[Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times

yajvan yajvan at san.rr.com
Mon Jan 11 20:53:12 CST 2010

hariḥ oṁ 

Tanushree Bagrodia offers the following:
> 1 stands for brahman, the One and only whole reality 0 depicts maya, 
> the creator of all illusions , 8 is the ashtadha prakriti, the materialistic world

This notion of māyā  comes up in conversations often...
If I may let me offer the following for comment and consideration:

 * māyā माया is illusion one is familiar with; it also means two meters; mā is measure

* māya माय - is measuring; rooted in mā is measure, to measure accoss, etc.

* maya मय - is rooted in mī and mā; mī to lose one's way , go astray ; to lessen ,
   diminish , destroy ; mā is measure , binding ; ma is time

For me, I keep this māyā  simple - it is the notion that the infinite is measured out, is metered out. As if one can divide Infinity
into parts. This is the illusion...  that the Infinite (brahman) becomes finite in things; as if the Infinite can be constrained to parts.

What does  ādi śaṅkara-ji offer in his Vivekacūḍāmaṇi ( 111th śloka) regarding this matter?  He says
It (māyā) is neither real nor unreal nor both. It is neither undifferentiated nor different, nor both.
It neither has parts nor is it partless nor both. It is supremely wonderful and of an unexpressible form.

what do I  find to be māyā ?

That the earth is rotating at over 1,000 mph and I do not feel the wind in my face. That I cannot, though my senses, feel this movement.
That I see the sun go from east to west, yet one tells me it is me that is moving.
That I have grown over time but cannot point to any one moment to measure the difference.
That my nature is Infinite, yet I would have never discovered this notion on my own, without the help of the Tradition as a guide.
That people are genuinely good and satvic, yet will kill their own kind when provoked.
That we love dogs and cats and invite them in our homes, but will eat a cow for supper.
That we are compelled to pursue happiness, yet it is within us, and look elsewhere for this miracle.
That many on this earth will kill in the name of the Lord
That some on this good earth think that the 'truth' (satyam) can be measured with numbers and by science
That we are Whole and Full yet we feel incomplete.
That we acquire finite things to bring us joy and it only burdens us with more things to take care of.
That one group believes their God is better then another's and that He/She is qualitatively and quantitively different.
That we are told we have been here before, yet we cannot remember the occasion or the time spent
That some think the veda's are books ( as if from a library)  and should be read as such , as if it was written by man
And - that the world is as we are... if one is having a good day , then all is well. If one is having a bad day, then the world is dark, yet the only thing that changed was the persons view of life.

nalpe sukham asti - 'finite things do not contain happiness' - rishi Sanatkumara


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of Tanushree Bagrodia
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 11:26 PM
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Why holy mantras are chanted 108 times

> A new member (who still has to learn a lot), I would like to share my
>> learnings on the number 108.
> 1 stands for brahman, the One and only whole reality 0 depicts maya, 
> the creator of all illusions
> 8 is the ashtadha prakriti, the materialistic world
> The only thing separating the materialistic world from the brahman is 
> maya and hence the 0 between the 1 and 8. It is maya and getting 
> sucked into it that creates the distance between the material world and the brahman.
> Without the brahman or the ashtadha prakriti, maya own its own has no 
> powers. 0 on its own has no value. Thus the number 108 is a 
> representation of brahman and a constant reminder that there is only 
> One reality and One truth all else is an illusion created by maya in 
> the form of the materialistic world.
> Interestingly, SitaRam and RadheyShyam in the devnagri script also add 
> to
> 108
> For e.g. SitaRam
> Sita :
> The alphabet "s" in Devnagri is the 32nd consonant The vowel sound "I" 
> in Devnagri is the 4th The alphabet "t" is the 16th consonant The 
> vowel sound "A" is the 2nd Total of these is 54
> Ram:
> The alphabet "r" is the 27th consonant The vowel "A" is the 2nd The 
> alphabet "m" is the 25 Total of these is 54
> Total for SitaRam is 108
> Similarly RadheyShyam adds to a 108
> 108 was used in the titles of vaishnav saints, however, in the recent 
> times not understanding the significance of 108 many mandleshwars 
> (which again is a mis-representation as it should be mandleeshwar from 
> the words mandli +
> ishwar) have started using 1008, such that their titles read 1008 swami sri.
> This should be 108, if used at all.
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