The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Bhuvah

BY: SUN STAFF - 6.8 2019


A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 34.

Following Bhuh (the Earth planet) and Bhuh-mandala (the middle planetary system in the universe), next on the Jaiva Dharma 'Glossary of Places' is Bhuvah:

Bhuvah - (Bhuvar-loka) the second of seven divisions of planets:

Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svarga, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and Satyaloka. This planet is situated between the earth and the sun planet. It is attained by siddhas and munis.

As with the case of Bhuh-mandala, we find no mention of Bhuvah or Bhuvar-loka in the body of Jaiva Dharma. However, in the segment on Bhuh we mentioned several references to Bhuvah/Bhuvar-loka in sastra. One of three planetary systems, "These three worlds are known as Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah (Patala, Martya and Svarga)." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.28)

The glories of Bhuvah are evident in numerous sastric references. The Gopala-tapani Upanishad mentions it in this pronouncement:

krishnaya devaki-nandanaya om tat sat.
bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai namo namah.

"Om Tat Sat. Bhur Bhuvah Svah. Obeisances to Lord Krishna, the son of Devaki."

One of Lord Visnu's Names is Bhuvah, being an element of the 967th Name listed in Visnu sahasra-nama from the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata:

bhoor-bhuvah svas-taruh: The tree of bhur, bhuvah and svah

Likewise, Bhuvah is mentioned in the Sri Balabhadra-sahasra-nama of the Garga Samhita

Text 72
amsamsas ca naraveso
'vataro bhupari-sthitah
mahar janas tapah satyam
bhur bhuvah svar iti tridha

"He expands in many incarnations (amsamsa). He appears as a sakty-avesa incarnation (naravesa). He descends to the material world (avatara and bhupari-sthita). He is Maharloka (mahah), Janaloka (jana), Tapoloka (tapah), and Satyaloka (satyam). He is the three planetary systems: Bhuloka (bhu), Bhuvarloka (bhuvah), Svarloka (svah)."

Bhuvah is also glorified in the Yamunashtakam of Srila Rupa Goswami:

Text 8
kIrtitApi durmadoru-pApa-marma-tApinI
mAM punAtu sarvadAravinda-bandhu-nandinI

"May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who is the famous splendid spiritual river flowing through the Bhuh Bhuvah and Svah planets, who burns away the greatest sins, and who is fragrant with scented ointments from Lord Krishna's transcendental body, always purify me."

And as the Yamuna flows through Bhuvah, so the holy waters sanctified by Srimati Radharani also flow to Bhuvar:

"With water from a beautiful cup again and again She [Radha] washed her mouth, hands, and feet, and then threw the water to the ground, water that purifies the celestial worlds beginning with Bhuvar and Svar."

(Sri Sankalpa-Kalpadruma by Srila Jiva Goswami, Chapter 2, Nitya Lila - Eternal Pastimes, Text 43)

The origination of Bhuvah is described by Srila Vedyavyasa in the Vamana Purana:

"During the period of final annihilation, when the whole earth was submerged in water, Lord Brahma manifested inside an egg. He slept there for thousands of Yugas. When he woke up from his sleep, he found the world devoid of any inhabitants. Being under the influence of Rajo Guna, he planned to commence his creation. At the same time, Lord Vishnu awakened from His sleep and broke that egg after seeing that the whole world had merged inside him. Subsequently, Lord Brahma began his creation starting from the word- 'OMKAR'. After that, the terms bhur, bhuvah and swah respectively came into existence."

Likewise in Chapter 14 of Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada narrates the pastime when Lord Brahma admitted to Sri Krsna that he is puffed up, due to his powerful position:

"Lord Brahma then admitted that his birth was from the lotus flower which blossomed from the navel of Narayana after the dissolution of the three worlds, or three planetary systems, known as Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka and Svarloka. The universe is divided into three divisions, namely Svarga, Martya and Patala. These three planetary systems are merged into water at the time of dissolution. At that time Narayana, the plenary portion of Krsna, lies down on the water and gradually a lotus stem grows from His navel, and from that lotus flower, Brahma is born. It is naturally concluded that the mother of Brahma is Narayana. Because the Lord is the resting place of all the living entities after the dissolution of the universe, He is called Narayana. The word nara means the aggregate total of all living entities, and ayana means the resting place."

It is explained in the Sri Harinama Cintamani of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur that Bhuvar comes from the maya-tattva:

"The seven higher planetary systems Bhur, Bhuvar, Svarga, Mahar, Jana, Tapa, and Satya or Brahma and the seven lower planetary systems such as Atala, Sutala and so on are all manifestations of maya (the illusory potency). Cid-vaibhava is the complete whole, and mayais its shadow."

(Sri Harinama Cintamani, Chapter One)

And the progression of creation that resulted in the manifestation of Bhuvar is given by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana in his Sri Vedanta-syamantaka

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead divided the five material elements each into two parts. Then each of those parts He divided again. Then He looked at how He had divided the five elements."

Then the fourteen planetary systems were manifested from the five material elements. The seven upper planets, namely Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janas, Tapas and Satya were manifested. The seven lower planets, namely Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasatala, Talatala, Mahatala, and Patala were also manifested. From them the four types of material bodies of the living entities, bodies born from wombs, from eggs, from perspiration and from seeds, were manifested. Human beings, cows, and other like creatures are born from wombs. Birds, snakes, and other like creatures are born from eggs. Lice, mosquitoes, and other like creatures are born from perspiration. Trees, bushes, and other plants are born from seeds.

In this I have given a general description. It is not possible here to give many details. Then the sun was placed in the sky and made to rise in the east. Then the directions of outer space were created."

(Sri Vedanta-syamantaka, Caturthah Kiranah - Fourth Ray of Light, 'Prakrtitva-nirupanah - Matter', text 12-14)


(Bhuvah, to be continued…)