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By Swami Harshananda

Ātivāhika literally means ‘one who leads beyond’.

After death, a jīva (individual soul) takes anyone of these three courses as per his karma(deeds):

  1. Immediate rebirth
  2. Pitṛloka- World of manes
  3. Satyaloka or Brahmaloka- The world of Brahmā

Journey to either of the last two worlds involve passing through some intermediate stations like arcis (light), ahas (day), āpuryamāṇa-pakṣa (the bright fortnight) and so on. Though these appear to be physical realities, they really represent ‘ātivāhikas,’ the deities or divine guides who lead the jīva to the next destination in its onward journey.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore