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Throughout history, certain numbers have appeared repeatedly across different cultures, imbued with deep mystical, symbolic, and scientific meanings. Among these, the number 108 stands out as a particularly intriguing and significant figure. It emerges in religious traditions, geometry, and astronomy, suggesting an ancient and universal awareness of its importance. Whether in Hinduism, Buddhism, sacred geometry, or cosmic measurements, the number 108 seems to encode a cosmic order that resonates with both spiritual practices and natural phenomena.

As John Michell noted in his *City of Revelation* "there is a mystery about this number"(1).

The number 1080 (closely related to 108) appears in ancient Western and Eastern traditions, pointing to a shared understanding of its significance in the natural world and human spirituality. But what exactly makes this number so important? By exploring its role in religious rituals, ancient geometry, and even celestial measurements, we can begin to uncover the deeper meaning behind 108.

## The Religious and Cultural Significance of 108

In many spiritual traditions, the number 108 is considered highly auspicious. In Hinduism, it holds a central role in ritual and practice. For instance, the japa mala (prayer beads) consists of 108 beads, used to repeat mantras 108 times to align the practitioner with the cosmic order. The significance of 108 extends to Hindu deities, such as Lord Shiva and Vishnu, each believed to have 108 names that represent different aspects of their divinity. The number 108, in this context, reflects a spiritual connection between the individual and the universe.

In Jyotish (Vedic astrology), there are 12 zodiac signs and 9 planets, and their combination is 12 x 9 = 108, symbolising a cosmic connection between the divine and the material. The repetition of 108 beads on a mala is a reflection of the cosmic order. It is believed that chanting a mantra 108 times aligns the practitioner with the vibrations of the universe, helping one reach spiritual enlightenment. This number also appears throughout the Vedic texts, such as the Upanishads, which include 108 key scriptures meant to guide one toward understanding the nature of reality.

In Buddhism, people are said to be afflicted by 108 types of defilements or afflictions (kleshas) that can hinder spiritual enlightenment. The defilements are categorised based on three poisons: greed, hatred, and delusion, and these three are further subdivided, based on time (past, present, future), intensity (mild, medium, intense), and other factors, to create 108 categories in total. Similarly, in Japanese Buddhism, it is believed there are 108 earthly desires or cravings (bonnō) that bind individuals to the cycle of rebirth (samsara), and which must be overcome. There are 108 virtues or meritorious actions attributed to the Buddha. In many Buddhist temples, statues of the Buddha are sometimes crafted with 108 small images of the Buddha carved into the larger figure, or there might be 108 steps to climb, or a bell might be rung 108 times a day.

The significance of 108 in Hinduism mirrors its importance in sacred geometry, where it plays a key role in understanding the structure of the universe. A regular pentagon, which has five sides, has internal angles of 108 degrees. The pentagon is often associated with sacred geometry, and the 108-degree angle is a key feature of this shape.

Why should the repetition of 108 beads on a mala be a reflection of the cosmic order? Which aspect of reality is it which is, or once was, thought to be represented by this number, 108?

Yet the number 108 is not important only in the east. It must once have been important in Europe too. As John Michell noted, "the area of the Stonehenge sarsen circle with diameter 100.8 feet is 1080 square megalithic yards"(10). Michell describes the number 1080 as referring to "a principle that links the dark force of intuition with underground water and with inspiration received through the medium of earth under the influence of the moon."(11) The fact that the equatorial radius of the moon is 1738.1 km, which is 1080.0053 miles confirms the lunar association, but adds to the mystery of why this number should be so significant.

Why is the number 108 so important?

### A numerological explanation

One possible explanation for the significance of 108 is found in its numerological meaning. The digits 1, 0, and 8 each have their own symbolism:

1 represents unity or God, the beginning of all things.

0 symbolises the infinite, the void, or spiritual completeness.

8 represents eternity, cycles, or infinite possibility.

Together, these numbers form a powerful combination, suggesting a connection between the individual, the universe, and the divine. This numerological interpretation may explain why the number 108 is so prominent in spiritual practices, it symbolises the path to enlightenment, aligning the practitioner with the vibrations of the cosmos.

The number 108 is also 12 x 9, and 12 and 9 are key numbers in ancient metrology, many units being divisions or multiples of 9 or 12.

Additionally, 108 is the product of 12 and 9, both key numbers in ancient metrology. Many traditional measurement systems are based on divisions or multiples of 12 and 9, reflecting a deep connection to cosmic cycles. For example:

4320 is 108 x 40, a number with important astronomical significance.

25,920 is 240 x 108, a number closely related to the precession of the equinoxes.

The Nineveh Constant, a mysterious figure thought to contain astronomical cycles, is linked to 108, as 195,955,200 = 1080 x 25,920 x 7 or 9! x 1 080 / 2. The Ninevah constant is said to contain many astronomical cycles.

These numbers are found in many measures. A Roman foot can be taken as 11.664 inches and this is 108² / 1 000. inches. A Megalithic Yard can be regarded as 2.7216 feet, which is 108 x 7 x 6 x 6 / 10 000 feet. 12 x 108 = 12.96 inches is a Persian or Assyrian foot. One side of the Great Pyramid of Giza measures close to 108 x 7 = 756 feet.

A Kalpa is 4.32 billion years, as defined in the Puranas, and 108 x 4 = 432. A Kalpa is one day of Brahmā, which is 1000 cycles of four yugas. Brahmā lives one hundred "years" and then dies, and this period is equivalent to 311,040,000,000,000 earth years, or 54 x 3 x 4 x 6 x 8 x 10¹⁰ years, equivalent to 1 080 000 000 000 x 12 x 12 x 2.

### Astronomical explanations

Several other possible explanations draw on astronomy. In the ancient world, the workings of the cosmos were tied in with religious and philosophical beliefs. The movements of celestial bodies created mathematical patterns that would resonate with their religious systems—one such example possibly being the number 108.

##### 1. Earth, Moon, Sun

While looking for information on the importance of the number 108, I came across this video, a short presentation given by a yoga expert, Sadhguru, who explains the relationship between chakras and cosmic geometry. In the __video,__ he makes the point that yoga is about aligning one's self with cosmic geometry. He says:

There are 114 chakras, in the human body, 72 000 nadis, meeting in 114 junctions, which are called as chakras. Out of this, two are outside your body, 112 inside the body, Of these 112 there are four about which you don't have to do anything. They are like that. If other things work, they will flower by themselves. So there are only one 108 with which you can work.(4)

Interestingly, the number 72 is also present in a pentagon, being the value of the interior angles.

Sadhguru then goes on to explain a connection between 108 and the ratio between the moon earth distance and the moon's diameter, and the ratio between the sun earth distance and the sun's diameter. Sadhguru claims that the distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the Sun’s diameter, and that the distance between the Earth and the Moon is about 108 times the Moon's diameter.

The sun earth distance varies over time as the earth's orbit is an ellipse, but the distance between the earth and the sun is on average 93 million miles (2). The diameter of the sun is given as 865,000 miles (1.4 million km) by NASA (3). However, John Michell points out that the diameter of the sun as thought of in the ancient world should be thought of as 864 000 miles.

If we take the diameter of the sun and multiply it by 108 we get:

NASA: 865 000 x 108 = 93 420 000 miles

Michell: 864 000 x 108 = 93 312 000 miles

While neither of these results exactly matches the 93 million miles given by NASA, they are not far off. As the distance between earth and the sun changes during a year, we can think in terms of minimum and maximum distance. At its closest, the sun is 91.4 million miles (147.1 million km) away from us. At its farthest, the sun is 94.5 million miles (152.1 million km) away (4). The figure of 865 000 x 108 = 93 420 000 miles is therefore within this margin, as is the distance given by 864 000 x 108 miles. The ratio between the distance between earth and the sun and the diameter of the sun is compatible with 108, though the mean distance is

As for the earth moon distance, and the ratio between it and the moon's diameter being close to 108, it is equally plausible, if imprecise. The equatorial radius of the moon is 1080.01 miles (1738.1 km). Here again we find that mysterious number, expressed in miles. The diameter is therefore 2 160 miles. The mean distance to the moon is 238 854.464 925 miles (384 399 km). The minimum and maximum distances are 225 309 miles (362 600 km) and 251 904 miles (405 400 km). If we divide the mean distance by 108 we get 2 211.62 miles, which is quite a bit bigger than the 2 160 miles of the diameter. If we multiply the diameter by 108 we get 233 280 miles. This is smaller than the minimum distance to the moon, by 7 971 miles, so it is harder to see how the 108 ratio was arrived at in terms of the diameter of the moon and the distance to the moon. However, the number 1 080 is certainly linked to the radius of the moon.

Whether the numbers accurately reflect the measures as we understand them today or not, the idea that the human body operates according to similar numbers in Indian tradition is intriguing.

The relationship between the mile and cosmic measures, such as the Earth, Sun, and Moon, is an intriguing topic that touches on ancient systems of measurement, sacred geometry, and the harmonisation of time and space. There is a compelling case that units like the mile were derived from deep observations of the cosmos, often designed to fit into broader systems of cosmological and terrestrial measurement.

##### 2. Lunar mansions or nakshatras

Another reason could be the connection to the number 27, which is the rounded down to the nearest integer number of days in a sidereal lunar month. 4 x 27 is 108. In the Vedic calendar, which is based on both lunar and solar movements, the number 108 is important, and this could be the reason. Also, there are 27 lunar constellations (*nakshatras*), as in the ancient Chinese system, 27 lunar mansions, which are divisions of the path of the sun, the ecliptic or zodiac. Each one has four quarters, or *padas*, making 108 in total. The 27 nakshatras, or lunar mansions, represent divisions of the sky along the path of the Moon, with each nakshatra governing certain characteristics and influences. The four quarters (padas) of each nakshatra create 108 divisions in total. This system ties directly into Vedic astrology, which uses the movements of the Moon and stars to predict earthly events, reinforcing the cosmic significance of the number 108.

##### 3. Axial Precession?

Another hint at the importance of the number 108 comes from Jean-Sylvain Bailly's *Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne*. In fact, it's 108 / 2 = 54, which is significant. Anyone who has read Graham Hancock's books will know about the number 25 920, which he has called a "precessional number". Indeed there is good reason to believe that in the ancient astronomical systems, the cycle of axial precession was considered to be 25 920 years. The precessional cycle, or the slow wobble of Earth’s axis, takes approximately 25,920 years to complete. This long cycle was recognised by ancient astronomers and used to track vast spans of time. Dividing 25,920 by 240 results in 108, further embedding this number in ancient astronomical systems. Divisions of this number are important too, so 1 296, 864, 4 320 are all connected to this system, so it is worth noting that 108 x 240 is 25 920. European scholars in the 18th century were rediscovering ancient Indian astronomical knowledge, tying it to broader global intellectual movements.

In the 18th century, the French astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil, and then later Jean- Sylvain Bailly, drawing on Le Gentil's observations, encountered a striking figure during their studies of Indian astronomy: a rate of 54 arc seconds per year for the precession of the equinoxes. This figure, rooted in ancient Indian texts, suggests a cycle of 24,000 years for the complete precession of the equinoxes. Today we calculate this cycle to be approximately 26 000 years (Wikipedia), and traditionally it has been estimated as 25,920 years. Today, the stars can be observed to shift at the rate of approximately 50.3 arc seconds per year (Wikipedia).

When Bailly, another 18th century astronomer, wrote his *Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne, *he drew on many accounts from other astronomers, some of which had travelled and written accounts of astronomy as it had been practiced in the east. In this passage he discusses the 54 arc second rate.

THEIR zodiac has two different divisions, one into 28, the other into 12 conftellations, or 12 figures, almost similar to ours. We will give the details elsewhere (a). But what we must say is that they have two zodiacs, one fixed and the other mobile; which demonstrates that they did not first know the movement of the fixed ones. Consequently, we would be quite inclined to believe that the renewed remark belongs to them. We believed we could determine, by some conjectures, that this discovery was made around the year 2250 before (b) J. C. They make this movement of 54 " per year, and the entire revolution of 24000 years. Mr. le Gentil has noticed that this number exactly divides the number of years of each of the four Indian ages, from which these people apparently intended to seek, to compose their chronology, numbers which contain a complete number of revolutions of the fixed ones. We do not believe, however, that these numbers are imaginary; it appears that they have reduced the years into days, and even into smaller intervals (c), and that they have added to them without fuss the number of these small intervals necessary to fulfill the views that we attribute to them. We will show (d) that this does not result in a great error in their chronology, and that our conjecture is supported by many probabilities. (6)

p 482

The Brahmins will have begun the division of the zodiac by the spring equinox, as it is quite natural to do, and as almost all nations have done. In the year 3102 Aldebaran was in the 29th of the Aries, it was only one degree short of being in the equinox; they will have established at this star the beginning of their zodiac. Then the Pleiades which were in the 180th of the Aries announced, by their heliacal rising, the return of spring. The stars having advanced little by little along the ecliptic, they noticed, around the year 2250, that the rising of the Pleiades no longer preceded the equinox, and that Aldebaran, from where they began their zodiac, was distant from this equinox by about 11°. They will therefore have concluded that the points of the equinoxes and of the fulcrums did not always correspond to the same conftellations, and that these conftellations had, with respect to these points, a revolution of 24,000 years; they will have begun to distinguish two zodiacs, one fixed, whose beginning they will have left at the 11th of Aries, the other mobile, and which moved away from the first by 54 " per year. But they have established for the first of their 27 conftellations, that where the star is found, or the first star of Aries. Why this choice? Moreover, they have established that the revolution of the stars would begin again in the year 3600 of the Kaliyougan age, or the year 499 of our era. It seems clear to us that they imagined that at this time the beginning of their first conftellation would correspond to the beginning of their fixed zodiac, that is to say at the 11th of Aries. (7)

It is not possible that, in this application to the study of the sky, the ancients had divided the zodiac, without recognizing the movement by which the stars advance along the ecliptic. Independently of the fact that this knowledge is widespread throughout Africa, it is found among the Chinese, the Indians, the Chaldeans and the Persians, and that this general usage, according to our principle, must go back to a common source; we are justified in thinking this by a tradition of the Indians that we have collected. They say that we see in the sky two stars diametrically opposed, which travel the zodiac in 144 years (a). These opposite stars appear to be those that are called the eye of the bull and the heart of the scorpion, and show some analogy between this tradition and that of the Persians of four stars originally placed at the four cardinal points (b). But what do these 144 years attributed to the duration of their revolution mean? The life of a man was enough to demonstrate the falsehood of this tradition. The Indians know the revolution of this movement of the fixed ones and establish it at 24,000 years. The true revolution, deduced from our most exact observations, is 25,920 years. We must therefore believe that these 144 years were not solar, and that by this word we must understand some longer period. Now, we find among the Tartars a period of 180 years which they call Van (a), 144 times 180 years make precisely 25,920 years. We will always repeat that the randomness does not produce such resemblances.

Le Gentil's account of his trip to India is fascinating, both the human side, and the astronomy he learned there. In this passage he described his encounter with this value of 54 arc seconds per year:

We see nothing in antiquity to prove to us that the Egyptians ever knew the precession of the Equinoxes; but we find it known among the Bramins. They suppose that the Stars advance annually by 54 seconds from West to East; that's it, not only the base or the foundation of their astronomical calculations, but also of their belief during the time of creation. By means of this movement of 54 seconds, they formed periods of several million years; they introduced them into their religion, as indicating the age of the world, what it must still last;- The Brahmins take great pains to teach these daydreams to children in schools. It does not seem easy to me to know from where the Brahmins have drawn this precession from the Equinoxes of 54 seconds per year, all the more so because they do not know practical Astronomy. If they observe the eclipses of the Sun and the Moon, it is solely for a reason of religion; but if we suppose that this precession of the Equinoxes of 54 seconds their comes from the Brahmins, and that these recognized this movement by a long flight of observations, the annual movement of the Stars would be slower today than it would not have been then, since it is only found 50 seconds; but we can't guess anything on a subject as obscure as that one seems to me to be. Here however some thoughts that have come to me since I wrote this, and which I submit to the judgement of my readers. The principal periods which the Brahmins use, & from which their other periods seemed to me to derive, make ten years Tome L F 42 Travel & of three thousand fixed hundred years; but I find in Berose, a Chaldean author, two similar periods; the neros of fifty years, & the saros of three thousand six hundred. But both periods of sixty & of three thousand six hundred years, are exactly contained in that of twenty-four thousand years, coming from the annual movement of the Stars of 54 seconds. I conjecture that the neros & the saros of Bérose have the same movement in principle, and that the ancient Chaldeans knew the precession of the Equinoxes! (8)

The Earth's axis traces out a full circle (360 degrees) over the course of its precessional cycle. In astronomy, angles can be divided as follows: 1 degree equals 60 arc minutes, 1 arc minute equals 60 arc seconds, and 1 degree equals 3 600 arc seconds. So, a full precessional circle is 360 degrees x 3600 arcseconds = 1 296 000 arcseconds.

With the precession rate calculated today as 50.3 arcseconds per year, the total cycle

would be 296 000 arc seconds / 50.3 arc seconds ≈ 25 776 years. With a rate of exactly 50 arc seconds per year we would get a total cycle of 25 920 years, the traditional value usually ascribed to precession. With a rate of 54 arc seconds per year, the value found by Le Gentil, we get 24 000 years in the same way: 1 296 000 / 54 = 24 000.

This difference between the correct rate today and the 54 arc seconds value is perplexing. The Indian astronomers of ancient times bequeathed many astonishingly accurate astronomical values. So it is curious to find this value, and such an important one being both so different to ours today, and so important as a foundation stone in the ancient Indian astronomical system.

Could the rate of precession once long ago have been closer to 54 arc seconds per year? It's very difficult to know, and while is within the realm of possibility, it would require a combination of several factors: an increase in Earth's obliquity towards the upper end of its oscillation (near 24.5°), faster rotational speed, and possibly stronger gravitational interactions. The table below shows that the earth's obliquity would have been much greater around 8000 BC.

I asked ChatGPT what the rate of precession might have been at that epoch. This was the response:

So, while it is hard to be certain, it seems that the rate of precession was unlikely to have been 54 arc seconds per year, even at that time.

### The 54 Arc-Second Rate and the 24,000-Year Cycle: Precession or Something Else?

In the Indian tradition, this rate of 54 arc seconds could also possibly be part of a broader and more complex system of astronomical cycles. The possibility that this 24,000-year period could refer to something beyond precession—perhaps a synthesis of other cycles such as the 60-year and 600-year periods prominent in both Indian and Chaldean systems—is intriguing. Bailly himself speculated about the connection between these cycles, suggesting that they might form part of a more intricate framework of nested or harmonised cycles.

Indian astronomy often revolves around large-scale cycles such as the Yuga system, with the Kali Yuga lasting 432 000 years and a complete Mahayuga cycle comprising 4.32 million years. Within this system, the rate of 54 arc seconds per year might have informed the subdivisions of these cycles. The connection between these immense time scales and the precessional rate suggests that ancient Indian astronomers had a sophisticated understanding of both long-term celestial cycles and the need to harmonise them with their calendar systems.

Although 24,000 years is shorter than the modern calculation for the precession of the equinoxes, it’s worth considering whether this cycle incorporates elements from other astronomical phenomena. The 8-year lunar-solar cycle, for instance, is an ancient system that synchronises the movements of the Moon and Sun. When multiplied by 3,000, this cycle produces a period of 24,000 years. This could imply that the ancient Indians viewed smaller cycles, such as the 8-year cycle, as harmonised subsets of much larger cosmic cycles.

In addition, the 60-year cycle mentioned by Bailly as being prevalent in both Indian and Chinese systems also resonates with this idea. The 60-year period is not only a cultural calendar cycle but is astrologically tied to the motion of Jupiter. This same 60-year period might be part of a larger cyclical pattern that, when combined with other cycles like the 600-year or 8-year cycles, produces long-term periods that approximate the 24,000-year cycle.

So the 54 arc-second rate that Le Gentil and Bailly found in Indian astronomical texts could represent a precessional cycle, but it might also reflect a more complex set of nested cycles used by ancient astronomers to track the heavens. Whether this is tied solely to axial precession or a combination of lunar, solar, and planetary cycles is a matter of interpretation. What is certain, however, is that Indian astronomy based much of its understanding of cosmic time on this figure, and the subdivisions of vast periods like the Yuga might have emerged from this core idea.

### The division of an hour into 1080 parts

Another place to look for the importance of the number 108, or 1080, is the Hebrew calendar, an amazing ancient artefact, which can tell us a lot about the sophistication of historical astronomy. There are 25920 chalakim, or parts, or divisions, in a day (24 hours). So there are 1080 parts in an hour. The fact that the number 25920 chalakim in a day mirrors the approximate 25920 years for one precessional cycle suggests that ancient astronomers understood large cycles of time and mirrored them in smaller, manageable units of timekeeping. Base-12/60 Systems: Both 1080 and 25920 fit into base-12 and base-60 systems of counting, which were common in ancient civilisations, especially the Sumerians, and Babylonians. It seems that these numbers 25920 and 1080 were used not just for practical timekeeping but also to reflect larger cosmological cycles and to encode mathematical and symbolic relationships across scales of time, space, and geometry.

Yet, on a parctical level, they are very precise, as Irv Bromberg explains:

The duration of a part orchelekequals the earlier Babylonianbarleycorn(pronouncedshe), the smallest Babylonian time unit, which was 1/72 of atime degree. The time degree was the principal Babylonian unit of time, corresponding to the time required for one degree of motion of Sun across the meridian = 1/360 of a solar day = 1440 minutes per day/360 time degrees per day = 4 minutes per time degree. Thus 4 minutes divided by 72 = 1/18 of a minute = 1chelek. The time degree also very nearly equals the difference in duration between the solar day and sidereal day, which in the present era amounts to about 3 minutes and 55.9 seconds. The Babylonianfingerwas 6 barleycorns = 1/12 of a time degree = 1/3 of a minute = 20 seconds of time. Thecubitwas 180 barleycorns = 5/2 time degrees = 10 minutes of time. Thehouritself, corresponding to 15 time degrees, was a Seleucid time unit that was probably obtained from Egypt. The Babylonianberuor double hour, corresponded to 30 time degrees. The mean synodic month in Babylonian time units was 29 days, 6 double hours, 11 time degrees, and 1 barleycorn.

If we divide the numerator 13753 by 1080 to separate the number of hours from the remaining parts we obtain:

The remaining 793 parts is the same as 2/3 hour + 73 parts = 44 minutes + 1 part = 44 + 1/18 minutes. It is exactly one part greater than 2/3 + 1/15 = 11/15 of an hour.

In one half of the completemoladcycle there are 25920/2 = 12960 months, so each complete cycle contains an excess of 13753 – 12960 = 793 full months, which corresponds exactly to the remaining 793 parts in excess of 29 + 1/2 days. Likewise there is a deficiency of 12960 – 12167 = 793 deficient months, since that number of otherwise deficient months are made full in each complete cycle.

Therefore the traditionalmoladinterval is29 days, 12 hours, 793 parts. The duration of themoladinterval is critical to the traditional Hebrew calendar arithmetic, and must be expressed using only whole numbers and proper fractions so that any date can be calculated exactly and unambiguously. (Long after posting this web page, I learned that theVilna Gaonsimilarly explained that only the division of hours into 1080 parts allows the duration of the lunation to be expressed without use of a fraction, see theKol Eliyahucommentary onTalmud BavlitractateRosh HaShanahpage 25a.) Exact calculation of amoladmoment isn't as complicated as it might seem, because, as pointed out byRambam(chapter 6) the 29 days comprise 4 weeks plus 1 day remainder, therefore if one already knows themoladmoment for a given month then themoladmoment of the next month will be 4 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, and 793 parts later. Similarly, if one knows themoladmoment forTishreiof a given year (used in determining the date ofRosh HaShanah), then the nextmoladofTishreiafter a non-leap year will be 12 × (4 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, and 793 parts) = 354 days and 9516 parts = 50 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, and 876 parts (73/90 of an hour = 48+2/3 minutes = 48 minutes and 40 seconds) later, and after a leap year will be 13 × (4 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, and 793 parts) = 383 days and 23269 parts = 54 weeks, 5 days, 21 hours and 589 parts (32 minutes and 13 parts) later. (9)

The number 54 is half of 108, and these numbers are both also associated with the precessional cycle, and with Indian astronomy. So it's interesting to see a period of 54 weeks here. The molad interval, as Bromberg discusses, is a key component of the traditional Hebrew calendar and is calculated with great precision: 29 days, 12 hours, and 793 parts (chalakim). The chalakim divide an hour into 1,080 parts, which is crucial in allowing the accurate calculation of the molad interval. The link here between 1,080 and 25,920 is indeed fascinating, especially when you consider their mathematical relationships within larger cosmic cycles. One half of the molad cycle is 12,960 months (half of 25,920), which corresponds to an excess of 793 months, directly linking the molad interval to this grander cycle. The connection between the molad’s structure and the number 25,920 suggests that the ancient Hebrew calendar was aware of these larger cycles and incorporated them into its timekeeping system. The use of 1,080 parts per hour in ancient time divisions also harmonises with 25,920. If you take 25,920 years and divide it by 1,080 (or its subunits like 108 or 54), you find a series of time-based fractals that interlink, creating a harmonious and elegant numerical system.

For example: 25,920 / 1080 = 24

This division of 24 suggests a clear symmetry, which may hint at why ancient systems employed such numbers. They allowed for easy integration between short-term and long-term cycles. Dividing the hour into 1,080 parts allowed for an incredibly precise timekeeping system that aligned not only with lunar cycles (as seen in the molad) but with much larger cosmic cycles, including precession. This exactness of 1,080 as a divisor also demonstrates its usefulness in handling celestial movements in ways that create unity across different time scales. In essence, 1,080 acts as a synchronising factor, allowing various cycles, lunar, solar, and precessional, to be harmonised. This interrelation of numbers like 25,920, 1,080, and 54 underlines how ancient systems of time were deeply embedded in an understanding of cosmic cycles. These were not arbitrary choices but were likely intended to reflect deeper cosmic harmonies, as reflected both in practical timekeeping and in philosophical or religious thought. The connection between 25 920, 1 080, and other significant numbers in time division systems is both mathematically elegant and symbolically profound, and appears in several ancient systems, including the Hebrew calendar, and Hindu cosmology,

The number 1,080 is deeply embedded in the synchronisation of lunar and solar cycles. In the Hebrew calendar, the molad interval (29 days, 12 hours, and 793 parts) represents the average duration of a lunar month. These 793 parts are based on the division of an hour into 1,080 parts, which allows for a precise calculation of lunar months, since the Hebrew system seeks to reconcile the lunar and solar years. The moon’s synodic cycle (29.53059 days) must fit within the solar year (365.242199 days), and dividing time finely into 1,080 parts per hour helps achieve this. The 793 excess parts precisely reflect the discrepancy between the lunar month and a round number of days, allowing calendars like the Hebrew one to remain synchronised over long periods.

### The number 108 as related to the draconic, synodic and sidereal months

The number 108 can also approximately be arrived at by multiplying the number of days in 3 draconic months, plus one day, and by 2 pi, 366, 29.53059, a lunation in days, and dividing by 3000 and the square root of 3.

### The number 108 000 linking Mercury to the precessional cycle

The time it takes for one complete orbit of Mercury around the Sun relative to the fixed stars is just under 88 days, which is the equivalent of 0.24 Earth years. In relation to a full cycle of axial precession, traditionally estimated to be 25 920 years, we get a ratio of 108 000.

25 920 / 0.24 = 108 000

This implies that over the course of one full precessional cycle, Mercury completes approximately 108,000 orbits around the Sun.

## Geometry and Cosmology

A pentagon has inner angles of 108 and 72 degrees. Both these numbers are significant in astronomy. The 108 is 2 x 54, and the 54 arc seconds, for whatever reason, either precession or some other cycle or combination of cycles, is the foundation of ancient Indian time systems. And the rate of precession per year is roughly 72 degrees. So we can say that a pentagon's angles expresses both the 54 arc seconds and the 72 degrees per year.

In the *Phaedo*, Plato tells us of a way of looking at the planet which is as twelve pieces of lether. The likely shape he is referring to is a dodecahedron, a 3-d shape with twelve flat faces.

[110b] If I may tell a story, Simmias, about the things on the earth that is below the heaven, and what they are like, it is well worth hearing.”

“By all means, Socrates,” said Simmias; “we should be glad to hear this story.”

“Well then, my friend,” said he, “to begin with, the earth when seen from above is said to look like those balls that are covered with twelve pieces of leather; it is divided into patches of various colors, of which the colors which we see here may be regarded as samples, such as painters use. (12)

A regular convex dodecahedron is made up of 12 pentagons. So perhaps we can think about a possible link between the number 108 and the dodecahedron of which the earth is made according to Plato. In the *Timaeus*, it is the universe, or cosmos itself which is the fifth Platonic solid, a dodecahedron. Plato clearly describes the first four solids as being composed of triangles, starting with a right angled triangle, which is half an equilateral triangle, with sides as 1:√3:2:

The first will be the simplest and smallest construction, and its element is that triangle which has its hypotenuse twice the lesser side. When two such triangles are joined at the diagonal, and this is repeated three times, and the triangles rest their diagonals and shorter sides on the same point as a centre, a single equilateral triangle is formed out of six triangles; and four equilateral triangles, if put together, make out of every three plane angles one solid angle, being that which is nearest to the most obtuse of plane angles; and out of the combination of these four angles arises the first solid form which distributes into equal and similar parts the whole circle in which it is inscribed. The second species of solid is formed out of the same triangles, which unite as eight equilateral triangles and form one solid angle out of four plane angles, and out of six such angles the second body is completed. And the third body is made up of 120 triangular elements, forming twelve solid angles, each of them included in five plane equilateral triangles, having altogether twenty bases, each of which is an equilateral triangle. The one element [that is, the triangle which has its hypotenuse twice the lesser side] having generated these figures, generated no more; but the isosceles triangle produced the fourth elementary figure, which is compounded of four such triangles, joining their right angles in a centre, and forming one equilateral quadrangle.

The dodecahedron is the only one which is not made up out of triangles. However, a pentagon can also be divided up into 5 equilateral triangles. Plato’s exploration of the Platonic solids in his dialogue *Timaeus* reveals a deep connection between geometry, the elements, and the cosmos. He associates each of the four classical elements with one of the regular solids: earth with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, and fire with the tetrahedron. These geometric shapes, representing the foundational building blocks of matter, symbolise the balance and harmony of the physical world. Plato describes the five platonic solids which make up the elements of the universe. He selects as the basic corpuscles (*sômata*, “bodies”) four of the five regular solids: the tetrahedron for fire, the octahedron for air, the icosahedron for water, and the cube for earth. However, the fifth Platonic solid, the dodecahedron, occupies a more enigmatic position, linked to the divine or cosmic order, rather than the earthly elements. The remaining regular solid, the dodecahedron, is “used for the universe as a whole,” [55c4–6] (13). This is also translated as "There was yet a fifth combination which God used in the delineation of the universe."(14)

While Plato does not mention pentagons as such, this dodecahedron which is made up of twelve pentagons stands apart from the other Platonic shapes, as it is the world's body, and proportion is key to it's structure and harmony. Cornford writes:

Plato's main point is emphasised in the concluding sentence : the world’s body, consisting of neither less nor more than four primary bodies, whose quantities and limited and linked in the most perfect proportion, is in unity and concord with itself, and hence will not suffer dissolution from any internal disharmony of its parts. (15)

It is interesting to think of the pentagon, and hence the number 108, as being connected to the structure of the cosmos, for Plato. In other ancient traditions, the number 108 has been regarded as sacred, representing cosmic completeness and spiritual order. Plato’s dodecahedron as the cosmos suggests a hidden numerical framework underlying the structure of the universe, linking geometry, cosmology, and the divine.

If the number 108 is indeed linked to the structure of the cosmos, it would be fitting that we find it also in other aspects of the world, including human life, as, in the ancient world view, which Plato belonged to, everything was interconnected. As Cornford explains:

By way of preface,Timaeusis to recount his myth of creation, ending with the birth of mankind. The whole movement starts from the ideal world of the Demiurge and the eternal Forms, descending thence to the frame of the visible universe and the nature of man, whose further fortunes Critias will ' take over ' for his story. Looking deeper, we see that the chief purpose of the cosmological introduction is to link the morality externalised in the ideal society to the whole organisation of the world. The Republic had dwelt on the structural analogy between the state and the individual soul. Now Plato intends to base his conception of human life, both for the individual and for society, on the inexpugnable foundation of the order of the universe. The parallel of macrocosm and microcosm runs through the whole discourse. True morality is not a product of human evolution, still less the arbitrary enactment of human wills. It is an order and harmony of the soul; and the soul itself is a counterpart, in miniature, of the soul of the world, which has an everlasting order and harmony of its own, instituted by reason. This order was revealed to every soul before its birth (41E) ; and it is revealed now in the visible architecture of the heavens. That human morality is so based on the cosmic order had been implied, here or there, in earlier works ; but the Timaeus will add something more like a demonstration, although in mythical form.(17)

The structure of the cosmos is not meant to be understood in isolation from other phenomena in the world. Rather, it is an expression of an order which characterises all things. In this respect, the pentagons present in the structure, and by extension the number 108, reveal themselves in other facets of life.

### Conclusion

The interrelationship of 25,920, 1,080, 108, and 54 is not arbitrary but instead forms a web of mathematical and symbolic significance across various ancient traditions. These numbers synchronise human timekeeping with astronomical cycles, lunar rhythms, and even deeper cosmological scales. Whether in the form of the molad interval, the precessional year, or sacred geometry, these numbers reflect an ancient awareness of cosmic harmony.

The number 54 appears to bridge various celestial cycles, including the 8-year lunar-solar octaeteris, the 60-year Jupiter cycle, and the immense Yuga epochs. By using 54 as a factor, Indian astronomers may have harmonised these cycles into a unified system, allowing planetary, lunar, and solar movements to align across both short and long-term time scales.

In this sense, the number 54 operates as a kind of cosmic constant—integrating diverse astronomical and calendrical systems. If we consider the possibility that 54 is more than just an arc-second rate but a vital element in understanding time, it becomes a key to unlocking the mathematical elegance behind India’s cosmological models. Its frequent appearance in timekeeping systems and the Yuga cycles suggests that ancient astronomers used it to synchronise observable phenomena, such as lunar-solar cycles, with immense cosmic epochs. In doing so, 54 emerges as a central organising principle in Indian cosmology.

The Earth’s equatorial circumference, roughly 24,901 miles or 1,577,727,360 inches, intriguingly relates to 54 × 80,000 × 365.242199 inches, reinforcing the idea that 54 may serve as a harmonic constant. Its recurrence in both the Moon’s precessional rate and Earth’s circumference suggests that ancient astronomers recognised a deeper, underlying structure in the cosmos.

The recurring use of numbers like 54, 108, and 1,080 across astronomy and time-keeping, as well as spatial measures, indicates that ancient astronomers were building a harmonic system. Through these numbers, they described relationships between celestial bodies, human timekeeping, and the structure of the universe. This system allowed them to achieve high levels of precision while maintaining symbolic resonance with their cosmological views.

The numbers 108, 54, and 1,080 reflect more than mathematical constructs; they represent a unified approach to understanding cosmic time. From Indian astronomy to Babylonian timekeeping, these numbers interconnect vast astronomical cycles with observable phenomena and human ritual practices. They reveal an ancient worldview in which time, space, and spirituality are intricately bound, each part of a greater cosmic harmony.

### Notes

Michell, John,

*City of Revelation*, p 180__Ibid__YouTube video: Significance of the Number 108 | Sadhguru, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4LQBC0arik

Bailly, Jean-Sylvain,

*Histoire de l'astronomie ancienne, depuis son origine jusqu'à l'établissement de l'École d'Alexandrie*, p 109__https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=wH9YAAAAcAAJ&pg=GBS.PA108____Ibid.____https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=wH9YAAAAcAAJ&pg=GBS.PA482__Le Gentil,

*Voyage dans les Mers de l'Inde*, tome 1, translated from the French__https://ia600308.us.archive.org/27/items/gri_33125012932865/gri_33125012932865.pdf__Bromberg, Irv, Why Divide Hours into 1080 Parts? (utoronto.ca)

Michell, John,

*City of Revelation*, p 181Ibid.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 1 translated by Harold North Fowler; Introduction by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1966.

__https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0170%3Atext%3DPhaedo%3Asection%3D110b__Plato,

*Timaeus*(ca. 360 BC), Translated by Archer-Hind, R. D., 1888,*The Timaeus of Plato*, London: McMillan & Co.; reprinted, Salem, NH: Ayers Co. Publishers, 1988. Quoted in Plato’s*Timaeus,*First published Tue Oct 25, 2005; substantive revision Fri May 13, 2022, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,__https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/#Phys__Plato,

*Timaeus*(ca. 360 BC), Translated by Benjamin JowettCornford, F. M., 1937,

*Plato’s Cosmology*, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; reprinted, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1997.__https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.221748/page/n73/mode/2up__Plato,

*Timaeus*(ca. 360 BC), Translated by Benjamin JowettCornford, F. M., 1937,

*Plato’s Cosmology*, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; reprinted, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.,

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