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why does a mala have 108 beads? What is the significance of 108?

In short 108 represents perfection in God Consciousness. Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaj in the second Shand (verse) of Jaap Sahib, wrote this particular Shand with 108 lines, it starts Namstvan Akaale, has 27 stanzas with four lines in each = 108. This wasn't done by coincidence but was done to show this perfection of praising the Almighty. Here is a further explanation of the symbolism of the numbers:
路 1 is the definition of god (Ik Oankar - the one Creator Lord). 1 can make all the other numbers have significance.
路 A thousand 0鈥檚 = 0. If you put a 1 in front, it gives them a value and meaning.
路 Without God all things equate to 0. When we bring god into our lives it gives everything we do a meaning.
路 0 - as a shape is also a symbolization of God. It has no start and end (eternal).
路 8 symbolises Maya/illusion or matter in the world. Each time you multiply it, the values of the total value when added always reduce.
1 x 8 = 8
2 x 8 = 16 (1 + 6 = 7)
3 x 8 = 24 (2 + 4 = 6)
4 x 8 = 32 (3 + 2 = 5)
5 x 8 = 40 (4 + 0 = 4) 鈥︹︹..etc, etc.
Thus you always make a loss when interacting with the 8 or Maya by itself.
However 1 + 0 + 8 = 9.
9 is seen to symbolize God as when the values of the total value when added always equate to the same. 9 is also pronounced Nau meaning name, God's Name (Word/Shabad)

1 x 9 = 9
2 x 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9)
3 x 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9)
4 x 9 = 36 (3 + 6 = 9)
5 x 9 = 45 (4 + 6 = 9) 鈥︹︹..etc, etc.
So even Matter/maya develops a value when it is used in God Consciousness = 1 + 0 + 8 = 9 etc So 108 means a Mastery over Maya/matter and a complete equilibrium the Force of the Universe - God/Vaheguru/Allah/Hari
Sorry for the delay, 16 days overdue - help from my friends cracked this one, as I've misplaced my notes on what it meant - thus couldn't remember the symbolism of some of the numbers involved
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Latest answers from Akaal Publishers

I am sorry but I do not agree with you that you can recite chandi ki vaar at night and sleep , as my dad's sister's husband has been through the process of it once in his life , which was very dangerous and scary as he commited the same mistake . And if you do not believe me then you may try .

I have had people who have this Bani in their daily nitnem read it at night with no ill effects. It depends on your own kamayee - so yes best not to take the risk

What was the inspiration of akaal publishers?

To speak the truth that hadn't been said = our first book, Game of Love

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh! How important is it to wake up at Amritvela? Can we progress spiritually without it?

啜à啜苦à 啜ň啜掂è喋 啜灌ò啜 啜ǹ啜班é喋 啜膏é啜距◤ 啜囙〞喋 啜むǹ啜侧﹣ 啜ㄠü喋 啜┌啜ㄠ﹫ 啜樴ň啜侧﹪ 啷 It is the Lord's natural way to purify sinners; He does not overlook even an iota of service. (Sri Guru Arjan Dev, 784)
So firstly no type of simran/seva is ever wasted. So you can progress without Amrit Vela.
But Amrit Vela is a very special time of day, before dawn. The world sleeps while the Saints are awake meditating. You can concentrate more easily due to the tranquillity & Maharaj says you are rewarded more if you meditate at Amrit Vela

Vjkk Vjkf During a weekly house akhand patt, the Granthi Singh splashes amrit shittan (sprinkle from a silver kettle like insturment)on sangat after bhog, during langar. Also upon leaving they give amrit to drink and again another shittan- is this common practice?

Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa Vaheguru ji ki Fateh - not sure what country the example you are giving is from - but this would be common place in hot climates = using a metal container to spray the Sangat with rose water - this is done just to keep people cool and spread fragrance. This is not Amrit & has no religious significance as such and is just seva of the sangat. This usually takes place where there is a lot of sangat sitting in the heat in a Diwan - the three times you mention seems excessive unless of course it is very hot and there is a lot of sangat present
Amrit to drink after - that may just be water which is kept near the reading of the Akhand Paath - this water is transformed from being water to Amrit by the Gurbani read nearby it. There is nothing wrong with drinking it etc
Again the final shittan - I have no idea but would say no this isn't common practice

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VJKK VJKF, Brother what is so signifacnt about having 108. Ive seen this number used next to really holy sikh mahapurks. Whats the reason? Im really intrigued.

We answered this question before see https://ask.fm/AkaalPublishers/best
If the above link doesn't work just google '108 meaning Akaal Publishers' & you should get the answer

If all paths lead to God and all people All faiths can receive Mukti then what prevents people from converting to an arguably 鈥渆asier to follow鈥 religion? For example, Judaism and Christianity don鈥檛 have any specific rules against drinking etc

Taking an 'easier' path doesn't work. That will just be the person's ego thinking they are getting to destination Sachkand quicker or easier. The only easy method is truly loving God regardless of religious denomination
Nothing prevents people from converting. But if you study Sikhi you will see it is beautiful & will want to not look anywhere else.

Are the five banis not Japji sahib Jap Sahib and Savaiai for the morning and then Rehras and Kirtan Sohila?

This is what the SGPC Rehat Maryada states. But in the same Maryada it states Panj Pyare must read Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Svaye (10 pauria, Sravag Sudh...), Choupai Sahib & full Anand Sahib (40 Pauria) - to create the Amrit.
Now the point of taking Amrit is to taste & experience that same Amrit everyday. So if we read the same 5 Bania as mentioned above with devotion as our Panj Pyare did in our Amrit Sanchar, we can then taste that Amrit daily when we recite these Bania in the morning too. The Rehras is then to be recited in the evening & Sohila at night.
This is the logical thing to do. To say we should read our Choupai Sahib & 6 Pauria of Anand Sahib (as opposed to 40 pauria that Panj Pyare read) is Rehras Sahib is not correct. The morning Bania are for the morning.
BUT - if you take Amrit & Panj Pyare tell you to do the 5 Bania as you stated in the question - then please please remember the same SGPC Rehat Maryada also states you should do 1 sehaj Paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee (a complete reading) every calendar month too as a minimum on top of the daily Nitnem

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