The chapters 15 to 19 of Section 5, Uma-saṃhita of Shiva Purana discuss about various lokas (worlds).
The supreme soul is infinite. He is therefore called eternal since he has no limitation. This eternal is the cause of all. It is the great Prakirti. From that infinite of unmanifest origin thousands and hundreds of thousands of cosmic eggs are born. The self-known great soul contains everything just as the wood contains latent fire, the gingelly seeds the latent oil and the milk the latent ghee. From this primordial seed emerge all those beginning with Mahat and ending with Vishesha. Then the gods and others are born. Then are born birds, their progenies and the seeds of others. Shiva manifests himself as Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Everything springs up from him and finally merges in him. Shiva is sung as the performer of all activities.
The world Vaikuṇṭha is beyond the world of Brahma. It is here that Vishnu is stationed and it shines with great brilliance. Above it is the extremely wonderful world Kaumara. The general Karttikeya, the brilliant son of Shiva shines here. Beyond that shines the excessively divine world of Uma (Shakti), the mother of the three deities’ shines. She is the Prakriti, greater than the greatest, with the attributes of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. But the goddess Uma herself is devoid of attributes, free from aberrations. The eternal Shivaloka is above that. Here lord Shiva, the great Brahman, shines. He is indestructible, excessively divine and endowed with great brilliance. He is the lord of all, greater than the three attributes. He is the progenitor of the three deities. There are no worlds above it. The Goloka is near it. Mother cows named Sushila are there. They are favourites of Shiva. The protector of that world is Krishna. He is established there at the behest of Shiva by Shiva himself who moves about as he pleases due to his power.
Seven Upper Regions:
Brahma creates the universe consisting of the fourteen worlds. The universe is comprised of fourteen worlds, seven rising above the earth and seven lying below. The seven upper regions are bhuḥ, bhuvah, svah, janah, tapah and mahah and the seven lower regions.
1. Bhuloka - The extent to which the rays of the sun and the moon shine and illuminate is the size of the earth. It is called Bhuloka. The sun’s sphere is situated eight lakh kilometers from the earth. The moon is situated thousands of Kms from this earth. The spheres of the planets are entirely situated above the moon along with the stars about eighty thousand kilometers one above the other. Budha (Mercury); above that is Kavya (Venus): above that is the sphere of Bhauma (Mars). Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) is above that and Shanaischara (Saturn) is above that. The sphere of the seven sages (The Ursa Major) is situated eight lakh kilometres above it. The Pole Star (Dhruva) is situated eight lakh kilometers above the sages.
2. The Pole star is the prop of the circle of luminary bodies. The Bhuvarloka and Svarloka are above the earth but beneath the Pole star.
3. In the Bhuvarloka, the sages of great Siddhis stay in the form of gods.
4. In the Svargaloka, the gods, the Adityas, the Maruts, the Vasus, the twin Ashvins, Vishvedevas, Rudras, Sadhyas, Nagas, Khgas etc. stay. Above that are the nine planets and above them are the seven sages free from sins.
5. Eight crore kilometers above the Pole star is the Maharloka where the seven sons of Brahma are stationed. They live even during the time of Kalpa. The seven sons are—Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana, Kapila, Asuri, Voḍhu and Pancasikha.
6. Five hundred four lakh kilometers from Janaloka is stationed the Tapoloka where the gods called Vairajas stay. They are free from burning sensation.
7. 6.72 lakh kilometers from Tapoloka is stationed the Satyaloka. It is known as Brahmaloka where the pure-minded, perfectly wise Brahmacharins engaged in truthful virtue stay. Men who go there from the earth also stay there.
Seven Lower Regions –
Seven lower are atala, vitala, sutala, rasatala, tala, talatala and patala. Each of the nether worlds (patala) extends to eighty thousand kilometres. Danavas, Daiteyas, Serpents, and Raksasas of the Daitya origin reside there.
1. Above the nether regions, are the hells where the sinners are scorched. They are —Raurava, Sukara, Radha, Tala, Vivasvat, Mahajvala, Taptakumbha, Lavaṇa, Vilohita. The river Vaitaraṇi consists of putrid stuff flowing in it, Krmina. Krmibhojana, Asipatravana and Lalabhakṣa are the terrible hells. Puyavaha has usually flames of fire outside and is topsyturvy. Sandamsa, Kalasutra, Tamas, Avicirodhana. Svabhojana, Rusta, Maharaurava and Salmali—these and other hells are there; all of these are very grievous. Men who are indulgent in sins are scorched there.
2. Sinners viz the destroyer of the child in the womb, the stealer of gold, of cows, one who commits the breach of trust, the wine-addict, the brahmin slayer, the stealer of other’s wealth and he who associates with these—go to the hell Kumbha. He who kills his preceptor, sister, mother, daughter or a cow too goes there. He who tells his chaste wife, he who is addicted to usury, he who sells tresses of hair and he who forsakes a devotee—all these are scorched in redhot iron.
3. He who insults preceptors, he who dismisses visitors and then dines, he who commits blasphemy, he who sells idols and he who cohabits with forbidden women — go to Saptabala hell. A thief, a slayer of cows, a fallen man, a defiler of boundaries, the hater of gods, brahmins and Pitrs and the defiler of gems go to Krmibhaksa hell. The base man who eats before Pitṛs, deities and gods and he who ignorantly or deceitfully misquotes sacred texts—these go to Lalabhaksa hell. The brahmin who associates with evil men and is surrounded by outcastes, the brahmin who officiates as priest in the sacrifice of undeserving persons, and eats forbidden food, and he who sells Soma juice—these fall into Rudhiraugha hell. He who spoils honey and creates disturbances in the village falls in the ruthless river Vaitarani. Those who are arrogant in the freshness of youth, who transgress the bounds of decency, who are unclean and who maintain themselves on the earnings of unchaste women go to Kṛmya hell. He who cuts off trees without purpose goes to Asipatravana hell. Those who hunt deer with Ksuraprakas (arrows with horse-shoe-shaped heads) fall into Vahnijvala hell. The brahmin, the Kṣatriya or the Vaishya who swerves from the path of good conduct ultimately fall into the hell prescribed for dog-cooking chandalas. Those who drop sacred rites in the middle and those who are fallen off from their duties in accordance with the stages of their life fall into the hell Sandaṃśa where the tortures are very terrible. There are hundreds and thousands of these and other hells where thousands of sinners undergo tortures and are scorched.
4. Those who perpetrate misdeeds contrary to the injunctions of caste and stages of life whether physically, mentally or verbally fall into hell. Immovable beings—plants etc. and movable beings’ worms, insects, birds, beasts, righteous men, gods and liberated beings, all these are equal in number in heaven as also in hell. A sinner who is averse to the performance of expiatory rites goes to hell.
5. If a person commits a sin but repents after committing it, it is also an expiation. There also the remembrance of Shiva is the greatest expiation. By remembering the lord in the morning, night or dusk, he gets his sins eliminated. The attainment of the status of Indra, lord of the gods, is the fruit of the merit attained in Japa, Homa, worship etc. performed by the man whose mind is in lord Shiva.
Sin and merit indicate hell and heaven. One is conducive to misery and the other to pleasure and rebirth. Happiness and misery constitute only a temporary transformation of the mind. But knowledge is the greatest Brahman. Knowledge is conducive to the understanding of reality.