I have been thinking about the significance of the number 33 recently. It has been 33 years since my initiation into meditation. Over the years my understanding of spirituality has changed dramatically. Initially I thought spirituality was just about meditation. Now, I know that spirituality is about love and ego. Meditation facilitates the spiritual progress (more love, less ego) but spirituality is not about meditation per se.
This post is not about meditation. I wanted to express my curiosity about the number 33. Some of you may remember that I recently claimed that I am leaving all esoteric subjects behind. Esotericism is not spirituality therefore it is useless. So, I am not dwelling on it but there are curiosities like the number 33 which can only be categorized as esotericism. To me esoteric discussion is just entertainment. Nothing more!
33-stone Islamic prayer beads
The most popular prayer beads in Turkey have 33 stones. They are typically separated into three 11-stone sections. This arrangement of beads is known as tasbih. After regular prayers, people use the tasbih to repeat more prayers. The tasbih prayers have a mantra-like quality. For example they repeat Subhanallah 33 times, Elhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 33 times. Another common practice is to remember the 99 aspects (they call these aspects “names”) of God by using the 33-stone tasbih.
Prophet Mohammad did not use tasbih. In his time prayer beads were not popular. Muslims most probably learned about the prayer beads from Buddhists.
33-stone Christian prayer beads
The early Christian prayer beads also had 33 beads. They were introduced to Europe after the crusaders learned about them from Muslims. The number 33 is significant to Christians because according to many Christian traditions, Jesus Christ was 33 years old when he was crucified.
33 degrees of Scottish Rite Freemasonry
33 types of Devata
In Vedic mythology, Deva or Devata is similar to an angel.
DEVA or DEVATA: Mythologically, a god, a deity. Philosophically, any vibration, or expression, emanating from the Cosmic Nucleus.
Vedas claim that there are 33 kinds of Devata.
In my opinion the Near-Eastern and Western esotericism and religious practice has been influenced by the Vedic mythology. The knowledge about the 33 types of Devata has been shared.
The chakras exist along the 33 vertebrae of the human spinal column. Maybe this is why there are 33 degrees in Fremasonry and 33 types of Devata.