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In Complete works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 1, Lectures and Discourses, in Steps of Hindu Philosophical Thought, he says

When through good deeds all its sins and misdeeds have been washed away, then the Jiva becomes pure again, and when it becomes pure, it goes to what is called Devayâna. Its organ of speech enters the mind. You cannot think without words. Wherever there is thought, there must be words. As words enter the mind, so the mind is resolved into the Prana, and the Prana into the Jiva. Then the Jiva gets quickly out of the body, and goes to the solar regions. This universe has sphere after sphere. This earth is the world sphere, in which are moons, suns, and stars. Beyond that here is the solar sphere, and beyond that another which they call the lunar sphere. Beyond that there is the sphere which they call the sphere of lightning, the electric sphere, and when the Jiva goes there, there comes another Jiva, already perfect, to receive it, and takes it to another world, the highest heaven, called the Brahmaloka, where the Jiva lives eternally, no more to be born or to die. It enjoys through eternity, and gets all sorts of powers, except the power of creation. There is only one ruler of the universe, and that is God. No one can become God; the dualists maintain that if you say you are God, it is a blasphemy. All powers except the creative come to the Jiva, and if it likes to have bodies, and work in different parts of the world, it can do so. If it orders all the gods to come before it, if it wants its forefathers to come, they all appear at its command. Such are its powers that it never feels any more pain, and if it wants, it can live in the Brahmaloka through all eternity. This is the highest man, who has attained the love of God, who has become perfectly unselfish, perfectly purified, who has given up all desires, and who does not want to do anything except worship and love God.


Solar Sphere - Surya Mandala
Lunar Sphere - Chandra Mandala
Sphere of Lighting or Electric Sphere is what? Who resides there?

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Swami Vivekananda has written that he doesn't know either.

We now come to a peculiar doctrine. I do not understand much of it myself. If you can make something out of it, I will read it to you. When a man dies, who has by meditation purified himself and got knowledge, he first goes to light, then from light to day, from day to the light half of the moon, from that to the six months when the sun goes to the north, from that to the year, from the year to the sun, from the sun to the moon, from the moon to the lightning, and when he comes to the sphere of lightning, he meets a person who is not human, and that person leads him to (the conditioned) Brahman. This is the way of the gods. When sages and wise persons die, they go that way and they do not return. What is meant by this month and year, and all these things, no one understands clearly. Each one gives his own meaning, and some say it is all nonsense. What is meant by going to the world of the moon and of the sun, and this person who comes to help the soul after it has reached the sphere of lightning, no one knows. There is an idea among the Hindus that the moon is a place where life exists, and we shall see how life has come from there. Those that have not attained to knowledge, but have done good work in this life, first go, when they die, through smoke, then to night, then to the dark fifteen days, then to the six months when the sun goes to the south, and from that they go to the region of their forefathers, then to ether, then to the region of the moon, and there become the food of the gods, and later, are born as gods and live there so long as their good works will permit. And when the effect of the good work has been finished, they come back to earth by the same route. They first become ether, and then air, and then smoke, and then mist, then cloud, and then fall upon the earth as raindrops; then they get into food, which is eaten up by human beings, and finally become their children. Those whose works have been very good take birth in good families, and those whose works have been bad take bad births, even in animal bodies. Animals are continually coming to and going from this earth. That is why the earth is neither full nor empty.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 2, Practical Vedanta and other Lectures, Practical Vedanta: Part II

Sphere of Lighting or Electric Sphere is what? Who resides there?

Let us check the actual scriptural source of lightning mentioned by Swami Vivekananda. The lightning term is mentioned in Chandogya Upanishad 4.15.5.

Now [1], as for such persons, whether the cremation rites are performed or not [2], they go to light [3]; from light to day; from the day to the bright fortnight; from the bright fortnight to those six months during which (the sun) rises towards the north; from the months to the year; from the year to the sun; from the sun to the moon; from the moon to the lightning. (From the region of Brahman) a person, who is other than human, (comes and) causes them, existing there, to realize Brahman [4]. This is the path of the gods and the path to Brahman. Those who go by this path do not return to this [5] human whirlpool - yea they do not return.

Chandogya Upanisad 4.15.5

[1] The path which is to be taken by the aspirant who is devoted to meditations and practices described above follows now.

[2] Here the idea is to praise the meditation and not to deprecate the funeral rites. The scripture itself cannot blame or show the futility of any of its own injunctions. This indifference to rites is only to point out the importance of the particular topic dealt with. Here it has been said that through the performance of rites the soul is neither helped nor retarded in its progress to perfection (Br U 4.4.23).

[3] That is, they are absorbed in the deities of light, day, months, etc.

[4]That is, the Brahman in Satyaloka and not the highest principle of the Upanisads, Parabrahman or Paramatman. For, realization of It does not require traversing a path or reaching a goal outside one's self. (cf, Mu 3.2.8-9; Ch 6.10.1)

[5] The word 'this' indicates that they will not return in this cycle; but may come in another cycle. It is to be noted that though the result of meditation of those who go to the Brahmaloka gets exhausted, they become liberated through His grace and never come back. But those who, instead of meditation on God, perform the spiritual disciplines like the knowledge of the five fires, Asvamedha sacrifice, or strict Brahmacarya, to to the Brahmaloka, but come back at the end of the cycle (Brahma Sutra 4.3.10; 4.4.22)

Commentary by Swami Swahananda

Swami Swahananda does not say anything about lightning. I checked Swami Nikhilananda and Radhakrishnan and they are also silent about lightning.

I checked Swami Gambhirananda's Bengali translation. I an giving my free translation of his Bengali translation of the Chandogya 4.15.5 line 'from the sun to the moon; from the moon to the lightning. (From the region of Brahman) a person, who is other than human, (comes and) causes them, existing there, to realize Brahman.'

My free translation of Swami Gambhirananda:

from the sun to the moon; from the moon he realizes the noble deity of lightning (Vidyutabhimani devata). From Brahmaloka a non-human person comes to Lightning-loka (Vidyut-loka) and causes them to realize Brahman.

According to Swami Gambhirananda, Vidyut-loka or lightning-loka is a place where resides Vidyuta deity or deity of lightning

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  • That is fine, but if you see my question, it is about what is the traditional name of the sphere of lightinging. Sun sphere is known as Surya Mandala, Moon Sphere is known as Chandra Mandala, what is the traditional name of lightning sphere?
    – user28152
    Sep 14, 2022 at 9:51
  • Only Swami Gambhirananda tries to explain lightning. Sep 14, 2022 at 12:04
  • So is this not present in Brahma Sutras?
    – user28152
    Sep 14, 2022 at 14:37
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    I do not recall seeing any mention of lightning sphere in Brahma Sutra. Sep 15, 2022 at 3:25

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