Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nether worlds ( Patala ) - a brief description

There are seven nether wordls as per the puranas under the earth one below the other. They are (1) Atala (2) Vitala (3) Sutala (4) Talatala (5) Rasatala (6) Mahatala and  (7) Patala. Maya the sculptor of asuras has built beautiful places and cities in these regions and they are occupied by daityas, danavas and nagas.They are also collectively called as Patala. The height of each division is ten thousand yojanas ( 1 yojana = approx. 13 km ). The ground here is white, black, red and yellow in color and is filled with rubbles, black granite and gold. These regions are supposed to be even more beautiful than svarga. The Sun shines through the day and Moon at night. There are no extreme temperatures, life is happy and contented and it is as if time does not exist there.

Under patala is Adisesha or Ananta, the tamasik form of Mahavishnu who bears the three worlds on his head. He has got thousand hoods. His consorts are Sridevi and Varunidevi. At pralaya the destructive form of Rudra called Sankarshna murthy is born out of Adisesha as fire and destroys the three worlds.

Atala - Bala the son of Maya lives here. He created ninety six forms of magic. Out of his yawning are produced adulteress women - Pumschalis, Svairinis and Kaminis.

Vitala - The river Hataki, the virile power of Mahadeva flows here. He presides over this region as Hatakeshwara.

Sutala- This is the region of Mahabali, the daitya king pushed down into the earth by Vamana to please Indra. As a penance, Vamana still guards the entrance to Sutala.

Talatala - The chief of this region is Maya the architect of the demons.

Mahatala - The snake children of Kadru live here. They are all fierce, multi hooded and short tempered. They have long lean bodies and big hoods. Takshaka, Kaliya and Kuhaka are some of them.

Rasatala - The Kalakeyas, enemies of devas have been confined to this region by Maha Vishnu after reducing their power.

Patala- This is the region of serpents. Vasuki, Sankha, Gulika, Sveta, Dhanajaya, Mahashikha, Dhritarashtra, Sankachuda, Kambala, Ashwadhara and Devadatta live here. They are long and have from five to hundred hoods. They are highly poisonous and ill tempered. The patala is illuminated by the light emanating from the gems on their hoods.