Actor and Politician, Paresh Rawal shared a poster that claimed ancient Hindu sages had correctly predicted features of the number 108. The poster shared by the Lok Sabha MP also claimed that the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun away from the Earth and the same applies to the Moon as well.
However, we investigated this claim and found that the claim is misleading as the distances between the Earth and the Sun and the Earth and the Moon are not constant. Let’s check the details and understand why the claim is misleading.
In the above tweet, we can see the poster that talks about the significance of the number 108 in Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism). It states how the Japa mala used by Hindus while praying has 108 beads. Apart from the fact that Ayurveda has 108 Marmas (special areas in the body), Natyashashtra (Scripture of dance) has 108 Karnas (Synchronized movements of hands and feet) and 108 alphabets of Sanskrit. We will check all these claims later. However, the main claim here suggests that even nature follows the same rule. The main claim made in the poster says that the distance between the sun and the earth is 108 times the diameter of the sun. The same has been claimed about the moon.
In other words, the poster claims that the ratio of the distance between the earth and the sun/moon to the diameter of the sun/moon is a constant 108. Let us find out if this is true.
The Natyashastra, an ancient Hindu scripture on dance, indeed has 108 Karnas as mentioned in the poster. In addition, the Japa Mala, or the bead necklace used by Hindus to pray has 108 beads.
However, the claims about Ayurveda are not accurate as per Sushruta Samhita. Sushruta Samhita describes only 107 Marmas in the human body. However, in Tamil traditions it is 108. In addition, in Kerala’s Kalari traditions, the number goes up to 365. (Source)
There are different claims regarding the number of alphabets in the Sanskrit language. However, none of them is close is 108. Similarly, the claim made about the Sun and the Moon is not true.
The main reason for that is that the Earth revolves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit and the moon revolves around the Earth in an elliptical orbit. Due to this, the distance between the Earth and the Sun and the Earth and the Moon is not constant.
You can see the Earth’s orbit around the sun in the above image. The farthest distance between the Earth and the Sun is 152 million kilometers. The phenomenon when the Earth is farthest from the Sun is called Aphelion. The opposite of Aphelion is Perihelion and the Earth is closest to the Sun during this phenomenon. The shortest distance between the earth and the Sun is 147 million kilometers. Thus, the distance of the Earth from the Sun varies as it revolves around the Sun. However, the diameter of the Sun is constant, which is 1.3927 million km. Hence, the ratio of the distance between the Sun and the Earth to the diameter of the Sun cannot be constant. The ratio will vary from 105.47 (Perihelion) to 109.14 (Aphelion).
The ratio of the distance between the Sun and Earth to the diameter of the Sun will be 108 while the distance of the Sun will be 150.41 (108*1.3927) million km from the Earth.
The same is true for the moon as well. The moon revolves around the Earth in an elliptical orbit. The largest distance between the Earth and the Moon is 405,000 km. The phenomenon when the Moon is farthest from the Earth is called Apogee. The opposite of Apogee is Perigee when the Earth is 360,000 km away from the Earth. The diameter of the moon is constant at 3474.8 km. Hence, the ratio of the distance between the Earth and the Moon to the diameter of the Moon varies from 116.55 (Apogee) to 103.60 (Perigee).
The ratio of the distance between the Moon and the Earth to the diameter of the Moon will be 108 while the distance of the Moon will be 375278.4 (108*3474.8) km from the Earth.
The claim made in the image shared by Paresh Rawal is misleading. From our investigation, it is clear that the distance of Earth from the Moon and the Sun is not constant. While the diameters of these celestial bodies are constant. Hence, their ratio cannot be constant but it varies within a range of values.
Title:The ratio of the Sun’s and Moon’s distances from Earth to their respective diameters is not constant at 108…Fact Check By: Harish Nair