It was astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Galileo Galilei who mentioned the universe is written “in mathematical language”—that the mysteries of creation itself might be unraveled by numbers and equations. For the mystics, such numbers supplied greater than a scientific clarification—they supplied a code for awakening, a code to our personal nature. And for the yogis, that code is 108.
In yoga, the quantity 108 refers to religious completion. It’s why japa malas are composed of 108 beads, why pranayama is commonly accomplished in cycles of 108, and why solar salutations are sometimes carried out in 9 rounds of the 12 postures (totaling 108). By training chanting, breath work, or asana in rounds of this sacred quantity, the traditional yogis believed we may align ourselves with the rhythm of the creation, and in the end deliver an finish to our cycle of reincarnation.
Once we begin to drill down into our human type we proceed to search out the quantity 108 again and again.
Precisely how the yogis arrived at 108 we don’t fairly know, but it surely appears to be a quantity that connects us to our place within the cosmic order. The gap between the Earth and solar is 108 occasions the diameter of the solar. Is it attainable that our historical ancestors knew this? Across the time the traditional Vedic texts had been being collected, distant Stonehenge was constructed—the Sarsen Circle is 108 toes in diameter. In Belize, through the period of the Mayans, the Excessive Temple of Lamanai was erected at 108 toes tall—the identical peak because the funerary Tikal temple in Guatemala. And inside the temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza in Mexico archeologists consider there to be a second pyramid inside measuring 108 toes broad. These temples, constructed to worship and to deal with the souls of nice leaders upon their demise, maybe used this quantity to attach people not simply to our solar as a giver of life, however to the Creator.
In yoga we are sometimes reminded that “as above, so under,” and once we begin to drill down into our human type we proceed to search out the quantity 108 again and again. Had been we to attract a five-pointed star (representing a human being) inside a circle (a planet) and we might discover 108 levels staring again at us from each angle. Deeper into the microcosm of the human being, it’s mentioned there are 108 vitality strains, or nadis, converging to type the heart chakra, and 108 marmas (strain factors) or sacred components of the physique. And 108 levels Fahrenheit is the inner temperature at which the human physique’s very important organs start to fail from overheating.
Just like the mantra Aum, 108 appears to have an essence that connects us to the entire.
In astrology—our reference to future—108 additionally seems ceaselessly. The Earth, for instance, is claimed to have an astrological cycle of 2160 years (20 x 108). Whereas there are additionally 27 lunar mansions in Vedic astrology unfold over the 4 parts, or the 4 instructions (27 x 4 = 108).
All through religious teachings past the normal yogic texts, we’re reminded of this quantity in our search for liberation. Hindu deities have 108 names, and India is claimed to have 108 sacred websites. In Jainism there are believed to be 108 virtues. In China, some types of Tai Chi have 108 strikes. Whereas in Tibetan Buddhism there are 108 delusions. Many Buddhist temples have 108 steps representing the 108 steps to enlightenment, and in Japan, at Zen Buddhist temples, a bell is chimed 108 occasions on the finish of the 12 months closing a cycle to function a reminder of the 108 earthly temptations an individual should overcome to attain nirvana.
Just like the mantra Aum, 108 appears to have an essence that connects us to the entire. Be it used to information solar salutations, to tally up the variety of chants to the Divine, to depend the steps main as much as a temple, or to measure the buildings constructed for the heavens, it serves as a reminder of the marvel and interconnectedness of the universe.
Will we ever perceive the deeper which means of 108? The Greek mathematician Archimedes affords us a clue when he mentioned: “Arithmetic will reveal its secrets and techniques… solely to those that method it with pure love.”
Photograph by Johannes Riggelsen
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Helen Avery is a senior author for Wanderlust Media. She can also be a journalist, author, yoga trainer, minister, and full-time canine walker of Millie, residing in Brooklyn, New York. Yow will discover out extra about her on her web site, Life as Love.