Why 108 Beads?
A sacred number in Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism Mala necklaces are traditionally constructed with 108 beads and crystals to aid meditation, mantra and prayer with each bead representing a repetition. The guru bead is the larger bead or tassel on the mala and is not part of the 108 as this is the guiding bead and marks the beginning and end of the meditation. The number 108 is considered a sacred number in Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism, but the significance of this number is varied and open to interpretation.
There is evidence that this number held significance in ancient civilizations, before the Indian subcontinent popularized it. The ancient Indians, however, were excellent mathematicians and numerology has played an important role in many Asian cultures. The Rig Veda, the oldest text on yoga, gives importance to 108 as a special number more than once. 108 is a multiple of the number 9 which is also sacred in India and considered to be the number of Brahman, the creator.
* Hindu deities have 108 names
* 108 nadis (energy channels) converge to form the heart chakra
* The subtle body consists of 108 marma (pressure) points
* In Jainism there are 108 virtues
* There are 108 primary Upanishads (sacred treatises written in Sanskrit c. 800–200 BC)
* There are said to be 108 pithas or sacred sites in India
* The sun’s diameter is 108 times the diameter of the earth
* The average distance of the moon from the earth is 108 times the diameter of the moon
* 108 represents the 4 quarters of the moon with 27 lunar constellations, 27 X 4 = 108
* Joseph Campbell taught that 108 is 1+0+8 = 9, the number of the Goddess
* The distance between the earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun
* Many Buddhist temples have 108 steps that symbolise the steps to enlightenment
* In Ancient Dravidian + Aryan religions, 108 was tied to the lunar calendar to compute cosmic ages
* The Sri Yantra is considered one of the most mystical and powerful yantras of all time. It has 54 points where three lines intersect. Each intersection has masculine and feminine qualities so each intersection of 54 X 2 = 108
There are at least 108 reasons why this number is thought to be sacred! Even without an exact source of its origin, 108 is an invitation into the wonder, mystery, and divine design of the Universe.