The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes description of plaksha and other continents (dvipa) which is Chapter 19 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 19 - Description of Plakṣa and other continents (dvīpa)

Sūta said:

1. I shall succinctly recount (information about) the continent of Plakṣa[1] in the manner it really is. Listen to this, O excellent Brāhmaṇa even as I speak about it factually.

2. Its width is twice the width of Jambūdvīpa. Its round girth (perimeter) is twice its width.

3. The salty sea is encompassed by that continent. There the Janapadas (the countries or rural regions) are all sacred. People do not die for a long time.

4. Whence is the fear of famine there? (i.e. there is no fear of famine there). Whence is the fear of old age and sickness? There too, there are seven holy mountains bedecked in jewels.

5-6. They are the receptacle of precious gems. There are rivers also. I shall mention their names. In those five continents, viz.: Plakṣadvīpa and others, there are seven long and straight Varṣaparvatas (mountains belonging to the subcontinents) stationed in every quarter. I shall mention the seven extremely powerful (sub) continents in the Plakṣadvīpa.

7. Here the first mountain is Gomedaka. It is like the clouds. It is on account of its name that the sub-continent is also named Gomeda.

8. The second mountain is the Candra, which is endowed with all types of medicinal herbs. It is from here that medicinal herbs were collected by the brothers (Aśvins) for the sake of Amṛta (Nectar).

9. The third mountain is high and unscalable. It is named Nārada. It was on this mountain that Nārada and Parvata were born formerly.

10-11a. (Text partially defective) The fourth mountain there is named Dundubhi. It was on this mountain that the Asura Dundubhi, who had the boon of having death as he pleased, was formerly overpowered by the Devas. This demon had a great desire for swinging in a rope-swing on a Śālmali (silk cotton) tree and this brought about his death.

11b-12a. The fifth mountain is named Somaka, where nectar was formerly collected by the Devas. It was also brought by Garutman (Garuḍa) for the sake of his mother.

12b-13a. The sixth leading mountain is called by the name Sumanas. It was on this mountain that Hiraṇyākṣa was killed by the divine Boar.

13b-14. The seventh mountain there is Vaibhrāja. It is luminous. It is very lofty. It is crystalline. Since it shines with its rays, it is remembered as Vaibhraja.

I shall mention their sub-continents in due order and by their names.

15. The first sub-continent is Gomeda. It is remembered by the name Śāntabhaya (having all fears subdued). The subcontinent of (the mountain) Candra is named Śiśira. That of the Nārada is Sukhodaya.

16. Ānanda is the sub-continent of the Dundubhi. Śiva is remembered as the sub-continent of the Somaka. Kṣemaka is the sub-continent of the leading mountain (Sumanas) and Dhruva that of the Vaibhrāta.

17. In all these (sub-continents) the Devas, the Gandharvas and the Siddhas play and sport about along with the Cāraṇas. They are being seen along with them.

18. There are seven rivers in every one of the sub-continents. They flow into the seas. I shall mention these seven Gaṅgās by name, O ascetics.

19. The following are the seven excellent rivers, viz. the Anutaptā, the Sukhī, the Vipāśā, the Tridivā, the Kramu, the Amṛtā and the Sukṛtā.

20. Those rivers grow towards those places where Vāsava (i.e. Indra) showers (rains). They have plenty of water and (swift) currents. Thousands of other rivers flow into them.

21-22. The delighted people of these territories always drink (the waters of) these rivers. Those people, viz. the splendid Śāntabhayas, the joyous auspicious Śaiśiras, the Śivas, the Ānandas, the Sukhas and the Kṣemakas along with the Dhruvas. The subjects who have settled in them are endowed with the disciplined conduct and behaviour of the Varṇas (castes) and Āśramas (stages in life).

23. All the subjects were strong and free from ailments. They are devoid of sickness. Among them none deteriorates and no one goes high up in arrogance (or there is no evolutionary and involutionary eras.[2]

24. There is no peculiar state of affairs as pertaining to the Yugas, conditioned by the four Yugas. A period like Tretā yuga is perpetually present there.

25. These are the things to be understood in the five continents, Plakṣadvīpa etc. The assignment of period is in conformity with the conditions of the region.

26-27. It should be known that the people in these continents beginning with Plakṣadvīpa and ending with Śākadvīpa, are handsome, well-dressed, strong and free from sickness. They possess adequately happiness, long span of life, strength, handsome features, health and virtuousness. Men live upto five thousand years.

28-30. The continent of Plakṣadvīpa is prosperous and vast. All round, it abounds in wealth and food-grains. It abounds in divine medicinal herbs and fruits. It possesses all types of medicinal plants and herbs. Thousands of rural and wild animals of all varieties surround the regions. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, in its middle there is a great tree named Plakṣa. It has been reckoned on a par with the Jambū tree (in the continent Jambūdvīpa). The continent is named after that tree. In a place in. the middle of the inhabited country, it is worshipped by all the people.

31-32. That continent of Plakṣadvīpa is surrounded by a sea of sugarcane juice.[3] This sea is equal to Plakṣadvīpa in length and extent.

Thus the position of Plakṣadvīpa has been recounted to you all succinctly and in the proper order. Now understand the continent Śālmala.

33-34. Thereafter, I shall (now) recount the third excellent continent Śālmala.[4]

The ocean of sugarcane juice is encompassed by the continent Śālmala that is twice as much as Plakṣadvīpa in extent.

It should be known that there too are seven mountains that are the sources of precious stones.

35. In those seven sub continents even the rivers are sources of precious gems.

The first mountain is named Kumuda. It resembles the sun in brilliance.

36-37a. It stands with lofty peaks full of all minerals and rugged with clusters of cliffs.

The second mountain here is well known by the name Uttama. It encircles the firmament with its peaks full of Haritāla (yellow orpiment).

37b-38a. The third mountain there is well reputed as Balāhaka. It encircles the firmament with its peaks full of natural collyrium.

38b-39a. The fourth mountain is Droṇa and it is here that the great medicinal herbs Viśalyakaraṇī and Mṛtasañjīvinī (are found).

39b-40a. Kaṅka is the fifth mountain there. It rises up magnificently.

It is perpetually endowed with flowers and fruits. It is surrounded by tree and creepers.

40b-41a. The sixth mountain there is Mahiṣa. It is like a cloud. On it the water-originating fire named Mahiṣa lives.

41b-42. The seventh mountain there is called by the name Kakudmān. It is there that Vāsava saves duly from the subjects many precious gems and keeps them to himself and approaches Prajāpati with them.

43. Thus, these are the seven mountains in the Śālmala continent. They are bedecked in jewels. I shall mention their splendid sub-continents. They are only seven (in number).

44-48. The sub-continent of the mountain Kumuda is remembered as Śveta; that of Uttama is Lohita; that of Balāhaka is Jīmūta; Hārīta is remembered as (the sub-continent) of Droṇa. The sub-continent of Kaṅka is named Vaidyuta and that of Mahiṣa is Mānasa. The sub-continent of the Kakudmān is Suprada by name. These are the seven subcontinents and (the connected) mountains. Understand the rivers in them.

They are the Jyoti, Śānti, Tuṣṭā, Candrā, Śukrā, Vimocanī and Nivṛtti the seventh among them. They are remembered as the rivers in the different sub-continents. There are hundreds and thousands of other rivers flowing near them. No man is capable of counting their number.

Thus the situation of the continent Śālmala has been recounted to you.

49. In its middle there is a great Śālmali (silk cotton) tree reckoned on a par with the Plakṣa tree. It has large branches. The continent is named after the tree.

50. The Śālmala continent is surrounded on all sides by the sea of liquor that is equal to Śālmala in extent.

51. Listen to the subjects in the northern continents, O sages conversant with piety. Understand them even as I recount properly in the manner I have heard.

52-53. I shall recount the fourth continent Kuśadvīpa[5] succinctly. The sea of liquor is surrounded on all sides by Kuśadvīpa that is twice as much as Śālmala in extent. Understand the seven mountains there as they are being described.

54-. It should be known that the mountain Vidruma is the first mountain in the Kuśadvīpa; the second one is the mountain Hema.

55. The name of the third mountain is Dyutimān. It is a mountain resembling clouds. The fourth mountain is named Puṣpavān and the fifth one is Kuśeśaya.

56. The sixth one is Harigiri by name and the seventh is remembered as Mandara. The word (Manda means ‘waters’ and the mountain is called Mandara because it pierces or splits water.

57. Their internal diameter is twice as much as the cross-section (Pravibhāga).

The first sub-continent is Udbhida and the second one is Veṇumaṇḍala.

58. The third sub-continent is Rathākāra and the fourth one is remembered as Lavaṇa. The fifth one is Dhṛtimad Varṣa and the sixth Varṣa is Prabhākara.

59. The seventh one is named Kapila. In all those (subcontinents) the Devas and the Gandharvas are the sanctifiers of the Varṣas and the subjects[6] are the lords of the universe (?)

60. They play and sport about everywhere in great delight. There are neither robbers nor Mleccha (barbarous) tribes in them.

61-62. The people are mostly white-complexioned and they pass away in the due order (i.e. the younger ones only-after the older ones).

There too the rivers are seven. They are—Dhūtapādā, Śivā, Pavitrā, Santati, Vidyut, Dambhā and Mahī. There are hundreds and thousands of rivers other than these. They are not well known.

63-64. All those flow to that place where Vāsava showers: Externally the Kuśadvīpa is incircled by the sea of ghee (clarified butter). It should be known that the sea of ghee is equal to Kuśadvīpa in extent.

Thus the situation and position of Kuśadvīpa has been recounted to you all.

65. Hereafter, I shall recount the extent of Krauñca dvīpa.[7] It is remembered to be twice as much as Kuśadvīpa in extent.

66-69. The sea with ghee as its liquid content is in contact with Krauñcadvīpa.

In that continent, the excellent mountain Krauñca is the first mountain. Beyond the Krauñca is the Vāmana and beyond Vāmana is the Andhakāra. Beyond Andhakāra is the mountain named Divāvṛt. The excellent mountain Dvivida is beyond Divāvṛt. The great mountain Puṇḍarīka is beyond Dvivida. The Dundubhisvana is mentioned as the mountain beyond Puṇḍarīka.

These are the seven mountains of the continent Krauñcadvīpa. They are full of precious gems.

70. They are covered with different kinds of trees and creepers endowed with plenty of flowers and fruits. They are twice as much as each other in extent. They increase the delight of residents.

71-74. I shall recount the sub-continents thereof by name. Understand them.

The land (i.e. Varṣa) pertaining (adjacent) to Krauñca is Kuśala; that of Vāmana is Manonuga; Uṣṇa is mentioned as the third Varṣa and it is beyond Manonuga. Pīvaraka is beyond Uṣṇa and Andhakāra is beyond Pīvara. Munideśa (land of the sages) is remembered by the learned men as the land beyond Andhakāra. Dundubhisvana is mentioned as the land beyond Munideśa. The land is populated by Siddhas and Cāraṇas. The people are remembered as mostly white complexioned. There too the rivers are remembered as seven in number in every sub-continent. They are splendid.

75. The seven rivers Gaurī, Kumudvatī, Sandhyā, Rātri, Manojavā, Khyāti and Puṇḍarīka are remembered as Gaṅgā.

76. There are thousands of other rivers flowing near them and approaching them (i.e. flowing into them like tributaries). They are large with plenty of water.

77. The glorious Krauñca Dvīpa is surrounded on all sides by the sea with curds and whey as its liquid content. This sea is equal to the Krauñca Dvīpa in extent.

78-79. The Plakṣadvīpa and other continents have been succinctly recounted. It is impossible to describe in due order the natural features of all these continents in detail even in the course of hundreds of years according to divine reckoning. It is difficult to describe in detail the creation and annihilation of the subjects therein.

80. I shall recount Śākadvīpa[8] definitely as it exists. Listen even as I recount factually and realistically.

81. Its extent is twice as much as that of Krauñca Dvīpa. It stands encircling the sea with curds and whey as its liquid content.

82. There the territories of the general public are very sacred. The people die after a long life. Whence is there famine among them? (i.e. they do not experience famine). Whence is the fear from old age and sickness?

83. There too there are only seven splendid mountains bedecked in jewels. The seven rivers are sources of origin of precious gems. Listen to their names from me.

84. The first mountain Meru is said to possess (i.e. to be inhabited by) the Devas, the sages and the Gandharvas. The mountain named Udaya is golden and it extends towards the east.

85-86. The clouds take their origin there or go there for the sake of rain. To the west of it is the extremely great high mountain Jaladhara from which Vāsava perpetually receives a large supply of water. Therefore, it pours showers among the subjects during the rainy season.

87. To the north of it is the Raivataka, where the constellation Revatī is perpetually established in the firmament as ordained by Lord Brahmā.

88. To the west of it is the extremely great mountain named Śyāma. Due to it, it is said, that the subjects here attained darkness of complexion formerly.

89. To the west of it, it is remembered, is the great silvery mountain Aṣṭagiri. To the west thereof is the “impossable mountain” (Durgaśaila), the great mountain belonging to Ambikā (Ambikeya) (but Āmbikeya in Vā.p. 49.83)

90. To the west of Āmbikeya is the beautiful mountain Kesarin equipped with all medicinal herbs. It is from this that Vayu, the Prajāpati, became possessed of Kesara[9]?

91. The first Varṣa (sub-continent) is (away) from the mountain Udaya. That great Varṣa is remembered as ‘Jalada’. The second (Varṣa) of Jaladhara is remembered as Sukumāra.

92. The (Varṣa) of Raivata is Kaumāra; that of Śyāma is Maṇīvaka. The splendid sub-continent of the Asta mountain should be known as Kusumottara.

93-95. The sub-continent of the mountain Āmbikeya is Modaka and that of Kesara is Mahādruma. The dimensions of the continent such as narrowness, length etc. is to be reckoned in accordance with the Krauñca Dvīpa. The great tree, the emblem of that continent is Śāka by name and it has great height. It has great following (?) It deserves worship[10]. The territories of the rural folk are holy. They are endowed with the system of Cāturvarṇya (having the four castes). The rivers too are extremely sacred (like) Gaṅgā. They are of seven, varieties (i.e. they are seven in number).

96. They are:—Sukumārī, Kumārī, Nalinī, Veṇukā, Ikṣu, Veṇukā[11] (?) and the seventh one Gabhasti.

97. There are other rivers too, thousands of them with sacred waters and cool currents. They are splendid rivers flowing in the places where Vāsava showers.

98. Neither their names nor their magnitude can be adequately understood or fully enumerated. Those excellent rivers are very holy.

99. The delighted folks of the clime, O Śaṃśapāyana, drink the (waters of those) rivers. This continent is vast and is situated in the form of a wheel.

100. It is covered with the waters of the rivers and mountains that resemble clouds, that are wonderful and variegated by means of all sorts of minerals and that are embellished with jewels and corals.

101. It is endowed with different kinds of cities and flourishing rural territories. The trees therein are laden with flowers and fruits all round (the year) and the continent abounds in wealth and food grains.

102. It is surrounded on all sides by the sea with milk for its liquid content. The sea is equal to Śākadvīpa in its extent.

103. Therein, the rural regions, the mountains, and the rivers are splendid and sacred. The lands (sub-continents) are fully inhabited by persons following the discipline of the four castes and the stages of life. They (the sub-continents), are seven in number.

104. In those sub-continents there is no clash of castes or mixed castes. Since Dharma is practised unswervingly, the subjects enjoy exclusive happiness.

105. There is no greediness amongst them nor the eagerness for deception as a result of rivalry and jealousy. There is no adversity among them. Everything is extremely natural and timely.

106. In them there is no acquisition (imposition) of taxes. There is neither punishment nor persons worthy of being punished. They are conversant with virtue and piety. They protect one another by means of their adherence to their own respective duties.

107. Only this much can be described in regard to that continent. Only this much need be heard in regard to the residents of Śākadvīpa.

108-111. I shall describe Puṣkara[12] the seventh continent. Understand it. The ocean with milk as its liquid content is externally surrounded on all sides by the continent Puṣkara[12] which is twice as much as the Śākadvīpa in extent. There is only one glorious mountain with huge rocky cliffs. It possesses peaks, clusters of cliffs of various (sizes and shapes), full of precious jewels. It is extremely lofty and it has variegated ridges. This great mountain has diversified ridges in the eastern half of the continent. It is very extensive—of twenty-five thousand (Yojanas)—with a number of ridges. It rises up from the ground level upto thirty-four thousand (Yojanas).

112. The mountain range Mānasottara covers half of the continent. It is situated near the sea-shore just like the rising moon.

113. It rises upto a height of fifty thousand Yojanas. Its circular extent allround is also the same (number of Yojanas.)

114. The same mountain is known as Mānasa in the western half of the continent. There is only one great mountain of inherent strength situated in two parts.

115. The continent is surrounded on all sides by the sea with sweet water as its liquid content. This sea is as extensive on all sides as the continent of Puṣkaradvīpa.

116-117. It is remembered that there are two splendid and sacred countries on that continent. They are opposite to the two ranges of the mountain Mānasa. The sub-continent Mahāvīta is outside the Mānasa mountain range. It is said that Dhātakīkhaṇḍa is on its inner side.

118. The men there live for ten thousand years. They are free from sickness. They have plenty of pleasurable experiences. They have attained mental powers (to a great extent).

119. The span of life and the handsome features of all the people in both the Varṣas are declared to be the same. There is no distinction among them as superior or inferior. They are equal in features and conduct.

120. There is neither a robber nor an oppressor. There is no jealousy nor the fear of malicious envy. There is neither seizure nor the meting out of punishment. There is neither covetousness nor (secret) acceptance (of gifts).

121. There is no (such distinction as) truth and falsehood or virtue and evil (i.e. all are truthful and virtuous). There is no agricultural activity or breeding of cattle or trade routes.

122. The three Vedas, the (fourteen) Vidyās, the system of civil and criminal administration, the desire to serve and arts and crafts—all these are not present in either of the two sub-continents of Puṣkara.

123. There is neither rain nor (the flow of) rivers. There is neither chillness nor hot atmosphere. There are no water fountains breaking through (the ground) here. There are no mountain cascades or springs.

124. The season there is just the same as in the northern Kurus. The people are well pleased and contented in all the seasons. They are devoid of the onslaught of old age.

125. Thus the entire mode of activity and life in the Dhātakīkhaṇḍa and Mahāvīta in the continent of Puṣkara has been recounted in the due order.

126. The continent Puṣkara is surrounded by the sea with sweet water for its liquid content. This sea is equal to Puṣkara in extent and circumference.

127. Thus, the seven continents are surrounded by the seven seas. The sea that is immediately after a continent is equal to that continent.

128. Thus, the mutual increase in size, of the continents and the seas should be understood. The sea is called Samudra on account of the Samudreka[13] (the state of being plentiful) of the waters.

129. The sub-continent is called Varṣa[14] because the four types of subjects enter (Viśanti) or live (Nivasanti) in it and also because it accords pleasure unto the subjects.

130. The root √ṛṣ means “to sport about” and the root √vṛṣ means “to strengthen.” Since the sub-continent enables the people to sport about and to stengthen their power for sexual dalliance, it is called Varṣa.

131. The sea is always filled (is in flow-tide) in the bright half along with the increase in the size of the moon. When the moon wanes and decreases in size in the dark half, the sea also subsides.

132. It is natural that the sea gets filled when it fills itself. When it becomes reduced it gets reduced (withdrawn) in itself.

133. Just as the water in the boiler appears to increase due to its contact with fire, so also the water in the great ocean becomes increased by itself naturally.

134. During the bright and dark fortnights when the moon rises and sets, the waters in the sea increase and decrease in a quantity that is neither more nor less than usual.

135. The increase and decrease in the quantity of water of the sea in accordance with the increase and decrease in the size of the moon is five hundred and ten Aṅgulas.

136. During the Parvan days the increase and decrease of the waters of the ocean can be seen. The continents surrounded everywhere by water are remembered as Dvīpas because of Dvirāpkatva (i.e. the state of having water on either side.

137. The sea is called udadhi[15] because it is the ultimate rest (Ayana) of water (Udaka).[15] Mountains without knotty ridges are remembered as Giris and those with them are Parvatas.

138. The mountain Gomeda in the Plakṣadvīpa is therefore called Parvata. The Śālmali (Silk-cotton tree) is worshipped by persons of great holy rites in the continent Śālmaladvīpa.[16]

139. In the Kuśadvīpa, the stump of Kuśa grass is (worshipped) and it is called after its name. In the Krauñcadvīpa there is the mountain Krauñca in the middle of the clime.

140. The main tree in the Śāka Dvīpa is Śāka and it is called after its name. In the Puṣkaradvīpa, the Nyagrodha (holy fig tree) is bowed to by the inhabitants therein.

141. The great lord Brahmā, the overlord of the three worlds is worshipped there. Brahmā, the Prajāpati, lives in that (sub-continent) along with the Sādhyas.

142. There, the thirty-three Devas perform the worship along with the great sages. That lord, the most excellent of all the Devas is worshipped there by the Devas.

243-144. Different kinds of jewels and precious gems originate (are quarried) in Jambūdvīpa.

In all these continents, the size of the subjects is respectively twice those of the earlier ones on account of the span of life and state of health, their adherence to celibacy, truthfulness and control of the sense-organs.

145. The self-born lord protects the subjects both the sluggish as well as scholarly in the two sub-continents that had been mentioned in the Puṣkaradvīpa.

146. Raising up his rod of chastisement, lord Brahmā, the overlord of the three worlds, protects the subjects. That lord is the Minister of Viṣṇu. He is the father and grandfather.

147. The subjects always take in the meal that approaches them (automatically) by itself. The meal has great nutritive value and it consists of all the six tests.

148. The great sea with sweet water as its liquid content envelops the halves of Puṣkara. The sea encircles it all round.

149. Beyond it, appears the existence of a great world. It is golden. The entire ground is like a single rocky slab. It is twice as large as the sea.

150. Beyond that world is a mountain that is circular at the terminals. It is partially visible and partially invisible. It is called Lokāloka.

151. On this side of that Mountain is all brightness and beyond it is all darkness. Its height is remembered as ten thousand Yojanas.

152. Its extent is also that much. It can go over the earth as he pleases. The Āloka (brightness) is in the midst of worldly activities and the absence of brightness (i.e. darkness) is beyond the mundane.

153. All the worlds are included in the half that is bright and the dark regions are external ones. The (region having the absence of brilliance outside extends all round to the extent of the worlds within.

154. It is circumscribed all round. It is encircled by water. (That portion) beyond the brilliant region stands encircling the cosmic egg.

155-156. These worlds and the earth consisting of the seven continents are within the cosmic egg. The worlds are Bhūrloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Mahas, Jana, Tapas and Satya lokas. This much constitutes the group of worlds. This much alone need be known about the ultimate end of the worlds and the great expanse beyond.

157. In the beginning of the bright half of the lunar month the moon appears as though it rests on a pot (i.e. is crescent-shaped) in the western quarter. The body of the cosmic egg too is like that.

158. It should be known that there are thousands and crores of cosmic eggs like this, above, below and sideways. The cause of origin thereof is the unchanging Ātman.

159. Each of these is encircled by seven Dharaṇas[17] (? Varaṇas—coverings) evolved of the Prakṛti. In groups of ten or more (?), they sustain one another.

160. All of them are encircled mutually and are evolved mutually. All round this Aṇḍa (Cosmic egg) is situated the Ghanodadhi—sea of solidified waters.

161-163. It stands, on being held all round by Vanoda (? Mistake for Ghanada), solidified water.

The circular zone of the solidified water stands on being held by Tejas (fiery matter) all round, sideways and above. This fiery matter is like a ball of iron. It has a circular shape.

It stands on being held all round by solidified air. Similarly, it is the ether that holds and sustains the solidified air.

164. The Bhūtādi (the cosmic Ego) holds the ether and Mahān (the great principle) sustains (supported) by the Infinite principle, the Avyakta (the unmanifest one).

165-168. It is endless and unmanifest. It is subtle in ten ways (?). It is boundless It is non-self-possessed. It has neither a beginning nor an end. When compared with the supreme Being, it is non-permanent. It is Aghora (not terrible). It has no support. It is free from ailment. It is many thousand Yojanas away. It is non-concealed. It is darkness itself. It has no brilliance. It is unlimited. It has no space (or support). It is unknown even unto the Devas. It is devoid of all activities. It is well known as the extremity of darkness. It is non-brilliant at the extremity of the ether. It is within the limit. It is the great abode of the lord.

169-170. The Śruti says that that divine abode is inaccessible to the Devas. The regions well-known to the learned ones are called ‘Loka’s. They are situated within the jurisdiction of the great lord of the Devas. The regions which are beneath the Moon and the sun, are called the worlds of the universe, by the wise.

171. The nether-worlds beneath the Rasātala are seven in number and those above them are also seven in number. O Brāhmaṇas, there are seven Skandhas (layers) of the wind along with the Brahmasadana (abode of Brahmā).

172. Its movement is five-fold from the Pātāla (Netherworld) to the heaven. This is the extent of the universe. This is the ocean of worldly existence.

173. The Living beings, originating from many species go about (here and there). They are beginningless and endless. The Prakṛti stationed in (resting on) the Brahman is the cause of the universe. It is mysterious and variegated.

174. The creation of the lord is extensive. It is not comprehended even by the Siddhas, of great fortune and nobility who can understand things beyond the pale of sense-organs.

175-176. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, there is neither decline or decay nor transformation, nor end of the earth water, fire, wind, ether, darkness, mind and the infinite body. This is endless everywhere. So it is cited in wisdom.

177-179. Previously his name has been mentioned by me while recounting the names (of deities). It is he who has been wholly glorified by the name of Padmanābha. He is omnipresent. He is worshipped in all abodes, viz. on the earth, the nether-worlds, the firmament, the wind and the fire. Undoubtedly He is worshipped in all the seas and in the heaven. This self-same Lord of great splendour is worshipped in darkness as well, it should be known.

180. Lord Janārdana is a great Yogin. His limbs are divided in many ways. This lord of the worlds is worshipped in all the worlds in diverse ways.

181. Thus the worlds born of each other are sustained mutually. These Vikāras (products or effects) of the Avikārin (that which does not undergo change or distortion) are sustained by their relationship of the supporter and the supported.

182. The earth etc. are the Vikāras (effects). They are restricted by each other. They are superior to each other and they have penetrated mutually.

183. Since they have been created mutually, they have attained stability. In the beginning they were without Viśeṣas. They are called Viśeṣas because they qualify others.

184. The three (Elements) beginning with the earth and ending with Vahni (fire){GL_NOTE::} are limited ones. In view of the essence of the increase of qualities, they have Pariccheda (exact determinateness, concrete state) in particular.

185. The accurate decision or judgement about the remaining principles is not perceived, owing to their subtleness (Śaukṣmya). That earth is remembered as Vyālokā (something that has a special brilliance?) beyond all these other elements.

186-187. All the Bhūtas (elements) are circumscribed on all sides (and hence accommodated) in the space, (or firmament) just as in a big vessel smaller vessels are accommodated and due to their mutual support become smaller (to each other). Similarly, the different elements are considered ensconsced in the lustre of the firmament.

188. The whole of these four elements are bigger and superior to one another. As long as these elements exist the period of creation lasts to that extent.

189. It is as though like an interturning of threads that the different elements are considered enmeshed into one another. There can be no generation of an effect if Bhūtas (elements) are excluded.

190. Hence, the differences which are of the nature of effects are declared to be limited. The differences such as Mahat and others are of the nature of cause.

191. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the real situation comprising of the seven, continents, oceans etc. has been recounted by me topic by topic as it exists—(realistically).

192. The partial transformation of the Pradhāna with the cosmic form has been mentioned in detail. The zones have been enumerated.

193. This entire universe is presided over by the glorious Lord. Thus the seven groups of elements have mutually penetrated.

194. Only this much of the situation (of the universe) can be recounted by me. Only this much has to be heard (i.e. listened to and understood) in regard to the situation of the earth and things connected with it.

195. These seven Prakṛtis sustain one another. I am not able to enumerate them with reference to their extents and dimensions.

196. The Prakṛtis are innumerable, above, below and at the sides. The situation of the constellations is in firmament in different zones and regions.

197. The situation of the earth is thereafter in the form of circle or globe.

Henceforth, O clever ones, I shall recount the situation of the earth.

Footnotes and references:


This dvīpa is next to Jambūdvīpa. Its name Plakṣa (a fig tree) indicates a land of warm temperate climate. M.Ali, ‘without hesitations’, identifies this with the basin of the Mediterranean (Geog. of Purāṇas, p. 41). The name Plakṣa still persists as Placia, a town in Myria.


The terms Utsarpiṇī and Avasarpiṇī are the Jain terms to indicate time-cycles. Utsarpiṇī is the ascending cycle and Avasarpiṇī is the descending cycle. They are divided into six stages each viz. good-good, good, good-baḍ, bad-good, bad, bad-bad (MW p. 105). The use of Jaina terms like those of the Buddhists in a Brahmanical work is not impossible. The next verse explains this by assuming the existence of a perpetual Tretā yuga.


The Ikṣu is the river Oxus. The river is taken as a sea (De, p.179). Can it be regarded as a boundary surrounding Plakṣadvīpa?


Puranic description of Śālmala dvīpa leads, M. AU to identify it with tropical Africa bordering on the Indian ocean, including Madagasgar.


After detailing the main features of Kuśa dvīpa M. Ali concludes that it is identifiable with the tropical grass-lands viz. Iran, Irac and the fringing lands of hot desert, op. cit. (pp. 40-41).


Vā.P.49.54a. reads prabhānu (they are like the lords of the universe) in brilliance. A better reading.


M. AK examines the description of this Dvīpa from different sources and concludes that “the Krauñca dvīpa of the Purāṇas is represented by the basin of the Black Sea”. (op. cit. pp. 45-46)


Strangely enough, two scholars come to different conclusions about the location of Śākadvīpa. M. Ali identifies it with the Monsoon lands of Asia where teak abounds viz. Malaya, Siam, Indo-China and southern China, while De identifies it with Tartary including Turkestan in central Asia (pp. 172-173).


Vā.P.49.74 reads: sa caiva Keśarītyukto yato Vāyuḥ pravāyati. ‘That mountain is designated as Keśarin, whence the wind blows (all over the world).


Vā.P.49.77b reads: Tasya pūjām prayunjate for Bd.P.’s tasya pūjyā mahānugāḥ.


Though the list of the seven rivers of this continent is somewhat different in Vā.P. 49.91-94., the reading Dhenukā from that list may be accepted here to avoid repetition of Veṇukā in the list of seven rivers in this text.


Puṣkara is identified by M. Ali with Japan, Manchuria and the South-eastern. Siberia op. cit. (pp. 42-44), while De identifies it with a portion of central Asia from the north of the Oxus including Western Tartary. Puṣkara is a Sanskritisation of Bhushkara or Bokhara, op. cit. (p. 163).


A popular etymology of Samudra ‘a sea’.


Varṣa ‘a sub-continent’ is traced to—viś—‘to enter’, nivas, ‘to live’,—ṛṣ—‘to sport’ and—vṛṣ—‘to strengthen’.


Etymology of udadhi ‘a sea’.


VV 138-140 explain why particular continents are named Śālmala, Krauñca, etc.


Vā.P.49.152b reads Kāraṇaiḥ ‘By causes’.

Note: This is the Puranic concept of protective ‘sheaths’ round the universe (Brahmāṇḍa). The influence of Sāṅkhya categories is obvious.


The reading in the printed text is vādyanta which is meaningless. It should be vahnyanta in view of the mention of three elements.

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