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108 beads - Who do they stand for?



Advitiya - Tue, 30 Nov 2004 20:47:42 +0530
Do they represent 108 gopis of Shri-kRSNa?

The first eight big beads stand for eight parama-preSTha sakhI -s, I know. But others? I like to know.

Does someone from here have any idea?
Sakhicharan - Tue, 30 Nov 2004 23:57:33 +0530
I did a quick google and came up with this. I can't vouch for it's accuracy, however I found it interesting.

9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.

Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108

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

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

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

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.

Upanishads: Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.

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.

Pentagon: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.

Marmas: Marmas or marmasthanas 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.

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

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.

Chemistry: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100.

Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

River Ganga: The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31). 12 times 9 equals 108.

Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

Goddess names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.

Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.

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.

Silver and the moon: In astrology, the metal silver is said to represent the moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108.

Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.

Meditations: Some say there are 108 styles of meditation.

Breath: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600.

Paths to God: Some suggest that there are 108 paths to God.

Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.

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

Islam: The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God.

Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.

Sikh: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.

Buddhism: Some Buddhists carve 108 small Buddhas on a walnut for good luck. Some ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year.

Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.

Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.

Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.

Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

Praiseworthy souls: There are 108 qualities of praiseworthy souls.


I found this info here.
Advitiya - Wed, 01 Dec 2004 23:26:05 +0530
Thank you, Sakhicharanji for searching on this topic.

It's really interesting to see how auspicious number 108 is since the same number of beads or knots are chosen by different religions with different faiths and different meanings.

I am still searching for VaiSNavIya explanation. If anyone has heard any explanation from his or her Guru, perhaps.
Madhava - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 01:30:13 +0530
Today I inquired from Baba about this. He gave an interesting explanation of the figure 108.

Baba related how in this world, all humans have 16108 material desires in the course of their life. God, clever as he is and trying to get people to turn towards him, instructs that of these 16108, only 108 need to be given for him, and with the rest one can do as he pleases. However as those 108 desires are given for him, the rest will follow and the entire samsara will become spiritualized. Such a trickster he is.

This reminds me of Vilapa-kusumanjali, a garland of Raghunatha Dasa's sweet lamentations. Let your japa-mala be your own vilapa-kusumanjali. String together your 108 sweetest aspirations and offer them for Radha-Krishna as you sit down and engage in japa of their names.
Advitiya - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 01:52:04 +0530
Oh Madhava! You are already there and you started posting! You should still be in your jetlag. Is there a computer in Baba's room too?

I'm glad that you have inquired about this right away. I like the way he has explained to you and also I find it very sweet what you wrote from Vilapa-kusumanjali.
QUOTE
Let your japa-mala be your own vilapa-kusumanjali. String together your 108 sweetest aspirations and offer them for Radha-Krishna as you sit down and engage in japa of their names.

Thanks.

jaya rAdhe, jaya kRSNa, jaya vRndAvan |
Madhava - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 10:35:01 +0530
QUOTE(Advitiya @ Dec 2 2004, 09:22 PM)
Oh Madhava! You are already there and you started posting! You should still be in your jetlag. Is there a computer in Baba's room too?

Surprisingly I don't seem to be having a jetlag at all. Then again, there's only a three and half hour time difference between Vraja and Helsniki.

No, there's no computer in Baba's room, unless I bring one in. smile.gif

Returning to the topic of what the beads represent, I personally do not really concern myself too much with what all things represent during bhajana. I find that it easily grows into a distraction, especially if we are talking about elaborate schemes of symbols. Otherwise, of course all the tidbits of information on what symbolizes and represents what are inspiring.
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 11:29:37 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Dec 2 2004, 12:00 PM)
Today I inquired from Baba about this. He gave an interesting explanation of the figure 108.

Baba related how in this world, all humans have 16108 material desires in the course of their life. God, clever as he is and trying to get people to turn towards him, instructs that of these 16108, only 108 need to be given for him, and with the rest one can do as he pleases. However as those 108 desires are given for him, the rest will follow and the entire samsara will become spiritualized. Such a trickster he is.

This reminds me of Vilapa-kusumanjali, a garland of Raghunatha Dasa's sweet lamentations. Let your japa-mala be your own vilapa-kusumanjali. String together your 108 sweetest aspirations and offer them for Radha-Krishna as you sit down and engage in japa of their names.


Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

That is a very interesting explanation. Is there any reference for this explanation from Baba?

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa

Madhava - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 18:50:40 +0530
QUOTE(Rasaraja dasa @ Dec 3 2004, 06:59 AM)
That is a very interesting explanation. Is there any reference for this explanation from Baba?

Trad. 2.56 I believe. smile.gif
Anand - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 18:54:57 +0530
QUOTE
Let your japa-mala be your own vilapa-kusumanjali. String together your 108 sweetest aspirations and offer them for Radha-Krishna as you sit down and engage in japa of their names.


This is such sweet encouragement. Now I know what to think of while chanting japa.
Advitiya - Wed, 08 Dec 2004 02:54:53 +0530
QUOTE
Returning to the topic of what the beads represent, I personally do not really concern myself too much with what all things represent during bhajana. I find that it easily grows into a distraction, especially if we are talking about elaborate schemes of symbols. Otherwise, of course all the tidbits of information on what symbolizes and represents what are inspiring.


You are right, Madhava!. That is very true.

QUOTE
This reminds me of Vilapa-kusumanjali, a garland of Raghunatha Dasa's sweet lamentations. Let your japa-mala be your own vilapa-kusumanjali. String together your 108 sweetest aspirations and offer them for Radha-Krishna as you sit down and engage in japa of their names.


This is very sweet too.

Now, this is what I found from Trad.2.57 : smile.gif

mohAnta s 64

gopAla 12

rAdhA-kuNDa 3
zyAma-kuNDa
giri-govardhan

nanda-mahArAj 3
yozodA
vRSabhAnu
uddhava

akrUra 4
kIrtidA-sundarI
mayUra
kokila

vRddhA 3
dhaniSThA
kundalatA

aSTa-sakhI 16
aSTa-yuthezvarI

jaTilA 2
kuTilA

ek mAlA hoy guru-rUpe |
granthir sAkSIr svarUpe ||


The one which is called as headbead is named as yugal-sumeru.

Someone from Nityananda Parivar gave me this explanation. You might discuss with Baba while you are there.

Madhava! I'm having hard time posting it. It's not coming with the numbers the way I wanted to. Maybe, you can fix it by editing. huh.gif

But, we have 108 alright!

Jay Radhe!