Nepal, and last two are outside the Earthly realms.

There are 114 major chakras in human body. Chakras are where nadi’s join and they are in the form of triangles. Out of these 114 two are outside the physical body. Out of these 112 only 108 can be worked upon, and the remaining four will flower as a consequence of working up the 108 chakras.

Sri chakra
Sri chakra

On the Sri Yantra, there are marmas (intersections) 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.(courtesy: Iskon)

There are 10800 verses and 10800 stanzas in Rigveda. Total number of syllables in Rigveda is 432000 which is connected to 108.

There are around 350 Upanishads but Muktikopanishad lists 108 important Upanishads. The Upanishads are considered as the secret and confidential knowledge of reality.

The Hindu sacred river Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees and latitude of 9 degrees. 12 x 9 = 108

Tantra estimates average number of breaths per day as 21600 of which 10800 are solar energy and 10800 are lunar energy. Pranayama and meditation are meant to reduce the breaths to 108 a day for enlightenment.

In Science

The distance between earth and Suns is 108 times the diameter of Sun. In a similar way the distance between Moon and Earth is 108 times the diameter of moon.

The Diameter of Sun is 108 times that of Earth.

In Buddhism


The Sarvāstivādins were one of the most influential Buddhist monastic groups. As per the Sarvastivada Buddhist scholars there are 108 feelings. Below we explain how they arrived at that figure,

There are different types of feelings. There are two kinds of feelings -Bodily feeling and mental feeling. There are three kinds of feelings – pleasure, pain and indifference. There are four kinds of feelings – associated with the realms of desire, material, immaterial and the one that is disassociated from these realms. There are five kinds of feelings – rooted in pleasure, pain, joy, worry and equality. There are six kinds of pain produced by eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, and feeling from mental-contact. They become 18 if 6 of these feelings are further classified into those of joy, worry and equality. The number of feelings become 36 if these feelings are classified into attached and detached. It becomes 108 when each of these feeling are further analysed into past, present and future. In a similar way Buddhist text say, there are 108 delusions.

In Lankavatara Sutra Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions.

In Art


In Natya Shastra there are 108 Karanas. Natya Sastra states that – One who performs well this 108 Karana dance created by Lord Shiva will go free from all sins to the abode of Lord Shiva

In Astrology


In Astrology 108 is the value obtained by multiplying the 12 zodiac signs by the 9 planets. 12 x 9 = 108

Each of the 27 constellations known as Nakshatra is further divided into 4 part, each consisting 3 degrees and 20minutes; these sections are known as charan or padam that is considered a step. The total number of 27 constellations multiplied by 4 quarter each totals to 108

In Astrology, Silver represents moon and the Atomic weight of moon is 107.8682 = 108

Chinese Astrology counts 36 beneficial stars and 72 evil stars taking the total to 108



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