Importance of 108

Today we will learn about the various important reasons that have been given for having 108 beads on a mala, as well as a few other points of interest. None of these reasons are being promoted here as more or less true than the others. However, you may notice that 108 appears to be somewhat like a road map of reality in general, and the human in particular.

On word of caution since 108 is mostly related to chanting mantras, regardless of the meaning of 108, it is important that if a mala is used to count mantras, the mantra be remembered with sincerity, devotion, feeling, and full attention.

Harshad number: 108 is a harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (harshad is from sanskrit, and means “great joy”)

Desires: there are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.

Lies: there are said to be 108 lies that humans tell.

Heart chakra: the chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to self-realization.

Sanskrit alphabet: there are 54 letters in the sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
Pranayama: if one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.

Sri yantra: on the sri yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 times 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the sri yantra as well as the human body.

Delusions: there are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.

Marmas: marmas or marmasthan are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.

8 extra beads: in doing a practice of counting the number of repetitions of the mala, 100 are counted as completed. The remaining are said to cover errors or omissions. The 8 are also said to be an offering to god and guru.

Time: some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.

1, 0, and 8: some say that 1 stands for god or higher truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.

Sun and earth: the diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth. The distance from the sun to the earth is 108 times the diameter of the sun.

Moon and earth: the average distance of the moon from the earth is 108 times the diameter of the moon.

Meditations: some say there are 108 styles of meditation. Paths to god: some suggest that there are 108 paths to god.

yogini meditating sivaom yoga

Hinduism: 108 is said to refer to the number of hindu deities. Some say that each of the deities has 108 names.


Maha Mrityunjay Mantra

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra reads:
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्

om tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyor mukṣīya maamṛtāt

Word-by-word meaning of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra:-

ॐ aum = is a sacred/mystical syllable in Sanatan Dharma or Hindu religions, i.e. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism. Aum also appears in ancient African religion i.e. Ancient Egyptian Religion (Kemetic). Aum appears in the Ancient Egyptian papyri of Leiden and Demotic). In Ancient Egyptian Religion the sound ‘Aum’ is a Sacred word of power called Hekau.

त्र्यम्बकं tryambakam = the three-eyed one (accusative case),
त्रि + अम्बकम् = tri + ambakam = three + eye

यजामहे yajāmahe = We worship, adore, honour, revere,

सुगन्धिम् sugandhim = sweet smelling, fragrant (accusative case),

पुष्टि puṣṭi = A well-nourished condition, thriving, prosperous, fullness of life,

वर्धनम् vardhanam = One who nourishes, strengthens, causes to increase (in health, wealth, well-being); who gladdens, exhilarates, and restores health; a good gardener,
पुष्टि-वर्धनम् = puṣṭi+vardhanam = पुष्टि: वर्धते अनेन तत् = puṣṭiḥ vardhate anena tat (samas)= The one who nourishes someone else and gives his life fullness.

उर्वारुकमिव urvārukam-iva = like the cucumber or melon (in the accusative case); or like a big peach.
Note: Some people have decomposed the compound urvārukam in this way: ‘urva’ means “vishal” or big and powerful or deadly; ‘arukam’ means ‘disease’. But urva (उर्वा) does not mean ‘vishal’ in Sanskrit; Another possibility would be ūrva (root ऊर्व्), meaning ‘to kill, hurt’, which could bend the translation to ‘please eredicate all disease’ as ūrva is in the imperative mood. Another way: uru: big, large; ārukam (in the accusative case): peach; iva: like.

बन्धनान् bandhanān = “from captivity” {i.e. from the stem of the cucumber} (of the gourd); (the ending is actually long a, then -t, which changes to n/anusvara because of sandhi)
Note: bandhanān means bound down. Thus, read with urvārukam iva, it means ‘I am bound down just like a cucumber (to a vine)’. If you read it with mṛtyormukṣīya it means ‘liberate from the bounds of death’

मृत्योर्मुक्षीय mṛtyormukṣīya = Free, liberate From death
मृत्यु: + मुक्षीय = mṛtyoḥ + mukṣīya= from death + free (Vedic usage)

मा ∫ मृतात् mā ∫ mṛtāt can be translated in a number of different ways:
1) मा + अमृतात् = mā + amṛtāt = not + immortality, nectar
Translation would be: (Free me from death but) not from immortality.
2) मा (माम) + अमृतात् = mā (short form of mām) + amṛtāt = myself + immortality
Translation would be: Give me some life rejuvenating nectar
3) मा (माम) + अमृतात् = mā (short form of mām) + amṛtāt = myself + sure, definitely
Translation would be: Free me from certain death.

The true meaning is as follows:

Tryambakam: The three eyed lord (Shiva) who sees what we can see but who also sees what we can not see. Hence 3 eyed.

Yajamahe: Yajanam is invocation; I invoke

Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanama: Increase my good vasanas (not of material aspects like gold, money,sex, anger, the 6 enemies etc)

Urvarukam iva bandhanaan mrityor mukshiya ma mritaat: When i die my soul should leave the body as easily (without attachment) as the cucumber falls from its plant.

Secret Mantra, and Rishi Markandeya was the only one in the world who knew this mantra. The Moon was once in trouble, cursed by King Daksha. Rishi Markandeya gave the Mahamritryunjaya Mantra to Sati, Daksha’s daughter, for the Moon. According to another version this is the Bija mantra as revealed to Rishi Kahola that was given by Lord Shiva to sage Sukracharya, who taught it to Rishi Dadhichi, who gave it to King Kshuva, through whom it reached the Shiva Purana.

It is also called the Rudra mantra, referring to the furious aspect of Lord Shiva; the Tryambakam mantra, alluding to Shiva’s three eyes; and it is sometimes known as the Mrita-Sanjivini mantra because it is a component of the “life-restoring” practice given to the primordial sage Sukracharya after he had completed an exhausting period of austerity. Its Devata is Rudra or Lord Shiva in his fiercest and most destructive roopa or aspect. In the Vedas it finds its place in three texts – a) the Rig veda VII.59.12, b) the Yajur Veda III.60, and c) the Atharva Veda XIV.1.17.

It is said to be beneficial for mental, emotional and physical health and to be a moksha mantra which bestows longevity and immortality.

According to some puranas, the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra has been used by many Rishis as well as Sati during the time when Chandra suffered from the curse of Prajapati Daksha. By reciting this mantra, the effect of the curse of Daksha, which could make him die, slowed, and Shiva then took Chandra and placed it upon his head.

This mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva for warding off untimely death. It is also chanted while smearing Vibhuti over various parts of the Body and utilised in Japa or Homa (havan) to get desired results. While its energy protects and guides the initiates a mantra re-links consciousness to its deeper and more abiding nature and repetition of the mantra constitutes Japa, the practice of which develops concentration that leads to a transformation of awareness. Whereas the Gayatri Mantra is meant for purification and spiritual guidance, the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is meant for healing rejuvenation and nurturance.


The way you do your business makes it good or bad …

A story someone told me in India. In the olden days, it was a common custom for shopkeepers to keep a small chair outside the shop as soon as they opened the shop in the morning.

As soon as the first customer would arrive, the shopkeeper would lift the chair from that place and take it inside the shop.

But when the next customer would come, the shopkeeper would look around the market. Pointing to a shop with a chair still placed outside, he would say to the customer – “You will get what you need from that shop.” I have already got my bohni (the day’s first business) in the morning.”

This was because having a chair outside the shop was a sign that the shopkeeper had not received any customers yet. This inspiring affection and care between competing businessmen was probably the reason for the growth in not only their profits, but also in the respect they earned.


Where can we find GOD ?

“Where to hide the divinity was the question” ask Gods. So Lord Shiva called a council of the gods to help him decide.

“Let’s bury it deep in the earth,” said the gods. But Shiva answered, “No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it.”

Then the gods said, “Let’s sink it in the deepest ocean.” But Shiva said, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it.”

Then the gods said, “Let’s take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But once again Shiva replied, “No, that will not do either, because they will eventually climb every mountain and once again take up their divinity.”

Then the gods gave up and said, “We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place on earth or in the sea that human beings will not eventually reach.”

Shiva thought for a long time and then said, “Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there.”

All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since that time humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring–searching for something already within themselves.


Self Discipline – the most important tool of success

Self-discipline is one of the most important and useful skills everyone should possess. This skill is essential in every area of life, and though most people acknowledge its importance, very few do something to strengthen it.

Self discipline does not mean being harsh with yourself, or living a limited, restrictive lifestyle. Building this skill means using common sense, making priorities, and thinking before acting.

Self discipline means self control, which is a sign of inner strength and control of yourself and your reactions. This skill gives you the power to stick to your decisions and follow them through, without changing your mind.

When you improve this ability it becomes easier to develop good habits and get rid of bad habits. It also becomes easier to overcome addictions, overeating, procrastination and laziness.

If you wish to possess more inner strength and stronger willpower, you need to start working on developing your discipline.

Self-discipline means self-control, the ability to avoid unhealthy excess of anything that could lead to negative consequences. It is the ability to reject instant gratification and pleasure, in favor of some greater gain, which requires spending effort and time to get it.

It means perseverance and not giving up. It is the strength not to give in to negative feelings.
It means overcoming one’s weaknesses. It is the ability to pursue one plans despite temptations to abandon them. A disciplined person is more likely to take control and responsibility for his or her life.

Self discipline means Perseverance. The ability not to give up, despite failure and setbacks.
The ability to resist distractions or temptations. Trying over and again, until you accomplish what you set out to do.

Life puts challenges and problems on the path to success and achievement, and in order to rise above them, you have to act with perseverance and persistence, and this of course, requires discipline. The possession of this skill leads to self esteem and confidence, and consequently, to happiness and satisfaction.


The 3 main principles of karma yoga

As per Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism), karma is of three kinds:

Prarabadha Karma
This karma is unchangeable within the scope of one life, since it is the ‘setup’ for the life in question. It is the karma of one’s past lives. After death, the atma leaves the body, as the casting off of old vestments, and carries with it the samskaras (impressions) of the past life of thoughts and actions and events. These samskaras manifest themselves in the unchangeable situation into which one is born and certain key events in one’s life. These include one’s time of death (seen as governed by an allotment from birth of the total number of one’s breaths for that life), one’s economic status, one’s family (or lack of family), one’s body type and look: essentially, the setting of one’s birth, the initial base.

Samchita Karma
The samskaras that one inherits from the last lives create one’s personality, inclinations, talents, the things that make up one’s persona. One’s likings, abilities, attitudes and inclinations are based on the thoughts and actions of past lives. One’s samchita karma is somewhat alterable through practice and effort towards change. This might be seen through the Hindu system of yoga and the dynamic of the gunas. An example would be someone who, through meditation, slowly evolved into a more stable personality.

Agami Karma
Agami karma is the karma of the present life over which the soul has complete control. Through it one creates one’s karma in the present for the future of the current life and in life-times to come. The Hindu cannot say, sometimes, if a major event in life is the doing of Prarabadha or Agami Karma. The idea of “bad things happening to good people” is seen by the Hindu as a result of Prarabadha Karma, more simply understood as karma from a past life. In Hinduism, karma works within a cyclical framework that sees the phenomenal universe being created and eventually dissolving back into itself, back into realization that it was nothing other than Maya imposed on the truth of Brahman. So Karma will eventually be worked out.

Karma does allow for anirudh (Divine Grace). Through exceeding devotion and love of God, the Hindu believes one can be helped to speed through Karma phal (Karmic fruit). By developing ‘vairagya’ or ‘detachment’ from the fruits of one’s karma, as Lord Krishna most famously summarized, one can transcend karma and be liberated. One is aided by love of God. All the Yogas of Hinduism seek to transcend karma through different means of realization.

One of the interesting aspects about karma in reincarnation is that talents and skills are never lost according to the Cayce files. Someone who has developed an ability in one life will still have it to draw upon later through karma. One may be born for example as a genius or prodigy, in math for example, if he develops this skill or have been of service now or having done so to a prodigous degree in the past or present.