Mala beads are typically used to count the repetitions of a mantra during meditation. The most commonly used mala consists of 108 beads. The number 108 is significant in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. In ancient India, the number 108 was considered the most auspicious and sacred number. In todays post I am going to share with you some intriguing facts about the significance of the number 108 that you probably didn’t already know! So read on and discover what makes 108 such a cosmic number.
What Are Mala Beads?
Mala beads (also known as Japa Malas, Mala Beads, Prayer Beads, Buddhist Prayer Beads and Hindu Prayer Beads) are traditionally made with 108 beads to help count mantras during meditation. After chanting 100 mantras, 8 extra mantras are recited to allow for any errors. Tibetan mala beads often have counter beads at 27 bead intervals to aid the counting process.
Mala Beads can be worn by anyone of any religion as they can be used to cleanse the chakra system and for crystal healing. If wearing a mala resonates with you and makes you feel good then you should wear it! It really is that simple. Many yogis like to wear mala beads as it can assist in practice – inner focus, relaxation and integration.
Why Are There 108 Beads in a Mala?
Often the question arises as to why there 108 beads in a mala? What makes 108 so special? I had a bit of a read and research myself and I have put together a little something for you to summerise my findings. The magic behind the 108 number is part of the powerful benefits of wearing and using mala beads. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
There are said to be 108 earthly desires in humans and…
There 108 lies that humans tell
Apparently there are 108 human delusions or types of disregard/ ignorance
Some say humans have 108 feelings; 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future
- Heart Chakra
The chakra centres are where energy lines intersect, and there are said to be a 108 energy lines which meet to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, which is the path to self-realization and enlightenment
- 1, 0, and 8
The number 1 represents God or higher Truth, 0 represents emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 represents infinity or eternity
- Sanskrit Alphabet
There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine side, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108
If someone is able to reach a state of calmness during meditation whereby they can have just 108 breaths in a day, it is said that enlightenment will come
Some stipulate that there are 108 styles of meditation
Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day is 21,600. Of this 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. 108 x 100 = 10,800 and 2 x 10,800 = 21,600.
- Paths to God
There are said to be 108 paths to God
108 in Hinduism refers to the number of deities. Some say that each of the deities have 108 names
The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God or Allah
In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five types of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues
The Sikh faith has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads
Buddhists sometimes carve 108 small Buddhas on a walnut to bring good luck, or ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year. There are said to be 108 virtues to nurture and 108 sins to avoid
The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala – called su-chu. It has three spacer beads dividing the mala beads into three parts of 36 each. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars
- Meru or Guru
This is a larger bead on mala beads but it is not counted as a part of the 108. It is tied on to the mala beads differently to the other beads as it brings all of the mala beads together and it is the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala
There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments which are called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 x 12 = 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a one whole
- Planets and Houses
There are 12 houses and 9 planets according to astrologers. 12 x 9 = 108
- Sun and Earth
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. Just Wow!
- Moon and Earth
The average distance of the Earth from the Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon!
- Silver and the Moon
The metal silver is said to represent the moon in astrology. Silver has the atomic weight of 108
- 9 x 12
Both of these numbers are very spiritual in many traditions. 9 x 12 = 108. 1 + 8 = 9. 9 x 12 = 108.
Two adjacent lines in a pentagon forms an angle equaling 108 degrees
Wow! Those facts certainly blew my mind! What about you? Have a fact to share? I’d love to hear your comments below. If you found this interesting please don’t forget to hit the ‘share’ button and spread the word!