Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes the universe (loka) which is Chapter 26 of the English translation of the Parama Samhita, representing a manual of the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism philosophy. These pages summarize ritualistic worship, initiation and other topics, as contained in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school

Chapter 26 - The universe (loka)


1. What is the root of life in this world (saṃsāra) What is its end and what its middle? Explain this to me in full and in its true nature.


2-3. The ultimate root of Saṃsāra is yourself, O Lotus-born! who, having established himself in Brahmaloka, are known as the First Great One. The middle part of it is taken to be this world (in its various stages); and the top of it is the nether world. For this tree of Saṃsāra the root is at the top, the branches are in the middle, and the head below.

4. The embodied (souls) keep moving, in the grindstone of Fate called Saṃsāra. To the tree (of Saṃsāra) seven branches are ascribed each being in a separate plane set one above the other.

5. Pṛthvī (earth), Antarikṣa (the atmosphere), Svarga (heaven), Mahar-loka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka. These are the seven worlds in order, one above the other from the earth.

6-7. Below these are said to be the netherworlds (Naraka-bhūmaya). Among these let me first of all describe to you the earth (Bhūmi), O Pitāmaha! which is possessed of length and breadth, and various other features. Seven circular worlds are regarded as constituting the earth.

8. These are each one twice the length of the one around which it is, and is inhabited by various peoples. Each one of these is surrounded by a sea of equal length and breadth.

9-10. These are named by the differences in their land divisions and mountains; Jambudvīpa is the middle; Śākadvīpa comes next around; after this Kuśa and Krauñca dvīpas; then Śālmalīdvīpa and then Gomedha and Puṣkara. These constitute the seven dvīpas in order.

11-12A. The first sea is of salt water, the next is the. sea of sugar-cane juice,: then liquor, curds, and ghee, then milk, and fresh water last of all. These seven seas are like the divisions of land placed in order.

12B-13A. Among the land divisions, in the middle one are mountains called Varṣa-Parvata,with many peaks and of great height, and stretching out from sea to sea. In between there are divisions called Varṣa, and various Janapadas (inhabited regions).

14A. In these Varṣas are also hundreds and thousands of cities, villages and rivers.

14B-l5. In the middle of Jambudvīpa there is a great mountain called Meru of golden body, decorated with jewelled peaks of great variety; that mountain possessed of various wonderful places is the pleasure-ground of the Gods

16-17A. The river Jambu (Sanpu or Brahmaputra) flows round the root of the Mountain Meru to the south of which is placed the Jambū (Eugenia jambolana or rose apple) tree. Very high, very extensive and producing all that one would desire

17B-18A. Around Meru lies extensive land divisions Ilāvarta, the inhabitants of which live on the fruit of the rose-apple (Jambu) very high, very extensive and producing all that one would desire.

18B. To the north of Meru are three mountains making land divisions.

19. These are Nīla (Blue), Śveta (white), Tṛśṛṅga (three-peaked) each slightly smaller than the preceding one. The first land division is called Ramyaka, and the next one is Hairaṇya (golden). With the Uttara Kuru these make three land divisions, O Lotus-born! To the south of Meru likewise, are three mountains making land divisions.

21-22A. These three are Niṣada, Hemakūṭa and Himaśaila (Himalayas) making the three. The three land divisions are Hari, Kimpuruṣa and Bhārata, diminishing in size in the order named.

22B-23. To the east of Meru however, lies the Gandhamādhana Mountain, extending from the Nīla to the Niṣada, and to the west lies Mālyavān. Outside these two lie Bhadrāśva and Ketumāla respectively.

24. The great land division (dvīpa) in between, is ten lacs of yojanas (prayuta) in length. In the smaller land divisions of these live men of various forms.

25. To them length of life, courage and strength are different. Among the mountains of these divisions live Yakṣas (demi-gods), Pannagas (snakes) and (demons).

26. The southern land division is called Bhārata. It is divided into nine divisions by the waters of the salt ocean, flowing in between.

27. Following these divisions are mountains and rivers innumerable—so innumerable that even years will not suffice to count them, O Lotus-born!

28. Placed in the midst of the salt ocean are many mountains with wings. There are also many small islands inhabited by Mlecchas.

29. Among the other six land divisions beginning “Śākadvīpa”, there are innumerable mountains and divisions, rivers etc, in hundreds and thousands.

30. In these large divisions live men of righteous conduct, of settled age; so also animals, birds, wild animals and crawling creatures.

31. Kings there are observant of duty, of merciful conduct and ever without hostility produced by desire, anger etc.

32. The people are devoted to giving to those in need, possessed of learning and free from coveting what belongs to others. They are not given to doing evil to others, nor bringing sorrow to others.

33. There trees and plants bear abundant fruit, and provide all that one may wish; the cows yield plenty of milk, and people are free from vices (such as dice).

34. In the middle of Puṣkaradvīpa lies the mountain Mānasottara. The guardians of the directions beginning with Indra are in residence there.

35. The seas are infested with aquatic creatures such as makara (sharks), timi (a large fish), nakra (crocodile), kūrma (tortoise), nāga (snake) and dantina (elephants of the sea, hippopotamus).

36. The creatures of the sea are far more in number than those of the land; and they live upon sea-water unobstructed.

37. Outside the fresh water lies, O Brahman! the mountain Lokāloka surrounding the Earth completely, and lying quite outside of it.

38. On the nearer half of this mountain, sunbeams play. On the other side is eternal darkness, and hence the name Lokāloka (shining and dark) for the mountain.

39. In this manner is described Bhūmi, rich in mineral, where embodied human beings do good and bad deeds.

40. Set over the earth is the world of air (atmosphere). This is of seven divisions of Maruts (air) set one above the other.

41. In this region are clear-bodied planets, the asterisms, stars, the Great Bear (sages or Ṛṣis). They exist there undisturbed, with bodies of light.

42. There live in happiness, moving about as they please and unobstructed, YakṣasVidhyādharasGandharvas and Kinnaras.

43. This atmosphere is of seven divisions of equal height. Sitting on the top of this, the Great Ṛṣi, Dhruva by name, keeps it turning round.

44. The third division is the world of light, and is known as Svargaloka where live in happiness, by the thousands, the Devas called Vibudhas.

45. There also live so many groups of thousands of Devas with the heavenly ladies, called Apsaras, in their aerial cars, moving about as they please.

46-47. In that world live, under the protection of Vāsava (Indra), the ĀdityasVasus and RudrasSādhyasṚbhusKiṅkarasKarmadevasPitṛs of various kinds drinking the most excellent nectar placed in the middle of Cakramaṇḍala.

48. There live everywhere in this world Devas, brilliant with shining bodies of light, in eternal youth, living to the age of a Kalpa.

49. Their cows yield all they desire; and the Kalpa-Vṛkṣas (wish-yielding trees) always fill them with all that they wish, of jewels etc.

50. These three worlds just described to you, are attainable by good deeds, and are lost, when the good results of the deeds are exhausted.

51. There are four other worlds above, which are attain able by jñāna (sacred knowledge) alone where reside the great yogins who have risen to the position by practice of yoga (meditation).

52. In the fourth world of the Mahar-loka people live to the age of ten kalpas, fulfilling their desire the moment they wish; they are devotees of Viṣṇu, having gained complete control of their senses.

53. In the fifth world of Janaloka people live in happiness to hundred kalpas in age living upon deep meditation alone, having gained complete control of their senses.

54. In the sixth, Tapoloka, live Siddhas, in perfect control of their activities, to the age of one thousand kalpas, in an effort to conquer the great Bhūtas (the five material elements).

55. In the seventh, Satya-loka people called Pradhānas with complete control over their senses, live to the age of ten thousand Kalpas, having accomplished all their wishes and therefore free from any wish.

56. Even there lives Brahma expert in the creation of the worlds, being therefore called Brahmaloka, where you preside.

57. Going to these worlds is the result of good deeds, while the result of evil deeds is going to the worlds below.

58. Down below the earth are the great Hell-lands (Naraka-Bhūmaya) of various forms and inhabited by Piśācas for those of sinful deeds.

59-60A. The first among them is Raurava; the next Mahā-Raurāva; then Kālasūtra; then Pāñcakaṣṭa; then come Tāmisra and Andhatamisra, thus making the six, O Pitāmaha!

60B-61A. Having gone through these, worlds, passing through which is full of acute suffering, all embodied beings suffer the evil effects of their bad deeds.

61B-62. Beneath these lies the hell well known as Avīci hell. That is the place of residence of Dānava chiefs, and the place to which condemned people are taken for punishment. In this manner I have described to you the creation of hell-worlds.

63. Outside of this mundane egg, Vedha (Brahma) remains, having created this in this manner. Outside of where he is, is Tejas (Buddhi).

64. Outside of this Buddhi is Avyakta (the undistinguished). Outside of Avyakta is the Supreme Puruṣa. The external Vāsudeva is Viṣṇu formed of the five powers.

65. There is nothing outside of this that exists, O Pitāmaha! He is however, without beginning and end, and has no measure.

66. By His wish, creation attains to blossoming, and, by His desire, it shrinks back at the end of each Kalpa of time.

67. The course of creation of the world has been described to you completely; similar other creations, and many times, are made by Him.

68-69A. These are unseen of one another; but seen of those who are given to meditating upon Him. These worlds are uncountable in number. The beginning and the end of these worlds, and their various forms and transformations, are His creation playfully brought about.

69B-70. As in the branches of a tree are found innumerable fruits, so understand are the worlds in Him. The Supreme God is changeless, but creates by the process of changing.

71. Seeing the conditions of life in living things, He remains as if it is all sport. In this manner, I have now described to you the nature of creation.

72-74A. In this kind of creation, embodied beings move about in life. Having gained the higher life, sometimes they go down to middling condition again; and then again to the lowest, as the result of binding deeds of their own. All these conditions of life, O Brahman!, which are experienced by men only in life, are destroyed when the results of works are exhausted; but not so the life beyond, nor is it free from suffering.

74B-75A. In that life beyond, whatever is attained by the grace of God is taken to have been achieved by oneself, and thus, bringing about destruction down to the roots, one attains to nothing of permanent benefit.

75B-76. Therefore, taking note beforehand of what brings sorrow or evil, one regards himself not his own master, and thinks of God as the creator and ruler of the Universe. To one who is not a devotee of Viṣṇu, there is no escape from the enemy called Saṃsāra (life in this world).

77. To a man not devoted to Viṣṇu, even in life there is no lasting happiness. Falling under the control of the senses, he is not able to get over worldly life.

78-79A. By enmity to senses alone, can one get over the bonds of worldly life. By means of that enmity to the senses, one should devote himself, at all times, to Janārdhana, the God of Gods. By this devotion one attains his wishes.

79B-81A. Those devoted to Viṣṇu are superior to animals, men, Devas (Gods) and Yogins (people always meditating God) in all worlds for certain; as the Devas are to men, as Hari is to the Devas, as the Siddhas among the Yogins, as Hari among the Siddhas (the accomplished).

81B-83A. Seeing the vast, the impassable and the long existing conditions of this world, the Supreme Being remains happy in the highest heaven. As one sees with ease, the lotus seeds of a rosary in his hand, so in the same manner, the Supreme God sees the seven worlds.

83B-84. As long as the world lasts, so long does Brahma exist. When his life reaches its fulness, all creation comes does to an end, All created things reach back to their cause (Kāraṇa) each its own, always.

85A. These causes (Kāraṇas) get absorbed in Avyakta; this in itself is absorbed in Paramātma (the Supreme Soul).

85B-86A. A thousand less six (994) make a day of Brahma; his night is also of the same length, and is called Saṅkalpa.

86B-87A. A year of man is to the Devas one (about 24 minutes); twelve thousand of this measure make one year of the Devas.

87B-88. In every YugaKalpa and Manvantara creation takes place. When, by this measure, creation takes place a hundred times, the Supreme Puruṣa draws in all creatures and remains by Himself alone.

In the Paramasaṃhitā of Chapter XXVI, entitled Loka (Universe).