Plane of balance
(maha- or mahar-loka)
Mahar-loka is the fourth loka of the seven levels of existence. This loka is regarded as perishing at the Night of Brahma, the Creator. The first three lokas are those in which the jiva (individual consciousness) lives during the course of its evolution and is subject to the wheel of births and deaths. In this fourth loka the fire element is again predominant, but now it is not as elegant as in swarga-loka, where the bodies of its dwellers are luminous and flashing. Here the player is above the physical, desire, and thought levels. Individual consciousness is colored by desires (kama) and thoughts, but now that the player has reached the state of being desireless and thoughtless, he has transcended the third level and reached the fourth, the permanent invisible world. Those who dwell here are not absolutely free from transmigration, but they will not be reborn in this cycle of creation because they exist in balance.
Three centers above and three below make this, the plane of the heart chakra, the balancing point of the spine of the game. From here, energy flows downward to the first three centers and upward to the higher three planes of being. Here is the center where the male and female energies are balanced. The player who vibrates in the fourth chakra speaks from the heart.
He reaches maha-loka through the arrow of charity, or by passing through good tendencies and the plane of sanctity. Here the desires of the lower chakras are stilled, and energy is no longer exhausted in the pursuit of lower aims. From the heart begins the upward flow of energy.
Here also the player transcends the intellectual understanding of Divinity that characterizes the third chakra and moves into a direct experience of the Divine within himself. Because of this sense of unity with the Absolute, it has also been called the plane of Cosmic Mind.
The heart center has long been recognized as the most important seat of feeling in the body. The heart is the dwelling-place of the emotional self. Yoga physiology attributes this fact to the location of the ductless thymus gland in the heart region. This gland is responsible for the flow of electrical energy in the body — and the nature of sense perception is fundamentally electrical. Each change in emotional tone is registered by the heart, and the pattern in which the heart beats determines body chemistry. Each change in body chemistry is understood by the mind as a certain type of feeling or emotion.
Thus the heart is more than a machine to pump pure blood into the body and convey waste-charged blood back to the lungs. It is also a center of feeling, a psychic center. The Sufi tradition also stresses the importance of opening the heart chakra through love, or mohabbat. From here poetry begins, the transformation of the personal into the impersonal. Poetry is full of heart — its vibrations, its different feelings. This center is also the source of all transpersonal psychic phenomena.
By whatever path he lands here, the player now feels relaxed. His hands automatically start making the gestures (mudras) that help balance the flow of energy through his organism. His heart becomes filled with the devotional spirit, bhakti. He is able to begin to identify himself with the rest of creation, bringing on a sense of cosmic unity. Tender feelings and a sense of aesthetics become manifested in his behavior. The player's voice becomes softer and gentler as he starts to speak from the heart. His voice penetrates the hearts of others, and thus without any exertion of power he attracts to himself a group of admirers striving to reach the same vibrational patterns.
The symbol of the plane of balance is a six-pointed star composed of two equilateral triangles, one pointing upward and the other pointing down. The upward-pointing triangle of this Star of David (as it has become known in the West) signifies male energy; the downward, female. This implies the balance between the two energies attained by the player who vibrates here.
Hindu cosmology enumerates fourteen major planes, lokas, seven of which are regions rising above the earth. They are the planes of the seven chakras that constitute the spine of this game — as well as the player's own physical spine, first is bhu-loka, the physical plane. Second is bhuvar-loka, the astral plane. Third is swarga-loka, the celestial plane. Fourth is maha-loka, the plane of balance. Jana-loka, the human plane, is fifth, followed by tapa-loka, the plane of austerity, and satya-loka, the plane of reality. The lower regions descending from the earth are atal-loka, vital-loka, sutal-loka, rasatal-loka, talatal-loka, mahatal-loka, and patal-loka.
In everyday Hindu worship (sandhya) the supplicant recites a mantra (chant), which enumerates each of the seven major lokas. As he voices the name of each plane he touches the part of the body with which it is associated. He chants Om bhu as with the moistened tip of the right ring-finger he touches the midpoint between anus and genitals, the seat of the kundalini. Then he chants Om bhuvah as he touches the root of the genitals, the seat of the second psychic center. The chant Om swah accompanies the touching of the navel. He intones Om maha as he touches his heart, Om janah for the base of the throat, and Om tapah for the third eye, the midpoint between the eyes and slightly above the eyebrows. Last is Om satyam. the top of the head.