Worlds in this Universe

The cosmological sciences of Puranas reveal the fact that infinite  universes are continously formed and dissolved. There is no end, it is eternal. Modern science also is understanding this truth. The vieo below is a good animation of how the universe is contracting and expanding at the same time. 

The cosmography of the Puranas  describes the astronomical Universe of the solar system and the fourteen worlds, of which six are said to range above the Earth-plane and seven below it. The Earth-plane itself is said to consist of seven continents and seven oceans, all concentric in their arrangement, every succeeding continent and ocean being double the preceding one in extent.

       There is a detailed geographical description of our own earth, with its mountains, rivers and holy shrines. There is also a calculation which states that among the five elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether - every succeeding element is ten times the preceding one in largeness. Apart from the superphysical existence of these wonder-striking planes, this description of the cosmos suggests its incredible vastness, all which is supposed to be a very insignificant part of the glorious manifestations of God.  

The entire possibility of experience in life has been terraced by the rsis into fourteen worlds; seven higher lokas and seven lower worlds. There are three worlds in which a limited ego-centre comes to play its game of reincarnation and repeated deaths: these are (1) Bhur-loka, the physical earth; (2) Bhuvar-loka, the world next to the physical and closely connected with it, but constituted of finer matter; and (3) Suvar-loka, the heavenly world. Beyond these are the four other 'worlds' wherein the ego comes to move about and enjoy in its higher evolutionary life, and they are called the Mahar-loka, Jana- loka, Tapa-loka, and Satya-loka.

we also find conceptions of other 'worlds' such as Indra-loka, Candra-loka, Surya-loka, Pitra-loka, etc., which are special 'realms of experiences' located within the above regions.

Below these seven 'worlds' there is yet another set of seven 'worlds' called the talas. They are named as Pa-talam, Maha-talam, Rasa-talam, Tala- talam, Su-talam, Vi-talam, and A-talam.

Of these fourteen 'worlds', Bhur-Bhuvar-Suvar, denoting the 'three worlds', are called the vyahrtis. In the Gayatri Mantra, when these vyahrtis are chanted, the meditator can visualise the 'three worlds' as arising from, existing in, and disappearing into AUM. He can subjectively identify them with the waking, dream, and deep-sleep conditions of consciousness, transcending which extends the realms of the Infinite. All of them are represented in the symbol OM. In this sense, the vyahrtis in the Gayatri represent in one sweep the entire 'world' of the subjective and the objective experiences of man.

Excerpted from Swami Chinmayananda, Courtesy of: Vishvarupa.com

 Web sites that give further interesting information on the 14 worlds.

  Orange theory- Shape of Universe, Universe simulataneously expanding and contracting