Patalas

Definition - What does Patalas mean?

Patalas is a Sanskrit term that refers to the seven lower worlds, or planes of existence in Hindu philosophy. Patalas is typically translated as “netherworld” or “underworld,” and it is often referred to by various other names, the most common being the seven lower lokas. It is also called sapta adho-loka in Sanskrit while the seven upper lokas are called the seven vyahritis or sapta urdhvaloka.

In the singular, it also refers to the lowest of the seven lower realms.

Whereas in the Hindu tradition the Puranas list the 14 lokas, Jainism and Buddhism accept a different number.

Yogapedia explains Patalas

Depending on the tradition, the patalas are believed to be actual realms of existence or states of consciousness created by how the individual lives his or her life. The patalas may further be subdivided into the rupa lokas (the first four, which have form) and the arupa lokas (the last three, which are formless).

The patalas in descending order are:

  • Atala – The realm of Bala, who created three types of women.
  • Vitala – The realm of Hara-Bhava, who is an avatar of Shiva.
  • Sutala – The realm of Mahabali, the virtuous demon king.
  • Talatala – The realm of Maya, the demon-architect.
  • Mahatala – The home of the nagas, mythical semi-divine serpent-like beings.
  • Rasatala – The home of the danavas and daityas, who are the enemies of the devatas (gods and goddesses).
  • Patala – Also called naga loka, this is the lowest region. It is the realm of Vasuki, the serpent king, and the home of many nagas.
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