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 25 - Bhārata Subcontinent

Brahmā said:

1. O sages, you listen to what 1 am going to say now. It is a splendid ancient traditional account connected with the Vedas. It grants worldly pleasures and salvation.

2. The Bhārata sub-continent is the land of holy rites in the whole of the earth. Heaven and hell are the lands for reaping the fruit of those holy rites.

3. O brahmins, by committing sins or performing holy rites in that subcontinent a man necessarily attains the fruit thereof whether auspicious or inauspicious.

4. There is no doubt that by performing their ordained duties in that sub-continent, the brahmins and others of perfect self-control attain the highest success.

5. O excellent brahmins, in that Varṣa, a person of self-control attains everything viz. virtue, wealth, love and liberation.

6. O excellent brahmins, Indra and other Devas have attained the status of a deity after performing splendid holy rites in that sub-continent.

7. Other men too had attained salvation in that Varṣa. They had control over their organs. They were devoid of passion and indecent rivalry.

8. Those persons who are devoid of ailments and who stay in heaven with aerial chariots had previously performed splendid holy rites in that land of Bharata and had attained heaven thereby.

9. Devas do always wish for a residence in Bhārata that yields the benefit of heavenly pleasures and liberation. They often spoke “O when shall we visit Bharata”.

10-13. O most excellent one among Devas, it has just been stated by you that except in Bhārata, rites holy or unholy are not conducive to meritorious or sinful results. But it seems likely that holy rites are not enjoined on men elsewhere. Hence, O Brahmā, recount Bhārata to us in detail, if you are kind to us. O lord, mention everything, how this sub-continent is situated. What are the continent mountains here? What are its divisions.

Brahmā said:

14. Listen, O brahmins, the Bhārata sub-continent has nine sub-divisions which are separated by oceans. They are equal to one another.

15-16. They are Indradvīpa, Kaseru, Tāmravarṇa (? Tāmraparṇa), Gabhastimān, Nāgadvīpa, Saumya, Gandharva and Varuṇa. Bhārata surrounded by the ocean is the ninth among them. The island extends from south to north and is one thousand Yojanas long.

17. In the east of it, the Kirātas stay. The Yavanas stay in the west. O brahmins, the Brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras stay in the middle.

18-20. They are sanctified by holy rites and worldly pursuits as sacrifice, warfare, trading. Their general behaviour is intelligible through their activities, which cause heavenly pleasures and liberation. They incur merit and sin thereby.

There are seven Kula mountains viz., Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śūktimān, Ṛkṣa, Vindhya and Pāriyātra. There are thousauds of other mountains nearby.

21 -24. They are vast, lofty and beautiful. They are immense. Their ridges are of wonderful and variegated nature. They are Kolāhala, Vaibhrāja, Mandara, Dardala, Vātādhvaga, Daivata, Maināka, Surasa, Tuṅgaprastha, Nāga, Godhana, Pāṇḍura, Puṣpa, Vaijayanta, Raivata, Arbuda, Ṛṣyamūka, Gomantha, Kṛtaśaila, Śrī Cakora and hundreds of other mountains. The populated realms are interspersed with these mountains. The Mlecchas live in parts of this territory.

25-27. Excellent waters of these rivers are drunk by those people. O excellent brahmins, know these rivers.

The following rivers rise from the foot of the Himavān:—Gaṅgā, Sarasvatī, Sindhu, Candrabhāgā, Yamunā, Śatadrū, Vipāśā, Vitastā, Airāvatī, Kuhū, Gomatī, Dhūtapāpā, Bāhudā, Dṛṣadvatī, Devikā, Cakṣu, Niṣṭhīvā, Gaṇḍakī and Kauśikī.

28-29. The following rivers originate from the Pāriyātra mountain:—Devasmṛti, Devavatī, Vātaghni, (Kālī) Sindhu, Venya, Candana, Sadānīrā, Mahī, Carmaṇvatī, Vṛṣī, Vidiśā, Vetravatī, Śiprā and Dravantī.

30-32. The following rivers originate from the foot of Ṛkṣa mountain:—

Śoṇā, Mahānadī, Narmadā, Surathā, Kriyā, Mandākinī, Daśārṇā, Citrakūṭā, Citrotpalā, Vetravatī, Karamodā, Piśācikā, Atilaghuśroṇī, Vipāśā, Śaivalā, Samerujā, Śuktimatī, Śakunī, Tridivā and Kramu.

33-34. The following rivers have their source in the foothills of the Vindhya mountain:—Śiprā, Payoṣṇī, Nirvindhyā, Tāpī, Veṇā, Vaitaraṇī, Sinīvālī, Kumudvatī, Toyā, Mahāgaurī, Durgā and Antaḥśilā. These rivers are splendid and their waters are holy.

35-40. The following excellent rivers originate from the foot of Sahya mountain:—Godāvarī, Bhīmarathī, Kṛṣṇavāṇi, Tuṅgabhadrā, Suprayogā, and Pāpanāśinī.

The holy rivers of cool waters rising from the Malaya mountain are Kṛtamālā, Tāmraparṇī, Puṣpavatī and Utpalavatī.

The following rivers originate from the Mahendra mountain: Pitṛsomā, Ṛṣikulyā, Vañjulā, Tridivā, Lāṅgalinī and Vaṃśakarā.

The following rivers take their source from the mountain Śuktimān:—The Suvikālā, Kumārī, Mandagā, Mandagāminī, Kṣayā and Payoṣṇī.

These rivers are holy. They are on a par with Sarasvatī and Gaṅgā. They fall into the sea. They are the mothers of the universe. They may dispel sins. O excellent brahmins, there are thousands of other small rivers too.

41-42. Some of them Sow during the rainy season (with plenty of water). Some of them are perennial rivers.

The Middle lands consist of the following climes:—Matsyas, Kumudamālyas, Kratulas, Kāśi, Kośalas, Āndhras, Kaliṅgas, Maśakas and Vṛkas. These are the main realms.

43. That spot of land to the north of Sahya where the river Godāvarī flows is the most charming in the entire earth.

44-50. The city of Govardhana, the residence of the noble Bhārgava is, indeed, very beautiful.

The following lands contain Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras:—Vāhīkas,[1] Rāṭadhānas, Sutīras, Kālatoyadas, Aparāntas, Śūdras, Bāhlikas[2], Keralas, Gandhāras, Yavanas, Sindhus, Sauvīras, Madrakas, Śatadruhas, Kaliṅgas, Pāradas, Haribhūṣikas, Maṭharas, Kanakas, Kaikeyas, Dambhamālikas.

The following realms comprise the northern lands:—

O brahmins, they are Kāmbojas, Barbaras, Laukikas, Vīras, Tuṣāras, Pahlavas, Dhāyatas (?), Ātreyas, Bharadvājas, Puṣkalas, Daśerakas, Lampakas, Śunaśokas, Kulikas, Jāṅgalas, Oṣadhis, Calacandras, Kirātas, Tomaras, Haṃsamārgas, Kāśmiras, Karuṇas, Śūlikas, Kuhakas, and Māgadhas—These are the northern climes. Now understand the eastern climes.

51-53. Andhas, Vāmāṅkurakas, Vallakas, Makhāntakas, Aṅgas, Vaṅgas, Maladas, Mālavartikas, Bhadratuṅgas, Pratijayas, Bhāryāṅgas, Apamardakas, Prāgjyotiṣas, Madras, Videhas, Tāmraliptakas, Mallas, Magadhakas, and Nandas—these are the eastern realms.

54-57. There are other climes, those of the Southern-region: The Pūrṇas, Kevalas, Golāṅgulas, Ṛṣīkas, Mūṣikas, Kumāras, Rāmaṭhas, Śakas, Mahārāṣṭras, Māhiṣakas, Kaliṅgas, Ābhīras, Vaiśikyas, Aṭavyas, Sarvas, Pulindas, Mauleyas, Vaidarbhas, Daṇḍakas, Paulikas, Maulikas, Aśmakas, Bhojavardhanas, Kaulikas, Kuntalas, Dambhakas and Nīlakālakas.

These are the Southern realms. Now understand the Western climes:—

58-62. The Śūrpārakas, Kālidhanas, Lolas, Tālakaṭas etc are the residents of Western climes.

Listen to the residents of Vindhya mountains:—The Malajas, Karkaśas, Melakas, Colakas, Uttamarṇas, Daśārṇas, Bhojas, Kiṣkindhakas, Toṣalas, Kośalas, Traipuras, Vaidiśas, Tumburas, Caras, Yavanas, Pavanas, Abhayas, Ruṇḍikeras, Carcaras, Hotravartis.—these are the realms and peoples residing on Vindhya mountains.

Henceforth, I shall mention the climes founded on mountains.

63-66. They are the Nīhāras, Tuṣamārgas, Kurus, Tuṅgaṇas, Khasas, Karṇaprāvaraṇas, Ūrṇas, Darghas, Kuñcakas, Citramārgas, Mālavas, Kirātas and Tomaras.

The Yugas, Kṛta, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali are followed here. The injunctions befitting the four Yugas ate strictly adhered to:

Such is the Bhārata subcontinent situated with its subdivisions. There is a great ocean to its South West and East. The Himālaya mountain stands to its north like the string of a great bow.

O excellent brahmins this Bhārata is the seed of everything.

67-68. It is the cause of different states such as the state of Brahmā, the state of Amareśa (Indra), the state of Devas, Maruts, animals, Yakṣas, Apsaras serpents, reptiles, and immobile beings. O brahmins, people attain these states as a result of their merits or demerits. O brahmins, there is no other holy place of rites in all these worlds.

69. O brahmins, this is the perpetual desire of all Devas—“If we are to fall off from the status of Devas onto the Earth may we attain Bhārata as the place of our birth”.

70. What men do cannot be done by Devas and Asuras. Men are engaged in holy rites while Devas and Asuras are eager to obviate their Karman.

71. O brahmins, in the whole of the Earth there is no other sub-continent equal to Bhārata where different Varṇas—Brahmins, Kṣatriyas and others attain their cherished goal.

72. Excellent men who are highly blessed are born in Bhārata. They derive the benefits of virtue, love, wealth and liberation.

73-78. O brahmins, who is competent to narrate the excellent qualities of Bhārata? It is there that the rare benefit of austerities is attained. The fruit of all charitable gifts, all sacrifices, pilgrimage to holy centres, service to the elders and preceptors, rites of propitiation of Deities, the benefit of life of a householder, different holy rites, different sacred scriptures, practice of the virtue of non violence, the benefit of all cherished desires, the fruit of a celibate life, the benefit of self-study of the Vedas, tḥe fruits of residence in the forest, that of the life of a recluse, the benefit of digging wells, etc. and performing sacrifices and the benefit of other holy rites—these are attained only in Bharata, nowhere else. O excellent brahmins, Devas are always delighted in wishing for a splendid life there.

79-80. Thus the excellent Bhārata sub-continent has been adequately recounted by me. It dispels all sins; it is holy and is conducive to the attainment of wealth. It enhances intellect and wisdom.

He who controls his sense-organs and listens to this account or repeats the same shall be liberated from sins and shall attain the world of Viṣṇu.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Vāhīka-Bāhīka. The term refen to the people of Punjab who were shut out by the Sarasvatī, Kurukṣetra and other natural features from the central country which remained true to Brahmanism. The term is also applicable to the people who were thought to be impure and contemptible for not observing the rules prescribed for the fourfold society of Aryan people.

[2]:

VāhlikaBāhlīka—Bālhīka. Balkh or ancient Bactrians. But there were two tribes of Vāhlikas—one settled in the plains of Punjab between Chenab and Sutlej rivers and the other among the lower slopes of the Himālayas, between Chenab and Bias.

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