ब्रह्मलोक, brahmaloka

A partial synonym of "satya-loka".

The term "brahmaloka" is polysemantic, used not only in Hinduism, but also in Buddhism.

Examples of Hindu interpretations:

  • Brahma's loka;
  • Brahman's loka (the state of identity with the Supreme);
  • the tripartite world, a description of which can be found, for example, in Vyasa's comments on "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali:

"26. Thanks to sanyama on the Sun, knowledge of the Universe [arises].

It includes seven worlds. Of these, the world of the Earth extends from Avicii to the top of [Mount] Meru. Starting from the top of Meru and up to the Polar Star [there is] a world of intermediate space with various planets, constellations and stars. Above him [stretches] the fivefold Heavenly world. [This world includes] the third world – Mahendra, the fourth – the world of Mahat Prajapati and the triple [world] of Brahma, namely: [fifth] – the world of Jana, [sixth] – the world of Tapas and [seventh] – the world of Satya. As stated in the summary stanza, "the world of Brahma [consists] of three stages, below it is the Great [world] Prajapati and [the world of] Mahendra. [Together they are] called Svar, [or the Heavenly World]." [1]

In "Chandogya Upanishad" it is said that there is no evil in brahmaloka and it is always glowed by light. She is a saint (puṇya) and can be conquered, earned by good deeds or ritual methods. It is found only by those who behave well and practice brahmacharya, who, by getting rid of sin, have made their soul perfect. According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, brahmaloka is a state of being out of form, changeable like waves, which will be achieved by one who has non-dual vision; this state is called blameless, free from evil and doubt, as well as existence as a true Brahman. The impression of a particular world is born from other texts, wh ere one can become great and revered: for example, in "Kaushitaki Upanishad" it is said that the gods, who are in brahmaloka, obtained all lokas by meditation on Atman.

The authors of "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana" affirm that brahmaloka, accessible to Rishis and Siddhas, in some cases even during life and in the body — is obtained due to severe asceticism and is inaccessible to those whose minds are not yet developed, i.e. for those who are unaware of their identity with the Supreme. In the Uttara-kanda of "Ramayana", it is also said that there is no thirst and hunger in brahmaloka. It is not thought of as part of the world of gods, but as a sphere beyond it.

Символическое изображение брахма-локи как самой верхней области мироздания – в голове Вишварупы, Вселенской формы Вишну.

"Mundaka Upanishad" drew a clear line between "lower knowledge" of the external world, the ceremonial side of religion, the ritualistic tradition and "higher knowledge" of Brahman. The importance of Vedic rituals was recognized unconditionally – their (correct) performance creates merit (sukṛtam), leads to heavenly world (sukṛtāṃ, or sukṛtasya lokaḥ) – however, it was emphasized that uncreated "world" of Brahman cannot be "made" in this way, it cannot be entered in this way. Brahman, which is beyond human conceptions, including all lokas with their inhabitants, is "achieved" only through the highest wisdom of sannyasi who has left everything, and this satisfies all his desires and gives him "access" to any "world". "Ascetics, who have understood the meaning of Vedanta and purified their nature dwell in Brahman’s lokas – are liberated, beyond death" (in other words, they realized themselves as Brahman).

Of course, not all authors of the texts shared the vision of "Mundaka Upanishad". Some continued to describe Brahmaloka, into which the soul of the one who has gained final liberation "goes", in an incredibly realistic way, as having trees, a river, a lake, a city, mountains, nymphs, etc., as well as a hall with a throne. The Knowledgeable Person who has come here is met by Brahma himself with five hundred apsaras, etc. As noted by the famous Dutch orientalist and indologist Jan Gonda: "As long as the state of liberation was thought of as loka, the struggle for dematerialization was almost hopeless".

Buddhist Brahmaloka is the highest of the heavenly worlds, the abode of creators–brahmas, consisting of 20 Heavens. Four of them belong to the worlds without forms (arūpa), the rest belong to the worlds of forms (rūpa), whose inhabitants have material bodies. The inhabitants of Brahmaloka are free from sensual desires, birth in it is a result of great virtue and meditation practice. Brahmas are not necessarily Sotapanna ("those who have entered the stream", i.e. those who have entered the Noble Eightfold Path), going to Enlightenment. Brahmaloka is not destroyed (at least not completely) at the end of Kalpa, and the first people who appear on Earth after Creation come to it from Abhassara-Brahmaloka ("the world of radiant Devas").

[1] Classic Yoga ("Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali and "Vyasa-bhashya"). Translated from Sanskrit, introduction, comment. and reconstruction of the system by E. P. Ostrovskaya and V. I. Rudogo. — M.: GRVL "Nauka", 1992.

The following materials were used in the writing of the article:

1. Jan Honda. Loka: World and Heaven in the Veda;

2. G. P. Malalasekera. Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. Vol I.