Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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LOKA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A world, a division of the universe. In general the tri-loka or three worlds are heaven, earth, and hell. Another classification enumerates seven, exclusive of the infernal regions, also seven in number which are classed under Patala. The upper worlds are:--(1.) Bhurloka, the earth. (2.) Bhuvarloka, the space between the earth and the sun, the region of the Munis, Siddhas, etc. (3.) Swarloka, the heaven of Indra, between the sun and the polar star. (4.) Maharloka, the usual abode of Bhrigu and other saints, who are supposed to be coexistent with Brahma. During the conflagration of these lower worlds the saints ascend to the next, or (5.) Janaloka, which is described as the abode of Brahma's sons, Sanaka, Sananda, and Sanatkumara. Above this is the (6.) Taparloka, where the deities called Vairagis reside. (7.) Satyaloka or Brahmaloka, is the abode of Brahma, and translation to this world exempts being from further birth. The first three worlds are destroyed at the end of each kalpa, or day of Brahma; the last three at the end of his life, or of a hundred of his years; the fourth loka is equally permanent, but is uninhabitable from heat at the time the first three are burning. Another enumeration calls the seven worlds earth, sky, heaven, middle region, place of birth, mansion of the blest, and abode of truth; placing the sons of Brahma in the sixth division, and stating the fifth, or Janaloka, to be that where animals destroyed in the general conflagration are born again. The Sankhya and Vedanta schools of philosophy recognize eight lokas or regions of material existence:--(1.) Brahmaloka, the world of the superior deities; (2.) Pitriloka, that of the Pitris, Rishis, and Prajapatis: (3.) Somaloka, of the moon and planets; (4.) Indraloka, of the inferior deities; (5.) Gandharvaloka, of heavenly spirits; (6.) Rakshasaloka, of the Rakshasas; (7.) Yakshaloka, of the Yakshas; (8.) Pisachaloka, of the Pisachas or imps and fiends.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM