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While reading Mukhya Upanishads, I found there are many verses that say who does Upasana upon Brahman or Om, is led up or reach/attain to Brahmaloka.

Example: (Verses from Sanskritdocuments and English translations from sacred-texts):

Prashnopanishad 5.5:

यः पुनरेतं त्रिमात्रेणोमित्येतेनैवाक्षरेण परं पुरुषमभि- ध्यायीत स तेजसि सूर्ये सम्पन्नः । यथा पादोदरस्त्वचा विनिर्भुच्यत एवं ह वै स पाप्मना विनिर्भुक्तः स सामभिरुन्नीयते ब्रह्मलोकं स एतस्माज्जीवघनात् परात्परं पुरुशयं पुरुषमीक्षते । तदेतौ श्लोकौ भवतः ॥

Again, he who meditates with this syllable AUM of three Mâtrâs, on the Highest Person, he comes to light and to the sun. And as a snake is freed from its skin, so is he freed from evil. He is led up by the Sâman-verses to the Brahma-world; and from him, full of life (Hiranyagarbha, the lord of the Satya-Loka ), he learns to see the all-pervading, the Highest Person. And there are these two Slokas.

Mundakopanishad 3.2.6:

वेदान्तविज्ञानसुनिश्चितार्थाः संन्यासयोगाद् यतयः शुद्धसत्त्वाः । ते ब्रह्मलोकेषु परान्तकाले परामृताः परिमुच्यन्ति सर्वे ॥

Having well ascertained the object of the knowledge of the Vedânta, and having purified their nature by the Yoga of renunciation, all anchorites, enjoying the highest immortality, become free at the time of the great end (death) in the worlds of Brahmâ.

You can also refer Kathopanishad 1.2.17, 1.3.16 etc.

Now going to the point

Read the following verses.

Kathopanishad 2.3.4:

इह चेदशकद्बोद्धुं प्राक्षरीरस्य विस्रसः । ततः सर्गेषु लोकेषु शरीरत्वाय कल्पते ॥

  1. 'If a man could not understand it before the falling asunder of his body, then he has to take body again in the worlds of creation.'

Verse 2.3.5:

यथादर्शे तथात्मनि यथा स्वप्ने तथा पितृलोके । यथाप्सु परीव ददृशे तथा गन्धर्वलोके छायातपयोरिव ब्रह्मलोके

  1. 'As in a mirror, so (Brahman may be seen clearly) here in this 'body; as in a dream, in the world of the Fathers; as in the water, he is seen about in the world of the Gandharvas; as in light and shade, in the world of Brahmâ.'

Adi Shankaracharya's commentaries on above verses say that:

  • It is essential to know and realize Brahman in this Loka because Brahman can't only be realized correctly/clearly in other Lokas except for Brahmaloka. And it is very hard to attain Brahmaloka.
  • In other Lokas, the knowledge and realization of Brahman are unclear and only in Brahmaloka it is clearly realized like light and shadow.

After knowing this now, I am curious to know the Brahmaloka because all the other Lokas are tied to the cycle of birth and death, in other words, they are temporary (returning) and not permanent (non-returning). In case of current/this Loka, it is also under the influence of Maya but one can know and realize Brahman clearly in this Loka with the help of clear intellect. BUT Brahmaloka is the only one which is non-returning i.e once one attain it, he realizes Brahman clearly and ultimately attain Brahman.

So, I want to know:

  • What is Brahmaloka?
  • How does one realize Brahman in Brahmaloka like light and shadow (as discussed above)?
  • Is there any scripture that describes the life at Brahmaloka?

Btw, I also want to discuss on kirtan/hymn by Narsinh Mehta which is ભૂતલ ભક્તિ પદારથ મોટું બ્રહ્મલોકમાં નાહીં રે in which the title line says that Devotion is the big/important thing in this Loka which is not present in Brahma Loka i.e Brahmaloka has no devotion. Another interesting line is હરિના જન તો મુક્તિ ન માગે, માગે જનમોજનમ અવતાર રે which means people of Hari don't want Mukti, instead, they ask/want birth-rebirth descent/incarnation for devotion.

  • I don't know why Adi Shankaracharya said it' is hard to attain Brahmaloka. Kanya Danam will take you directly to Brahmaloka as per Puranas. So, in Andhra if anyone (those who have knowledge of scriptures) doesn't have a daughter, they adopt their nieces (from father's side) and perform the act of Kanya Daanam. I think Puranas describe Brahmaloka. – The Destroyer May 30 '16 at 6:19
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    @TheDestroyer Where do the Puranas discuss Kanya Danam leading to Moksha? – Keshav Srinivasan May 30 '16 at 8:08
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Not moksha but to abode of Brahma, the creator. I think Matysa Purana. I don't remember and will see and tell you. – The Destroyer May 30 '16 at 8:23
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    @pandya: One, theses texts are poetic in nature and essentially glorify things, which is natural. Two, Shankara also says you can realize Brahmana in this Loka (on Earth). – Amit Saxena May 30 '16 at 11:10
  • Sometimes Brahmaloka may mean higher abode instead of the abode of Brahma...For example, as per Valmiki Ramayana 1.1.97, Rama returns to Brahmaloka after completing his work on Mratyuloka but here Brahmaloka can be translated as Vaikuntha or any other abode of Vishnu...so first thing is to decide for which Brahmaloka you want the description 'abode of Brahma' or any other higher loka based on context??? – YDS Jan 21 '18 at 11:06
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Brahma Loka is nicely described in 1st Adhyaya of Kaushitaki Brahmana Upanishad:

Quoting English translation from Vedanta Spritual Library:

I-3. 'Having entered upon this Path of the gods, he comes to the world of Fore, (then) the world of Air, (then) the world of Varuna, (then) the world of Aditya, (then) the world of Indra; (then) the world of Prajapati, (then) the world of Brahma. This world of Brahma has a lake of Ara, the moments of Yeshtihas the river Vijara, the three Ilya, the city Salajja, the abode Aparajita, the door-keepers Indra and Prajapati, the hall Vibhu, the throne Vichakshana, the couch Amitaujas, the beloved Manasi and her counterpart Chaksusi, who taking flowers verily weave the worlds, the mothers, the nurses, the nymphs and the rivers. To it comes he who knows this. To him Brahma (says), 'Run ye. With my glory verily he has reached the river Viraja, the ageless. He verily will not grow old.

I-4. 'To him go five hundred Apsarases, hundred carrying garlands, hundred carrying ointments, hundred carrying aromatics, hundred with vestments, hundred with fruits. They adorn him with the ornaments of Brahma. Adorned with Brahma's ornaments, a knower of Brahma goes unto Brahma. He comes to the lake Ara: he crosses it with his mind. On coming to it, those who know (only) the immediate (present) sink. He comes to the moments Yestihas these run away from him. He comes to the river Viraja. He crosses it with his mind alone. There he shakes off his good and evil deeds. His dear relations succeed to the good deeds, those not dear to the evil deeds. Then just as one driving a chariot looks at the wheel of the chariot, so he looks upon day and night; so upon good deeds and evil deeds and upon of pairs of opposites. Thus he, the knower of Brahman, devoid of good deeds, devoid of evil deeds, goes on to Brahman.

I-5. He comes to the tree Ilya and the fragrance of Brahma enters into him. He comes to the city Salajja; the flavour of Brahma enters into him. He comes to the abode Aparajita; the might of Brahma enters him. He comes to the door-keepers Indra and Prajapati; they run away from him. He comes to the hall Vibhu; the glory of Brahma enters into him. He comes to the throne Vichaksana; the Brihad and the Rathantara samans are its two fore-feet; the 'Syaita and Naudhasa, the two hind-feet; the Vairupa and the Vaichaja the two lengthwise pieces; the Sakvara and Raivata the two cross ones. It is Intelligence; for by intelligence one discerns.

He comes to the couch Amitaujas (of unmeasured splendour); this is the vital breath. The past and the future are its two fore feet; prosperity and earth are the two hind-feet; the Bhadra and the Yajnayajniya (Samans) the two head-pieces. The Brihad and the Rathantara are the two lengthwise pieces. The verses and the chants and the cords are stretched lengthwise. The sacrificial formulas are the cross ones. Some stems are the spread; the Udgitha the bolster; prosperity the pillow. On it Brahma sits. He who knows thus ascends it with one foot only at first. Brahma asks him: Who are you? To him he should answer: I am a season, of the seasons. From space as a womb I am produced as the semen for a wife, as the brilliance of the year, as the self of every single being. What you are that am I'. To him he says, 'Who am I'.

You can read Kaushitaki Upanishad in devanagari/Sanskrit from Sanskrit Documents and in Hindi from here or from Wikipedia

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There are 4 Vedic mahabakyas (Vedic dictum - like "Aham brahmasmi", tatwamasi (you are that etc.)). All these expressions indicate the same thing, which can be expressed by this simple equation: Atman = Brahman. This is the essence of the entire Veda. The real core of Jivas is consciousness (chid). So when an individual realizes his true identity that he is nothing but Brahman (which is also consciousness - one of the three attributes of Brahman - sad, chid and anandam, (truth, consciousness and bliss)) that state of existence is Brahmaloka. It is not a physical space because Brahman transcends both time and space. Because time and space are the properties of consciousness (See Kant).

The meaning of entire hymn is the following. If someone sees a reflection in the mirror, he can see it clearly, if the mirror is clean. Similarly in the physical plane, if our mind is calm and pure we can realize the Brahman. But after leaving this body, we can't realize him. He can be seen as a remembrance of dream (in pitriloka, where from we have to return again). Even in Gandharva Loka, we can see him (realise him) as a reflection in trembling waters. In brahmaloka (when he is known) we will never be separated from him. He can be seen clearly as we can see shade and light clearly. So basically it tries to say that this world or our physical plane is the place where we should strive to know him.

ref: The Principal Upanishads by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Publisher: HarperCollins.

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