HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Astronomy,Lokas (Universe), in BhagvatGita-decoded-Part 1

lokas2

BHUVAR-LOKA

This planetary system roughly corresponds to our Solar System and contains Five major planets plus the Sun-God.

However, there are two planets outside the Solar System included in this – Dhruva Loka or Pole Star and the realm of the Sapta-rishis or Big Dipper.

These Lokas are the abodes of Semi-divine beings who are one notch higher than the Humans.

They assist the demigods in various ways and sometimes interact with the humans. By advancement in their service they can become a Demigod or by indulging in enjoyment, be born as a Human on the Earthly Realms.

Bhu-mandala—the “earth mandala”—is a disk 500 million yojanas in diameter or 4 billion miles in size.

This large ”earth mandala” is NOT the small earth round global sphere we live on.

Srimad Bhagavatam describes Bhu-mandala as 4 billion miles in size, our Earth global sphere is nowhere near that size and is NOT Bhu-mandala

”In the Bhagavatam, Bhu-mandala—the “earth mandala”—is a disk 500 million yojanas in diameter or 4 billion miles in size. clearly this ”earth mandala” is NOT the small earth globe we live on.

The yojana is a unit of distance about 8 miles long, and so the diameter of Bhu-mandala is about 4 billion miles which is the full size of the single material universe.

Bhu-gola can also mean the universal bubble the Bhu-mandala 4 billion mile sized universe is surrounded by.

Bhu-gola can also mean the earth global sphere we live on which is a spec within the Bhu-mandala 4 billion mile sized universe.

A Mandala is drawn on a plane. A Mandala is a ‘magical diagram’ that often has a wheel or whorl structure, like a lotus. Bhu Mandala is a cosmic plane or disc that contains our Solar System.

A GOLA is a Globe. Bhu-Gola is a sphere or globe-shape Loka like our Earth planet or the great universal bubble the 4 billion mile sized inner material universe is in.

The Bhu-Gola where we reside is a globe world or sphere within the PLANE called the BHU MANDALA Universe.

The Plane in which our BHU GOLA Earth planet is fixed in its orbit around Meru is called the Bhu Mandala universe.

Although the Bhagavatam doesn’t explicitly describe the Earth as a globe, it does so indirectly. For example, it points out that night prevails diametrically opposite to a point where it is day.

Likewise, the sun sets at a point opposite where it rises. Therefore, the Bhagavatam does not present the naive view that the Earth is flat.



Bhu-mandala as a Map of the Solar System or the 4 billion mile single universe

Here’s another way to look at Bhu-mandala single universe that also shows that it’s not a flat-Earth model.

Descriptions of Bhu-mandala have features that identify it as a model of the solar system, a literal flat plane made up with many planets.

When relate this to just our Earth globe, it looks at first like we’re back to the naive flat Earth, with the bowl of the sky above and the underworld below.

The scholars Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend carried out an intensive study of myths and traditions and concluded that the so-called flat Earth of ancient times originally represented the plane of the ecliptic (the orbit of the sun) and not the Earth on which we stand.

Later on, according to de Santillana and von Dechend, the original cosmic understanding of the earth was apparently lost, and the Earth beneath our feet was taken literally as a flat plate.

In India, the earth of the Puranas has often been taken as literally flat. But the details given in the Bhagavatam show that its cosmology is much more sophisticated.

Not only does the Bhagavatam use the ecliptic model, but it turns out that the disk of Bhu-mandala universe corresponds in some detail to the solar system.

Bhu-mandala cannot be the Earth globe because Srimad Bhagavatam describes Bhu-mandala as 4 billion miles in size, our Earth is nowhere near that size.

The solar system is nearly flat. The sun, the moon, and the five traditionally known planets—Mercury through Saturn—all orbit nearly in the ecliptic plane. Thus Bhu- mandala does refer to something flat, but it’s not the Earth.

One striking feature of the Srimad Bhagavatam’s descriptions has to do with size. If we compare Bhu-mandala with the Earth, the solar system out to Saturn, and the Milky Way galaxy, Bhu-mandala matches the solar system closely, while radically differing in size from Earth and the galaxy.

Furthermore, the structures of Bhu-mandala correspond with the planetary orbits of the solar system .

If we compare the rings of Bhu-mandala with the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, we find several close alignments that give weight to the hypothesis that Bhu-mandala was deliberately designed as a map of the solar system or the 4 billion mile single universe.

Until recent times, astronomers generally underestimated the distance from the earth to the sun. In particular, Claudius Ptolemy, the greatest astronomer of classical antiquity, seriously underestimated the Earth-sun distance and the size of the solar system.

It is remarkable, therefore, that the dimensions of Bhu-mandala in the Bhagavatam are consistent with modern data on the size of the sun’s orbit and the solar system as a whole.

Dhruv-Loka

It is the planetary complex revolving around the Polestar that is said to be 10,000,000 yojans below the Maharloka. It is described as the center of a bright ring of stars identified with our galaxy, Milky Way.

In every material universe, there is one Vaikunth planet with an ocean of milk where Lord Vishnu resides on an island called Shvetadvipa.

In our Universe, this planet is situated in the Eastern side of Dhruvaloka and is the abode of Lord Kshirodakshayi Vishnu!

Brahma and the demigods meditating on Lord Vishnu at the Shvet-dvipa in Dhruv Loka

This transcendental island is 200,000 square miles and covered with desire trees for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord who resides here with Goddess Lakshmi and other pure, transcendental entities.

As it is a spiritual planet, it is eternal and therefore remains when all other planets within the material universes are destroyed. It is believed to be the pivot for all material stars and planets with even the Sun, revolving at the speed of 16,000 miles per second around the Dhruvaloka.

As mentioned in a previous post {Black Holes and Bhagavatam}, this Loka is located at the Galactic Center which is formed by a Super-massive Black Hole which may act as a portal between the Physical and Spiritual Realms.

Saptarishi Loka

The abode of the Seven Great Seers or the Sapta-rishis located 100,000 Yojans below the Dhruva-Loka.

The seven rishis are the most advanced spiritual guides for Humanity and have been present at all major time periods of our History. Astronomically, their abode is recognized in the form of the Big Dipper or Ursa Major constellation and it always revolves around the Dhruv-Loka or Pole Star.

Sapta-rishi Loka revolves around the Pole Star

Rishi Vasishth was the preceptor of the Solar Dynasty or Suryavansh while Vishwamitra was the guru of Lord Rama. There are numerous stories and legends in the ancient scriptures which relate the immense services these rishis have provided to different rulers on our planet since the beginning of time.

Nakshtara-Loka

Nakshatra Mandala is the stellar neighborhood of the Solar System perceived as the starry night sky. It is generally equated with the Zodiac Map around the Earth and represents the different constellations visible to us from Earth.

Nakshatra-Mandal

Lokas of Solar Planets

The next Lokas are those of the major Solar planets viz. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn which are the abodes of the divine-beings called Budh, Shukra, Mangal, Brihaspati and Shanaichar respectively.The Lokas of Solar Planets

An alternate view is that these are spherical shell regions in which the respective planet’s orbits are situated and these shells contain one after the other in the order of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These are believed to be located at a respective distance of 2,00,000 Yojans each.

Surya-Loka

Similarly, the Surya-Loka refers to the sphere of the Sun-god and the Solar neighborhood. It is located at a height of 1,00,000 Yojans above the Earth.

The Most importnt thing about this Loka is that it is situated bang in the middle of the Bhuloka and Bhuvarloka, rotating through the time circle of the zodiac. Thus, it represents not only the center of the Solar System, but ALSO the center of the Universe!!

Surya-Loka represents the center of our Universe

Solar System occupies the central position in the Egg-shaped Universe that we exist in.

Those interested in knowing more can go through this article by Dr. Russel Humphrey – {Our-galaxy-is-the-centre-of-the-universe-quantized-redshifts-show}.

It is not so easy to determine the real space structure of the universe because there’s no INDEPENDENT measure of distance in the universe. Hence, the astronomers have to look at a map of redshifts and directions in the sky from where the light has come. Then to get the distance to the source galaxy they have to assume the Hubble law.

Such observations have confirmed that numerical values of galaxy redshifts are ‘quantized’, tending to fall into distinct groups. According to Hubble’s Law, redshifts are proportional to how far a Galaxy is from us and an analysis of these shifts shows that galaxies tend to be grouped into (conceptual) spherical shells concentric around our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Chandra-Loka-abode of the Moon-god

Chandra/Soma is the Sanskrit name of the Moon-god and hence, this Loka includes the satellite of Moon as well as its orbital neighborhood.

It should be remembered that when the scriptures talk about the Sun or the Moon-gods, it does not imply that the Star and the Satellite themselves are revered as Gods!

There are deities who have been given the responsibility of these Heavenly bodies and THEY are the ones referred to by these terms.

Moon influences the tidal processions and growth of vegetation,therefore it is considered the life-giver for all living beings on earth. Here the celestial, intoxicating beverage called Soma is also available which is consumed by Indra and other Devas especially when they are getting ready for a battle.
Rahu

Rahu is the North node of the Moon’s orbit while its counterpart Ketu is the southern one. It is said to be situated 80,000 miles above the three previous Lokas and is responsible for causing the Solar and Lunar eclipses.

Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu are identified with the Ascending and Descending Nodes of the Moon which are the points where the orbits of Sun and Moon intersect and if the alignment is correct, either a Solar or Lunar eclipse may occur.

Rahu and Ketu as Nodes of the Lunar orbit

Thus, these are not imaginary entities which periodically swallow the Sun and the Moon to cause an eclipse but ACTUAL positions contributing to the eclipses.

The ancients were after all NOT crazy and the myths actually have underlying science inherent in them.

Siddhaloka, Charanaloka, & Vidyadharaloka

These planets are spread from above the Antariksh to the orbit of the Moon. Their residents are born with all the mystic siddhis naturally, including the ability to travel to other planets without using mechanical contraptions.

Vidyadhars/Angels visit Earth as messengers

The Vidyadhars are winged-creatures corresponding to the western concept of Angels and Siddhas are advanced beings who do not need wings to fly on account of their mystic Yogic powers.

Chaarans spend most of their time traveling between the different planetary systems, eulogizing the Lord.

To me, the above mentioned three dimensions seem to represent the DIVISIONS of ATMOSPHERE which is quite neatly divided into three bands as well!

The Layers of Atmosphere between Sun and Earth

It is quite possible, that the three Lokas mentioned here, actually refer to the Atmospheric layers of Thermosphere, Mesosphere and Stratosphere and these entities exist there in an ethereal form.

Antariksh

The sky called Antariksh is the lowest of the higher Lokas and exists immediately above the Earth realm. It extends as far as the wind blows and clouds float in the sky and within it are the residences of Yakshas, Rakshashas, Pisachas, Ghosts, and other etheral beings.

Now that we are done with the Higher planets, let’s move on to the Middle level Earth-like worlds known as th Mrityu-Loka or Bhu-Loka.

MADHYA-LOKA or The Middle Planets

The Bhumandala comprises of SEVEN Planets giving rise to the Mortal Realm. These are:

Jambu-dvipa,


Plaksha-dvipa,


Salmali-dvipa,


Kusha-dvipa,


Krauncha-dvipa,


Shaka-dvipa,


Pushkar-dvipa

We have already identified JAMBUDWEEP as our planet, in a previous post {Jambudvip – The Global Island}. The other six planets are arranged in a concentric fashion around the central planet Earth.

Dvipas in their orbits with Earth in the Centre

I wouldn’t go much into the details of the different planets here because the descriptions more or less follow the same pattern as those of the Earth. All these planets have land surrounded by huge oceans and comprise of Humanoid species.

However, the denizens here live longer and are more materially opulent than the denizens of our world becuase right from Plaksh-dvipa to Shak-dvipa, there is a perpetual Treta-Yuga which is a more conducive age than our present Kailyuga.

I hope most of you would have grasped the point to be noted here – Besides Earth, there are SIX more planets which have Human-beings/Humanoids inhabiting them!

The significance of this information is huge!! If only we could identify these planets, we would be able to identify the location of OTHER intelligent species similar to us as well.

I for one would be most eager to join if someone with access to astronomical resources needed for this endeavor decides to take the initiative..

Till then, let us do what we can and learn more about the other Lokas.

ADHO-LOKA or The Lower Planets

About 70,000 Yojans below the earth begin the seven lower planetary systems. It should be remembered that these planets may be LOWER in spatial co-ordinates but are materially MORE opulent than even the Higher Planets hence they are known as the Bila-Swarga!

These geographically lower worlds are:


Atal


Vital


Sutal


Talatal


Mahataal


Rasaatal


Pataal

The residents here enjoy a standard of material comfort UNMATCHED by even the higher planets because the denizens of these worlds are concerned only with Material enjoyment and have very little Spiritual inclination.

These lower worlds are dark planets, devoid of any Sunshine and are hence artificially-lit by means of huge reflecting surfaces in the form of crystals and gems!

Since time is not divided into days and nights due to no sunshine reaching these planets, they have no fear produced by time.

These planets are the residence of Daityas, Danavas, Panis, Nivat-kavachs, Rakshasas, Kalkeyas, Nagas, Uragas who are all engaged in illusory material enjoyment with no thought of spiritual liberation.

All residents bathe in elixirs which free them from any anxiety or physical disease, as well as any signs of physical aging.

Rakshas denizens enjoy all Material opulence

The visual beauty of these artificial heavens surpasses even that of the higher planets and hence they are known as Bila-Swarga. There are incredible feats of architecture in their cities bedecked with valuable jewels.

This sensual atmosphere completely captures the mind, allowing no thoughts but those directed toward fulfillment of pleasure. Demon live in these lower planetary systems with their wives and children, always engaged in sense gratification and not fearing their next births.

There are some details which are worth mentioning here-

The planet Sutal is the abode of Bali Maharaj, the most benevolent and just king of the Asura race, who was blessed by Lord Vishnu to become the Indra for the next Manvantar.

•In the Lower planets of Mahataal and Pataal, reside the Nagas or the semi-human serpent people. The Nagaloka is a splendid place with unimaginable riches.

All darkness is banished here because of the brilliantly glowing jewels on the hoods of the huge serpents. The King of the Nagas, Vasuki resides here in his capital Bhogavati.

Naga city of Bhogavati

Buddhist texts mention eight major kings of the Nagas – Vasuki, Takshak, Nanda, Upananda, Sagar, Balvan, Anavatapta and Utpal. The same are also referred to as the ‘Eight Dragon Kings’ in Chinese and Japanese legends.

Planet of the  ancestors-Pitras 

Below the lowest planet of Pataal, is the  who are known as the Pitras.

Texts like the Mahabharat repeatedly give incidents of Nagas emerging from under the ground (inspired probably by their tendency to live in burrows) and Naga princesses abducting handsome men deep down under water.

Maybe a thorough underwater exploration can help shed some light on the possible existence of portals between these worlds and our Earth.

Till now, we have encountered planets with advanced beings having multiple limbs who can transport themselves from one place to another in a fraction of a second (Vaikunth-Loka).

We saw planets where people travel on airplanes and space-crafts rather than ground-cars (Swarga-Loka) and also read about planets that do not need the Sun for survival (Bila-Swarga)

Beneath all these, and slightly above the Garbhodak ocean, are the Naraklokas, or the hellish planets.

NARAK-LOKA or The Hellish Planets

Narak is the Hindu counterpart of Christian Hell and Islamic Dozakh.

This place acts as a purgatory for the souls who have committed the most abominable actions on the earthly plane. Unlike the Eternal Hell of Western religions though, this place is temporary and once the soul has learnt its lesson, it is free to move back into the regular dimension.

Lowest of all are the Planets of Hell

There are 28 different hells described in the Vedic literature and these planets are:
Raurav,
Sukar,
Rodha,
Tal,
Vishsan,
Mahajwal,
Taptakumbh,
Lavan,
Vilohit,
Rudhiramabh,
Vaitarni,
Krimish,
Krimibhojan,
Asipatravana,
Krishna,
Lalabhaksha,
Darun,
Puyuvah,
Pap,
Vahnijwal,
Adhahshira,
Sandansh,
Kalsutra,
Tamas,
Avichi,
Swabhojan,
Apratishthit,
Aprachi.

The different Hells

The ancient sages have made provisions of expiation for those sinners who feel guilty in their conscience after committing their sins. Only those sinners who do not expiate for their sins fall into these hells.

Although life here seems to go on for an eternity, in actual fact the duration of one’s Karmic sentence here may be only seconds or moments.

All these Hells are under the domain of Surya-putra Yamaraj where he delivers judgement according to the record kept by his assistant Chitra-gupta.

As I understand, the sins are paid off in hell only when you have achieved the human form at the end of the 84 lakh births you have taken.. at all other times, the soul is immediately transferred to a new body as soon as it leaves the previous one.

Below these planets is the Garbhodak Ocean which forms the bottom of the Universal Egg or the Brahm-and.

Foundation of Our Universe

At the base of our Universe lies the immense Garbhodak Ocean on which reclines the second form of Lord Vishnu – Shri Garbhodakshayi Vishnu, resting on the Eternal serpent, Ananta-Shesha. {For details check this link – Creation by Brahma}.

Final arrangement of the Lokas

Anant-Shesh has thousands of hoods and each of the hoods carries a bright gemstone that illuminates the azimuths. At the end of every Kalpa, Brahma goes to sleep and rests for the night.

The time has come now for the Maha-pralaya when fiery poison emanates from Ananta’s thousands of hoods and destroys all Creation.

This is the Sankarshan form of the Lord from whose eyebrows appears the three-eyed Rudra who destroys the three worlds and dances the dance of destruction known as the Tandav.

Lord Sankarshan destroys the creation at the end of Brahma’s day

From all that we have read about the different Lokas, Bhu-Loka or the Earth-Realm seems to be sort of a Launch-pad from where you can reach the other worlds based on your Karma.

Through GOOD Karma and right inclination, one can ascend to the Spiritually advanced Higher planets; through OKAYish Karma, indulgence of senses and unbridled desires, one can descend to the Spiritually deprived but Materially advanced Lower planets.

And through really really really BAD Karma, one may have to suffer in one of the Hellish planets!

This, I believe is the central learning from all this knowledge. Even if you are a Deva or a Rishi, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be born as a Rakshas or an ant or a bacteria in your next birth!

There are numerous instances where a Divine being was cursed to be born as a Human or an animal because of his bad Karma.

The only certain way to get out of this Samsara or the Never-ending Cycle of Birth and Death is to keep the Lord in your heart in every action that you do, in every thought that comes to your mind, and in every breath that you take.

Per Brahma-Vaivarta Puraan –

Harer naam Harer naam Hare naam Kevalam, Kalau na asti eva na asti eva na asti eva gatih anyathha!

Only the name of Hari, Only the name of Hari, Only the name of Hari, There’s no other deliverance, no other deliverance, no other deliverance in this Age of Kali!

From Radha Mohan

5 comments on “Astronomy,Lokas (Universe), in BhagvatGita-decoded-Part 1

  1. Pingback: Astronomy-Time in BhagvatGita- Part 2 | HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

  2. Shankar
    November 28, 2016

    Your three part series on the BhagvaGita and astronomy is excellent. Thank you for presenting it. As Sanskrit is a vibrational language where each phoneme resonates with a chakra to provide a depth of meaning not possible with a translation into another language such as English perhaps an article on Sanskrit would useful in the future. NOTE: Such an article could mention that there differing viewpoints on the the number of phonemes in Sanskrit and differing viewpoints on the number and purpose of principal chakras.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Astronomy,Lokas (Universe), in BhagvatGita-decoded-Part 1 | HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA – Voice of world

  4. Pingback: Astronomy,Lokas (Universe), in BhagvatGita-decoded-Part 1 | HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA – GLOBAL HINDUISM

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