The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Janaloka

BY: SUN STAFF - 10.10 2019

Janaloka in the Planetary Systems

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 68.

The next holy place listed on Jaiva Dharma's 'Glossary of Places' is Janaloka:

"Janaloka - a planet situated above Maharloka. It is obtained by the naisthika brahmacaris, those who accept a life-long vow of celibacy (unlike the upakurvana brahmacaris who enter the grhastha-asrama after completing their studies). At the time of the partial devastation of the universe, occurring at the end of Brahma's day, the three worlds, Bhu, Bhuva, and Svarga, are consumed by flames.

Although Maharloka, the planet immediately above Svarga, is not destroyed, the residents of Maharloka are afflicted by the heat which is raging below, and thus they go to Janaloka. The residents of Janaloka are not troubled by the flames which destroy the lower planets at the time of partial annihilation, yet they do experience unease when witnessing the devastation that takes place on the planets beneath them."

As noted in earlier segments, we find numerous differences between available translations of Jaiva Dharma, and this is also the case with mention of Janaloka. One translation does not mention it at all, while the other does:

Chapter 12 - Nitya-dharma O Sadhana (Eternal Religion and Devotional Service in Practice):

"Above Indraloka in succession are the planets of Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and finally Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the material universe. The sastras give fewer descriptions of Maharloka and Janaloka than of the celestial pleasures in Indraloka, and fewer descriptions still of Tapoloka and Brahmaloka. In contrast, the sensual pleasure of this earth planet, Bhurloka, is extremely gross. The rule is that the higher the planetary system, the more subtle are the senses and their objects. This is the only difference between these realms; otherwise, the happiness available on all these planets is merely the pleasure of the senses, and there is no happiness other than this. Spiritual happiness (cit-sukha) is absent on all these planets, for the happiness found in such places is related to the subtle body – which consists of the mind, intelligence and ego – and is merely a semblance of pure consciousness. The enjoyment of all these types of pleasure is called bhukti, and the sadhana for the jivas trapped in the cycle of karma consists of the activities they adopt to fulfill their aspirations for bhukti."

In the article, "Ascendance to the Personal World of Krsna", Srila Prabhupada gives a detailed description of the types of worship that will result in one going to Janaloka and similar planets:

yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

Some people argue that you can worship the Supreme in whatever form you please and still achieve perfection. This is the mayavada theory: God is actually impersonal, but because we cannot worship or meditate upon something impersonal, let us imagine some form of God and meditate upon that. The impersonalistic yogis have a similar idea: they put a circular design in front of themselves and concentrate upon that.

So here Krsna refutes that theory. The impersonal conception of the Supreme, imagining some form of God these are not the ways of approaching God. He says clearly, "Those who are worshiping the demigods will go to the demigods." The demigods have their various places in this material world. There are seven higher planetary systems and seven lower planetary systems. We are living on earth, in the planetary system called Bhurloka, and there are many planets in this system. And above Bhurloka are Bhuvarloka, Svarga-loka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, Brahmaloka there are so many planets, with various kinds of living entities and various kinds of comforts. On some of these planets there are very highly intelligent beings, much more intelligent than human beings, who are called demigods ("those who are almost God").

So here Krsna says that those who are worshiping the demigods will go to the planets of the demigods."

("Ascendance to the Personal World of Krsna" by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Back to Godhead Vol. 16, No. 12)

"Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods, those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings, and those who worship Me will live with Me." (Bhagavad-gita 9.25)


(Janaloka, to be continued…)