The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Janaloka

BY: SUN STAFF

Lord Visnu and the Four Kumaras
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


Apr 28, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 70.

The planetary abode of Janaloka is associated with the pastimes of three of the Dasavatara: Lord Nrsimhadeva, Vamanadeva and Varaha Avatara. The four Kumaras also reside on Janaloka, and also in Vaikuntha. Janaloka is also mentioned in the 'Sri Balabhadra-sahasra-nama' from Garga Samhita as being one of Lord Balarama's glorious Names:

Text 72
amsamsas ca naraveso
'vataro bhupari-sthitah
mahar janas tapah satyam
bhur bhuvah svar iti tridha

    "He expands in many incarnations (amsamsa). He appears as a sakty-avesa incarnation (naravesa). He descends to the material world (avatara and bhupari-sthita). He is Maharloka (mahah), Janaloka (jana), Tapoloka (tapah), and Satyaloka (satyam). He is the three planetary systems: Bhuloka (bhu), Bhuvarloka (bhuvah), Svarloka (svah)."

    (Garga Samhita 8.2.13.2.72)

In the Sri Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, Srila Rupa Goswami states that Janaloka is an abode of Lord Nrsimhadeva:

    Chapter Five
    Paravastha-nirupana (Description of the Most Important Forms of the Lord)

    "The blissful glories of Lord Nrsimha are described in the Nrsimha-tapani Upanisad. It is said that Lord Nrsimha resides both in Janaloka and in the world of Visnuloka, which is above all."

    (Sri Laghu-Bhagavatamrta 1.5.23-4)

Sri Garuda is associated with Janaloka, as described in Garga Samhita 1.4.14, 'Kaliyopakhyana-varnana (Description of Kaliya's Story)', which describes how Garuda chased the Kaliya naga throughout the seven dvipas, the seven khandas and the seven oceans:

Text 16
bhurlokam ca bhuvarlokam
svarlokam pragatah phani
maharlokam tato dhavan
janalokam jagama ha

    "The snake Kaliya fled to Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, and Janaloka.

    Text 17
    yatraiva garude prapte
    'dho 'dho lokam punar gatah
    sri-krishnasya bhayat ke 'pi
    raksham tasya na sandadhuh

    Then he fled to the lower planets, going lower and lower. Wherever he went, Garuda was there. No one saved him from his fear of Lord Krishna's devotee."

In the Garuda Purana Janaloka is further described, this time in the context of how righteous people take birth. In answer to Garuda's questioning on this matter, the Lord explains the various correspondences between such a righteous person and various elements of creation:

    "You have asked well, O Tarkaya. I will tell you that supreme secret, even by knowing which one becomes all-knowing. I will tell you the real nature of that body which possesses the attributes of the universal Egg,--the object of concentration of Yogins.…

    56-59. Below the feet is called Atala; above the feet, Vitala; at the knees know it as Sutala; at the thighs Mahatala;
    At the hips, Talatala; at the secret part Rasatala; at the loins Patala; these are declared to be the seven worlds:
    Bhuloka, at the middle of the navel; above it the Bhuvarloka; in the heart, Svarloka; at the throat it should be known as Maharloka;
    Janaloka, in the region of the mouth; Tapolaka, at the forehead; Satyaloka in the Brahmarandhra--these are the fourteen worlds."

    (Garuda Purana, Chapter Fifteen)

Mention of Janaloka is found in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana's narration of the glories of Parsva (Parivartinii) Ekadasi, in the story of Vamanadeva's pastime with Bali Maharaja. While the correspondence mentioned in Garuda Purana associates Janaloka with the region of the mouth, in this case Janaloka corresponds to the Lord's chest:

    "King Yudhishthira further enquired, "Oh Lord, how was it possible for You to conquer such a powerful demon, and only by coming in the form of a dwarf brahmin? Please explain this clearly, for I am Your faithful devotee."

    "The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna replied, "Though a dwarf, I was a brahmana, and I approached that pious king Bali to ask him for alms in the form of land. I said, 'Oh Daityraj Bali, please give Me just three steps of land in charity. Such a small piece of land will be good as all the three worlds for Me.' Bali agreed to grant My request without lengthy consideration. But as soon as he vowed to give Me the land, My body began to expand into a gigantic transcendental form. I covered the entire Earth with My feet, all the Bhuvarloka with My thighs, the Swarga heavens with My waist, Maharloka with My stomach, Janaloka with My chest, Tapoloka with My neck, and Satyaloka with My head and face. I covered the entire material creation. Indeed, all the planets of the universe, including the Sun and the Moon, were encompassed by My gigantic form.

    Seeing this astonishing pastime of Mine, all the demigods, including Indra and Shesha, the king of the snakes, began to sing Vedic hymns and offer prayers to Me. Then I took Bali by the hand and said to him, 'Oh sinless one, I have covered the whole Earth with one step and all the heavenly planets with the second. Now where shall I place My foot to measure the third step of land you promised Me?'"

Finally, we find mention of Lord Varaha's pastimes, in which the sages of Janaloka participate:

jalakridasu ruciram varahim rupamasthitah
adhrishyam manasapyanyair vangmayam brahma-samjnitam
prithivyuddharanarthaya pravisya ca rasatalam
damshtrayabhyujjaharai na matmadharo dharadharah
drishtva damshtragravinyastam prithvim prathita paurusham
astavan jana-lokasthah siddha brahmarshayo harim

(Matsya Purana 6.8-10)

    "The Supreme Personality of Godhead who is imperceptible to the mind, who plays beautifully in the water and who is the Sound-God designated as Absolute Brahman, appeared as Varaha to save the life-giving earth. He entered into the depths of the ocean and rescued the earth with His tusks. Seeing the earth resting on the tusks of the Lord, the sages of Janaloka offered prayers to the most celebrated Sri Hari."

This pastime is described by Swami B.B. Tirtha, in his narration on Dasavatara - The Ten Manifestations of God:

    "Varaha-avatara is the third among the Dasavatara. When Brahmaji was ordered to carry out the creation, he began to think about the details involved in the task. At that moment, a male named Svayambhuva Manu and a female named Satarupa manifested from his body. Abiding by the desire of Brahma, Svayambhuva Manu accepted Satarupa as his wife in order to carry out the process of creation. Seeing the earth submerged in the waters of annihilation and desiring to seek a dwelling place for the living beings, Manu approached his father, Lord Brahma, and prayed to him to rescue the earth. When Brahma saw the earth submerged in the water, he thought for a long time about how it could be rescued. He had earlier established the earth in its normal state after removing all the water, but could not understand why the earth had again sunk into the watery abyss. He had been appointed to do the work of creation but the earth had become inundated in a deluge and had sunk into the depths of the ocean to Rasatala (the lowest of the seven underworlds). How was the act of creation to be accomplished? How was the earth to be rescued?

    Lord Brahma could not think of a solution even after much thought and effort. At last, he took shelter of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. While Brahma was still deep in thought, a small boar the size of a thumb suddenly appeared from his nostril. Astonishingly, as Brahma looked on, the tiny boar expanded in the sky and within moments had assumed a form as large as a great elephant. Brahma, great brahmanas such as Marici, the Four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat-Kumara) as well as Svayambhuva Manu, saw the transcendental Varaha form and began to discuss this wonderful event. Lord Brahma thought that this must be some resident of the transcendental world travelling in disguise in the form of a boar. "Oh! What a great surprise! How wonderful it is that this expanding Varaha form has come forth from my nostril. Is Sri Hari, the lord of sacrifice, concealing His original form and trying to agitate me?"

    In this way, while Brahma was deliberating with his associates, Sri Hari roared tumultuously like the great mountain Giriraja. The omnipresent Sri Hari enlivened Brahma and the other highly elevated brahmanas by again roaring with His uncommon voice. The sound of His roar was so sweet that it would destroy all the miseries of the hearer. Lord Brahma, Svayambhuva Manu and other sages who reside in Janaloka, Tapaloka and Satyaloka, chanted auspicious mantras from the Vedas as offerings to Varahadeva. Upon hearing the prayers of Brahma and the other sages, Lord Varaha prepared to enter into the waters of annihilation for the benefit of the demigods. Lord Varaha rose into the sky while slashing His tail. The Lord quivered the hair on His shoulders and scattered the clouds in the sky with His hooves. With raised hairs, white tusks and luminous effulgence, the Lord's form was brilliantly beautiful. This is a unique and wonderful pastime of Sri Hari. Just the remembrance of it causes shivering in the body. Despite being omnipotent and omniscient, He searched for the earth planet in the way that an animal would, using the sense of smell. Although His external appearance was fearful, He pleased the sages engaged in offering prayers by lovingly glancing over them and entering into the water. His dive into the water with His thunderbolt-like mountainous body divided the ocean. The ocean prayed to the Lord out of fear, "Please protect me, O Supreme Lord!"

    The Lord of all sacrifices separated the water with His hooves and saw the earth lying at the bottom of Rasatala in the same way as when He had carried her in His stomach during the time of annihilation. Appearing very splendid, Lord Varaha lifted the earth by carrying her on His tusks. At that time, a very powerful demon named Hiranyaksha challenged the Lord with a mace. Lord Varaha expressed great anger upon seeing the demon. Thereafter, Lord Varaha killed Hiranyaksha just as a lion kills an elephant, and the cheeks and face of the Lord became red with the blood of the demon [1]. With folded hands, the sages headed by Brahma offered prayers to the Lord. The Lord, being satisfied with the prayers of the great sages, placed the earth upon the turbulent water with His hooves and then disappeared from their vision."


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