Zimmer, Dr Heinrich - Karma-loka
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Philosophies of India – Dr Heinrich Zimmer [edited by Joseph Campbell]
Kama-Loka comprises in its lower levels the hells or purgatories of pain, as well as the ghostly region of spectres (pretas) the region of giant monsters that devour beasts and men (raksakas), the region of anti-gods and titans (asuras), that of the goblins (khumbandas), the kingdom of the serpent-like water-gods (nagas), and the domain of the household deities (yaksas: fertility gods surviving from the archaic pre-Aryan civilisation, who now serve as attendants of the deities Kuber and Siva).
The middle realm of men and beasts is on the earthly plane, while above, still ruled by Kama (the supreme personification of the allure of the transient world) are the kingdom of the winged birdlike gods of the atmosphere (garudas) and the paradise of the celestial musicians (gandharvas) – the last named being men reborn to the sensual pleasures of the lower heavens, where they enjoy the companionship and love of heavenly damsels (asparases).
The progressively rarefied spheres of the gods are represented as superimposed, one upon the other, up the terraced slopes of Mount Sumeru, the great central mountain of the world, which like a gigantic Babylonian ziggurat – a natural cosmic tower of Babel – lifts its summit into the loftiest spheres of celestial bliss, and then soars beyond. What lies beyond is Brahma-loka, the realm of formless being and purely spiritual bliss. But the power of Kama reaches even there. For the universe is the production of the divine will (iccha) or desire (kama) – the wish of the One to be many. All spheres of being stand generated and supported by that first creative impulse…………..
In Buddhist as distinguished from Hindu iconography, three created realms (lokas), or ranging grounds into which beings may descend to be reborn (avacaras) are described. The first and lowest is Kama-Loka, ‘the world of desires’; the next is Rupa-Loka, ‘the world of pure forms’; while the highest is A-rupa-loka, ‘the world without forms, the formless realms’.
These conceptions represent and are based on the common experiences of yoga. As the process of introvert absorption deepens and the sphere of extrovert experiences drops away, higher, deeper, more rarefied spheres of experience are attained. And these are themselves then found to be subdivided into many stratifications, each inhabited by a class of subtle celestial beings