In ancient times this galaxy was mainly divided into 3 worlds – Indralok, Prithvi Lok and Patal Lok. Indralok was Himalayas and its surrounding area and up to the sky, Prithvi Lok i.e. wherever water, forest and flat land is habitable and Patal Lok i.e. the desert and the sea shore and the inner world. Patal is the name of one of the 7 underworlds.
Who lives in Patal?
In Hindu religion, the condition of Hades has been described below the earth. By bottom means in the sea or by the seashore. Snakes, demons, and yakshas live in Hades. King Bali has been appointed by Lord Vishnu as the king of Sutal Lok of Patala and he will rule till the end of Kali Yuga. There is no need of a gross body to rule, work can also be done with a subtle body. According to the Puranas, King Bali is still alive and comes to earth once a year. His residence was in Mahabalipuram, Kerala in the early period.
According to Puranas, this universe consists of earth, air, space, Aditya (Sun), Moon, Nakshatra and Brahmaloka. The earth is situated on the rest. Remaining means empty space. The description of Trilokya is found in the Hindu history book Puranas. These 3 worlds are- 1. Kritak Trailokya, 2. Maharlok, 3. Akritak Trailokya. Maharloka is situated between Kritaka and Akritaka. When Kritak Trilokya is destroyed, then it becomes situated in Maharlok in the form of ashes. Akritak Trailokya means Brahma Lokadi, which never gets destroyed.
According to the detailed classification, there are 14 worlds – 7 above and 7 below, starting from the earth. These are Bhurlok, Bhuvarlok, Svarlok, Maharlok, Janalok, Tapolok and Brahmalok. Similarly, the lower worlds are Atal, Vital, Satal, Rasatal, Talatal, Mahatal and Patal.
Kritak Trailokya which is also known as Tribhuvan, according to the Puranas, this world is mortal. According to Gita it is changeable. It has a definite age. There are 3 types of this Kritak Trilokya – Bhulok, Bhuvarlok, Svarlok (heaven).
- Satya-loka: Satya-loka is also known as the Brahma loka and this loka is the topmost loka in the material universe. This is the abode of truth where atmans are released from the need of rebirth.
- Tapa-loka: This is the abode of tapas or of other Gods and Goddesses.
- Jana-loka: This is the house of the sons of Lord Brahma.
- Mahar-loka: This is the dwelling of great sages and laissez-faire beings like Markendeya and other rishis.
- Svar-loka: This expanse is between the sun and the polar star. This is the heaven of Lord Indra. Indra, other Gods, Rishis, Gandharvas and Apsaras live here. This place is full of heavenly ecstasy where all the 330 million Hindu Gods (Devatas) live in along with the king of Gods, Indra.
- Bhuvar-loka or Pitri Loka: This is the place of the Sun, planets, stars and the space between earth and the Sun. It is an actual region, the atmosphere, the place of soul and essence.
- Bhur-loka: This is the place where the Earth dwells. According to the Vishnu Purana the earth is simply one of thousands of billions of occupied worlds like itself located in the Universe.
According to Puranas, Bhulok has been divided into many parts. In this also the condition of Indralok, Prithvi and Patal has been described. In the Puranas, the entire Bhuloka is divided into 7 islands – Jambu, Plaksha, Shalmali, Kush, Kraunch, Shak and Pushkar. Jambudweep is in the center of all. The description of the condition of Hades is found in all the islands.
Ways to go to Paatal
You must have seen or heard about many such places on earth whose names have Paatal in front of them, such as Paatalkot, Patalpani, Pataldwar, Patal Bhairavi, Patal Durg, Devlok Patal Bhubaneswar etc. Narmada river is also called Patal river. There are many such places within the river too, from where one can go to Patal Lok. Many such ways in the sea too, from where Hades can be reached. There is only water on 75 percent of the earth. Hades is not a fantasy. It is described in detail in the Puranas. According to the Puranas, there are 7 types of worlds under the earth, in which Hades is the last.
According to the Vishnu Purana, the area of the entire globe is 500 million yojanas. Its height is 70 thousand schemes. Below this there are 7 worlds, in which Patal Nagar is the last according to the order. The names of the 7 underworlds are as follows- 1. Atal, 2. Vital, 3. Sutal, 4. Rasatal, 5. Talatal, 6. Mahatal and 7. Patal.
Asura Bal, the son of the demon Maya resides in Atal. He has created ninety-six types of Maya.
Mahadevji named Lord Hatkeshwar resides in his vital world along with his councilor ghosts. They keep roaming with Bhavani for the growth of Prajapati’s creation. Due to the effect of both of them, a beautiful river named Haat flows there.
Beneath Vital is Sutal Lok. Bali, the son of Mahayashvi Pavitrakirti Virochana, resides in it. The Lord in the form of Vamana from whom all the three worlds were taken away.
Below Sutal Lok is Talatal. There lives the demon King of Tripuradhi. Maydanav is the supreme teacher of the subjects.
Below that, there lives a community called ‘Krodhavash’ of multi-headed snakes born from Kashyap’s wife Kadru in Mahatala. Among them Kahuk, Takshak, Kalia and Sushen etc. are the main snakes. They have big fans.
Under them, demons and demons named Pani live in the Rasatal. They are also known as Nivatkavach, Kaley and Hiranyapurvasi. They are always in conflict with the deities.
Shandda, Kulik, Mahashandda, Shweta, Dhananjaya, Dhritarashtra, Shankhachuda, Kambal, Akshatar and Devdutt etc. live there with very angry and big hooded snakes. Vasuki is the main among them. Some of them have 5, some 7, some 10, some 100 and some 1000 heads. The shining jewels of their hoods destroy all the darkness of Patal with their light. Nagalok resides in Patal.