Mantra and the 108 beads in a mala.

Have you ever wondered, why are there 108 beads in a mala?
Below you will read some points of information that might catch your attention regards their relation to the mystical 108, although none is being promoted to be more or less interesting than other;

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.

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.

As mala beads were traditionally created to be used as a tool in meditation, we like to associate it with the meditation practice and as such ideals.

Meditations:  Some say there are 108 styles of meditation.

Mala beads are also effective to set intentions, manifest, and generally feel good during meditation.

Pranayama:  If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.
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.

Pentagon: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.
Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines within our bodies 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.
Astrology:  I’m not an astrologer but 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.

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

Planets and Houses:  In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.
Mantras:  When using a 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. Or to be an offering to your guru (Rolf Sovik defined this, as the living light that dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance, the light is no other than the self withing us).

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

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

Sanskrit alphabet:  Many choose to recite their mantra in sanskrit, the ancient script of India. Within the Sanskrit alphabet there are 54 letters. Each letter has a feminine and masculine version (totaling 108).

First man in space:  The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.


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. There are said to be 108 virtues to cultivate and 108 defilements to avoid.

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. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars.

Last but not least;

“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts is to stop letting them control you.”


Glenda Lee Santos; Humble Military and Yoga Warrior; RYT-200 hrs; Criminal Justice, BA; Holistic Practitioner with Foundation in Yoga and Ayurveda.


Courtesy of Semperlee Yoga Corp.

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