Pitṛloka

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pitrloka, PitRloka, Pitrriloka


Pitṛloka literally means ‘the world of dead ancestors’.

Just as a human being does not want to be destroyed after the death of his body, he also does not want his forefathers and ancestors to be destroyed after their death. The belief that one’s dead-ancestors live in a separate world is common to most of the peoples of the world.

The Ṛgveda[1] mentions the pitṛloka where one’s departed ancestors live. The Upaniṣads consider the pitṛloka as a place that can be attained by one after death, by performing sacrifices like Agnihotra,[2] and also as a station on the path of Pitṛyāna.[3][4]


References

  1. Ṛgveda 10.14.2 and 7
  2. Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 1.5.16
  3. Pitṛyāna means the path of manes, the path of smoke.
  4. Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 6.2.16
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore