The science of 108 in Hinduism

by Ravi

Just as the number 3 is sacred in most of the world’s religions, the number 108  is considered holy in Hinduism and in other eastern traditions. 108 appears numerous times in the scriptures and some Hindus regularly chant the name of God on 108 beads.

There is also a science behind this special number. Hindu texts point out that:
1. the Sun is 108 times bigger than the Earth
2. the distance from the Earth to the Sun is equal to 108 suns side by side
3. the distance from the Earth to the moon is 108 moons side by side.

So does modern science back up these claims written in the sastras thousands of years ago? I decided to try out the math.

From NASA’s site: “The sun is way bigger than the Earth. Its radius is 109 times bigger than the radius of the Earth.”  (the # is actually 108.xxx…NASA rounds up the decimal to 109).

108 rudraksha beads

The distance from the Sun to the Earth fluctuates between 92-94 million miles. The Vedas say the distance from the Earth to the Sun is equal to 108 suns placed side by side. The sun’s diameter is 865,000 mi.

865,000 miles  x 108 = 93,420,000 miles.

The Earth’s distance to the moon is 108 moons side by side. NASA puts the moon’s diameter at 2159 miles. Science says that the moon’s distance fluctuates from 225,622-252,088 miles.

2159 miles x 108 = 237,276 miles.

Science and religion clearly don’t necessarily have to conflict with each other. The wisdom in ancient traditions such as Hinduism illustrate an order in the universe.

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4 thoughts on “The science of 108 in Hinduism

  1. I have been exploring HInduism and I am learning that it is very compatible with Sufism. I feel in some ways that Sufism grew out of Hinduism blended harmoniously with Islam. Regardless, I have been enjoying going deeper into HInduism and polishing my heart with it. Thank you for showing that the Dharma and the Deen are capable of so much beauty when working together toward peace.

    I have been using a mala. I wasn’t aware of the miracles in the number 108. Someone told me once that the extra 8 beads are prayers we say for those who neglect their own prayers. I love that idea and I wonder if you are aware of this belief.

  2. Thank you for your comments. What you said about the mala’s extra 8 is correct. I’ve read two different explanations for the extra 8 in other books. One is that if you say something incorrectly or make a mistake during the 1st 100 the last 8 are to correct those mistakes. The other explanation I’ve read is that the extra 8 go to your guru or to other beings in the universe who need the benefit of your chanting. I would think all those explanations are true, including what you’ve heard, as our spiritual purpose in life is to serve God an benefit God’s creation.
    -Ravi

  3. It’s news to me that Sun is 108 suns far from Earth. Good piece of information. But your article still doesn’t explain why that number is significant to Hinduism. Why not some other number say Pi, Phi or some derivative of speed of light? They are all pretty significant numbers in universe.

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