Article: The 'Three Worlds'

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

At the top of the worlds – the liberated souls

At the peak of the universe, the crescent-shaped siddha-śilā is where liberated souls – siddhas – exist in neverending bliss.

Siddha-śilā
Image by Anishshah19 © CC-BY-3.0

At the summit of the world is where the souls live that are freed for ever from karma and rebirth. Such a perfect being is known as a siddha, possessed of total omniscience and pure bliss. Their dwelling place is known as siddha-śilā – ‘crystal rock’.

It is a slim wheel-shaped stretch of land, 45 by 10.5 yojanas in diameter, 8 yojanas thick in the middle, and gradually attenuating, so that it is thinner than the thinnest wing of a butterfly at the periphery. Situated at the summit of the cosmic space, auspicious and bright – resembling the outer surface of a white parasol unfolded downward

Tattvārtha-sūtra 10.7
That Which Is, page 261

To become a siddha and live in the siddha-śilā one has to have been a human being who has made regular spiritual progression and moved up the scale of the guṇa-sthāṇas. At the 13th stage, the soul arrives at the level of an omniscient arhat. At the end of life, at the 14th stage, the soul is not active and is liberated from all forms of embodiment. It gets separated from the body, moves upwards like a flame and reaches the border of cosmic space. All this takes place at the same time.

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