The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Maharloka


Muniloka [ Photo: ]

May 15, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 87.

Our next stop on the tour of holy places listed in Jaiva Dharma's Glossary is Maharloka, about which Srila Bhaktivinoda writes:

    "Maharloka - a planet situated above Svargaloka. This place is obtained by upakurvana brahmacaris, students of the Vedas who honor their teacher with a gift after completing their studies and before becoming grhasthas. The maharsis (great sages) who are progenitors of the universe reside on this planet. One obtains this planet by performing sacrifices, undergoing the yoga discipline and other similar practices which are far superior to the pious activities by which one becomes eligible for Svargaloka. When there is a partial devastation of the universe at the end of Brahma's day, the three worlds, Bhu, Bhuva, and Svarga, are destroyed, but the higher planets beginning from Maharloka remain intact."

There is only one passage in Jaiva Dharma that mentions Maharloka. As we discovered in the segments on Brahmaloka and Indraloka, depending on the translation there is some variation in the scope of information. In one translation we find this description:

    "Above Indraloka in succession are the planets of Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and finally Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the material universe. The sastras give fewer descriptions of Maharloka and Janaloka than of the celestial pleasures in Indraloka, and fewer descriptions still of Tapoloka and Brahmaloka."

The other manuscript provides this more detailed passage, from chapter twelve:

    "The scriptures are a kamadhenu cow that fulfils all desires. Whatever one desires, there is a description somewhere in the scriptures of how to attain it. For they who desire material pleasures, the scriptures give the karma-kanda section of the Vedas. The residents of the material world generally yearn for material pleasures, so the scriptures gives certain specific instructions to them. They who have material bodies generally think sense pleasures are the best and most important attainment. The material world is, after all, the abode of material sense pleasures. The material sense pleasures the soul attains from the time of birth until the time of death are called 'pleasures this world', and the material sense pleasures one may attain after dying are called 'pleasures of the next world'. There are many different kinds of pleasure in the next world. In Svargaloka and Indraloka there are the pleasures of seeing the apsaras' dancing, the pleasure of drinking heavenly nectar, smelling the flowers and other scented objects in the Nandana gardens, seeing the beauty of Indrapuri and the Nandana gardens, hearing the singing of the gandharvas and others, and living with the Vidyadharis are all pleasures attainable in Svargaloka. To a lesser degree these same kinds of material sense pleasure are also available in Tapoloka and Maharloka. In Bhuloka (the earth) the material sense pleasures are gross. As one goes to higher and higher planets, the sense pleasures become more and more subtle. In this way they are different. Still, they are all material sense pleasure. It is not that any of them are not material sense pleasures. None of these planets are spiritual. The subtle body of mind, intelligence and false ego is a perverted reflection of spirit. In the higher planets the pleasures are pleasures of the subtle body. All these different kinds of material pleasures are called 'bhukti'. The conditioned souls trapped in the circle of karma take shelter of karmic activities in order to attain material sense pleasures. That is called their 'sadhana', the means they adopt to attain what they see is the true goal of life."

Srila Prabhupada mentions Maharloka's place in the planetary system, in the Back To Godhead article entitled Ascendance to the Personal World of Krsna:

    "…Those who are worshiping the demigods will go to the demigods." The demigods have their various places in this material world. There are seven higher planetary systems and seven lower planetary systems. We are living on earth, in the planetary system called Bhurloka, and there are many planets in this system. And above Bhurloka are Bhuvarloka, Svarga-loka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, Brahmaloka there are so many planets, with various kinds of living entities and various kinds of comforts. On some of these planets there are very highly intelligent beings, much more intelligent than human beings, who are called demigods ("those who are almost God")."

(Maharloka, to be continued...)


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