You might wonder why number 108 is so sacred and vital? You see them almost all around you like 108 yoga of doing Surya Namaskar or 108 Pithas and Upanishads. Not just this, some states in India even use 108 as a helpline number. Indeed, the answer to all this is one. The number is amongst the brightest ones in yoga and Hinduism. Thus, ideal for a jaap mala.
In yoga, figure 108 depicts spiritual completion. So, undoubtedly, the old yogis also assumed that we could harmonize ourselves to the pattern of creation by ending practices in circles of this sacred number.
Let us now find out why the jaap mala we use has this sacred number 108 synced with it.
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Japa mala or yoga beads are a garland of beads, used mainly for spiritual purposes. Practised since primaeval times by yogis, sages, and Buddhists, they used it to perform their spiritual practices while meditating. Nowadays, too, it is usually to count the number of times a mantra is chanting.
You don’t have to be spiritual to use or possess a jaap mala. But, understanding its significance and use is of utmost importance.
In a traditional jaap mala, the beads are usually composed of Rudraksha. Rudraksha being the big and evergreen tree related to the Hindu Lord Shiva. In the yogic culture, the beads in the jaap mala execute to chant mantras while meditating.
A complete circle of 108 repeats is on the jaap mala that makes the chanter effortlessly pay attention to the sounds, thumping, and explication of the mantra chanted. The 109th bead at the bottom side of the mala is known as the Bindu, Sumeru, guru bead, or stupa. However, the 109th one is never among the recital but marks the beginning and end of one jaap.
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This question is one with thousands of answers. And number 108 had endless meanings covering scientific, religious, and philosophical beliefs. Some of the most interesting ones are:
Chakras of Heart: The chakras are the joining of energy bands. They are to be a whole of 108 energy bands. These converge to configure the heart chakra. Amongst them, one is Sushumna that leads the way to the crown chakra. It is a path towards self-realization.
Sanskrit letters: There are precisely 54 alphabets in the Sanskrit letters. Each alphabet has feminine and masculine versions, much like the Shakti and Shiva. Technically two times 54 is 108 and makes the lot complete and whole, indicating uniformity.
Houses and Planets: According to astrology, there are 9 planets and 12 houses. If you multiply the same, you will get the answer as 108. Thus, mantra via jaap mala is a suggested remedy given by many astrologers to make planets strong or improve their effect on our lives.
Ganga connection: The sacred Ganga we pray so dedicatedly has a deep connection with the number 108. Ganga River extends to a latitude of 9 degrees and a longitude of 12 degrees. The sum you can see figures to 108 again.
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Number 1 is the number that depicts higher-level truth or God, while, 0 for completeness in any spiritual activity, and number 8 is eternity or infinity. Clearly, the number not just makes you whole and complete but also enlightens your life in the best way possible.
Therefore, possessing a jaap mala with 108 or just wearing one leads you towards the road of fulfillment and deep understanding. Moreover, with being an example of a fashion statement, it also sets itself as a spiritual statement to folks of all religions around the world.