Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous Monday)

Let’s see, let’s calculate a little bit – this is dry, I know, but let’s calculate. First let’s see the code of the “Rig Veda”. Actually the “Rig Veda”, as we discussed last time, consists of many, many different parts and hymns and chapters. So there are 216 chapters in the “Rig Veda”. If we take the chapters as a representation of the space aspect of the “Rig Veda”, then we shall apply to this number of the chapters the code of the space – that was two. If we divide the number of the chapters by two, we receive 108.

That’s an interesting number! 108 – give me examples where you can find 108? On the japa-mala, correct. Number of the main gopis, correct. Also there are 108 Upanishads, you remember. Also there are 108 traditional names of the sannyasis. So, in a lot of occasions we meet 108.

Shall we calculate a little bit more? Please, help me! How much do we breathe per minute? Eighteen!? It’s after climbing the stairs, let’s calculate with fifteen. Now we are very peaceful, in a very quiet mood – fifteen. How much is that per hour? 900 is for the normal human beings. All right, so, every hour we have 900 breaths. How much do we have per day? 21 600 – correct, thank you! And I have another question – how many prayers should we say? I think with all our breaths we should glorify the Supreme. So at least more than 20 000 prayers we should chant per day. But, you know, day is divided half – like the daytime and the nighttime – and you have an excuse not to chant during the night. So if you calculate only the daytime breaths – like half of this number what you’ve mentioned – how much is that? 10 800, correct. And now this is the Kali Yuga. So you can divide your breaths by 100. How much is that? 108. So this proves that somehow we are connected to this very special number 108, because even our breaths, somehow our natural bodily functions are according to this rhythm. And therefore we can say that 108 is a cosmic number. Somehow it describes the hidden connection between the different elements of this cosmic structure. Therefore it is very useful to chant at least 108 mantras or prayers per day, because then you are connected to this sublime, hidden rhythm of the universe. So somehow this chanting on our malas connects us to this hidden reality.

But if we say that 108 is a cosmic number, then let’s calculate a little bit more. What do you think, what is the proportion between the diameter of the Moon and the distance between the Moon and the planet Earth? Guess! Can I help you? The proportion is 108. Surprise, right? I have another question, what do you think, what is the proportion between the diameter of the Sun and the distance between the Sun and the planet Earth? What is your guess? 108, correct. And we have to go one step further, because the proportion between the diameter of the Earth and of the Moon is again 108. These are traditional numbers, but if you check the exact recent astrological calculations, you will find a little difference in numbers – like 108 and something or 109 and something. 108 is a mystic number of the Indian sacred tradition. There are some researches going on in this respect in India and this is the source of my information. And when I checked the actual numbers, they are very close to this proportion. If we consider the ancient past, when they did not have this type of laser techniques and this and that, I think even the measurement is quite close to the actual distance, what to speak of the proportion! Because even if we know the numbers, if we don’t see the proportion, then we do not understand the connection between the different levels of reality. So please, remember, when you chant your rounds on your mala, that connects you to this manifested reality. And your breath is also involved in this pulse.

There are some cosmological theories that describe the universe as a form of a fish. Strange enough, if you check out the Fifth Canto of the “Shrimad Bhagavatam”, you will find the description of the Shishumara planetary system and it is compared to a big fish again. And all the different planets are positioned on the different bodily parts of this gigantic cosmological fish. Nevertheless the description of the Puranas is, let’s say, totally different from the present scientific paradigm. But if we take the Puranic worldview somehow as a poetic description of the truth, then it always hits the target.

One interesting point, according to the Vedic Indian tradition the Moon is considered a higher planet than the Sun. And from the other hand the Moon is like a gate and Sun is like an exit from the material world. Gate like you can go there and return – so Moon is a place to return from and the Sun is the final exit, where you can escape from the material world. Because the Sun is symbolic for the path of enlightenment. And as we prayed in “Rig Vedam” that “Om tad vishno – Let the divine sun enlighten my meditation”, in the same way our spiritual efforts should aim at this divine illumination.



(to be continued)

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