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I would like to know if re-birth takes place on Earth always or on other planets too?

For example, if a person does bad karma on Earth, will he be re-born on Earth or it could be on any other planet?

  • there are various planets (lokas) in this universe/plane of existence. There are various planes, such as physical, astral, etc. Therefore imagine the number of planets (lokas) in creation! There is infinite possibility to go to any planet based on the karma/realization, not necessarily in this plane. Reference: Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 43. If one does bad karma on Earth, it is not necessary to be born on Earth, also on a lower plane than Earth. If good karma, he could be born in DevaLoka. Ultimate aim is self-realization, rather than enjoying fruits of action in one particular 'Loka'. – Sai Nov 7 '14 at 15:23
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It doesn't need to be earth planets. Depending on our activities we may go to different places. Gita 14.18 says:

Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/14/18

However after suffering or enjoying the reactions of our deeds we will come back to earth planet. In Gita 8.16 it is said:

a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah

punar avartino ’rjuna

mam upetya tu kaunteya

punar janma na vidyate

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.

punar avartinah they come back, is important. We come back to the earth after our quota of enjoyment or suffering expires. However those who practice self realization and will go back to spiritual world.

  • Are those different places imaginary or exist like earth? Are heaven, bramha loka etc planets? – user12458 Dec 7 '14 at 5:48
  • They do exist. You can see vedabase.com/sb/2/5 towards the end for a high level description of fourteen planetary systems and see canto 5 has more details. However I heard that as we go up they start becoming subtler but I do not have specific reference for that – srinivasacarya dasa Dec 8 '14 at 0:06
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The Vedas are not clear on this point.

Swami Nikhilananda in his introduction to his translation of the Upanishads says:

The Brahmanda, or Egg of Brahma, described by the Hindu seers, may be likened, without pressing the comparison to far, to the solar system. The name is derived from it's shape which is oval, like an egg, or, more precisely, elliptical. There are innumerable Brahmandas, which constantly appear and disappear in the Ocean of the Great Cause (Mahakarana). The Brahmanda (Cosmic Egg) of the Puranas may be likened to a single solar system. Each Brahmanda has it's own Lord, Its Governor or Controller, who, needless to say, is a manifestation, in maya, of Brahman, or the Absolute.

So, if we stay with the same Brahma, then we would stay with this planet. If we don't stay with the same Brahma, then why not. I have also seen other interpretations that say that the Cosmic Egg is the universe, and Brahma is for this universe, not the solar system. In this other interpretation, there are an infinite number of universes.

I think a better translation of Gita 14.18 is:

Those who are established in sattva go upward; those who are moved by rajas remain in the middle; and those who are steeped in tamas, being weighted down by the tendencies of the lowest guna, go downward.

I think a any translation with planets is a stretch. This verse can refer to birth on a different plane of existence as well as birth in a lower life form on this plane. It may or may not refer to another planet. I also do not like the translation with any hellish connotation. Hell is a Western religious concept with connotations of fire and damnation. I think a better translation is sub-human regions.

A better translation of 8.16 is:

The dwellers in all the worlds, from the realm of Brahma downward.

Again, to use 'planet' is misleading, worlds refers to all planes of existence, not just this one plane.

One thing is true, be careful for what you wish for, because you will get it.

  • "So, if we stay with the same Brahma, then we would stay with this planet", why do you think so? One can stay in the same Brahmanda and keep going up and down based on karma as in BG 14.18. Also, on your unnecessary remarks on translation of words, it is much more clear to translate 'Surya loka', 'Candra loka' as 'Sun Planet' and 'Moon planet' than 'Sun Plane' and 'Moon Plane'. About 'hell' the etymology also points to 'under world', 'state of misery, any bad experience' etc. That certainly expresses the idea of naraka better even though 'place of sub-humans' may be literally closer. – srinivasacarya dasa Nov 7 '14 at 5:42
  • Because Brahma is the first created being, and everything is created by Brahma. "Who creates the God Brahma in the beginning and who communicates to Him the Vedas also." (Svetasvatara Upanishad VI. 18.) and "Brahma the Maker of the universe and the Preserver of the world, was the first among the devas." (Mundaka Upanishad I. i. 1.) Brahma is described as the conscious of all souls. The totality of all beings is His individuality (sarvabhimani). You can think of us as having the same relation to Brahma as a cell in our body has to us. – Swami Vishwananda Nov 7 '14 at 7:42
  • sorry, your speculation doesn't become a religious principle. There are many Brahmas and Brahma is a jiva like us and not the Supreme. Read Srimad Bhagavatam cant 10 chapter 14. – srinivasacarya dasa Nov 7 '14 at 15:10
  • I agree that there are many Brahmas and Brahma is a jiva like us and not the Supreme. I did not say otherwise. I suggest that you read some scripture and study with a teacher. An easy quick answer of Hindu cosmology is not to be had here. – Swami Vishwananda Nov 8 '14 at 4:10
  • Specifically your comments: 'So, if we stay with the same Brahma, then we would stay with this planet.', 'Brahma is described as the conscious of all souls. The totality of all beings is His individuality (sarvabhimani).' are not the attributes of a jiva like Brahma. This is the part I am disagreeing with. – srinivasacarya dasa Nov 8 '14 at 14:25

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