Pithru loka is in the South
according to any Hindu text that speaks about oblations to departed souls.
In this context of unraveling the mystry of what this South is,
let me give the narration by Narada
(as told by Vyasa to Arjuna when he was grieving over the death of Abhimanyu)
of what happened in the very beginning,
after creation was started by Brahma deva.
This is actually in the context of explaining the Birth of Death.
Now the narration:-
The creation proceeded with no change.
Everything remained changeless though the universe was expanding.
In other words, everything was two dimensional.
Narada’s description seems to give some amazing description
about how it was before and after creation started.
From Uni-dimensional, the birth of Universe became two dimensional.
From That One Brahman, something expanded.
Initially it was not ‘may I become many’, but it became two, i.e., two dimensional!
Length of the day and number of days!
The number of days were fixed,
(like the Parama AyuL of 100 years of Brahma).
But the day never seemed to end!
The days were long
without night coming up,
then how could a new day begin?
Brahma deva, concerned over the way the changeless-ness continued,
thought of devouring everything and starting afresh again.
But Shiva, his son (born or sprang later than Brahma)
requested him not to do so.
The one who has created, should not destroy it, he said.
He stepped in to devour the day,
so that light be gone and darkness would take its place.
Thus Shiva came to be identified with destruction.
One may wonder after reading the previous post (“countries and worship that existed before Mahabharatha times”) why worship of Shiva was not reported in any of those countries.
If worship of Shiva is there, that means that country had experienced some destruction, some dark-age and death.
Wherever destruction is taking place,
there Shiva’s manifestation, will be felt
and worship of Shiva would have come into place.
Coming to the origins of Creation,
The day would have remained as a day continuously,
only if the body is traveling in straight path.
The swelling creation was going in one-dimensional path.
With the intervention of Shiva, the path was ‘slapped’
and rotational movement or circumambulatory movement started,
giving rise to days and nights, seasons and relative changes.
(Any scientist working on cosmic origins,
can take a leaf out of Vedanta and construct theories
which I am sure would lead him into the right direction.)
From then on, I suppose the dimensions at different levels,
perhaps 24 in number evolved (the 24th and 25 th being individual soul and the Brahman)
giving rise to a lively bubble of this universe.
The entire universe according to this model, (deduced from the narration of Narada) is moving in a circle.
The plane above this is uttar (North) And below is Dakshin (South)!.
This circle must therefore be a trap
With no scope for escape.
This is for the matter contained in the Universe.
For the souls, the escape is possible.
The escape to North takes one to Brahma loka,
which means complete liberation
with no scope for getting trapped in this circulating Universe.
The path to this Uttar is Devayana.
The escape to the South means
The circulating Universe is very much a hurdle to reach Brahma loka
As it remains in between South and Brahma loka in the North.
That is why it is said those who go southward, will come back to this earth.
It is from here, further journey to North can happen.
So those who are not eligible to get Liberation or Moksha, necessarily
have to go to the South.
Therefore the South
Or the worlds situated in the direction of the South pole
Is said to house Pithruloka.
This has been mapped in the 12 houses of the Janma Kundali in astrology.
(The arrow in green indicates our plane of existence, i.e, the Milky Way.
Sagittarius lies at the center of our galaxy and
Gemini lies at the outer fringe of our galaxy.
Our solar system lies two-thirds of the way from the center,
to the fringe.
What we see in the Janma kundali or the 12 houses of horoscope is
the two segments,
the North or Uttar
that lies above our place of existence,
and South or Dakshin
that lies below our plane of existence.
To know our location in this structure, browse the link below.
To get a detailed version of this click this link.
This land of Pithrus in the south,
centered somewhere in the constellation of Virgo (kanya rasi)
is the central part of the Sun’s southward sojourn.
In its southern sojourn from the month of Aadi to Margazhi,
the kanya raasi or the constellation of Virgo occurs exactly in the middle of the journey–
fit enough to be called as South Proper.
We know that directions are only with reference to fixed state.
They actually keep changing with the rotation of the earth. Hence the reference to the direction South can be in this way.
This part of the sky is the central one around which our galaxy rotates,
This part of the sky or rather the alignment of the Sun to this region marks
two events important for pithrus, namely
MahaLAya paksham and
It is on MahaaLaya amavasya day,
the sun and the moon align with the center of this southern sojourn,
of the constellation of Virgo, with the earth in front of them.
The alignment takes place in the order, earth, moon, sun and some center far-off.
From the book of astronomy, we get to know that the moon is away from the earth
by a distance that is 108 times the diameter of the moon.
The sun is away from us by a distance that is 108 times the diameter of the sun.
By same logic, this center, special for pithrus may very likely to be away from us
by 108 times the diameter of itself (the pithru loka)!! (1)
On the day of MahaaLaya amavasya,
the sun holds us by its polar rays and
holds also the moon in between.
If the same trend were to be applicable for all such centers (discussed in a previous post),
the Pithru loka also must be holding all of us on that day by way of single alignment.
It is on this day the pithrus who had spent their time in our homes depart after taking the tarpaNam.
It is by the rays of sun they travel to earth on the Pournami day in the month of Purattasi (virgo) (texts say so)
and it is by the rays of the sun they depart.
In the month of Purattasi,
the circuit is complete,
the distance is also the least when compared to other times.
And what science has recently discovered!
Science has detected a long arm of particles stretching from outer space (origin unknown), touching the sun and the moon as though enveloping them.
But this fact already exists in Upanishads.
They even give more details of this ‘holding’ of beings!!
The sun not only brings the pithrus through its rays.
It also acts as a connecting link to human beings to worlds beyond the sun.
According to scriptural texts,
there is mutual connection between arteries and the rays of the sun.
The human beings are held or connected by the rays of the Sun.
There are 101 naadis (arteries) of the heart and the one that pierces through the head is
the 101st which is connected to the sun’s rays.
Just as how the sun holds the earth with its polar arms,
its numerous rays also are connected to each individual.
This is expressed in one of the Upanishads as ‘He sees me only, he sees me only.”
The sun’s radiance is such that every being on this earth thinks that the sun is seeing him/ her only.
But the connection exists as per Chnadogya Upanishad. (the text of this portion is furnished at the end of this post) (2)
The Knower (the one who is a Realized soul and is about to reach Brahmanhood)
follows this naadi and is taken up by the sun’s rays to the places ‘yonder the sun’.
The others and those who depart at night and during the Sun’s southern sojourn,
also are taken by the sun’s rays (to the land of manes or moon)
and if such a person happens to be one eligible for Release,
he is further guided to yonder the sun, after the sun completes the southern journey.
How the person is still held even at night times has been given
by Ramanujacharya in his bhashyam to Brahma sutras 4-2-17 to 19 (available on net).
Texts say that even during sleep every person wanders through this ray of the sun.
But the point I wish to make here is that every being on this earth is being held by the Sun
and the earth itself is being held by the sun.
Science still believes that it is gravity that holds the objects clinging to the sun
and making them going around it.
But doubts are being raised about this in some scientific quarters.
As per upanishadic knowledge,
it is something else that holds them to it. It is the rays that hold them to it.
One body holding the other seems to exist at every level.
The sun and the moon are not just two celestial bodies.
The sun stands for fathers, as pithru kaaraka.
The moon stands for mothers, as mathru kaaraka.
It is perfectly logical that the day of their alignment closer to each other (amavasya)
is considered as the right day to offer them oblations.
The day when they align with cosmic center is again the best time to offer them the oblations.
And this oblation has to be done with shraddha,
a faith and devotion
which is possible only if the mind thinks what the Atma desires.
The sun is also known as Atma kaaraka,
the moon, the mano kaaraka.
And the day the Atma and the mind align together,
this oblation is offered with shraddha.
A day for pithrus is equivalent to 1 month for us.
When we complete 1 year they complete just 12 days.
So the MahaaLaya paksham is just half a day –
it is night for them and in their morning of next day they leave for their abode.
When oblations are offered at every amavasya, it means they receive their food at the dawn of every day of their world.
When oblations are offered on Grahana kaalam,
the route is almost straight and short and it is like serving them from close quarters directly.
When they complete 1 year, it is roughly around 30 human years,
a sufficiently long time for humans who are destined to start tarpanam from a very young age,
to continue to do it without losing faith and shraddha..
Because they are waiting..to be released from ‘Pu’ the hell and waiting so that our children will be able to live long and disease-free.
Because texts declare that the one who serves the oblations in all faith
releases 12 generations of his pithrus and
12 generations of his future generations as well from hell.
TarpaNam ensures that they (pithrus) would not
“Punish us not for any sin, O Fathers, which we through human frailty have committed.” (Rig veda – XV -6)
It ensures that the doer gains energy
“Lapped in the bosom of the purple Mornings, give riches to the man who brings oblations. Grant to your sons a portion of that treasure, and, present, give them energy, ye Fathers.” (Rig veda XV –7)
It also ensures that they “ grant riches with a multitude of hero sons.” (Rig veda XV- 11)
And what do they get in return?
They are given their own body
“Grant them, O Sovran Lord, the world of spirits and their own body,” (Rig veda XV 14)
Are these just prayers?
Are these just wishes?
No there is unseen science working behind all this. Brahma sutras hold the key.
Upanishads show the way.
The rationale will be discussed in the next post.
(1) From the book on astronomy, 108 represents the distance in cosmos.
By the same logic, this pithru loka must be away from us by 108.
The 108 beads of the rosary is held by 107 joints, which is the number of marmas or weak spots of the body according to Ayur veda.
One has to overcome 107 kinds of obstructions (or something like it) to reach this magic number 108
which is the Moksha sthaanam.
108 is the number allotted to the Vaikuntham in the series of divya desas.
108 is the number of times japas are repeated.
As per texts the brahmacharin and the gruhastha must chant the Gayathri japa 108 times.
This 108 must therefore be the distance between the seeker and the Sought, the Lord.
This perhaps represents the distance of the inward spiritual journey.
(2) From Chandogya Upanishad, part 8, chapter 6
1.Now, those arteries of the heart are filled with the essences of brown, white, blue, yellow and red liquid substances. Verily, the sun yonder is brown, it is white, it is blue, it is yellow, it is red.
2 As a long highway runs between two villages, this one and that yonder, so do the rays of the sun go to both worlds, this one and that yonder. They start from yonder sun and enter into these arteries; they start from these arteries and enter into yonder sun.
3 When a man is asleep, with the senses withdrawn and serene and sees no dream, then he has entered into these arteries Then no evil touches him, for he has obtained the light of the sun.
4 And when he becomes weak, then those sitting around him say: "Do you know me? Do you know me?" As long as he has not departed from this body, he knows them.
5 When he departs from the body if he is a mere ritualist and ignorant of Brahman he then goes upward by these rays toward the worlds which he has gained by his meritorious work. Or if he is a knower of the doctrines of the akasa in the lotus of the heart, he then meditates on Om and thus secures entrance into Brahmaloka. Or if he is ignorant he attains lower bodies. The knower attains the solar orb as quickly as one directs one’s mind from one object to another. This indeed is the door to the World of Brahman for those who know; for the ignorant it is closed.
6 On this there is the following verse:
"There are one hundred and one arteries of the heart, one of which pierces the crown of the head. Going upward by it, a man at death attains immortality. Other arteries, going in different directions, only serve as channels for his departing from yea, only serve as channels for his departing from the body."
Chandogya Upanishad- Part 5 - Chapter XII — Instruction by the Southern Fire
(Agni says) 1 Then the Anvaharya (Southern or Dakshina ) Fire taught him (Satya kama Jabali) : "Water, the quarters, the stars and the moon are my forms. The person that is seen in the moon—I am he, I am he indeed.
2 "He who, knowing this, meditates on the fire frees himself from sinful actions, obtains the World of the Anvaharya Fire, reaches his full age and lives brightly. His descendants do not perish. We support him in this world and in the other who, knowing this, meditates on the fire."
(end of notes)
The above one is about pithru loka, the path of moon and the land of manes.
This is described as one foot of Brahman.
How Brahman is connected to pithru loka is explained in Mahabharata, Shanti parva,
in the dialogue between Nara- Narayana and Narada wherein Bhagavan says
that it is He who receives the oblation in Pithru tarpanam.
Details at another post at appropriate context.
The other foot is described like this:
“The swan said to him:
"Fire is one quarter, the sun is one quarter,
the moon is one quarter, lightning is one quarter.
This, dear friend, is one foot of Brahman, consisting of four quarters and this foot is called Jyotishmat (luminous).”
This is about the path of Light.
It is to be noted that the Sun plays a role at both levels of guiding the beings
to and from pithru loka and to yonder its domain - to Brahma loka et al.
It is this at the center at every level of existence for us.