The number 108 is significant for many reasons.
Some believe there are 108 stages on the journey of the human soul, while others associate the possibility of enlightenment with taking only 108 breaths a day, while in deep meditation.
No matter who you ask, the answer will most likely be different each time.
The truth is — the significance of 108 beads on your mala is open to interpretation. Which we love.
As mala beads were traditionally created to be used as a tool in meditation, I like to associate it with the ideals of meditation.
However — I believe mala beads are also beautiful mediums to set intentions, manifest, and generally feel good. You don't have to meditate on the beads, although that's what they are made for in a practical sense.
Malas are usually handknotted between each seed and gemstone, allowing one to chant their mantra — a sound or string of words — and keep track of were they are easily.
Mala necklaces all reflect the number 108. Almost all malas have 108 beads, while some have 216 (double), or 54 (half).
Here are some more popular reasons behind the 108 mythology in mala beads.
One of my favourite explanations for having 108 beads on a mala is related to the chakras (the seven energy points in our body).
It has been said there there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart, with one of them believed to be the path to self realization.
When using your mala beads in meditation and chanting your mantra, some have said you are complete once you have done it 100 times. The 8 extra beads are to account for errors. How cool is that? Or even more beautiful, the possible extra 8 are meant to be an offering to your guru.
Many choose to recite their mantra in sanskrit, the ancient script of India. Within the Saksrit alphabet there are 54 letters. Each letter has a feminine and masculine version — totalling 108.
What's your favourite connection to having 108 beads on your mala?
Debbie Krejci E-RYT
Yoga Teacher Training Mexico, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka
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