Mystical Mythology of the World

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Hindu mythology defines fourteen worlds, seven higher worlds (heavens) and seven lower ones (hells). The earth is considered the lowest of the seven higher worlds so it is pretty much in the middle.

All the worlds except the earth are used as temporary places of stay as follows: upon one's death on earth, Yama, the god of death tallies the person's good/bad deeds while on earth and decides if the soul goes to heaven and/or hell, for how long, and in what capacity. Some versions of the mythology state that good and bad deeds neutralize each other and the soul therefore spends time in either a heaven or a hell, but not both, whereas according to another school of thought, the good and bad deeds don't cancel out each other. In either case, the soul acquires a body as appropriate to the worlds it is entering.

At the end of the soul's time in those worlds, it returns to the earth (is reborn as a life form on the earth). It is considered that only from the earth, and only after a human life, can the soul reach supreme salvation Moksha, the state free from the cycle of birth and death and the place beyond the fourteen worlds where the eternal god lives.

Hindu Demon - Vatela





Swarga is the third among the seven higher worlds. In common usage, Swarga is used to refer to the 'higher worlds' or heavens in general.

The higher worlds (except the earth) are populated with a variety of beings called Suras, consisting of several sub-divisions: Deva, Dhanava, Gandharva, Yaksha, Kinnara, and so on. In general, beings of a higher heavenly world can freely visit a lower one.

All the posts (kings, etc.) in the heavenly worlds are awarded based on the good deeds one performs while on earth.

The term Naraka indicates the various lower worlds. The lower worlds are filled with Asuras and many other types of demons and giants.

Suras and Asuras can inspire or bring down aspirants, helping or hindering people's spiritual journey.

Asura ASURAS (DEMONS / GIANTS): Asura, meaning lifeless; in other words, not in tune with the infinite.
Angel SURAS (DEVTA / ANGELS): The Hindus call the angels Suras; Sura also means breath and breath means life. Suras, therefore, mean pure lives, lives that live long.

Most of the gods we know can be sorted into gods, demi gods, lesser gods, asuras, devas, rishis and the super gods. Buddha and Mahavira are more of saints than proclaimed gods.

The hierarchy starts with us humans being, the lesser mortals at the bottom, higher up are the lesser gods who are the gandharvas, kinnaras, vidhyadharas and apsaras. Their lords are the yakshis and yakshas - fertility goddesses and nature gods. Shalabhanjikas are fertility goddesses often depicted against trees with one leg bent up and one hand holding a branch. They are believed to be virgins who were capable of making a tree bear flower.

Nagas have a similar standing on this plain. Snakes are associated with water, the underground, and fertility. They were adopted into Hinduism as emblems of Shiva (perhaps reflecting Shiva's own origins from earlier nature cult), and were adopted into Buddhism as protectors of Buddha.

Above them are the rishis, devas, and demi gods etc who would be weather gods and their sons. Ganesha, the proclaimed son of Lord Shiva is the lord of the Ganas . Finally we have the super gods like Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and to a certain extent the Mother Goddess.

All gods have vehicles or vahanas and various hybrid creatures like griffins scattered through out the pantheon.

Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality..

The Upanishads


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