It was astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Galileo Galilei who stated the universe is written “in mathematical language”—that the mysteries of creation itself could possibly be unraveled by means of numbers and equations. For the mystics, such numbers provided greater than a scientific rationalization—they provided 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 non secular 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 working towards 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 finally convey an finish to our cycle of reincarnation.
After we begin to drill down into our human kind we proceed to seek out the quantity 108 again and again.
Precisely how the yogis arrived at 108 we don’t fairly know, however it appears to be a quantity that connects us to our place within the cosmic order. The gap between the Earth and solar is 108 instances the diameter of the solar. Is it potential that our historical ancestors knew this? Across the time the traditional Vedic texts have been being collected, far-off 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 top because the funerary Tikal temple in Guatemala. And inside the temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza in Mexico archeologists imagine there to be a second pyramid inside measuring 108 toes large. These temples, constructed to worship and to deal with the souls of nice leaders upon their loss of life, 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 beneath,” and once we begin to drill down into our human kind we proceed to seek 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 stated there are 108 power strains, or nadis, converging to kind the coronary heart chakra, and 108 marmas (strain factors) or sacred components of the physique. And 108 levels Fahrenheit is the interior temperature at which the human physique’s 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 often. 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 components, or the 4 instructions (27 x 4 = 108).
All through non secular 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 instances on the finish of the yr closing a cycle to function a reminder of the 108 earthly temptations an individual should overcome to realize 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 constructions constructed for the heavens, it serves as a reminder of the marvel and interconnectedness of the universe.
Will we ever perceive the deeper that means of 108? The Greek mathematician Archimedes presents us a clue when he stated: “Arithmetic will reveal its secrets and techniques… solely to those that strategy 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. You will discover out extra about her on her web site, Life as Love.