First of all, Do you know how many times you breathe per day? 21,600 times. That’s approximately 15 breaths per minute.
But before getting into enlightenment part, Why 108? What is the significance of 108?
108 is a powerful number used across all traditions and cultures across civilizations. You will see it everywhere, on a mala (rosary beads, rudraksh) or set of mantra counting beads.
Below are some of the many reasons, but none of these reasons are being promoted here as more or less true than the others. However, you may notice that 108 appears to be somewhat like a road map of reality in general, and the human in particular.
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.
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 intersection 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.
Now lets get to the enlightenment part of our article.
108 breaths per day – Are you really really serious about this?
This goal is really a tall order, unless your only goal in life is self-realization. But for the busy-bees, allow me to share with you a very simple technique towards this direction of 108 per day.
Warning: There are few side-effects like Peace of mind, clarity in thinking, De-stress, Emotional stability etc. by practising this technique.
So, every journey starts with the first step.
Let us take the first step,
Can you atleast become aware of 108 breaths per day?
Let me assist you in this baby step towards self-realization.
So-Hum/So-Ham Breath Awareness Meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable posture ( floor or on a chair, but with your spine erect)
- With your eyes closed and focus between your eye brows(don’t strain yourself)
- Keep your awareness on the breath flowing in and out
- As the breath flows in mentally chant “So…
- As the breath flows out mentally chant “Ham…
Practice this simple “So-Ham” breath meditation for the next 30 days.
Do you follow any daily breathing practice? Can you comment below on the benefits received through your daily practice?