One of the verses from Fifteen Verses of Wisdom (bodhapancadasika) by Abhinavagupta, the great master of all aspects of Kashmir Shaivism, is as follows:

In this way the Lord, Bhairava, the essence of all being, has held in His own way in His own nature, the three great energies: the energy of will (iccha-sakti), the energy of action (kriya-sakti), and the energy of knowledge (jnana-sakti). These three energies are just like that trident which is the three-fold lotus. And seated on this lotus is Lord Bhairava, who is the nature of the whole universe of 118 worlds.

My question: Which are these 118 worlds being referred here?

  • Off topic clarification from me: Difference between Brahman and Parabrahman? Oct 3, 2018 at 14:28
  • @AkshayKumarS This might help you hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/9617/…
    – Just_Do_It
    Oct 3, 2018 at 14:37
  • Based on the English translation, I was unable to locate the corresponding Sanskrit verses. What is your source? This is the Sanskrit text: gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gretil/1_sanskr/6_sastra/3_phil/… The only thing that comes close is the first half of the fifteenth verse: "ittham icchākalājñānaśaktiśūlāmbujāśritaḥ" Oct 10, 2018 at 15:12
  • @GabeHiemstra It is the 15th verse, the one you stated ittham icchākalājñānaśaktiśūlāmbujāśritaḥ | bhairavaḥ sarvabhāvānāṃ svabhāvaḥ pariśīlyate || 15 ||
    – Just_Do_It
    Oct 10, 2018 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


In Shaktism, as well as in Shaivism, there are 36 Tattvas. Shiva/Shakti, Vidya, Maya, Purusha, Prakriti, Iswara, etc to the Panchabhutas are these 36 Tattvas.

These Tattvas are again grouped into Shuddha (pure), Shuddhashuddha (mixed) and Ashuddha (impure) categories.

Now, certain Bhuvanas (or worlds) are assigned to several of these Tattvas. That is, the Tattvas own certain Bhuvanas. The Tattvas also have respective Kalas (kalA i.e part) associated with them.

The complete list of all the Bhuvanas owned by these Tattvas are as follows:

  • Shiva Tattva's Bhuvanas (10 in number) - Anashrita, Anatha, Ananta, Vyomrupini, Vyapini, Urdhagamini, Mochika, Rotika, Dipika and Indhika.

  • Shakti Tattva's Bhuvanas (5) - Shantyatita, Shanti, Vidya, Pratishtha and Nivritti. (Vaindavpura is the alternate name for these Bhuvanas)

  • Sadashiva Tattva's Bhuvanas (1) - Sadashiva Bhuvana.

  • Iswara Tattva's Bhuvanas (8) - Shikhandi, Shrikantha, Trimurti, Ekanetra, Ekarudra, Shivottama, Sukshma and Ananta.

  • Suddhavidya Tattva's Bhuvanas (9) - Manonmani, Sarvabhutadamani, Balapramathini, Balavikarini, Kalavikarini, Kali, Raudri, Jyeshtha and Vama.

  • Maya (8) - Angushtamatra, Ishana, Ekekshana, Ekapingala, Udbhava, Bhava, Vamadeva, and Mahadyuti.

  • Kala (this is KAla) Tattva's (2) - Shikesh and Ekavira.

  • KalA Tattva (this is KalA) (2) - Panchantaka and Shura.

  • Vidya Tattva (2) - Pinga and Jyoti.

  • Niyati Tattva (2) - Samvarta and Krodha.

  • Raga Tattva (5) - Ekashiva, Ananta, Aja, Umapati and Prachanda.

  • Purusha Tattva (6) - Ekavira, Ishana, Bhava, Isha, Ugra, Bhima and Vam.

  • Prakriti Tattva (8) - Shrikantha, Aum, Kaumara, Vaishnava, Brahma, Bhairava. Krita and Akrita.

  • Buddhi Tattva (8) - Brahma, Prajesh, Saumya, Aindra, Gandharva, Yaksha, Rakshasha and Pishacha.

  • Ahamkara Tattva (1) - Sthuleswara

  • Bhuvanas owned by Manas (mind) and Pancha Gyana Indriyas (1) - Sthuleswara.

  • Pancha Karma Indriyas (1) - Shankukarna

  • Pancha Tanmatra's (5) - Kalanjara, Mandaleswara, Makota, Dravinda and Chakalanda.

  • Akasha Tattva (8) - Sthanu, Swarnaksha, Bhadrakarna, Gokarna, Mahalaya, Avimukta, Rudrakoti and Vastrapada.

  • Vayu Tattva (8) - Bhimeswara, Mahendra, Attahasa, Vimalesh, Nala, Nakala, Kurukshetra and Gaya.

  • Teja Tattva (8) - Bhairava, Kedara, Mahakala, Madhyadesha, Amratak, Jalpesh, Shrishaila, Harishchandra.

  • Apa Tattva (8) - Lakulisha, Parabhurti Dindi, Mundi, Vidhi, Pushkara, Naimisha, Prabhash and Amaresha.

  • Prithvi Tattva - Highest no of Bhuvanas are assigned to it - around 108.

So, if we count the number of Bhuvanas, till the Apa (or water) Tattva, we have 116 of them. Now, add those of the Prithvi Tattva and the total comes around 234.

So, these are the names of all the Bhuvanas that are there in Shaktism as well as in Kashmiri Shaivism. Now, I am not sure which of these they have counted in and which they have left out to come to the total of 118.

A vague list of these Bhuvanas are also given in Kalika Agama (I have the verses) but we can not count the precise number of Bhuvanas from that list.

[Source of the info given here is a book that I've called "Sri Sri Dashamahavidya Tattva Rahasya" by Srimat Swami Paramatmanandanatha Bhairava Giri. The chapter which have all these details is "Sri Bhuvaneswari Murti Rahasya" (the mystery behind the depiction of Bhuvaneswari)].

As you can guess, Goddess Bhuvaneswari (as the name itself suggests: Bhuvana+Iswari) is the supreme controller of all these worlds (Bhuvanas) that exist.

  • This is correct. Also see my answer for the correct IAST transliteration as well as the full context as to how these worlds should be interpreted. Oct 17, 2018 at 7:49
  • Well my answer is complete and comprehensive and after that what is thr to see in ur answer? I hv even given names of all the Bhuvanas that are associated with the Tattvas. If I want I can also give the correct transliteration it's not a big deal because I type upon seeing from Sanskrit books only. But I can't devote so much of time/effort. Also I don't search on Google to get answers, I answer only when I hv prior knowledge about the subject and here I hv read about these Bhuvanas already in the the book that I hv mentioned in the answer @GabeHiemstra
    – Rickross
    Oct 17, 2018 at 9:16
  • "after that what is thr to see in ur answer", how about a link to the full list of these worlds including a more detailed description of their Kālas and Tattvas, a comparison of the first and second interpretation, correct IAST transliteration. The answer also contains more background information regarding their original source. I'm not criticizing your answer I'm saying my answer is more detailed, contains source links and contains background information which is something the OP should have noticed seeing it was posted 5 days earlier... Oct 17, 2018 at 10:12
  • 1
    Besides, transliteration is not a big deal? Seriously? First of all, confusion regarding Kala, KAla and KalA. Second: It is impossible to determine gender. Third: You used Hindi style transliteration, skipping letters such as Prajesh = Prajeśa. And also the w is non-existent in Sanskrit. It is simply incorrect Sanskrit. Oct 17, 2018 at 10:21
  • We can not do that much here.. it is not mandatory for me to do actually.. I know all the correct words because I'm typing from Sanskrit books only.. Also I'm a Bengali so Sanskrit comes quite easy for us..See we are not professionally working for this site.. If I was I would hv given a proper transliteration too. @GabeHiemstra
    – Rickross
    Oct 17, 2018 at 10:26

According to the Non-dual Śaivism Tantras (Trika), the Bhuvanas (Sanskrit for ‘worlds’ or ‘planes of reality’) are 118 (source). The Sanskrit text of the bodhapancadasika doesn't mention these 118 worlds directly, but (I'm guessing that) since both this text and the Tantraloka are written by the same author, it is automatically assumed as being 118 worlds.

There is second interpretation of 226 worlds. The difference lies in the various interpretations of grouping the worlds.

List of 226 and 118 worlds:

Fortunately, there is a reliable source available showing a table of these two lists. In short:—As Guru Gabriel Pradīpaka shows, bhuvanas are ‘worlds’ manifested by padas (“Full-fledged Words”). Pada in turn, is “composed of Mantras or Seed Syllables”. Mantras (seed syllables) are the result of transformed varṇas (individual letters) which manifest the alphabet.

To get a full understanding you should read the full article, starting at the beginning:

The universal manifestation according to Trika

The same page also lists the names of all these words (here), which I'm reluctant to just bluntly copy/paste here. And again, you should read the article from the beginning.

Further reading:

Chapter eight of the Abhinava’s Tantraloka discusses these worlds:

TĀ 8 explores the various worlds (bhuvana) and is dependent on a number of sources, in particular the Svacchandatantra.

(source), p. 48 n54

Unfortunately, I do not know of any English translation of the Svacchandatantra. I did come across this paragraph from a Thesis on the ST by William James:

The tenth book describes the Śaiva cosmology, or more properly one of the six paths (adhvā) or modes in which Śivaḥ emanates the universe, viz. that of the worlds (bhuvana-) . Byfar the longest book in Svacchandatantram, it represents the Śaiva assimilation and extension of the entire Purāṇic cosmology.

Abhinavaguptaḥ based his presentation of the path of the worlds in Tantrālokaḥ almost entirely on this book of Svacchandatantram, and therefore indicates that Svacchandatantram must have already acquired at his time a reputation as the preeminent and exhaustive scriptural revelation of the Śaiva cosmology.

(source) p. 218

Finally, as Navjivan Rastogi, in his “Introduction to the Tantrāloka” states:—Abhinava learned a lot of this bhuvana science from Bhūtirāja:

Bhūtirāja seems to have excelled inmany branches of learning in addition to the dualistic-monistic discipline. Perhaps his full name was Bhūtirājamiśra. He seems to have initiated Abhinava in the science of the ‘size of all the regions’ (bhuvanas) and ‘purifiability of all of them’ and propounded the theory of hundred Rudras (Śatarudras) in the context of the treatment of Bhuvamādhvan and Pratiṣṭhā Kalā.

(source) p.41

  • Pretty interesting and informative links out there!
    – Just_Do_It
    Oct 10, 2018 at 18:50

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