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.
Hinduism: 108 is said to refer to the number of hindu deities. Some say that each of the deities has 108 names.
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.
Alexander was a brilliant warrior and military genius. He had a bright and subtle mind. His tutor was the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, whose thoughts and writings have had a huge influence on western thoughts concerning ethics, beauty, and politics.
Alexander created a huge army and invaded Persia, of which he conquered along with Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine, Babylonia, Assyria, and Asia Minor. Alexander now commanded a vast empire but was not satisfied so went on to invade India. When he was making his way through India he came to the Indus Valley. Whilst there, he encountered a small group of yogi’s who were sitting in meditation on the banks of the river.
EPISODE 1 Alexander’s party of soldiers was trying to get through but the meditating yogis were blocking their way and were refusing to move. One of Alexander’s Lieutenants started shouting at one of the yogi’s, “This man has conquered the world! What have you accomplished?” The yogi looked up calmly and replied, “I have conquered the desire to conquer the world” and upon hearing these words Alexander laughed; he admired the wisdom of the yogi.
EPISODE 2 Plutarch further speaks of the wit and character of Indian Yogis in these terms:
“Alexander summoned ten of the wise men of the country, which men do all go naked, and are called philosophers of India. They had made the tribe of Sabbas to rebel and fight against Alexander and had thereby greatly hurt him. These philosophers were taken to be the sharpest and readiest of answer Alexander put them, as he thought many hard questions. He told them that he would put the first man to death that answer his question worst and likewise all others in this order. He made the eldest among them the judge of their answers.
“The question that he asked the first man was:
“Whether the dead or the living, were the greater number”. He answered, “the living…’For, the dead are no more man.’”
‘He asked the second man, “Whether the earth or the sea brought forth most creatures”.
‘The man answered, “The earth ‘for the sea is but a part of the earth.”
‘To the third man he asked, “Which of all beasts was the subtlest”.
‘The answered given was, “That which man hitherto never knew”.
‘To the fourth, question put was, “why did you make king of Sabbas rebel against him (Alexander)?”
‘The answered received was, “Because he should live honorably, or die vilely”.
‘To the fifth he asked, “Which you thought was the first- the day or the night?”
‘The answer given was, “the day, by a day”.
‘Alexander finding this strange answer said, “Strange questions must of necessity receive strange answers.”
‘Coming to the sixth he asked, “How a man should come to be beloved?”
‘He got this answer, “If he be a good man and not terrible”.
‘To the seventh he put the question, “how a man should be a god?”
“In doing a thing that is impossible for a man”, was the received answer.
“Which was stronger, life or death?” was the question put by him to the eighth.
‘And he received this answer, “life that suffers so many troubles.”
‘To the last ninth Yogi, he put this question, “How long a man should live?”
‘The answer was, “until the man thinks it better to die, than to live.”
‘After hearing these answers, Alexander turned to the tenth yogi and asked him to give his judgment upon them.
‘The judge said, “They had all answered one worse than another.”
‘Thereupon, Alexander said, “then you shall be made to die first, because you have given such a judgment.”
‘He replied promptly to Alexander, “It cannot be so, 0 king, unless you be a liar, because you said that you would kill him first, that answered the worst.”
‘Alexander gave them rewards and allowed them to go.”
EPISODE 3 “When Alexander the Great was busy conquering the world far and wide, he came at last to India.
When he was about to return to his country, he remembered that his people had asked him to bring to them an Indian yogi. They had heard a lot about yogis and were very desirous of seeing one, meeting him, hearing him speak and receiving his blessings. Alexander was told that the yogis dwelt in the forest.
In quest of a yogi he went to a forest. Sure enough, he found one sitting underneath a tree, in deep meditation. He waited patiently until the yogi opened his eyes. They shone with a strange, mystic light.
Reverently, Alexander requested the yogi to accompany him to Greece, saying.
“I will give you everything you need or ask for. But, pray, do come with me. My people would love to meet you!”
The yogi quietly answered, “I need nothing, I am happy where I am.”
This was the first time that anyone had turned down Alexander’s request. He could not control himself. He flew into a rage.
And unsheathing his sword, he thundered, “Do you know who is speaking to you? I am the great king Alexander. If you will not listen to me. I shall kill you- cut you into pieces!”
Unperturbed, the yogi answered. “You cannot kill me. You can only kill my body. And the body is but a garment I have worn. I am not the body. I am that which dwells within the body.”
The yogi continued, “You say you are a king. May I tell you, who you are? You are a slave of my slave!”
Stunned. Alexander asked. “How am I a slave of your slave?”
In a voice tender with compassion, the yogi explained. “I have mastered anger. Anger is my slave. See, how easily you gave way to anger. You are a slave of anger, and, therefore, a slave of my slave!”
EPISODE 4 (even though technically this is episode 3, I switched the order, wanted to save the best for the last) Aristotle the teacher and guide of Alexander had told him that, in India lived great mystical, intellectual, and spiritual super beings called Yogis. He told Alexander if he ever got the opportunity, to go and meet a Yogi SPECIFICALLY DANDAMIS, and if possible to even bring one back to Greece for Aristotle to meet.
Upon inquiry, whilst in India, Alexander learned about the great and wise Sanyasi, Yogi Dandamis, of Taxila who dwelled deep in a forest.
Alexander sent numerous summons to Dandamis, which he promptly ignored. Alexander who could strike fear in the hearts and minds of great armies and kings was intrigued. He became desperate to meet this being who assigned no importance to Alexander.
Alexander next sent messengers with lavish gifts and an invitation to Dandamis for discourse and discussion on philosophy. Dandamis politely declined both the gifts and the invitation.
Though angry Alexander, a pupil of the great philosopher and teacher Aristotle, knew very well that, great beings could rarely be lured or coerced.
Finally, Alexander sent a messenger, his helmsman, Onesicritus a disciple of the Hellenic school of Diogenes to invite Dandamis. When Onesicritus met Dandamis, he lavished praise and gifts on him. When Dandamis declined his invitation and gifts, Onesicritus threatened Dandamis. He said that Alexander had ordered the beheading of Dandamis should the orders of the emperor be disobeyed.
Dandamis remained unperturbed, stating, he had no fear of death. Onesicritus couldn’t muster the courage to kill Dandamis, and, instead, paid his respects to Dandamis and went back to report the incident to Alexander.
Livid at being rejected by a naked forest-dweller, Alexander decided to go to Dandamis himself. With his Marshal and a large entourage, Alexander made his way deep into the forest. Even though he experienced the powerful aura of Dandamis, Alexander grew furious when the sage did not get up to welcome him.
Dandamis Yogi ji
“How dared you refuse my gifts?” Alexander demanded. “They were smeared in blood,” replied Dandamis.
The chilling truth, and fearless conviction in Dandamis’s voice, rattled Alexander. Alexander could not let his men overhear the embarrassing exchange, so he ordered them to move some distance away.
Then, when he was alone with Dandamis, Alexander dismounted from his horse, walked towards the sitting sage, and menacingly stood over him.
“Do you know who I am?” Alexander roared. “I don’t think even you know, who you are,” replied Dandamis.
Alexander felt deeply insulted. He drew his sword and swung it at Dandamis, stopping just before it struck Dandamis’s neck.
“I am Alexander, the world conqueror,” he shouted. “You are sitting on my land. Submit or I’ll kill you … ”
“Your land?” Dandamis chuckled as he cut him off. “The land belongs to no one, O King!”
“Before you, there were others who claimed it as theirs,” he continued. “After you, there’ll be others who will say it’s theirs.
All creation belongs to the Creator alone, Alexander. And no one has any right to destroy what they haven’t created. You have blood on your hands, O Emperor! You may have a temporary claim on the land, but you have permanent scars on your soul.”
Clearing his throat, a flustered and uncomfortable Alexander lowered his sword and adjusted his posture.
“The whole world is mine, Dandamis,” Alexander exclaimed. “History will remember me as the mightiest king! My men will die for me!”
“What good is your ambition or their remembrance, O King? You drown yourself in alcohol every evening so you may forget about your crimes and sins. These men who surround you, they are tired of you. You will see it, they’ll give up on you one day, in fact very soon.”
“Besides,” Dandamis continued, “what will you do with the world? All you need is two yards. Two yards long and two yards deep. Ultimately that’s all that will belong to you.”
Alexander sheathed his sword and sat at the feet of Dandamis for a long while. After a rather long discourse, a humbled Alexander bowed his head before Dandamis and left.
Shiva resides in the Sahasrāra Chakra and Shakti in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. When Prakriti and Purusha unite in the Sahasrāra Chakra, knowledge, knower and the object of knowledge become one. Once we have experienced this no desires remain within us because we realise unequivocally that everything we have ever yearned for is carried within us. In this state of absolute consciousness there are no polarities and therefore no more sorrows; there is only everlasting joy, unconditional love, unlimited compassion and total understanding for all living beings.
For as long as consciousness is connected to the physical body it is unable to remain constantly in the Sahasrāra Chakra and so returns to the residence of the Ātmā in the Heart Centre (Anāhata Chakra). A realised person always thinks, feels and acts from the heart. Embedded in eternal love and eternal happiness, that person is always conscious of the immortal Ātmā, the ocean of bliss, and their consciousness is forever connected to the divine consciousness.
Shakti is the motherly love of God that surrounds us with warmth, caring and protection. Shiva is the paternal love of God that gives us consciousness, clarity and knowledge.
I wish for you the blessing of the Divine Mother who lives within you as energy and vitality, and the blessing of the Divine Father who resides within you as consciousness and knowledge. May they always take care of you, protect you and guide you, and in their infinite love lead you to the cosmic consciousness.
Yoga means union with God. The state of yoga is impossible to attain without the blessings of Lord Shiva. It needs a concentrated and focussed mind. There are some specific spots in the human body concentrating upon which, enables a man to attain the state of yoga-spot between the eyebrows, lower part of the throat, Navel and six inches above it etc.
The state of yoga can never be attained until and unless a person has fully controlled the tendencies of sense organs. It can be achieved with the help of eight means-Yama (Penance), Niyam (discipline), Aasan (Posture), Pranayam (Breath-control), Pratyahar (restraint of passion), Dharan (retention), Dhyan (concentration) and Samadhi (deep meditation). Each of them holds an important position in the path of yoga.
Describing about the methods of performing yoga, in Linga Purana Sutji says – “A person should sit with his legs crossed in Padmasan and try to concentrate his mind by fixing his gaze between his eyebrows. He should keep his spine erect. He should meditate either on the form of Omkar or on the form of lord Shiva. Breath control is an important aspect of yogic exercise. A man should exhale deeply for 32 times and then breathe in deeply. He should then retain his breath as long as possible and visualize lord Shiva within his body. By constant practice he will achieve mastery over this art and a time will come when he will experience divine bliss. This divine bliss can not be experienced unless one has attained a deep state of meditation (Samadhi).”
Obstacles in the Path of Yoga – A man experiences numerous obstacles in the path of Yoga-laziness, restlessness confusion, a diseased body etc. The main reason for being lazy is a bulky physique and one’s inability to concentrate his mind. Lack of concentration results in restlessness, which is a major obstacle in the path of yoga. If a person in unsure about the results he becomes confused. It is impossible for a person suffering from any disease to concentrate his mind.
All the above mentioned hurdles can be overcome by firm resolution. A man who has successfully overcome all these obstacles might experience other obstacles in the form of siddhis (divine powers). There is a real danger of getting lured by these divine powers. As a result his mind may get distracted from his original goal and he may deviate from his path. The names of these siddhis or divine powers are-Pratibha (having knowledge of past present & future incident), Shravan (being capable of listening to abnormal sounds), Varta (whatever is said becomes true), Darshana (capable of seeing things which can mot be seen by the mortal eyes), Aaswada (being capable of experiencing divine (tastes), Vedana (being capable of relieving other’s pain by a mere touch). If a person successfully overcomes all these allurements then he becomes a siddha- or man of accomplishment and divine powers.!!
He was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. We all have grown up listening to the stories from the Ramayana, which are a source of inspiration for all. Lord Rama is an embodiment of perfection for his devotees. Well, ever wondered why he is known as Maryada Purushottam? Today, we have brought to you the information about why Lord Rama is known as Maryada Purushottam. Let us begin.
The Meaning Of The Phrase Maryada Purushottam Maryada Purushottam is a Sanskrit phrase in which “Maryada” translates to “honour and righteousness”, and “Purushottam” translates to “the supreme man”. The phrase when combined refers to “the man who is supreme in honour”. It also means the best man who practised righteousness until he perfected it.
Why Is He Known As Maryada Purushottam? Lord Rama is the favourite of his devotees until today. They see him as an ideal man, whose ideals are worth following. Not just this, Lord Rama was the favourite of all those in his family as well as the people of his kingdom. The main reason behind this being, he performed every duty of his life to perfection. In every role that he had to play, he emerged as an ideal.
Lord Ram As A Son Lord Rama is the son of Dasharatha and is the prince of Ayodhya. In this world, where the focus of all the disputes amongst kins is the ancestral property, in most of the cases, Lord Rama decided to leave the throne of Ayodhya to his brother Bharath, when Kaikeyi, the second wife of Dasharatha and mother of Bharatha, asked Dasharatha to send Rama into exile.
Dasharatha, though unwilling to do so, could not deny Kaikeyi’s request. According to a promise made long back, he was bound to accept three wishes of his wife. Lord Rama, realising that the promise could not be taken back, diligently followed the orders of his father and prepared for fourteen years in the forest. He would never choose to disobey his parents in any situation.
Lord Rama As A Brother Lord Rama had three brothers, Bharatha, Shatrughna and Lakshman. All three of them respected him highly. They too saw him as the embodiment of perfection, as the Ramayana reveals. Though it was Bharatha to whom the throne was handed, Lord Rama always kept caring for him the same way. At times, Bharatha would come to see him in the ashrams, where Lord Rama used to guide him as an elder brother.
Lord Rama As A Husband Lord Rama used to remain busy attending the meetings with the sages and his own devotees. He killed a number of demons who give hurdles in the the holy yajnas that were often performed by the sages in the forest. Despite this, Lord Rama took a good care of Goddess Sita. He was so protective of her that he told her not to come out of the house in his absence. To fulfil her wish of getting the golden deer, he went out and that’s when Ravana, the demon king, came and abducted Sita when she crossed the line marked by Lakshman.
Lord Rama As A King More than everything else, he was an ideal king. It is said that in his kingdom, there was not even a single incident of theft, robbery, starvation, etc. when he had become the king of Ayodhya after completing his period of exile. Moreover, his decision-making abilities were wonderful. When some men from his kingdom started questioning the chastity of Sita and asked that she be sent into exile again, it was hard for him to do so, especially because he could not be there with her.
Real Reason Behind Ravana’s Destruction However, as an ideal king, he knew that the interest of his men should be the main priority of a king, much higher than the interest of his blood relations or his wife. He believed that his first responsibility was that of the kingdom. Therefore, he accepted the demands of the subjects in the kingdom.
An amazing interpretation of the Mahabharata which applies to all of us, please read the whole story, for it is bound to add value to your life and make you understand something new which you never knew existed.
It was said in the texts that eighty percent of the fighting male population of the civilization was wiped out in the eighteen days of the war. Sanjay , at the end of the war went to the spot where the greatest war took place; Kurukshetra.
He looked around and wondered if the war really happened, if the ground beneath him had soaked all that blood, if the great Pandavas and Krishna stood where he stood. “You will never know the truth about that!” said an aging soft voice.
Sanjay turned around to find an Old man in saffron robes appearing out of a column of dust – “I know you are here to find out about the Kurukshetra war, but you cannot know about that war till you know what the real war is about.”
The Old man said enigmatically – “What do you mean?” “The Mahabharata is an Epic, a ballad, perhaps a reality but definitely a philosophy.” The Old man smiled luring Sanjay into more questions.
Sanjay requested – “Can you tell me what the philosophy is then?”
Sure, began the Old man – “The Pandavas are nothing but your five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and sound and do you know what the Kauravas are?”
he asked narrowing his eyes. – “The Kauravas are the hundred vices that attack your senses everyday but you can fight them and do you know how?”
Sanjay shook his head again. The Old man smiled brighter and said – “When Krishna rides your chariot!”
Sanjay gasped at that gem of insight.
“Krishna is your inner voice ,your soul, your guiding light and if you let your life in his hands you have nothing to worry.”
Sanjay was stupefied but came around quickly with another question-“Then why are Dronacharya and Bhishma fighting for the Kauravas, if they are vices?”
The Old man nodded, sadder for the question.
“It just means that as you grow up your perception of your elders change. The elders who you thought were perfect in your growing up years are not all that perfect. They have faults. And one day you will have to decide if they are for your good or your bad.
Then you may also realize that you may have to fight them for the good. It is the hardest part of growing up and that is why the Geeta is important.”
Sanjay slumped down on the ground, not because he was tired but because he could understand and was struck by the enormity of it all.
“What about Karna?” he whispered.
“Ah!” said the Old man. “You have saved the best for last. Karna is the brother to your senses, he is desire, he is a part of you but stands with the vices. He feels wronged and makes excuses for being with the vices as your desire does all the time.
Does your desire not give you excuses to embrace vices?”
Sanjay nodded silently. He looked at the ground, consumed with a million thoughts, trying to put everything together and then when he looked up the Old man was gone.
He seemed to have disappeared in the column of dust. Leaving behind the great philosophy of Life.
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Like it or not like it, you can take it as bad news or good news or whatever, but we are here. The way ahead is a long one and the only thing in your control is to seek the truth and practice the path which leads to moksh.
Now the good news, In this journey There is no saviour bigger than the voice which rises from the soul. To access this voice we must remove the noises which are suppressing this and for removing the noises around it the practice of yoga is the best tool.
Even better news, within this one codified way of living, there are several mini paths which you can chose based on your liking, but be rest assured they will surely lead you to moksh. As the Sanskrit saying goes “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” which means: “That which exists is ONE sages call it by various names.”
Gurukul is the world’s first system of education in the world. It is important to know what was taught in the Gurukuls.
अग्नि विद्या ( metallergy ) 2 वायु विद्या ( flight ) 3 जल विद्या ( navigation ) 4 अंतरिक्ष विद्या ( space scienc) 5 पृथ्वी विद्या ( environment ) 6 सूर्य विद्या ( solar study ) 7 चन्द्र व लोक विद्या ( lunar study ) 8 मेघ विद्या ( weather forecast ) 9 पदार्थ विद्युत विद्या ( battery ) 10 सौर ऊर्जा विद्या ( solar energy ) 11 दिन रात्रि विद्या 12 सृष्टि विद्या ( space research ) 13 खगोल विद्या ( astronomy) 14 भूगोल विद्या (geography ) 15 काल विद्या ( time ) 16 भूगर्भ विद्या (geology and mining ) 17 रत्न व धातु विद्या ( gems and metals ) 18 आकर्षण विद्या ( gravity ) 19 प्रकाश विद्या ( solar energy ) 20 तार विद्या ( communication ) 21 विमान विद्या ( plane ) 22 जलयान विद्या ( water vessels ) 23 अग्नेय अस्त्र विद्या ( arms and amunition ) 24 जीव जंतु विज्ञान विद्या ( zoology botany ) 25 यज्ञ विद्या ( material Sc)
These types of teachings were given in the Gurukulas. But with time the Gurukulas disappeared and with them these teachings also disappeared. Re-establishment of Gurukuls is very important for Vedic science and education.