Experience has taught me that every single Hindu/Buddhist custom (given Buddhist roots in Hinduism) had deep factual scientific reasons. In most cases, the reasons why we do what we do, has been lost over centuries of mindless practice. Yet we continue the practice in a sort of a Pavlovian conditioning, without verifying the reasons for it.
I always wondered why most mantras are recommended to be read, and are repeated 108 times. 108 is an odd number, Why not 107 times or 109 times? How did ancient Indians arrive at this number?
Here is the breath taking scientific reason for repeating a mantra 108 times, dating back to around 8000 years or more.
In India, Astrophysics, Astrology and spiritualism have been intertwined since the dawn of time. The Sun and the Moon in astrology have the largest effect on human fortunes due to gravitational effects, this influences astrological predictions
The ancient Indians about 5000 BC or beyond figured out an incredible ratio. They figured out and accurately calculated that the diameter of the sun multiplied 108 times gives you the distance from the earth to the sun, and correspondingly, the diameter of the moon multiplied 108 times gives you the distance from the earth to the moon.
Western astronomy just managed to catch up just in the last 200 years with these estimates.
108 therefore becomes an amazing cosmic ratio of the closest two planets that effect earth and human fortunes.
Here are the numbers:
1) Diameter of the sun = 864327 miles. ( Multiplied by 108 = 93,347,351 Miles)
Distance from the sun (as the earth has an elliptical orbit) minimum 91 million miles to maximum 94.1 million miles.
2) Diameter of the moon= 2159 miles (Multiplied by 108 = 233,172 miles)
Distance of earth to moon is minimum 225,622 miles to a maximum of 252,088 miles (as the moon too has an elliptical orbit.
The mind boggling question that remains is how did ancient Indians 8000 years back calculate with such precision the diameters and distances of planets and then arrive at such incredible ratios? When the western world was flat and western scientists just a few hundred years back ‘discovered the earth was round’, many centuries prior to that we were calculating diamaters of distant planets and their distances from the sun.
Mantras were therefore requested to be repeated 108 times to ward off negative planetary influences that may influence the desired outcome of the prayers.
The author is Sanjay Rao. In search of the ultimate truth beyond concepts and notions, in that silence, after 20 years in soulless corporate board rooms. His twitter is https://twitter.com/#!/sanjayrao1010