In bhuloka, it is possible to achieve mukthi by doing several Sadhana. When we go to naraka or swarga, our sukshma Sarira(subtle body) will be there only sthoola Sarira(Gross body) is dropped during death. Japam, meditation all are done using manas which is part of sukshma Sarira. So, are we able to perform Sadhana like remembering bhagawan's nama and attain Mukthi in that loka also?
As I discussed in this answer, according to Vedanta, the only way to attain Moksha is to realize Brahman.
वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्त- मादित्यवर्णं तमसः परस्तात् ।
तमेव विदित्वातिमृत्युमेति नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय ॥ ८॥
III-8: I have realized this Great Being who shines effulgent like the sun beyond all darkness. One passes beyond death only on realizing Him. There is no other way of escape from the circle of births and deaths.
Now one can only know and realize Brahman in either this loka or Brahma Loka. That's why it's recommended to try to know & realize Brahman in this loka before death.
इह चेदशकद्बोद्धुं प्राक्षरीरस्य विस्रसः ।
ततः सर्गेषु लोकेषु शरीरत्वाय कल्पते ॥ ४॥
2-III-4. If one could know here prior to the falling of the body, (one becomes liberated); (if not), one becomes fit to be embodied in the worlds of creatures.
If he is able to know and knows even during life, this Brahman} the cause of fear, before the falling of the body, then he becomes freed from the bond of Samsâra. If he is not able to know, then, i.e., from want of that knowledge, he becomes able to take, i.e., he takes a body in earth and other worlds, where those who are fit to be created, are created. Therefore, before the falling of the body, attempt should be made to realise the âtman; for the realisation of the âtman even here will be clearly horrible as that of a face reflected in a mirror; not in other worlds except the Brahmalôka; and that is hard to reach.
And it's only possible in either this loka or in BrahmaLoka
यथाऽऽदर्शे तथाऽऽत्मनि यथा स्वप्ने तथा पितृलोके । यथाऽप्सु परीव ददृशे तथा गन्धर्वलोके छायातपयोरिव ब्रह्मलोके ॥ ५॥
2-III-5. As in a mirror, so in one's intellect; as in a dream, so in the world of manes; as seen in water, so in the world of the Gandharvas; as in the case of shade and light, so in the world of Brahma.
Adi Shankraracharya's Bhashya:
How is explained. As one in the world sees his own image reflected in a mirror very distinctly, so the realisation of the âtman in one's intelligence, when spotless like a mirror, becomes clear. As in dreams, the perception is indistinct and produced, i.e., (obscured) by the reminiscences of the waking state, so indistinct is the realisation of the âtman in the world of the manes, being engrossed in the enjoyment of the fruits of karma. As the image of one's self reflected in water is seen indistinctly, with the various parts not defined, so is the realisation of the âtman in the world of the Gandharvâs certainly indistinct. Thus, it is inferred from the authority of the sâstrâs, even in other worlds, it is only in one, the Brahmalôka, that it is very distinct, as that of light and shadow and that (Brahmalôka) is hard to attain requiring as means, a combination of very special karma and knowledge, i.e., (worship). The drift, therefore, is that one should attempt to realise the âtman even while here (in this world).
Apparently not possible.
Dharma Sadhana or Moksha sadhana is possible only in this world or the Ihaloka. It is not possible to do the same in Paraloka or in afterlife that is in either Swarga or Naraka.
Here is a relevant verse from a Shakta Agama called KulArnava Tantram:
Ihaiva NarakavyAdheshchikitsAm Na Karoti Yah | (1)
GatvA Niraushadham SthAnam VyAdisthah Kim KarishyAti|| (2)
One who does not treat the ailment called naraka in ihaloka itself (i.e on earth) (1). What will he do with that ailment in that place (i.e in paraloka) where medicines themselves are not available. (2)
KulArnava Tantram, Chapter 1, Verse 24.
Here, Niraushadham SthAnam is where we go after shedding our body. That is afterlife or Paraloka. Here Lord Shiva says that in Paraloka there is no way to treat the disease called Naraka. So, Mukti is not possible by any means while staying in Paraloka.
The purport of this verse is, Moksha sadhana is possible only on Ihaloka as long as we have our body fit and intact. That's why we should be ever careful for atmaraksha (self protection) and keeping our body healthy.
According to another Shakta Agama, the four purusharthas can only obtained as long as we have the human body and not after we shed it.
Sariram Tu ManushyanAm PurushArthaikasAdhanam |
The human body is the tool of obtaining the four goals (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha).
Gandharva Tantram 34-15.
Even the Vedas say that we have to achieve liberation in this life only. Given below are the relevant Mantras from the Purusha Suktam (which appears in all the 4 Vedas):
VedAhametam purusham mahAntam (1) Adityavarnam tamasah parastAt (2)
Tam evam vidvAn amrita iha bhavati (3) NAnyah panthAvidyate ayanAya (4)
I have known the mighty Purusha (1) Who is refulgent as the Sun beyond darkness. (2) Knowing Him thus in this life itself, one transcends death (3). There is no other path leading to the attainment of liberation. (4).
Taitiriya Samhita 3.12.17.
Swami Vivekananda also says the same. That it is possible achieve liberation or Mukti only from Bhuloka or Earth.
There will be thousands of Indras. Nahusha was a great king, and when he died, he became Indra. It is a position; one soul becomes high and takes the Indra position and remains in it only a certain time; he then dies and is born again as man. But the human body is the highest of all. Some of the gods may try to go higher and give up all ideas of enjoyment in heavens; but, as in this world, wealth and position and enjoyment delude the vast majority, so do most of the gods become deluded also, and after working out their good Karma, they fall down and become human beings again. This earth, therefore, is the Karma Bhumi; it is this earth from which we attain to liberation. So even these heavens are not worth attaining to.
What is then worth having? Mukti, freedom. Even in the highest of heavens, says our scripture, you are a slave; what matters it if you are a king for twenty thousand years?
It doesn't look like liberation is possible other than
Bhuloka. Vishnu Purana, Book 2, Chapter 3 says that world of acts is not the title of any other portions of the universe means only fruits of
Karma can be obtained in
THE country that lies north of the ocean, and south of the snowy mountains, is called Bhárata, for there dwelt the descendants of Bharata. It is nine thousand leagues in extent, and is the land of works, in consequence of which men go to heaven, or obtain emancipation.
From this region heaven is obtained, or even, in some cases, liberation from existence; or men pass from hence into the condition of brutes, or fall into hell. Heaven, emancipation, a state in mid-air, or in the subterraneous realms, succeeds to existence here, and the world of acts is not the title of any other portion of the universe.
Beings higher than human beings are eligible for Jnana and Moksha. Most prominently, the Devas, who dwell in Swarga. Vyasa discusses this in Adhyaya 1 Pada 3 of the Brahma Sutras:
- Badarayana thinks that beings higher than those (men) (are also qualified for knowledge), for that is possible.
- If it be objected that this (corporeality of the gods) wilt give rise to a contradiction (in the matter of the gods being associated) in rites, then we reply: Not so, for in the Vedas are noticed the assumption of many bodies.
- If it be objected that this contradicts the validity of Vedic words, then not so, for the universe arises from this, which fact is proved by direct revelation and inference.
- And from this very fact follows the eternality (of the Vedas).
- And there is no contradiction, since similar names and forms are repeated even in the revolution of the world cycles, as is known from the Vedas and the Smriti.
- Jaimini asserts (that the gods and others have) no competence (for knowledge of Brahman), owing to the impossibility of their competence for Madhu-vidya etc.
- Because of the occurrence of the words in respect of a sphere of flight.
- But Badarayana upholds the existence of competence (for the gods); for (the requisite for competence) exists (in them).
Here is what Adi Shankaracharya says about Sutra 26 in this section of his Brahma Sutra Bhashya.
It has been said above that the passage about him who is of the size of a thumb has reference to the human heart, because men are entitled to study and act according to the sâstra. This gives us an occasion for the following discussion.--It is true that the sâstra entitles men, but, at the same time, there is no exclusive rule entitling men only to the knowledge of Brahman; the teacher, Bâdarâyana, rather thinks that the sâstra entitles those (classes of beings) also which are above men, viz. gods, and so on.--On what account?--On the account of possibility.--For in their cases also the different causes on which the qualification depends, such as having certain desires, and so on, may exist. In the first place, the gods also may have the desire of final release, caused by the reflection that all effects, objects, and powers are non-permanent. In the second place, they may be capable of it as their corporeality appears from mantras, arthavâdas, itihâsas, purânas, and ordinary experience. In the third place, there is no prohibition (excluding them like Sûdras). Nor does, in the fourth place, the scriptural rule about the upanayana-ceremony annul their title; for that ceremony merely subserves the study of the Veda, and to the gods the Veda is manifest of itself (without study). That the gods, moreover, for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, undergo discipleship, and the like, appears from such scriptural passages as 'One hundred and one years Indra lived as a disciple with Pragâpati' (Kh. Up. VIII, ii, 3), and 'Bhrigu Vâruni went to his father Varuna, saying, "Sir, teach me Brahman"' (Taitt. Up. III, 1).--And the reasons which have been given above against gods and rishis being entitled to perform religious works (such as sacrifices), viz. the circumstance of there being no other gods (to whom the gods could offer sacrifices), and of there being no other rishis (who could be invoked during the sacrifice), do not apply to the case of branches of knowledge. For Indra and the other gods, when applying themselves to knowledge, have no acts to perform with a view to Indra, and so on; nor have Bhrigu and other rishis, in the same case, to do anything with the circumstance of their belonging to the same gotra as Bhrigu, &c. What, then, should stand in the way of the gods' and rishis' right to acquire knowledge?--Moreover, the passage about that which is of the size of a thumb remains equally valid, if the right of the gods, &c. is admitted; it has then only to be explained in each particular case by a reference to the particular size of the thumb (of the class of beings spoken of).
And here is what Ramanujacharya says in this section of his Sri Bhashya.
In order to prove that the highest Brahman may be viewed as having the size of a thumb, it has been declared that the scriptural texts enjoining meditation on Brahman are the concern of men. This offers an opportunity for the discussion of the question whether also other classes of individual souls, such as devas, are qualified for knowledge of Brahman. The Pûrvapakshin denies this qualification in the case of gods and other beings, on the ground of absence of capability. For, he says, bodiless beings, such as gods, are incapable of the accomplishment of meditation on Brahman, which requires as its auxiliaries the seven means enumerated above (p. 17)--This must not be objected to on the ground of the devas, and so on, having bodies; for there is no means of proof establishing such embodiedness. We have indeed proved above that the Vedânta-texts may intimate accomplished things, and hence are an authoritative means for the cognition of Brahman; but we do not meet with any Vedânta-text, the purport of which is to teach that the devas, and so on, possess bodies. Nor can this point be established through mantras and arthavâda texts; for these are merely supplementary to the injunctions of actions (sacrificial, and so on), and therefore have a different aim. And the injunctions themselves prove nothing with regard to the devas, except that the latter are that with a view to which those actions are performed. In the same way it also cannot be shown that the gods have any desires or wants (to fulfil or supply which they might enter on meditation of Brahman). For the two reasons above we therefore conclude that the devas, and so on, are not qualified for meditation on Brahman.--This view is contradicted by the Sûtra. Such meditation is possible in the case of higher beings also Bâdarâyana thinks; on account of the possibility of want and capacity on their part also. Want and wish exist in their case since they also are liable to suffering, springing from the assaults, hard to be endured, of the different kinds of pain, and since they also know that supreme enjoyment is to be found in the highest Brahman, which is untouched by the shadow even of imperfection, and is a mass of auspicious qualities in their highest perfection. 'Capability', on the other hand, depends on the possession of a body and sense-organs of whatever degree of tenuity; and that the devas, from Brahma downward, possess a body and sense-organs, is declared in all the Upanishads, in the chapters treating of creation and the chapters enjoining meditation. In the Khândogya, e.g. it is related how the highest Being having resolved on creation, evolved the aggregate of non-sentient matter with its different kinds, and then produced the fourfold multitude of living creatures, each having a material body corresponding to its karman, and a suitable name of its own. Similarly, all the other scriptural accounts of creation declare that there are four classes of creatures--devas, men, animals, and non-moving beings, such as plants--and the difference of these classes depends on the individual Selfs being joined to various bodies capacitating them to experience the results of their works, each in that one of the fourteen worlds--beginning with the world of Brahmâ--which is the suitable place for retribution. For in themselves, apart from bodies, the individual Selfs are not distinguished as men, gods, and so on. In the same way the story of the devas and Asuras approaching Pragâpati with fuel in their hands, staying with him as pupils for thirty-two years, &c. (Kh. Up. VIII, 7 ff.), clearly shows that the devas possess bodies and sense-organs. Analogously, mantras and arthavâdas, which are complementary to injunctions of works, contain unmistakeable references to the corporeal nature of the gods ('Indra holding in his hand the thunderbolt'; 'Indra lifted the thunderbolt', &c.); and as the latter is not contradicted by any other means of proof it must be accepted on the authority stated. Nor can it be said that those mantras and arthavâdas are really meant to express something else (than those details mentioned above), in so far, namely, as they aim at proclaiming or glorifying the action with which they are connected; for those very details subserve the purpose of glorification, and so on, and without them glorification is not possible. For we praise or glorify a thing by declaring its qualities; if such qualities do not exist all glorification lapses. It cannot by any means be maintained that anything may be glorified by the proclamation of its qualities, even if such qualities do not really exist. Hence the arthavâdas which glorify a certain action, just thereby intimate the real existence of the qualities and details of the action. The mantras again, which are prescribed in connexion with the actions, serve the purpose of throwing light on the use to be derived from the performance of the actions, and this they accomplish by making statements as to the particular qualities, such as embodiedness and the like, which belong to the devas and other classes of beings. Otherwise Indra, and so on, would not be remembered at the time of performance; for the idea of a divinity presents itself to the mind only in connexion with the special attributes of that divinity. In the case of such qualities as are not established by other means of proof, the primary statement is made by the arthavâda or the mantra: the former thereby glorifies the action, and the latter proclaims it as possessing certain qualities or details; and both these ends are accomplished by making statements as to the gods, &c., possessing certain qualities, such as embodiedness and the like. In the case, again, of certain qualities being already established by other means of proof, the mantras and arthavâdas merely refer to them (as something already known), and in this way perform their function of glorification and elucidation. And where, thirdly, there is a contradiction between the other means of knowledge and what mantras and arthavâdas state (as when, e.g. a text of the latter kind says that 'the sacrificial post is the sun'), the intention of the text is metaphorically to denote, by means of those apparently unmeaning terms, certain other qualities which are not excluded by the other means of knowledge; and in this way the function of glorification and elucidation is again accomplished. Now what the injunction of a sacrificial action demands as its supplement, is a statement as to the power of the divinity to whom the sacrifice is offered; for the performance which scripture enjoins on men desirous of certain results, is itself of a merely transitory nature, and hence requires some agent capable of bringing about, at some future time, the result desired as, e.g. the heavenly world. 'Vâyu is the swiftest god; he (the sacrificer) approaches Vâyu with his own share; the god then leads him to prosperity' (Taitt. Samh. I, 2, 1); 'What he seeks by means of that offering, may he obtain that, may he prosper therein, may the gods favourably grant him that' (Taitt. Br. III, 5, 10, 5); these and similar arthavâdas and mantras intimate that the gods when propitiated by certain sacrificial works, give certain rewards and possess the power to do so; and they thus connect themselves with the general context of scripture as supplying an evidently required item of information. Moreover, the mere verb 'to sacrifice' (yag), as denoting worship of the gods, intimates the presence of a deity which is to be propitiated by the action called sacrifice, and thus constitutes the main element of that action. A careful consideration of the whole context thus reveals that everything which is wanted for the due accomplishment of the action enjoined is to be learned from the text itself, and that hence we need not have recourse to such entities as the 'unseen principle' (apûrva), assumed to be denoted by, or to be imagined in connexion with, the passages enjoining certain actions. Hence the dharmasâstras, itihâsas, and purânas also, which are founded on the different brâhmanas, mantras and arthavâdas, clearly teach that Brahma and the other gods, as well as the Asuras and other superhuman beings, have bodies and sense-organs, constitutions of different kinds, different abodes, enjoyments, and functions.--Owing to their having bodies, the gods therefore are also qualified for meditation on Brahman.
Also, this chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam describes how the inhabitants of Brahmaloka attain Moksha at the end of the Mahakalpa:
Worshipers of the Hiraṇyagarbha expansion of the Personality of Godhead remain within this material world until the end of two parārdhas, when Lord Brahmā also dies. After experiencing the inhabitable time of the three modes of material nature, known as two parārdhas, Lord Brahmā closes the material universe, which is covered by layers of earth, water, air, fire, ether, mind, ego, etc., and goes back to Godhead. The yogīs who become detached from the material world by practice of breathing exercises and control of the mind reach the planet of Brahmā, which is far, far away. After giving up their bodies, they enter into the body of Lord Brahmā, and therefore when Brahmā is liberated and goes to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supreme Brahman, such yogīs can also enter into the kingdom of God.
Moksha is only possible for a human being.
Evolution of the creatures
They are controlled by virtues and vices in the form of bliss and sorrow. Their bodies have different castes, age and enjoyment born of their different karmas.
Then again in every birth, o bird, they obtain subtle bodies and after attaining moksha they acquire indestructible fame.
The departed souls enter into insentient objects, worms, birds, animals, men, deities, but after release do not enter into any object or anybody at all.
Passing through four types of bodies in order of their karmas and leaving one body after the other a thousand times, taking birth in human form, and acquiring knowledge due to good acts one obtains release.
[Garuda Purana, Dharma Khanda, Chapter XLIX]
Number of births and importance of human birth
In the eighty four lacs of bodies of creatures one does not acquire true knowledge anywhere unless one is born as a man.
Here, after thousands of crores of births a creature obtains human form only sometime due to aggregate of virtue.
Having obtained a rare human form he should endeavour for moksha. If he does not endeavour for it, there can be no greater sinner in the world.
Born in the most beautiful human form he incurs the sin of slaying a Brahmin if he neglects his self.
Without human body it is not possible to obtain the supreme goal. One should be, therefore, very cautious to guard wealth in the form of his body and perform good actions. …… So far as this body remains intact he should practice dharma. One is a perfect fool who digs a well only when the house is on fire.
[Garuda Purana, Dharma Khanda, Chapter XLIX]
The only other place where one can obtain moksha is Brahmaloka reached by people who follow the path of krama mukti.
On the final dissolution of the world of the conditioned Brahman, they attain, along with the lord of the world, what is higher than this conditioned Brahman, as is known on the strength of the Upanishadic declaration.
The idea conveyed is that when the time for the final dissolution of the world of the inferior Brahman is imminent, the aspirants who have acquired full realization there itself attain thereafter, along with Hiranygarbha, the ruler of that world, the supreme state of Vishnu which is absolutely pure. This kind of liberation by stages has to be admitted on the strength of the Upanshadic texts speaking of non-return etc, For we established earlier that it is incomprehensible that the supreme Brahman should be reached by any process of moving forward.
Brahma Sutra Bhasya IV.iii.10 of Sri Sankaracharya translated by Swami Gambhirananda