What Is The Actual Meaning Of Patala Loka In Hindu Myth
Like all cultures, Hindu mythology is rich in symbolism. The devas and asuras are also very colourful characters and can teach us a lot about our psychological and physical connection and how we can work with energy.
In essence, Hindu mythology reveals the True secrets of the Universe, Earth and mankind. But only when the symbolism is interpreted in relation to The Self.
When the symbolism of any culture is misinterpreted, the information becomes misleading and is no use to anybody. The explanations of the Hindu lokas are a prime example. Because of that, we find many people today living in the Patalas that the Vedas describe as the lower worlds.
The lowest of these realms is Patala loka, a state of consciousness whereby an individual is ruled by angry demons. Not actual demons, but the demons of the mind. These asuras conjure impure and hurtful thoughts and manifest unforgiving attitudes.
If you find yourself living in Patala loka, you are only one step away from living in “Hell”.
What are Lokas?
In Sanskrit, the world loka corresponds to the English word, “world” or “Underworld”. More precisely lokas represent your inner world.
Hindu mythology describes 14 worlds; the upper worlds inhabited by devas (gods), the earthly realm where humans reside and the lower worlds which is the home of the asuras (demons).
For some, these 14 worlds actually exist. The cosmology in Vedic texts have been interpreted to represent our solar system and beyond. Whilst it is true that modern astronomy confirms the ancients had a profound knowledge of the planets, the wise sages that created symbolism also used this knowledge to reflect consciousness.
The “Hari-vamsa”, a Vedic text of some distinction, gives us a symbolic view of the cosmos:
“Above the planetary systems where humans live is the sky. Above the sky is the orbiting sun, which is the entrance point of the heavenly planetary systems. This is the middle of the universe where begins the planets of those elevated by great austerities and penances. The planets above these, up to Satya-loka are the residences of those advanced in spiritual knowledge. All these planets are within the material world and under the control of Devi, and therefore called Devi-dharma.”
The reference to “planets” in the above text is often taken literally. Planets are actually a symbolic tool used to describe chakras, the energy centres of the body. A study of the chakras will determine that our personality, mood and well-being is governed by these energy centres.
As you will note, the Satya-loka, (upper worlds) are inhabited by “those advanced in spiritual knowledge.” In mythology, these are the gods of Mount Meru, Olympus and Asgaard etc.
You will also note the text refers to these realms being “within the material world and under the control of Devi, and therefore called Devi-Dharma.”
The material world is Earth. But Earth is only a material world to individuals that have emotional attachments to possessions and physical needs that gratify your emotions. “Devi” is a female goddess such as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti.
In essence, Devi is the female energy of the male god Deva. But depending on the level of consciousness you live in, these energies can change for purity and goodness to evil and demonic – in other words, bad deeds. Hence we find Shakti, the consort of Shiva (the destroyer), incarnating as the avatar Kali, the demon queen.
The symbolic meaning of Patala loka
Although modern science cannot provide an explanation for consciousness, they are aware that it comes from outside the body. Our subconscious appears to be wired to an electro-magnetic field to which we are all connected. Furthermore, our conscious status is either heightened or lowered in relation to how we think, feel and behave.
The concept of the lokas explain this flitting between conscious states which we explained in a previous article. In Hindu cosmology, the planetary system references both the spiritual world and the material world and the connection between the two.
The human mind can transcend the material realm and access information from the astral realm. When you raise your consciousness to the realm of Svar-loka, you are guided by your higher conscious mind and see the “Truth” in everything. In other words, you know exactly what to do in every situation.
In contrast, the material dimensions of the lower worlds leaves us confused, angry and frustrated. The reason why we experience these emotions is because we have attachments to what we think is right and fail to see the world from the point of view of others.
Individuals living in the lower realms, or patalas, are deluded and ignorant.
For the most part, living in the lower realms breeds fear-based emotions which misguide us. We become lost and life is a struggle. Although the residents of the patalas are described as bathing in “herbal elixirs” surrounded by jewels and living in opulence, these merely describe the beauty you feel in moments of self-gratification generated by outside influences.
The experiences individuals encounter in the patala loka, are malice, hatred and anger. These individuals show contempt towards others and are not happy with the world. In reality, they are unhappy within themselves.
Individuals living in the state of base consciousness are controlled by their emotions and only think of themselves. If they only learnt to act with goodwill and compassion, they would raise consciousness. And improve their life.
Beneath Patalaloka are the Naralokas, realms of the “hellish planets”. Here we experience even more suffering. It is in these realms where individuals hit rock bottom. The Naraloka are said to be a place for redemption whereby we come to a moment of realisation that we have to change our behaviours in order to turn life around.
When you understand the symbolism in Hindu myth relates to how we experience being human, the concepts make much more sense. The lokas are not only planets, but planets that explain which realm of consciousness you are living in. Use the lokas as a measure to determine where you are and where you want to be.