# [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times and notanyother number of times?

yajvan yajvan at san.rr.com
Fri Jan 8 11:54:04 CST 2010

```hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~

Regarding  offering (vali or bali) the 108 (aṣṭama + śata) names (nāma) of praise (stotra)

Here is a few views I hve studued  on the  notion of 108. We see this number quite often. People know that most mālā-s ( a necklace some call a rosary) come with 108 beads. Are there any origins to this number? From where does this 108 come from? Here's a few ideas.
•From Jyotish the moon travels through 27 Nakshatra-s and each have 4 pada ( or feet) = 108. Since Śrī Devī (Pārvatī) is considered the Moon and the Sun is considered Śiva

•Also - there are 12 signs and each sign is 30º. Some take this 30º and multiply it by 360º to get 10,800.
Now they say the last two 00's of 10,800 represent pūrṇa - fullness. Fullness of the Supreme Absolute (sattā)
and fullness of the relative field of life (creation or sṛiṛṭi). Hence you have the fullness of 108 + 00.

•So, both Śrī Devī and Śiva travel through the nakshatra-s and the 12 rasi-s ( signs) of ths zodiac, where all is contained i.e. mental, physical and spiritual. Why Spiritual? this is due the the 1/9th division of a sign ( rasi).
This is called the navamsa ( or 9th division). It indicates much of ones dharma and spiritual bent. If there is 9 divisions X 12 signs we arrive at 108 once again.

•Also note there are 9 graha-s ( ~ planets) and there are 12 signs ( rasi-s) and we are at 108 again i.e. (12x9).

•Some say the Sun is 108 times the diameter of earth. Depending who you read, the diameter of the Sun is about 109 times that of the earth's i.e. 1,390,000 km / 12,740 km = 109.1

•Another is the distance from the earth to the sun measured in the number of the sun's diameters. The sun is 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) in diameter. The avg. distance to the sun is 149 million km ( or 91 to 94.5 million miles). So this math gives you 106 to 107 of the sun's diameters from here to Surya (sun).

•Another is based upon trika or 3, the first 3 numbers 1, 2, and 3. Trika has significant meaning. In Kaśmir Śaivism it operates on the notion of the trika (3 fold) system. We know this as śiva , śakti and nara. These are the 3 energies of Śiva-Bhairava i.e.
◦parā śakti - considered Supreme energy (śakti)
◦parāparā śakti - considered medium śakti
◦aparā śakti - lower śakti

Within these 3 energies the whole universe and every action ( worldly, mental, physical, spiritual, etc.) exists within these 3 śakti-s. So this number 3 is considered important. Note the following:
1 to the 1 power = (1¹) = 1
2 to the 2nd power = (2²) = 4
3 to the 3rd power = (3³) = 27
Now take 1 X 4 X 27 = 108. Once again we find this number.

•Another view which I am less convinced of but offer it for your consideration is based upon the sanskrit alphabet. The study of the sounds and phonemes or sounds (svara¹) vowels and consonants (vyañjana¹). These vowels are also called kulapuruṣa and consonants called kulaśakti.

Śiva is the owner of the vowels and Śrī Devī is the owner of the consonants. Every letter represents some form of energy. And their arrangement are in two schemes called Mātrkā and Mālinī. Without getting detailed the thought is there's a total of 54 phonemes when all added up i.e. vowels + consonants + semivowels + sibilants + aspirated + special compounds. Since Śiva + Śrī Devī own these phonemes then then the math is 54 + 54 = 108. Now I am not a fan of this approach as Śiva owns the vowels and Śrī Devī owns the consonants and they are not evenly divided. Yet why consider it ? Śiva + Śrī Devī are the owners of all that is sound (sabda) and form (rūpa) that make up this creation (sṛiṣṭi). Yet Mātrkā and Mālinī is my present reading and perhaps I will discover more here on the number 108.

•Another is the distance from the earth to the sun measured in the number of the sun's diameters. The sun is 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) in diameter. The avg. distance to the sun is 149 million km ( or 91 to 94.5 million miles). So this math gives you 106 to 107 of the sun's diameters from here to Surya (sun).

pranams

words used
•svara स्वर- means sound, and also another name for vowel.
•vyañjana व्यण्जन- means ~ embellishment; consonants are treated as the embellishment for the vowels. I find the roots of this interesting vyan व्यन्is to inhale and exhale + jana जन means generating. I am still looking to find this connection back to embellishment, yet it could come from the start and stops of the sounds made with consonants i.e. ka, ca, ta, ja, tha, da, pha, etc.
•svarana स्वरण- loud sounding , clear voiced.
•source for planet distances: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/
__________________
ॐ महेश्वराय नमः
yajvan

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 7:36 AM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times and notanyother number of times?

108 is the ratio of the distance between the Earth and the Sun divided by the diameter of the Sun. Similarly 108 is also the ratio of the distance between the Moon and the Earth divide by the diameter of the Moon. The ancient seers saw some significance in the number 108.
1008 times chanting is also important and the number 1008 has some other significance.

--- On Fri, 1/8/10, Dr. Yadu Moharir <ymoharir at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Dr. Yadu Moharir <ymoharir at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times and not anyother number of times?
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Friday,
January 8, 2010, 5:55 AM

Namste Ramesh:

Some interesting thoughts on 108:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/108_(number)

http://www.salagram.net/108meaning.html

http://www.swamij.com/108.htm

Hope this helps

--- On Fri, 1/8/10, Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

From: Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times and not  anyother number of times?
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Friday, January 8, 2010, 6:29 AM

Ramesh, pranams

Mantra and japa are complex subjects, with various numbers and speeds mentioned. The online Hindupedia has attempted to sum up the subject; but there are many traditions.

On the number 108, regarded as special and sometimes said to be derived from jyotisha, mathematicians might note (and I can't give a further explanation !), that 108 happens to be 1 to the power of one (i.e.1) times 2 to the power of two (i.e.4) times three to the power of three (i.e. 27).

Michael

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of RAMESH RAMANAN
Sent: 08 January 2010 12:51
Subject: [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times and not anyother number of times?

Dear Learned List members,

Pranams,
Can the learned members of the board clarify this doubt of mine please? Why are Holy Manthras chanted 108 Times? why not any other number? Thanks and pranams once again, Ramesh  Ramanan.

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