According to the Vedic sages, the number 108 represents the completeness of presence and divine harmony with the universe.
Based on its significance in mathematics, the universe, ancient cultures, and the human body itself- there truly must be something sacred about the number 108.
Number 108 and Mathematics
The number 108 represents perfectly symmetrical proportions and is apparent in sacred geometry. Once 108 first comes into your awareness, you will start to encounter it everywhere.
108 is elegant geometrically, highly divisible, and has endless patterns.
It is a ‘Harshad Number‘ which means it is divisible by the sum it’s digits.
In Sanskrit, harshad means ‘joy-giver.’
It is also a hyperfactorial number, meaning that the product of each digit, to the power of itself, equals the number.
1^1 x 2^2 x 3^3 = 108
The interior angles of a pentagon measure 108 degrees each.
108 and The Fibonacci Sequence
The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers calculated by the famous mathematician and scientist, Leonardo Fibonacci. He discovered this series of numbers in which each number is the sum of it’s two predecessors.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on.
This sequence is significant due to its connection to the Golden Ratio. One derivative of the Fibonacci sequences results in the perfectly symmetrical proportions of the Golden Ratio. Flower petals on many different types of flowers exhibit the Golden Ratio, as well as the seed head of flowers, pine cones, tree branches, and shells. Other examples include spiral galaxies, hurricanes, human faces, and DNA molecules.
How does 108 fit into all this?
In many ancient cultures such as India and Egypt, decimal parity was used to understand the truth of numbers. In decimal parity, a number’s digits are summed until a single digit remains. For example, the decimal parity of 524 would be 2. 5+2+4= 11, 1+1=2.
When applying decimal parity to the Fibonacci sequence, mathematicians find a repeating series of 24 numbers: (0), 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 4, 3, 7, 1, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 4, 1, 5, 6, 2, 8, 1.
The sum of these 24 numbers is 108.
Number 108 and the Universe
As we now know, 108 represents perfectly symmetrical proportions. This point is further illustrated by the relationship between the earth, sun, and moon.
The diameter of the sun is 108 times that of the earth.
The distance between the earth and the sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun.
The distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the diameter of the moon.
The significance of 108 can be seen throughout the universe and throughout the faith and spiritual practices of the world.
Number 108 and Religious Traditions
The number 108 is highly significant and auspicious in the Vedic tradition. The ancient Vedic sages believed that mathematics was one way to explain and understand the mysteries of the universe.
The Vedics were also the original astrologers. The number 108 makes many appearances in their astrological system. Consider this:
They use nine planets, referred to as the nava graha– Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, North Node Rahu, South Node Ketu.
And they use the 12 signs of the Zodiac.
Nine planets x 12 signs = 108 different combinations of planet and sign pairings.
Not only that, there are 27 constellations, or nakshatras, each can occupy a specific cardinal direction. 27 x four = 108 different combinations of constellations and directions.
You will also find 108 all over the Hindu tradition. Many Hindu deities have 108 names. Scholars agree that there are 108 sacred sites in India, or pithas, and that there are 108 Upanishads, Hindu sacred texts.
There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each letter can take a masculine and feminine form, totalling 108. There are 108 Puranas, sacred Sanskrit writings on Hindu mythology, dating back as early as 400 BC.
A Sri Yantra is a sacred geometric design used in rituals for Hindu Tantric worship and yogic meditation. Within this design there are 108 marma points, or energy centers, where three lines intersect. Ancient yogis believed the Sri Yantra to be the microcosm of the cosmos and the human body- representing the divine oneness of all.
The semiperfect and abundant number is also apparent in Buddhism, of course! In Tibetan Buddhism, there are 108 defilements of the mind. They are impure thoughts or unwholesome qualities that can keep you from enlightenment, realization, and liberation.
Buddhists also believe there are 108 feelings. We have six senses- smell, touch, taste, sight, hearing, and consciousness- each can be experienced as pleasant, painful, or neutral. So six senses x three experiences so far is 18 feelings. Each of those can be experienced internally or externally, so now we have 36 (18×2). Each of these 36 feelings can be experienced in the past, present, or future. Now we have 36×3…totalling to 108!
In the Lankavatara Sutra, there is a section where Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions. There is another section where the Buddha makes 108 statements in the form of “A statement concerning X is not a statement concerning X.“
Many Buddhist temples have 108 steps, Japanese Zen Buddhist temples chime a bell 108 times at the end of each year.
Some forms of Tai Chi have 108 moves.
There are believed to be 108 virtues in Jainism.
Number 108 and the Human Body
You as a human being are connected to the sacred number as well. It is said that we have 108 nadis, or energy lines, which converge at the heart chakra. In Ayurveda, marmas, or pressure points, are locations in the physical body where a concentration of life energy exists. Guess how many there are!
Number 108 and Mysteries
As if you aren’t freaked out enough already by the intricacies and synchronicities of 108- consider this. All around the world, well before the time of emails, or even snail mail, ancient civilizations were erecting sacred monuments with 108 in mind.
Around the same time that the Vedas were being written, thousands of kilometers away, Stonehenge was built. The Sarsen Circle is 108 feet in diameter.
Around 100 BC the Mayan High Temple of Lamanai was erected in Belize. This Mayan sacred site is 33 meters, or 108 feet, tall. The Tikal temple in Guatemala also stands at 108 feet tall. Archeologists believe there is a pyramid within the temple of Kukulkan in Mexico, measuring 108 feet wide.
Yes, these measurements could easily be a coincidence, but maybe that makes them even more enticing? Either the architects and builders of these sites consciously wanted to work with the number 108 in these places of worship, or, they were subconsciously and innately drawn to it.
Either way, this number connects humans, seekers, and worshipers to divine creation.
How You Can Connect With 108
Purchase or create a string of mala with 108 beads. This is the standard number of beads a mala comes with. You can then use your mala to chant mantras 108 times, running a bead through your fingers with each iteration of the chant.
Gather with other yogis to complete 108 sun salutations. Be warned this is an intense practice that will take at least 50 minutes. Yogis often engage in this symbolic practice during significant life changes or events, for the New Year or change in season, or to raise awareness for important causes.
Conduct your pranayama practice in rounds of 108, 54, or 27. These auspicious numbers can bring more meaning to the length of your pranayama practice.
Is 108 a sacred number?
Yes, it is notable in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions.
Is 108 an angel number?
Yes! When 108 starts popping up- the angels are asking you to pay attention to what you need to do to find balance in your life.