By Swami Harshananda
Bhuloka literally means ‘the earth-world’.
Bhumi or the earth is considered as a ‘loka,’ a place for doing karma or actions and enjoy their fruits. Hence, it is this earth with all its living beings, that has been designated as ‘bhuloka.’ It is the first of the three lokas, the other two, higher ones, being bhuvarloka (the mid-region) and svarloka (the heaven). Sometimes, the lokas are enumerated as fourteen, in which case bhuloka is described as situated in the middle, with six lokas above it and seven below.
The surface of this bhuloka is in the form of a lotus leaf, consisting of seven dvīpas (continents or islands) arranged in the form of concentric circles around the central land mass called the Jambudvīpa. The other dvīpas are :
All these are surrounded by oceans containing different kinds of liquids like water, milk, curds or cane juice. Of these dvīpas, the Jambudvipa is considered as more relevant to us since the Bhāratavarṣa (the Indian land mass) is situated in it.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore