Heaven and hell are not just mental, emotional, or spiritual states; they exist on the physical as well. Most
religions describe heaven as being above ground and hell below ground and that's basically true, but there can
be a little of each in both.
The physical realms of heaven and hell are clearly and elaborately described in the Hindu or Vedic scriptures.
It describes seven heavens and seven hells, the heavens including our own plane and upwards, and the hells underground,
below our plane. These are actual planes or regions inhabited by actual beings. The diagram below elucidates this.
The physical realms of heaven and hell are clearly and elaborately described in the Hindu or Vedic scriptures. It describes seven heavens and seven hells, the heavens including our own plane and upwards, and the hells underground, below our plane. These are actual planes or regions inhabited by actual beings. The diagram below elucidates this.
The first or lowest heaven is our Bhu-loka plane also known as Bhu-mandala. Here is where we are, more specifically, in
the southernmost section (Bharata) of the central isle of Jambudvipa. Jambudvipa is a huge landmass measuring some 800,000
miles in diameter with mount Meru at its center. It's divided into nine sections, the southernmost or Bharata, which contains
our island Earth. Around Jambudvipa are seven successive ocean/land rings extending 2 billion miles radially, after which there
are the much vaster non-physical zones.
Bharata is 720,000 miles long at it's mountainous north and gets narrower to the south. Once a solid landmass attached to the mainland, Bharata is now a flooded and frozen region containing nine island Earths, each approximnately 8000 miles in diameter. Our Earth island to the east is called Kumari(also known by other names). Bharata was flooded 5125 years ago after Krishna ascended to Heaven. This flooding event is known as Noah's Flood in the bible and began the Kali Yuga dated at 3102 BC.
The Kali Yuga or Iron Age is 432,000 years long and we are just at the beginning of it. It is a time of lowest lifespans and health and intelligence and spirituality. There are of course ups and downs within this period and we are soon prophesied to enter a mini Golden Age after which things will get really bad. The average age for this period is about 100 years and the average height is five feet three inches, but in its later stages we will go down to two and one half feet and maybe 30 years(or less) lifespans. In the Yuga or Bronze Age (before 3102 BC), the average life span was 1000 years and the height was eleven feet and two inches, diminishing progressively during its latter half.
This devolution of life only occurs in Bharata, and it is here where most of the demons or fallen ones are confined to along with regular humans. The other eight sections of Jambudvipa, and perhaps all the other land rings around it, live much longer and better lives. The central sector in particular, just at and surrounding the base of Mount Meru(llvrta), is especially paradisical. After we die in Bharata, depending on our deeds and purity, we may be reborn to one of the better sectors of Jambudvipa, or go down to the hellish realms
Then there are the up and down or vertical regions of Brahmanda(our cosmic egg universe named after its creator Brahma). Meru is the spinal column for these regions which can be likened to the chakras of our bodies. There are six other heavens above Bhu-loka/Bhu-mandala, and seven hells or underworlds beneath it. True Earth is in fact our entire Bhu-mandala plane of some 4 billion miles across. It's also some 4 billion miles from the highest heaven to the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Our Brahmanda Universe is but one of countless others being endlessly created.
It would be nice to have more detailed information on each of the 14 lokas or planetary realms, but this information is very scant and often repetitive. Also, each of the lokas is separated by a distance of many thousands of yojanas(one yojana equals roughly 8 miles).
The seven heavens are where we all aspire to be. Above these are even higher heavens where Krishna and Vishnu live, as well as the neighbouring Vaikuntha planets. Some of us visit the heaven realms in our dream or astral states, especially the three lowest ones (Bhu-loka, Bhuvar-loka, and Svar-loka). The beings of these heaven realms ever inspire us to higher states, while the hell beings drag us down. It's an eternal tug of war.
7.Brahma-loka or Sataya-loka is the highest heaven for our universe. This is the home of Brahma our creator, and his family and attendants. While Brahma is not immortal, he can live trillions of years, and so can those around him. The people or citizens of Satya-loka live unnarturally long, healthy, and happy lives, with no worries. Brahma is said to be associated with the sign of Aries which is the sign of life and energy.
Before we continue, a note on the lokas; the finer and lighter elements of fire and air constitute or dominate the upper heavens or lokas, while the
denser or heavier elements of earth and water constitute or dominate the lower hells or lokas. It is difficult to assign the 12 zodiacal signs/planets
to the 14 lokas but have done my best according to my knowledge. Aries representing life is at the top and Scorpio representing death is at the bottom.
Our surface plane is Libra where we DECIDE our fate through our actions(cardinality). Right below it is Atala or the night side of Libra, which is Taurus,
the plane of sensuality and wealth, also known as Etidorpha(aphrodite spelled backwards) in the book of the same name.
6.Tapa-loka is the 2nd highest heaven where the four sons of Brahma and his devotees(also known as the Tapas) live. They are immortal and knowledgeable and have direct access to Brahma or Satya loka.
This completes the seven heavens, and below them are the seven hells or underworlds which get progressively worse the deeper you go.
Each of the underworlds is said to be separated by a vertical distance of 80,000 miles, and are just as wide or large. although I believe they stretch out further. While there can be humans here, most are demons(fallen spirits) in human or semi-human bodies. From Talatala downwards most appear as serpentine or reptillian. Not all of them are bad, but many see humans as a source of food, labor, or entertainment.
1.Atala, as described before is the sensual realm of erotic imagination and good food, money, and materialism in general. The women there are divided into three castes, the first which interacts with it's own kind, the second which selects and tempts surface guests with an intoxicating drink, and the third which will seduce any man. Many of us go to Atala in our dream or astral state. The ruler of Atala is called Bala who is the son of Maya, the demon-architect ruler of Talatala.