Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 12, part 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 12


They, who long for satisfaction from actions in this world, make sacrifices to the Gods, because satisfaction is quickly obtained from actions in this world of men.


***   continuation from last week   ***

Herein is a deeper analytical description of the same sloka for those who would like to have an insight into the same. Let me make it clear that it is a very difficult subject to comprehend.

Our philosophy talks of a total of 14 worlds in total. They are known as “creative worlds”, because they are subject to creation and destruction. They are subjected to changes.

There are seven worlds above and seven worlds below.

On top of all the worlds and separate from all is “Parabrahman”, who is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. His world, if we may say so for the sake of description only, transcends all the 14 worlds. It does not undergo any physical changes and is not subject to any changes.

The sacred text, Srimad Bhagawatha Purana says that the “Viswaroopa” or “universal form” of the “Parabrahman” consists of and envelops all the 14 worlds.

These 14 worlds in descending order of merit are as follows:

Starting from the earth where we are all living, there are seven worlds upwards up to the abode of Brahman, the creator. These are the abodes of those who have by their good karma achieved an entry into one of the seven lokas appropriate to their accumulated good deeds. (punya karmas) Celestials, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Devas, sages are to be found in these planes.

Tracing downwards there are seven worlds below the sphere of the earth. Those men/women who by their cruel deeds and actions against the sastras end up in these lokas, born as reptiles, snakes and other lower forms of life.

Back to the top:

1)   Brahma loka: also known as Satya Loka. This is the abode of the creator Brahma. It is said to be the abode of 100 great rishis who by their relentless actions for universal welfare enter His kingdom and after pralaya or dissolution attain union with Parabrahman.

2)   Tapoloka: this is the abode of next level of great rishis who are in a state of deep meditation (Samadhi). These are the sages who are meditating to attain Moksha.

3)   Janaloka: it is said to be the origin of life in this universe.

4)   Maharloka: this is the abode of those men on earth who lived a pure Satvic life and by their meritorious acts ascended to this plane.

5)   Svarloka: it is the abode of devas and stars. Devas are considered as “Illumined ones.” The chief of devas is “Devendra.”

6)   Bhuvarloka: it is the abode of sun, moon and planets.

7)   Bhuloka: it is the earth on which live the various forms of animate and inanimate objects. We, the humans are residents of this earth.

The beginning of the sacred Gayatri mantra goes as follows:
OM Bhoohu, Bhuvaha, Suvaha, Mahaha, Janaha, Tapaha, Satyam.

This represents the seven worlds that include the earth and higher worlds up to Brahma loka.

The seven nether worlds are:

1)   Atala
2)   Vitala
3)   Sutala
4)   Talatala
5)   Mahatala
6)   Rasatala
7)   Patala

These are the different grades of hell in a descending order. The lowest of the low, by their cruel deeds end up in Patala loka. These are said to be the dark worlds as they are enveloped in darkness with no light of sunshine.

The earth is the focal point in as far as the results of actions are taken into account. Good actions take the folk upwards and bad actions take them downwards into one of the worlds named above. As soon as the benefits are used up those who find entry into the higher worlds have to come down to earth and start accumulating meritorious points by their good deeds.

In this sense, the inhabitants of heaven including Indra, the Lord of heaven have a temporary stay in the higher worlds. Each one of those inhabitants in the higher worlds has to come down to earth after exhausting the benefits of punya karmas. It is said that even Brahma is bound by these rules. The only difference is that the inhabitants of these worlds have a very long life. In case of Brahma, it is almost millions and millions of years.

Similarly, those who find entry into nether worlds stay for a length of time depending upon their bad deeds and are born as humans on earth again.

***   will be continued   ***

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