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6 Sacred Numbers In Hinduism
Hinduism is a religion practiced around the world today, with its roots in ancient India. For some people, however, including great saints associated with Hinduism, it transcends religion and offers a broader perspective. Hinduism is a lifestyle choice and a way of living. It holds numbers in great esteem, with significance across both art and science.
Those practicing Hinduism have long been attaching a symbolic meaning to the numbers. It is the third most practiced religion in the world after Christianity and Islam, and while Hindus are found all over the world, over 90% of the total global population live in modern-day India. The first sacred numbers in Hinduism are as follows:
Zero - Shunya
According to mythology in Hinduism, the number for zero represents Nirguna Brahman. Called Shunya in Hindu, the number symbolizes mystery. Nirguna Brahman has no form and is said to be the ultimate mystery for mortals to chase throughout their time on earth. Shunya therefore bridges the gap between the physical and metaphysical. Any number multiplied by zero - shunya - leaves you with an answer of zero, so there is nothing that can truly define Shunya with any certainty.
One - Eka
Where Shunya is representative of Nirguna Brahman, Eka symbolises the reputed father of creation, Saguna Brahman. As a more dynamic being than the mysterious Shunya, Eka is the ultimate creator of many of the gods. Aatmantoo is the concept of an eternity that lives inside the heart of all living beings, and Eka is said to represent it.
Two - Dvi
Dvi is a representation of duality and what we experience with our senses and our minds. Another duality is God and Nature - Purusha and Prakriti - also symbolized by Dvi. There are lots of other instances where Dvi is symbolic of something "other" or another pair; Subject and Object, Doer and Deed, Ego and Physical Self, for example, as well as more widely recognized duos of Heaven and Earth, Day and Night, even Life and Death. The symbolism of two entities from one is indicative in Hinduism of our existence and our mortality.
Three - Triah
Following Eka and Dvi, the next number is Triah. This number symbolizes regularity and rhythmic order of the universe, known as Rtam. All together, these three significant numbers are regulated by the Tridev (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar) considered to be Hinduism’s Holy Trinity.
Some also reference this number as symbolizing Om, whose curves stand for each of the three human states of consciousness.
Seven - Shaptam
Shaptam is a very special number in Hinduism. It represents the plane where mortals live, although this earthly plan is said to be one of several planes. Many also believe that our very existence and disposition is governed by seven chakras: Muladhara (root chakra), Svadhistana (sacral chakra), Manipura (solar plexus chakra), Anahata (heart chakra), Vishuddha (throat chakra), Ajna (third eye chakra) and Sahasrara (crown chakra).
Having balanced chakras - or energy centers - helps us to create a mind and body working in unison, so Shaptam takes on increased focus and importance.
And finally, arguably the most important number of them all when it comes to Vedic cosmology or numerology is 108. Said to be a divine number, it represents all saints, gurus, yogis and key figures of the Hindu religion. Contemplating meditation without 108 rosary beads would render the practice void by some of the saints. Hindu garlands and malas will all tend to have 108 beads exactly.
Broken down, each of the numbers has a special meaning on its own, and combined there are even more powerful and significant. 1, as above, represents Saguna Brahman, and 0 represents Nirguna Brahman. 8 symbolizes infinity and eternity, which is often depicted as a figure 8 rotated by 90 degrees.
When the three digits are all together in that order, they are seen as the foundation of all creation, our birth, existence, and then rebirth, and you’ll find the number 108 cropping up in chants and hymns. It is also the ratio of distance of the sun and the moon from Earth.
There are 108 important points for acupuncture, which is similar to Ayurveda, the ancient medicine and treatment for many ailments still practiced today.
If you needed any more convincing that 108 is arguably the most sacred of all numbers for Hindus, know that Krishna has 108 different names. The number 108 has contributed to huge amounts of mythology and legend for the whole Hindu religion, and even today, it exists throughout the annual calendar of activities of Hinduism.