Svarga Loka: A place of healing, renewal and self-discovery
Nestled on the riverbanks of the beautiful Campuhan River in Ubud, Bali, Svarga Loka is a health and healing resort that offers peace and tranquillity for guests. A hidden gem set amongst serene and splendid flora with the echoes of the river flowing below, it is a perfect place for those who seek transformation and renewal.
Whether on a spiritual journey or wanting to connect with the powerful energy of the land, guests will benefit from the pure, revered and restorative power of Svarga Loka. Just by being present here, absorbing the view of rice fields and river, while inhaling the tropical richness of the land, a traveller can get to experience the wonders of self-healing. The harmony of nature in Svarga Loka is beyond words. Locals believe that the land contains high vibrational energy. Indeed, this power is real and tangible; it is felt by those who are open to receiving it. The land of Svarga Loka is sacred, yet warm and friendly. Let us now explore deeper into the amazing history and traditions of this sacred land.
Svarga Loka Identity
The name Svarga Loka comes from the Sanskrit words ‘svar' and ‘ga'. ‘Svar' means light while ‘ga' means journey. The full meaning is the journey of the light. As it is explained in the holy book of Veda, Svarga is the third world full of light where all devas live. It is further described in the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita as an immensely blissful place to visit before a soul returns to the physical world to experience Samsara (cycle of existence), on the way to the final goal – Moksha (liberation), reunification with God.
According to ancient Hindu philosophy, the human mind wants to experience Svarga Loka. However, their wants and desires prevent them from reaching this place of peace and bliss. The epic war story of Baratayuda exemplifies man's misleading search for happiness. Walking through Svarga Loka Resort, one can find large stone panels with carvings of scenes from this Hindu epic.
Throughout Svarga Loka Resort stone panels and artwork can be found which display key morals from the Mahabharata. These panels help guests immerse themselves in the stories from the moral-filled Hindu epic. Staff at Svarga Loka, most of whom are Balinese, can help explain the story showcased within each image. The front desk staff are well-versed in these stories and can provide guests with detailed explanations of the meaning behind each piece of artwork. Let's review a few of the key ones together in the next section.
The logo of Svarga Loka was sourced from the Garba Cave (Goa Garba), a sacred place located in Bali's Pura Pusering Jagat village. The symbol represents Pusering Jagat (the centre of the world). Its stroke shows an inward motion toward a centre, piercing through three world elements. These elements consist of:
- Jagat BHUR (the realm of the underworld)
- Jagat BWAH (the realm of humankind)
- Jagat SWAH (the realm of God)
The symbol has a strong message to everybody involved with Svarga Loka, including owners, management, operations, staff, and spiritual advisors. It is no coincidence that the symbol chosen for Svarga Loka is the one found in Goa Garba, one of the most important temples in Bali. The Balinese believe that the temple is the source of all power and the spiritual centre of the universe, known as 'jagat'.
Baratayuda is the story of the great war at Kurukshetra between the families of Pandavas and Kauravas. It is the climax of the story of the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic featured in the Bhagavad Gita. The moral of the story is that victory, fame, wealth and power do not guarantee true happiness. In fact, they can bring suffering to those who run after them but forget their true self-love and compassion along the way. Modern humans pursue the state of being at Svarga by working, fighting and struggling with the belief that happiness comes from money, wealth, power and influences. While the true enemy is within us, we focus, watch and criticise the enemies outside of us. There is a wise Eastern saying that states: an ant far away can be seen while an elephant up close is invisible. This ancient message comes to life in a Mahabharata panel at the resort (beside building 3). It depicts that self-realisation and self-knowledge are keys to reaching spiritual Svarga Loka.
The process of soul purification is represented in another panel, this one located in the White Crane Martial Arts practice area, next to the temple on the way down to the resort's Sanjiwani restaurant. The central message here is that a true journey begins with harmony within the family, wherein all members help and respect each other. These values, often taught by parents to their children, are often forgotten in the pursuit of material success.
Another teaching from the Mahabharata is described in the real-world renunciation of Arjuna's twin brothers, Nakula and Sadewa, who went to the forest by the lake to be with Mother Nature. Being surrounded by nature brought them the feeling of bliss, whereby they found their Svarga Loka. This part of the story is depicted in the stone panel at the side of building 2, where a lake and giant trees are symbols of the brother's renunciation with the material world.
The other part of the messages from the Mahabharata is the story of Darmawangsa, the eldest of the Pandava brothers. He was known as a man full of love and compassion. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to pass the gate to Svarga Loka because he had lied to his Gore Duran. During the war of Baratayuda, Darmawangsa was asked about the death of Durna's son, Aswatama. Darmawangsa replied that he had died when in reality he was still alive. The epic instructs us that to be accepted at Svarga Loka, someone's heart has to be pure and clean, even one lie can lock the door. The difficulty in reaching Svarga Loka is represented by a panel in the front office, which shows a cart being pulled down back to Earth, unable to fly to heaven.
The Balinese believe that the land where Svarga Loka Resort now resides is an energy centre where those who are sensitive will find respite, renewal and possibly, answers to long-held questions. The land has outer beauty from the forest and river, but also inner beauty in the mysticism that surrounds it. One side of the property is believed to be the domain of Lord Shiva; nowadays it's a space for yoga and meditation. This Triloka Room has a special energy conducive for spiritual practice. In the mid-1900's, the river flowing by Svarga Loka was used by the locals to release the ashes of cremated family members. The Balinese locals believed that the river would bring the ashes to the ocean. Such past histories add a feeling of sacredness to the land.
Long before the Svarga Loka Resort was built, the land was owned by the Rahardja family from Bogor, West Java. The land was purchased in the early 1970's by an American socialite, Ms Louise Steinmen Ansberry, for her husband, Mr Subur Rahardja. During this time the land consisted of thick jungle and rice paddies. There was a traditional building (joglo/pelataran), used to welcome special guests. Because of their passion and respect for Balinese culture, the couple built the first 13 buildings to house their family in traditional Balinese style. A small temple or 'pure' was constructed for Mr Rahardja to teach martial arts. The architect who built the compound was a famous scholar from the Institute of Technology at Bandung, N. Siddharta; he was an expert in traditional Hindu architecture and well-learned in Javanese mysticism.
Local priests gave guidance during the building of the resort to ensure the land's powerful, healing energy would not be disturbed and you will see throughout the property that all trees were maintained. Even today a peaceful atmosphere is kept around the central and sacred Banyan Tree. During construction one tree troubled the owner, he couldn't solve the problem of how to build around it. In answer to his prayers, the tree fell of its own accord one windy evening, paving the way for the swimming pool. Proof perhaps that the land was happy with its new use! Another beautiful tree still grows in the middle of Sanjiwani Restaurant, and you can see evidence of other trees within buildings around the property.
Powerful Vibrational Energy
In the centre of Svarga Loka, in front of the reception area, stands one of the largest banyan trees in Bali. The Banyan tree is a symbol of the creation of Bali as a land of the gods. Markandeya, an ancient Hindu rishi from Java, created a new civilisation in the island's ancient forests. It is believed that Ubud was the forest and Svarga Loka was the place where he gained divine power through meditation. Because of this, whenever Markandeya revisited Bali, he always stayed in the ancient forest that is now Ubud. To honour him, wealthy patrons and holy men from Bali built temples around the Campuhan River. One temple, known as Gunung Lebah, near a bridge beneath Svarga Loka, is dedicated specifically for Markandeva Maharishi, an ancient Hindu sage. It is believed that Svarga Loka Resort was a place where Maharishi's troops purified their inner self and practised martial arts under the banyan trees.
For centuries, the land of Svarga Loka consisted of dense jungle, a roaring river and mighty banyan trees and many local Balinese believed that the area was a centre of magic. This notion was further enhanced when Subur Rrahadja, a man renowned for his powerful abilities as a mystic and healer, and his wife purchased the land in the 1970s. Mr Rahardja was the founder of White Crane Martial Arts, also known as Bangau Putih in Indonesia. Some claim that Subur could walk on sand without leaving a single footprint, and could bring down an enemy without even touching him. Aware of the history of the land as a training site for Maharishi's soldiers, Subur wanted his White Crane students to be able to train in such a place, renowned for its powerful energy. Continuing the tradition, White Crane Martial Arts is taught daily in Svarga Loka, promoting the training of movement as a vehicle for spiritual growth.
Several years ago, an archaeologist from Holland studying sacred (ley) lines, discovered that Svarga Loka is at the centre of a ley line connecting the Balinese temples of Uluwatu, Tanah Lot and Besakih. When extended, this line stretches out to the pyramids of Giza in Egypt and Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. Ley lines are natural lines that function as an energy communication system of the Earth. The system transmits and connects energy, vibration and frequency. Such lines are like arteries of the human body; they connect and link humans to animals, plants, mountains, lakes and every aspect of the physical world. Lay lines also provide connection to the non-physical world, therefore playing a vital role in the spiritual evolution of humankind.
The Balinese believe that the energy of Svarga Loka, although powerful, according to the Balinese, is loving and peaceful. The energy embraces us when we surrender to its quietness and silence. Some say that Svarga Loka is like the womb of Mother Earth. It has the energy of a womb – warm, enveloping and full of healing.
Authenticity & Experience
As explained above, the sacredness of Svarga Loka has its roots in Hindu traditions and culture. The guardian of the land, a spirit which communicates messages through a medium, advises treating Svarga Loka like a temple, with traditions and rituals associated with temple activities. For example, splashing holy water taken from Campuhan Temple to welcome guests is one such ritual, which honours the guests by purifying them before entering this sacred land. Another is the wearing of sarongs and the giving of gifts to remind the guests of the experience in the land of transformation. These traditions and rituals differentiate Svarga Loka from other wellness resorts in Ubud. The Guardian of the land isn't something to fear; it is full of gentle energy, love and compassion. It says softly to anyone who comes here with a purpose: 'Come, see, enjoy and bring'.
With a wide open heart, everyone will benefit from their stay in Svarga Loka. Guests come of their free will. The Balinese believe that from this action they will sense the Creator's 'will'. Everyone will come to know what this will is long after their journey. The land is aware of what is needed by each person. Connecting with the vibration of the land, he or she will benefit from the energy of the land. Svarga Loka offers many levels of consciousness and awareness. It is up to the person whether they want to connect or not. Svarga Loka is a transitional realm, not an end point. To be able to feel and experience the gifts from the land, he or she has to surrender, open their heart and be receptive.