Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“There are three, but where is the fourth?” – Carl Jung
What’s in a number? Only what we project and apply to that number some would say. I would argue that numbers provide windows for comparative understanding of relationships or similarities, at least. 108, its symbolism and its origin, is of metaphysical intuition. 108 became a celebrated number through intuition or divination. In Hinduism there are 108 names for every god. And in Buddhism there are 108 paths to god, and in contrast 108 defilements or sins. But these theological celebrations of 108 are just the tip of the theological iceberg. Further, in Sanskrit there are 54 letters each with a masculine and feminine making 108. In Chinese martial arts, acupressure as well as Indian fighting techniques there 108 main pressure points and numerous forms of tai chi have 108 movements. The number is intrinsic in many traditions to the point the roots of its celebration are mysterious and too ancient to trace.
The divinity of 108 was never argued and its significance was adopted and transmuted or realized by all who came into its understanding. More than likely 108 is rooted in India. The ancient Hindu astrological system is based on lunar and solar cycles. The lunar and solar cycles hold 108 as central, only through different calculations of time. Astrology and astronomy are similar in that they look to space, but they are different subjects altogether. Only the ancient Hindu astrological system correlates with modern astronomical observation.