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Path Of The Gods – Devayana

As per Vedic sages, the demigods, or Devas, used a path to descend from swarga (heaven) to earth. The path used by the gods is known as devayana. They used this path to arrive on earth to receive sacrificial offerings, listen to prayers, confer blessings and to lead the souls of deserving humans to swarya for their afterlife.

Three worlds have been conceived in the Vedas – Devaloka, Pitru Loka and Manushya Loka. Some of the Devas are said to have visited the earth frequently through devayana. This can be read in Agni (Rig Veda III 58.5), Ashwins (Rig Veda VII 38.8), Ushas (Rig Veda VII 76.222), Pusan (Rig Veda X 17.3) as also Yama, Vagin and Ritus.

Hindus believe, as is emphasized in Puranas, that the last thought one entertains at the time of death would determine one’s future (antya matih sa gatih). The ideal of a cultured person would be to reach devaloka where he would live eternally (Chandogya Upanishad V.10.1-2). To attain such an end one is advised to give up, at the dying moment, all mundane thoughts and attachments, and concentrate on God.

Gautama Dharmasutra (I.1-8) enjoins that one should recite the hymn on Agni (Rig Veda I.1.1). If one is unable to recite the hymn, his son or some other close relative can do so, so that the God Agni, who is ‘familiar’ with the devayana could lead the soul of the dying to devaloka where the individual would remain forever.