The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Maharloka
BY: SUN STAFF
May 18, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 90.
Mention of another aspect of Maharloka's nature is found in the Garuda Purana 15.54-61, an account of the coming to birth of people who have done good, where the following correspondences are given:
"In the Paramarthika body, there are six chakras in which are said to be located the attributes of the egg of Brahma.
I will tell you about these, which are the objects of meditation of Yogins. By pondering upon them one becomes the enjoyer of the nature of Vairaja.
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.
Meru is situated in the triangle; Mandara is in the inverted triangle; Kailasa is in the right triangle; Himachala, in the left triangle."
There are two more descriptions of Maharloka's presence and the cyclical forces that flow across the yugas. The first is from Srila Jiva Goswami's Sri Priti-sandarbha, Volume One, Anuccheda 3:
"O king, when such a mystic passes over the Milky Way by the illuminating Sushumna to reach the highest planet, Brahmaloka, he goes first to Vaishvanara, the planet of the deity of fire, wherein he becomes completely cleansed of all contaminations, and thereafter he goes still higher, to the circle of Shishumara, to relate with Lord Hari, the Personality of Godhead.
This Sisumara is the pivot for the turning of the complete universe, and it is called the navel of Vishnu (Garbhodakashayi Vishnu). The yogi alone goes beyond this circle of Shishumara and attains the planet (Maharloka) where purified saints like Bhrigu enjoy a duration of life of 4,300,000,000 solar years. This planet is worshipable even for the saints who are transcendentally situated.
At the time of the final devastation of the complete universe (the end of the duration of Brahma's life), a flame of fire emanates from the mouth of Ananta (from the bottom of the universe). The yogi sees all the planets of the universe burning to ashes, and thus he leaves for Satyaloka by airplanes used by the great purified souls. The duration of life in Satyaloka is calculated to be 15,480,000,000,000 years."
The timing of the yugas, and Maharloka's moment of birth are also described in Padma Purana, in a section narrating Lord Brahma's life-span and the chronological order of the eras:
"Four Yuga are collectively known as 'Chaturyuga'. A Brahma's day consists of one-thousand such 'Chaturyugas'. Altogether, fourteen Manu appear during this whole period of 1000 Chaturgas or in other words a day of Lord Brahma. Each 'Manvantar' is named after a Manu and is equivalent to little more than 71 Chaturyugas. It also has its own Indra, Saptarishis and other deities. This way, a manvantar is also equivalent to 8,52,000 years of the deities or divine years. Going by the standard of the years of this world a manvantar is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 years. On the basis of the years of this world, a Brahma's day is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 x 14 = 4,29,40,80,000 yrs. This is the period after which a Brahma's day is over and a deluge takes place when all the three worlds becomes devoid of life due to unbearable heat. Lord Brahma then takes rest for the same period (4,29,40,80,000 yrs) which is his night.
After the night is over, Lord Brahma again commences his creation. So, this process continues for the whole period of Brahma's life span, i.e. 100 yrs." Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to describe how Lord Brahma created life in the beginning of the present Kalpa.
Pulastya replied--- At the end of the previous kalpa when Lord Brahma awakened from his sleep, he found the whole earth submerged in water. He meditated on Lord Vishnu, who took the incarnation of 'Varah' and retrieved the earth and established it in its original position. Lord Brahma then created all the four worlds--Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Swargloka and Maharloka and divided the earth into seven islands."
And finally, we have the two mentions of Maharloka and its place in the upper planetary systems, from Srila Rupa Goswami's Sri Laghu-Bhagavatamrta:
Chapter Three - Lilavatara-nirupana (The Lila-avataras)
16 In the beginning of the kalpa no one had been born yet, even from Manu. Where, then, was the Pracetas' son Daksa? Where was Diti? Where was Diti's son?
17 In answer to Vidura's question, Maitreya Muni described Lord Varaha's pastimes at two different times as if they had happened at the same time.
18 Because of a sage's curse to Manu a cosmic devastation occurred in the middle of Manu's reign. This is described in a Purana.
Note: The scripture here is Matsya Purana.
19 In another scripture it is said that, caused by the lotus-navelled Lord's pastimes, this cosmic devastation unexpectedly occurred in Caksusa Manu's reign.
Note: The scripture here is Visnu-dharmottara Purana.
20 A cosmic devastation occurs at the end of each Manu's reign. This is described by Markandeya Muni in the following verses of Visnu-dharmottara Purana:
21 "When Manu's reign is ended the faultless demigods that controlled the world during the manvantara travel to the planet Maharloka and remain there.
22 "O Yadava, at that time Manu, Indra, and the demigods take shelter of Brahmaloka, which is very difficult to attain.
23 "O Vraja, then the Supreme Lord becomes a powerful, wave-garlanded ocean and completely covers the Bhutala and Satala planets.
24 "O Yadava, then everything in Bhurloka is destroyed. O king of kings, only the famous great mountains are not destroyed.
25 "O best of the Yadu dynasty, then the earth-goddess becomes a boat and protects all seeds without discrimination.
26-7 "O tiger among kings, the future Manu and future seven sages famous in the world will take shelter in a boat. Lord Visnu, the master of the universe, will assume the form of a horned fish and will playfully pull that boat from place to place."
Chapter Four - Manvantaravatara-yugavatara-prabhava-vaibhavavatara-tat-sthana-nirupana (Description of the Manvantara-avataras, Vibhava-avataras, and Their abodes)
53 In Visnu-dharmottara Purana:
"Above that is the fifth place, a red world named Mahatala. In that place is a great lake 100 000 yojanas (800 000 miles) in breadth. There Lord Hari, in the form of Kurma, personally resides.
54 "Above that place is another of the same size, where there is a lake 300 000 yojanas (2 400 000 miles) in breadth. In that lake Lord Hari in His form of Matsya resides.
55-7 "Nara's friend Narayana Rsi resides at Badarikasrama. Nr-Varaha is said to reside on Maharloka, where His abode is 3 000 000 yojanas (24 000 000 miles) in breadth. Ananta Sesa's beautiful abode is 500 000 yojanas (4 000 000 miles) in breadth.
58 "The beautiful and self-effulgent realm Varahaloka touches the material universe as it stands beneath everything. There in the form of Svetavaraha, the Supreme Lord resides.
59 "Above that is another realm of the same size. This fourth realm, its ground coloured yellow, is named Gabhasthitala. There the Supreme Lord Visnu, splendid as hundreds of moons and decorated with golden ornaments, appears in a form with a horse's head.
60-2 "Above Brahmaloka is the home of Prsnigarbha. Where Krsna stays there Balarama, whose amsa-avatara resides in Patalaloka, who always carries a palm-tree flag, who is eloquent, who is decorated with a forest garland, who carries a plough, club, and sword, who is decorated with blue garments, and who always wears on His head a jewel-picture of Ananta Sesa, stays also.
63-4 "Above Brahmaloka is the realm of Lord Hari. In Svarloka is the home of Lord Visnu, who is the son of Vikuntha-devi. The Lord is also personally manifested in Vaikunthaloka."
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