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Hinduism talks about paths a a departed soul would take

  1. Devayana- Path for liberated souls
  2. Pitrayana- Path of Ancestors , taken by not so sinful souls
  3. Adhoyana - Path of sinners , directly to hell.

I was bit confused on , what exactly liberated here meant. After some study I found interesting quote in Autobiography of yogi.

Here swami yogananda talks about hiranyaloka(Upper astral/mental plane) and who can go there . He says that

"The physical karma or desires of man must be completely worked out before his permanent stay in astral worlds becomes possible"

Does it mean souls who take devayana , are liberated from physical karma ?

This book , makes another interesting claim. It says

souls who took devayana , don't compulsorily return during a kalpa.

I know that devas/gods or higher being live up to a kalpa. Perhaps they became gods , after taking devayana?

My speculation is souls who takes devayana , has opportunity to get progressive salvation(krama mukti) . Like suppose if someone reaches maharloka , with meditation/tapas he can reacher higher and higher lokas and finally to brahma loka. Finally when brahma dies , he can merge with brahman.

But coming back on earth would definitely hasten process. Thats why out of their own choice , some souls in higher worlds come back on earth, as saints.

Whoever takes chandrayana (Pitrayana) has to come back on earth as they don't have much choice.

I am trying find quotes from scriptures to back up my claims . But I am unable to find any .

Can someone comment on my understanding?

  • Any responses to above my post? – tekkk Mar 30 '17 at 3:46
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My SatGuru (Yogiraj Gurunath) says that when a person dies, the soul goes through a reincarnation cycle of Bhur (Earth) -> Bhuvar (Astral) -> Swaha (swarg/first-heaven) -> Bhuvar -> Bhur.

This is for the average soul. The yogis (anybody practising any form of spirituality and heading towards realizing God) soul goes through a much larger cycle of Bhur -> Bhuvar -> Swaha -> Maha -> Jana -> Tapa -> Satyam ->...(and then downward cycle).

Hiranyaloka, a higher astral realm is somewhere beyond Swaha, but lower than the higher causal realms of Tapa, Satyam etc.

The reincarnation cycle (either small or long) will happen as long as the soul has any karma left from the collective karmas of all their past lives. When a person finishes all their past Karma and this life's Karma, then they are completely free from this cycle and are not constrained in any way in merging completely with God.

This video explains the above in great detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWXgorb7Ia8

Also, in this excerpt from The Autobiography of a Yogi, Sri Yukteshwar gives the same answer as Gurunath using slightly different terminology.

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According to the Yogavasistha-Ramayana,

The householders who perform good deeds go to dhumAvimAni devatas, then to rAtri devatAs, then to Krishnapaksha devatAs, then to DakshinAyana devatAs, then to Pitriloka devatAs and ultimately reach chandra-loka and stay happily their so long as their bundle of virtues is not exhausted.After that, they again return to the earth via Akasha, Vayu, dhumra and megha.As rain they reach the earth and enter into various corns and when eaten by jivas, they enter into jivas to be born again. (Pranava-prema-piyusha, page 317.

The Deva-yAna as per Gita and Chandogya-Upanishad is as follows:

tejo-devata> divasa-devata>sukla-paksha-devata>uttarayana-devata> samvatsara-devata>suryaloka-devata> chandraloka-devata> vidyut-devata>Brahmaloka. (Ibid.page 317)

According to Sri Ramanuja,

the liberated souls after reaching the vidyut-devata, reach varuna-loka, Indra-loka, Satya-loka and then leaving the sukshma-body, cross the Viraja river and reach Vaikuntha (Ibid.page 322).

According to Sri Ramananda,

From vidyut-devata-loka, they cross the Viraja river and reach Ayodhya or Parama-Pada.

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