Loka in Hindu Mythology
   Date :26-Oct-2017

The enigma of the universe and that of reality itself is very well elaborately recognized in different scriptures of Hindu mythology. What Hindu mythology says is that all beings that dwell within the universe dwell in different realms within it. Now these different realms or dominions are known as Lokas. We get ideas of Lokas from various mythological scriptures including the Puranas, the Atharva Veda and the Mahabharat etc.

According to Vishnu Purana the divine itinerant sage Narada once visited Patala Loka. Narada expresses Patala more attractive than Svarga (paradise). Patala is depicted as overflowing with luxurious jewels, striking orchards and lakes and appealing demon maidens. Charming fragrance all in the air merged with sweet music.

Srimad Bhagavat Geeta also describes this region as more affluent than the upper regions of the universe, including heaven. Here in the Patala loka life is full of joy, riches and comfort. There are constructions including palaces, temples, houses, yards and hotels for foreigners embellished with jewels which are made by demon architect Maya. Though there is no sunlight available in Patala loka but it is always enlightened with the lights reflected from the jewelry worn by the Patala dwellers. There is no old age, no fret, no malady in Patala Loka.

Lokas in Hindu Mythology
In Puranas, and previously in the Atharva Veda, there is also the citation of the 14 Lokas – 7 higher ones (Vyahrthis) and 7 lower ones (Patalas).

It is commonly known that there are ‘trilokas’ or triple dominions. This ‘trilokas’ is also the most familiar cosmological outset of lokas according to the Vedas and these triple worlds includes earth, sky, and heaven in making up the cosmos.

Beside this conception, the Puranas give 3 other dissections of the Universe and name them as:

1. Urdhva/Swarg-Loka (Highest dominion)
2. Bhu-Loka (Middle dominion)
3. Adho/Paatal-Loka (Lower dominion)

On the other hand, in the Great War or the Dharma Yuddha of Mahabharat, Lord Krishna gave Arjuna the Divine speech of Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta as Arjuna hesitated on his duty and faced a weakened mental condition. Lord Krishna let him have a glimpse of His Supreme Form – Virat-Roop. In this Supreme Universal Form of the Lord Krishna, Arjuna could see the entire universe. Eternity evince itself in timeless ways on infinite planes of existence. Arjuna saw the body of Lord Krishna – from top to toe – encircling 14 different planetary dimensions – the 14 Lokas.

The 14 Lokas of Hinduism
Now the 14 Lokas include seven higher worlds and seven lower. The earth is considered to be the lowest among the seven higher worlds. These 7 higher worlds are the 7 Vyahrtis and 7 Patalas.

The 7 Vyarthis
1. Satya-loka:Satya-loka is also known as the Brahma loka and this loka is the topmost loka in the material universe. This is the abode of truth where atmans are released from the need of rebirth.
2. Tapa-loka: This is the abode of tapas or of other Gods and Goddesses.
3. Jana-loka: This is the house of the sons of Lord Brahma.
4. Mahar-loka: This is the dwelling of great sages and laissez-faire beings like Markendeya and other rishis.
5. Svar-loka: This expanse is between the sun and the polar star. This is the heaven of Lord Indra. Indra, other Gods, Rishis, Gandharvas and Apsaras live here. This place is full of heavenly ecstasy where all the 330 million Hindu Gods (Devatas) live in along with the king of Gods, Indra.
6. Bhuvar-loka or Pitri Loka: This is the place of the Sun, planets, stars and the space between earth and the Sun. It is an actual region, the atmosphere, the place of soul and essence.
7. Bhur-loka:This is the place where the Earth dwells. According to the Vishnu Purana the earth is simply one of thousands of billions of occupied worlds like itself located in the Universe.

The 7 Patalas
1. Atala-loka: This loka is ruled by Bala – son of Maya – who enjoys supernatural powers. By one yawn, Bala created three types of women – Svairinis – the self willed women who marry men from their own group; Kaminis – lustfull women who marry men from any group; and finally Pumscalis – those women who gave themselves fully and continue changing their partner.
2. Vitala-loka: This Loka is ruled by the God Hara-Bhava – an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The residents of this dominion are decorated with gold from this region.
3. Sutala-loka: Sutala is the kingdom of the virtuous demon king Mahabali.
4. Talatala-loka: This loka is the kingdom of the demon-architect Maya, who is well-versed in necromancy.
5. Mahatala-loka: Mahātala is the abode of many-hooded Nagas – the sons of Kadru – lead by Krodhavasha band of Kuhaka, Taksshaka, Kaliya and Sushena.
6. Rasatala-loka: This is the home of the Danavas and Daityas, who are the everlasting foes of Devatas.
7. Patala-loka: The lowest territory of the materialistic universe is called Patala or Nagaloka. Vasuki is the rular of this Naga region. Here live quite a lot of Nagas whose hoods are decorated with a jewel and thus enlighten this realm with the lights reflected from the jewels.