Eighteen puranas:Secret lay in the 'holiness' of the number 18, as evidenced by the eighteen Puranas, and the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita; and the number 108 was obtained from 18 by slipping a zero in between, and doing this again led to 1,008.
108 was 27 times 4, that is 27 nakshatras (constellations in the moon's monthly circuit) multiplied by four of the four cardinal directions. But why should this be important? Also, in reality, the moon takes 27 and one-third days to complete its circuit, and not exactly 27.
Ultimate mystery:The mystery of these numbers while researching early Indian astronomy gave the answer that the Indians took this to be the distance between the earth and the sun in sun-diameter units, and the distance between the earth and the moon in moon-diameter units.
Three facts that any book on astronomy will verify:
* Distance between earth and sun = 108 times sun-diameter
* Distance between earth and moon = 108 times moon diameter
* Diameter of the sun = 108 times the earth diameter.
Excellence of Indian astronomers:The third fact, that the sun is 108 times as large as the earth, because there is no evidence of that in the old astronomy manuals. If they did, it would be as amazing a coincidence as the knowledge of the correct speed of light before modern measurements. This is the really interesting fact that how indian astronomers are brilliant than our generation scientist.
How 108 is considered to be holy?
Indian thought takes the outer cosmology to be mirrored in the inner cosmology of the human. Therefore, the number 108 is also taken to represent the 'distance' from the body of the devotee to the God within. The chain of 108 'links' is held together by 107 joints, which is the number of marmas, or weak spots, of the body in Ayurveda.
We can understand that the 108 beads of the rosary (japamala) must map the steps between the body and the inner sun. The devotee, while saying beads, is making a symbolic journey from the physical body to the heavens.
The number 108 joined to the name is merely a boast that one is a spiritual adept, a master of the journey of 108 steps through the intermediate regions of danger.
The other number 1,008 has a slightly different basis. Early Indian astronomy divides the kalpa -- the total period within a creation, the day of Brahma, which is part of an infinite cycle -- into 1,008 yugas. The use of this number as a title is to boast that one knows the mystery of time from creation to annihilation.