Thursday, July 24, 2014

A journey to the Indraloka

Before we begin this journey, we may find a question within us asking - Is there such a place as Indraloka?

In the Autobiography of a Yogi, the exalted Master Sri Yukteswarji reveals the various creations as existing in the physical, subtle and causal worlds. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda while mentioning the various lokas that exist, in His book ‘God talks with Arjuna’, also stated that soon in the coming higher age, humans will become aware of other creations and even other planets in the physical creation and there will be interplanetary travel. 

Similarly Sri Sathya Sai Baba has mentioned in personal conversation to a devotee that there are various beings and creations beyond what science understands currently, though human life is unique to this creation and to be found only on Earth.

Someone once asked Sri Ramana Maharishi : People talk of Vaikuntha, Kailasa, Indraloka, Chandraloka (the Hindu heavens). Do they really exist?
Sri Ramana Maharshi replied: "Certainly. You can rest assured that they all exist."
Swami Muktananda
Sadguru Nithyananda

The following account took place in Swami Muktananda's younger days in India when he was pursuing his spiritual quest in isolation. Swami Muktananda is an disciple of the exalted Master, the Avadhoota Nithyananda of Ganeshpuri.

"One day in meditation I visited a great City. I was plunged in its waters of love. I passed through the darkness and reached Indraloka, where I saw, in the distance, a chariot coming toward me. 

The chariot was made in a unique way, a way that human ingenuity could not reproduce. It was studded with precious stones, made, not of matter, but of Consciousness. Instead of wheels, it had four small pillars beneath it. It shone all over with rays of divine light, as if illuminated by thousands of suns, and it moved without touching the ground. When I saw it, I was swept away in ecstasy. The chariot approached me and stopped, and a God in human form stepped out. He was dressed in white silk, and wore jeweled sandals on his feet and a girdle around his waist not like the leather belt that modern men wear, but a belt set with countless jewels. He wore a necklace of pearls, a small jeweled crown on his head, and over his shoulder the sacred thread. His celestial radiance brightened my face and the surrounding mango trees. Luminous rings hung from his ears, and he held a shining weapon in his hand. The deva looked at me and smiled, then spoke in Sanskrit, the language of the Gods: "rathe upavisa"  (Sit in the chariot.)

I didn't know Sanskrit very well, but somehow I understood him. I immediately got in and sat down. Here another surprise awaited me; from the outside, the chariot looked about ten feet square, but once inside I saw that it was very big and furnished with everything one would need. There was water, a small washroom and several bedrooms. The cushions were strangely beautiful. They were set with divine jewels, whose radiance spread light everywhere. There was one seat there which attracted me very much and yet bewildered me. After he had shown me around, the deva took me to an outer room. At one point I felt the chariot setting off at the speed of lightning. I sat down on one seat from which two jewels were throwing light on my body. 

We arrived at a wonderful, extraordinary city, where there were trees bearing blossoms of many colours and divine fragrances, trees laden with many kind of sweet and juicy fruits, beautiful rippling streams, singing birds, and different kinds of animals. On one side I saw enchanting swans of blue, white, yellow, black colors, while on the other, herds of radiant golden deer leaped and bounded fearlessly. Some of them sparkled like diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. I could also see herds of splendid cows and calves. The wind was laden with subtle divine fragrances. I was in ecstasy at what I saw.

After a time the chariot came to the edge of the city and passed inside it. Everything there was made in a supernatural way, the bricks, the stones and also the earth. Even the drains were small and beautiful. Truly, this was heaven. The light there was different from that of the sun. The city was illuminated by a silver light. It was cool; there was no heat. All leaves on trees were green and they did not fade or wither away.

I remind you all that I saw all these scenes in Indraloka while my body was sitting in meditation in my hut in Nagad. 

Finally we landed near a palace. The paths in front of it were strewn with flowers. Men stood on one side of the path holding garlands and on the other side stood women holding gold salvers adorned for arati. As we both got down from the chariot, they showered me with flowers.

I now understood that the deva with me was none other than the King of heaven and Lord of a hundred sacrifices, Indra himself. He had risen to his present eminence because of the good deeds he had done as a king in a previous life as a human being. Indra is really a king of all worlds. 

We were both worshipped with arati. All the people of the city were young, healthy and free from sadness. Although their bodies were slim, they were strong, and they all glowed with a remarkable radiance. I had been in Indra’s own dwelling place, but now, accompanied by him, I went to see other places and was welcomed in each by arati. After I had seen everything, we returned to the palace, where a company of celestial musicians (Gandharvas) awaited us.

Indraloka is the world of the virtuous, where sensuous desires are fulfilled, and because it grants enjoyment, it may also be called Sakamaloka, the world of the satisfaction of desires. As I looked around, a necklace of pearls and other of flowers were placed over my head. 

At that moment a flying silver chariot appeared before us. I understood it as a signal for our departure, and Indra and I got in and sat down on our seats. In a short time I was back in my physical awareness and my meditation stopped. When I opened my eyes I could see our world, when I closed them I could still see the other world. I wandered around a bit near my dwelling before the trance came to an end.

Having had this experience I understood the description in our scriptures and my faith in them further strengthened. Before, I had believed that the only truth was Self – Realisation and had not believed in heaven or hell, the world of Gods and such things. Our ancient Rishis could see through realms that we cannot see, and thus they had composed our scriptures based on direct perception of the realms beyond. That is why their words are true.”

The purpose of sharing the above is to help one understand that there is life of intelligence and variety beyond the confines of life on Earth. Man seems to exist isolated in his own individual space pursuing his own selfish desires and ends. The concept of the other lokas or celestial spheres is to help one break through the shackles of the life we know and live in.

On the other hand, one need not get carried away by the mention of such facts. In a movie one may see heaven, earth and hell, but at the end of the day it is still a movie. 

Sri Ramana Maharishi further explained "In the higher regions also a swami like me will be found seated on a couch and disciples will also be seated around him. They will ask something and he will say something in reply. Everything will be more or less like this. What of that? If one sees Chandraloka, one will ask for Indraloka, and after Indraloka, Vaikuntha and after Vaikuntha, Kailasa and so on, and the mind goes on wandering."

And so, in the bigger scheme of things we must learn that even all of these creations put together are but a grand part of the cosmic illusion, whose sole purpose is to help man evolve to the state of his highest Self.


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