What is SVARGA


The word ‘svarga’ is a commonly used Sanskrit word. It is used by people, who do not even know Sanskrit, as it is present in almost every Indian language. The widely used meaning of the word ‘svarga’ is heaven. However, it is necessary to see the other meanings and the origins of this Sanskrit word. Sanskrit is a classical language like Greek, Latin, and Persian. And in Sanskrit, as in most classical languages, most words are derived from a stem or root. The word ‘svarga’ is derived from the root word svar by adding the suffixes gai, rija and ghai. The root word svar means the sun; sunshine; light; lustre; bright space or sky; heaven; paradise; abode of the gods; the space above the sun or between the sun and the polar star; the region of the planets and constellations; the third of the three vyahritis of bhur, bhuvah, and suvah; pronounced after ‘Om’ and before Gayatri by a brahmana before beginning the daily prayers; water; and a name of Lord Shiva. The word ‘svarga’ means heaven, Indra’s paradise, the residence of deified mortals and inferior gods, going to or leading to or being in light or heaven, heavenly, celestial, the abode of light and gods, heavenly bliss, the paradise to which the souls of virtuous mortals are transferred until the time comes for their re-entering earthly bodies, the temporary heaven that is the only heaven of orthodox Hindu Brahmanism, an abode situated on top of Mount Sumeru, name of a son of Rudra Bhima, a son of Jami and Dharma, father of Nandi, a son of Bhima, seven gates to heaven, spiritual austerities, the abode attained by King Yayati and his four grandsons, and the place for the worship of Agastya.


Svarga is attained by someone who deserves it and has made oneself worthy of it. Svarga cannot be attained if one has doubts about one’s ability to attain it. 


Sage Jaimini gives a wonderful description of svarga: ‘Svarga has various divine modes of entertainment. It has beautiful gardens that are sacred and fulfil all desires in an auspicious manner. There in svarga stand all desired trees with their wonderful fruits. There are divine carriers and beautiful damsels. Everywhere in svarga are diverse kinds of avenues of pleasure and aesthetics. One remains ever young, with a bright complexion, and with unlimited wealth in svarga. The light in svarga is always the white and bright light of the moon and the beds are all golden. In svarga, one is endowed with the complete fulfilment of all desires and is free from attachment to happiness and misery. There human beings, who have done good deeds in their mortal lives, move about as they please. There atheists, thieves, and people with uncontrolled senses cannot go. Neither can cruel, calumnious, ungrateful, or proud people reach svarga. Only those who are established in the austerities of the mind and the sense organs, brave, merciful, forgiving, persevering, and charitable can reach svarga. There is no disease, old age, death, cold, heat, or suffering in svarga. There one does not experience hunger, thirst, or guilt.’


Author is Editor Prabuddha Bharata. The Balabodha series as written is a glossary of words and not an article.

To read all articles by the Author

This article was first published in the June 2020 issue of Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata. I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it enlightening. Cost is Rs 180/ for one year, Rs 475/ for three years, Rs 2100/ for twenty years. To subscribe https://shop.advaitaashrama.org/subscribe/


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