Number 18 unquestionably has a great significance in Hindu scriptures. Apart from the fact that there are 18 Purans, 18 major Up-purans, and 18 Dharm-Shastras. The importance of number 18 is best explained in the great epic of Mahabharat, which is divided into 18 parvas or sections. The great war of Mahabharat was fought with 18 divisions of army. And out of this 11 were on the side of Kauravas and 7 on the side of Pandavas. The war lasted for 18 days. Finally, it is said that only 18 persons survived the war. The treatise Shrimad Bhagwad Gita is a part of Mahabharat and has 18 chapters. In Gita, Lord Krishna describes the ideal man in 18 verses at the end of Chapter 2, in which he lists the 18 traits that constitute the man with a steady wisdom.
The central theme of all scriptures of all religions in the world are the same: Prime being the victory of the higher being over the lower one, or righteousness over unrighteousness, or of good over the evil, of dharma over adharma. Ved Vyas had originally titled Mahabharat as Jaya (victory). The word Jaya is in the opening stanzas of both Mahabharat and Gita.
In the Katapayadi–System (numerical notation system) of Sanskrit numerology, each letter has a formula-based numerical value, where the numerical value of the word Jaya is 18. To stress on the importance of the word Jaya, number 18 is given a prominent place not only in Mahabharat, but also in various other Hindu scriptures. Thus, number 18 is repeatedly used as an auspicious reminder, to be alert in our constant battle, for inner spiritual victory.
(taken from Hindu scriptures)
By Kamlesh Tripathi