The Best Explanations for Why a Mala Necklace Has 108 Beads
So why 108 repetitions? This is a question with hundreds of answers. The number 108 has limitless meanings across various philosophical, scientific and religious beliefs. Some of the most interesting are:
Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. So, 54 times 2 is 108.
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.
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.
Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 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
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")
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.
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.
Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.
Now that you know your basic Mala 101 (er, Mala 108?), hopefully, you can find the time with your necklace to practice it’s formal use and have a deeper respect and understanding into why they’re worn. The mala necklace is so much more than a new-age fashion statement.