The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 18 - The Magnitude of Oceans and Continents

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

1. Just as the Jambūdvīpa is encircled by the briny sea so also the briny sea is encircled by the Plakṣa dvīpa.

2. The extent of Jambūdvīpa is one hundred thousand Yojanas. O brahmins, twice that is cited as the extent of Plakṣa-dvīpa.

3-4. Medhātithi, the overlord of the Plakṣadvīpa, had seven sons. The eldest was Śāntabhaya by name. Śiśira was the next one. Others were Sukhodaya, Ānanda, Śiva, Kṣemaka and Dhruva. All of them were kings in Plakṣa Dvīpa.

5. The sub-continents are Śāntabhaya, Śiśira, Sukhada, Ānanda, Śiva, Kṣemaka and Dhruva.

6. There are Varṣaparvatas, the mountains demarcating the boundary. They are only seven, O excellent sages. Listen to their names.

7. They are Gomeda, Candra, Nārada, Dundubhi, Somaka, Sumanas and Vaibhrāja.

8. O sinless ones, accompanied by Devas and Gandharvas the subjects live in the charming Varṣa mountains and lands.

9. The countries and territories therein are holy. People are born after long periods (of gestation). Neither mental agony nor ailments afflict them. They feel happy throughout the year.

10. There are seven rivers in these Varṣas which flow into the oceans. I shall name them. Their mention dispels sins altogether.

11. They are Anutaptā, Śikhī, Vipāśā, Tridivā, Kramu, Amṛtā and Sukṛtā. These are seven rivers there.

12. O brahmins, the mountains and rivers mentioned here are the main ones. Small rivers and mountains are in thousands there.

13. The people of the region drink waters thereof and feel delighted. Every river, O brahmins, flows downwards and no river flows up.

14. O excellent brahmins, the different Yugas are not reckoned in these seven climes. The time is perpetually like that of the Tretā-yuga.

15. O Brahmins, in all these continents beginning with. Plakṣa and ending with Śaka the people live for five thousand years without any ailment.

16-17. Dharma is of four types among them in accordance with the divisions of Varṇas (castes) and Āśramas (stages of life). The Varṇas are four.

O learned men, I shall mention them to you, O excellent sages, they are Āryakas, Kurus, Vivasvats and Bhāvins. They are brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras.

18. In the centre, there is a big tree of the size of Jambū tree. It is the Plakṣa tree from which O excellent brahmins, the continent derives its name.

19. Hari identical with all, lord of all, creator of the universe is worshipped in the form of Soma (Moon) by those Varṇas, Āryakas and others.

20. The Plakṣa is encircled by the ocean of Sugarcane juice. It is of the same size as the continent Plakṣa and it emulates a halo around it.

21. Thus, O excellent sages, the Plakṣa continent has been recounted to you briefly. Now I shall tell you the history of Śālmaladvīpa.

22-23. O brahmins, the overlord of Śālmaladvīpa is the heroic Vapuṣmān. O excellent brahmins, his sons are Śveta, Harita, Jīmūta, Rohita (Harita?) Vaidyuta, Mānasa and Suprabha. There are seven Varṣas named after them.

24. The ocean of Sugarcane juice is encircled by Śālmala-dvīpa twice its size in extent.

25. It should be known that there are seven mountains there, the source of jewels. They signify the different Varṣas. There are seven main rivers too.

26-27. The mountains are: Kumuda, Unnata, Balāhaka, Droṇa that abounds in great medicinal herbs, Kaṅka the fifth mountain, Mahiṣa the sixth and Kakudmān the seventh. Now, O brahmins I shall mention names of the rivers.

28. They are Śroṇī, Toyā, Vitṛṣṇā, Cakra, Śukrā, Vimocanī and Nivṛtti. Merely on being remembered they quell sins immediately.

29-32. The seven Varṣas are Śveta, Lohita, Jīmūta, Harita, Vaidyuta, Mānasa and Suprabha. These Varṣas contain the four Varṇas.

O excellent brahmins, in the Varṣas of Sālmala Dvīpa the Varṇas stay. They are Kapilas (tawny), Aruṇas (pink), Pītas (yellow) and Kṛṣṇas (black). They are brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras. They worship lord Viṣṇu, the lord of all, the unchanging Ātman, in the form of wind. They worship by performing sacrifices. They worship the lord stationed in Yojanas.

33. In this charming place there live Devas. Śālmalī is the tree which gives the continent its name.

34. This is encircled by the ocean of wine which in extent is equal to Śālmaladvīpa itself.

35. The ocean of wine is encircled by Kuśadvīpa twice the size of Śālmala in extent.

36-38. Jyotiṣmān is the overlord of Kuśadvīpa and has seven sons. They are Udbhida, Venuman, Svairatha, Randhana, Dhṛti, Prabhākara and Kapila. The Varṣa mountains are named after them. Human beings stay there along with the Daityas and Dānavas. So also stay Devas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Kimpuruṣas and others. There also live four Varṇas interested in carrying out their duties.

39. O excellent brahmins, they are Damins, Śuṣmins, Snehas and Mandehas. They are to be cited in order as brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras here.

40-42. Since their authority declines by the performance of holy rites the people in Kuśadvīpa worship Janārdana as Brahman and dispel Ugra, the fierce deity, the bestower of the benefit of Adhikāra.

O excellent brahmins, the following are the seven Varṣa mountains in that Dvīpa:—Vidruma, Hemaśaila, Dyutimān, Puṣṭimān, Kuśeśaya, Hari and Mandāra mountain.

43-44. The rivers are seven. Listen to their names in order. They are Dhūtapāpā, Śivā, Pavitrā, Sammati, Vidyudambhas, Mahī and unnamed river. All these dispel sins of the worshipper. There are thousands of other small rivers and mountains.

45. There is a stump of Kuśa grass in the Kuśa Dvīpa and this gives the continent its name. This Dvīpa is encircled by an ocean of ghee of an equal size.

46. The ocean of ghee is encircled by Krauñca Dvīpa. O excellent sages, Krauñcadvīpa is another great continent. May the account of the same be heard attentively.

47. It extends to twice the size of Kuśadvīpa In Krauñcadvīpa, Dyutimān is the over-lord and the noble Dyutimān had seven sons.

48-54. The king named Varṣas after the names of his sons. They were—Kuśaga, Mandaga, Uṣṇa, Pīvara, Andhakāraka, Muni and Dundubhi. O brahmins, these were bis seven sons.

O excellent sages, there are Varṣas, mountains very charming and frequented by Devas and Gandharvas. Now, I shall mention their names. They are Krauñca, Vāmana, Andhakāraka, Devavrata, Dama, Puṇḍarīkavana and the great mountain Dundubhi. The latter ones are twice in size of the previous ones. Just as one Dvīpa is twice another Dvīpa in size, the mountains also are twice in size. In these charming Varṣas and on these excellent Varṣa mountains the subjects live without agony along with the groups of Devas. O excellent brahmins, they are known as Puṣkalas and Puṣkaras. They are brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras cited in due order. O excellent sages, listen to the names of rivers which they drink from.

55-61. There are hundreds of local rivers but the following seven are chief:—Kumudvatī, Sandhyā, Rātri, Manojavā, Khyāti and Puṇḍarīkā. These seven are Varṣa rivers.

The lord Janārdana, in the form of Yogirudra is also worshipped there by the Varṇas, Puṣkara and others at the holding of a sacrifice.

The Krauñca Dvīpa is encircled all round by the ocean of the skin of curds of equal magnitude. O excellent sages, the ocean of the skim of curds is encircled by Śākadvīpa, whose magnitude is twice as that of Krauñca dvīpa.

Bhavya the noble lord of Śākadvīpa had seven sons and he gave them seven Varṣas.

The sons were—Jalada, Kumāra, Sukumāra, Manīraka, Kusumoda, Modaki and Mahādruma. The seven Varṣas, are named after their names in due order.

62-64. There are seven mountains in that continent which demarcate the boundary of Varṣas. The mountains are Udayagiri, Jaladhāra, Raivataka, Śyāma, Ambhogiri, Āstikeya and Kesarī the most excellent of all mountains.

Śāka is the great tree here. It is frequented by Siddhas and Gandharvas. On coming into contact with the wind blowing from its leaves, great delight is experienced.

65. Many realms are there consisting of four castes. Noble souls devoid of agony and calamity stay there.

66-67. There are highly meritorious rivers here. They dispel sins and fears thereof. They are:—Sukumārī, Kumārī, Nalinī, Reṇukā, Ikṣu, Dhenukā and Gabhasti. O excellent brahmins, there are ten thousands of other small rivers there.

68-70. There are hundreds and thousands of mountains also. Those who are stationed in clouds etc drink joyously the water of those rivers. The realms in the Varṣas are equipped with the fourth aim of life (i.e. liberation). The rivers too are holy and they descend to Earth from heaven. There is no loss of Dharma, no struggle, no sorrow. Nor is there any action repugnant to the limits of decency in those seven regions.

71-74. The four Varṇas are Magas, Māgadhas, Mānasas, and Mandagas. The Magas are brahmins; Magadhas are Kṣatriyas; Mānasas are Vaiśyas and Mandagas are Śūdras.

Viṣṇu, who has assumed the form of the sun is worshipped by the residents of Śākadvīpa by performing appropriate holy rites in the manner they are laid down. The residents have perfect control of their souls and minds.

O brahmins, Śākadvīpa is encircled by the ocean of milk of the size of Śākadvīpa. It is as though encircled by a girdle.

O brahmins, the ocean of milk is encircled by Puṣkaradvīpa.

75-76. Puṣkaradvīpa is twice as much as the Śākadvīpa in size.

In Puṣkaradvīpa the over-lord is Savana and his sons are Mahāvīta and Dhātaki. The two Varṣas are named after them—Mahāvīta and Dhātakikhaṇḍa.

77. O highly blessed ones, there is only one Varṣa mountain named Mānasottara. It is well renowned. It has the shape of a girdle. It is in the centre of Dvīpa.

78. It is fifty thousand Yojanas high and extends to many Yojanas. It is cylindrical in shape.

79. This mountain is so stationed that it appears to divide the circular Dvīpa in the middle. Hence, the two Varṣas are separated.

80. Each of the two halves is circular in shape and the great mountain is between them. Men there live upto ten thousand years.

81-84. They are devoid of ailments and sorrow. They are free from passion and hatred. O brahmins, there is no distinction of the base and excellent, of the killer and the killed among them. They do not have malice, jealousy, fear, fury, defect or greed and similar base qualities.

The Mahāvīta Varṣa adorned by the Dhātaki-khaṇḍa is frequented by Devas, Daityas and others on the Mānasottara mountain.

In that Dvīpa called Puṣkara there is neither truth nor falsehood. There are neither rivers nor mountains. Men have similar dresses and features. They are similar in form to Devas.

85. The continent is devoid of Varṇas, Āśramas and the conduct of life as such. It is devoid of holy rites. There is neither the Vedic lore, nor the Science of polity, neither business manual nor the code of service.

86. Consisting of two Varṣas, O brahmins, it is called the terrestrial heaven. The time passes happily with everyone devoid of old age and sickness.

87. Such is the situation O brahmins, in the Puṣkara, Dhātakikhaṇḍa and Mahāvīta.

In the Puṣkaradvīpa the holy fig tree is the excellent abode of Brahmā.

88-89. Brahmā stays there, worshipped by Devas and Asuras.

Puṣkara is encircled by the ocean of meat, water equal in size and extent to it.

Thus the seven Dvīpas are surrounded by the seven oceans.

90. The Dvīpa and the ocean that surrounds it are equal. The latter one is twice in size as the earlier one.

The water in each of these oceans remains always the same in volume.

91-94. They do not become less or more in the manner that water in a pot becomes less when heated by fire.

When the moon waxes, the water in the ocean does not increase. Waters move up or down in the same volume, neither more not less.

O excellent sages, during the moonrise and moonset in the two halves of the lunar month the waters of the ocean are seen moving up or down one thousand five hundred Aṅgulas.

The diet of the people in the Puṣkara Dvīpa comes to them by itself.

95-99. O brahmins, there the subjects enjoy foodstuffs of all the six tastes always.

All round the ocean of sweet water a world is seen stationed. It is twice the size of the ocean. The ground is golden but devoid of all creatures.

Beyond that is the mountain Lokāloka extending to ten thousand Yojanas. That mountain is as many thousand Yojanas in height also.

Beyond that is darkness. It has encircled the mountain all round. That darkness is enveloped by the cauldron of the Egg (Aṇḍakaṭāha).

This universe extends to fifty crores of Yojanas along with the Aṇḍakaṭāha, Dvīpas, oceans and mountains.

O excellent brahmins, this earth is the support of all worlds. It is superior to all other creations, it is noble and excellent.

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