Loka

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For other uses, see Loka (disambiguation).
Vishvarupa of Vishnu as the Cosmic Man with the three realms: heaven - Satya to Bhuvar loka (head to belly), earth - Bhu loka (groin), underworld - Atala to Patala loka (legs).

Loka is a Sanskrit word for "world". In Hindu mythology it takes a specific meaning related to cosmology.

Hindu tradition[edit]

Large scale structure of the Brahmanda (material sphere-like Universe) according to Hindu cosmology. Universe contains 7 upper and 7 lower planetary systems. Some scholars are sure that Seven Heavens and Seven Earthes of Torah/Bible/Quran refer to these same 14 planetary systems.
Map 2: Intermediate neighbourhood of the Earth according to one Hindu cosmology.
Map 3: Local neighbourhood of the Earth according to one Hindu cosmology.

In the Puranas, and already in the Atharvaveda, there are fourteen worlds, seven higher ones (vyahrtis) and seven lower ones (patalas), viz. bhu, bhuvas, svar, mahas, janas, tapas, and satya above and atala, vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala, patala and naraka below.

The scholar Deborah Soifer describes the development of the concept of lokas as follows:

The concept of a loka or lokas develops in the Vedic literature. Influenced by the special connotations that a word for space might have for a nomadic people, loka in the Veda did not simply mean place or world, but had a positive valuation: it was a place or position of religious or psychological interest with a special value of function of its own.

Hence, inherent in the 'loka' concept in the earliest literature was a double aspect; that is, coexistent with spatiality was a religious or soteriological meaning, which could exist independent of a spatial notion, an 'immaterial' significance.

The most common cosmological conception of lokas in the Veda was that of the trailokya or triple world: three worlds consisting of earth, atmosphere or sky, and heaven, making up the universe."[1]
# Planetary system name
01 Satya-loka
02 Tapa-loka
03 Jana-loka
04 Mahar-loka
05 Svar-loka
06 Bhuvar-loka
07 Bhu-loka
08 Atala-loka
09 Vitala-loka
10 Sutala-loka
11 Talatala-loka
12 Mahatala-loka
13 Rasatala-loka
14 Patala-loka

Buddhism[edit]

Main article: Six Lokas

Six Lokas refers to a Bönpo and Nyingmapa spiritual practice or discipline that works with chakras and the six dimensions or classes of beings in the Bhavachakra. And in Buddhist Cosmology Kama-Loka, Rupa-Loka, Arupa-Loka has interpreted.[2]

Theosophy[edit]

The concept of Lokas was adopted by Theosophy, and can be found in the writings of Blavatsky. There is also reference to kamaloka (world of desires) as a sort of astral plane or temporary after-life state, according to the teachings of Blavatsky, Leadbeater, and Steiner.

Abrahamic religions[edit]

The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) refer to "seven heavens" and "seven earths", a concept that may be akin to the 14 planetary systems (lokas) of the Vedas.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Soiver, Deborah A., The Myths of Narasimha and Vamana: Two Avatars in Cosmological Perspective State University of New York Press (Nov 1991), ISBN 978-0-7914-0799-8 p. 51 [1]
  2. ^ Desired Realms (Rupa Loka, Arupa Loka ,Kama Loka)