The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes Geography of the World which is chapter 53 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 53 - Geography of the World

Sūta said:—

1. There are seven important mountains in each of the seven Dvīpas beginning with Plakṣa. They extend straight in all directions and form the boundaries of the great continents.

2-4. I shall mention the seven great mountains in the Plakṣadvīpa. The first mountain is Gomedaka; the second is Cāndra; the third is Nārada; the fourth is Dundubhi; the fifth is Somaka; the sixth Sūmanas, the same is called Vaibhava; the seventh is Vaibhrāja. These are the seven important mountains in the Plakṣa Dvīpa.

5-9. There are only seven important mountains in the Śālmalīdvīpa. I shall mention them in order. They are Kumuda, Uttama, Balāhaka Droṇa, Kaṅka, Mahiṣa and Kakudmān.

In the Kuśadvīpa there are seven sub-continents and seven Kulaparvatas. I shall mention them by name, in brief. The first mountain is Vidruma, the second is Hemaparvata the third is Dyutimān, the fourth is Puṣpita, the fifth is Kuśeśaya, the sixth Harigiri, the seventh is the glorious mountain Mandara. It is the abode of the great lord. The word Manda denotes the waters. Since the mountain holds the waters, it is called Mandara.

10. The bull-emblemed lord of the universe Śiva, the deity without impurities, stays there in person in an excellent golden palace accompanied, by Umā and Nandin.

11-13a. Formerly the lord was propitiated in the great holy centre, Avimukta, by the mountain Mandara. He then obtained a great boon. Mahādeva was requested by him for his stay there along with Umā. The lord left Avimukta and stayed on the Mandara along with his Gaṇas, Nandin and Umā. Therefore, he does not leave this mountain.

13b-16. The Kula Parvatas in the Krauñca Dvīpa are seven. They are Krauñca, Vāmanaka, Andhakāraka Divāvṛt, Vivinda, Puṇḍarīka. and Dundubhisvana. These seven mountains in the Krauñca Dvīpa are full of gems.

17-19a. There are seven mountains in the Śākadvīpa. They are Udaya, Raivata, Śyāmaka, Rājata, Āmbikeya, Ramya containing all medicinal herbs and Kesarī. It is from this Kesarī that wind is generated.

19b-24. In the Puṣkara Dvīpa there is only one glorious mountain named Mahāśaila. It has wonderful peaks full of jewels. The rocky ridges are lofty. In the eastern half of the Dvīpa it rises very high with ridges of variegated colours. Above the ground level it is fifty thousand yojanas high. The great mountain goes deep below the ground level thirty four thousand yojanas. This mountain stretches over half of the Dvīpa with the Mānasa range to the north of it. Situated near the sea shore it appears like the newly rising moon.

Above the ground level it rises fifty thousand yojanas high. Its total width and girth is also that much. The same is called Mānasa in the western portion of the Dvīpa. The same mountain of great ridges appears split into two due to its position.

25-26. There are two meritorious and splendid Janapadas on either side of the Mānasa mountain, and shining like silver. The sub-continent Mahāvīta is on the exterior of the Mānasa. The Janapada in the interior is called Dhātakīkhaṇḍa.[1]

27-28. The Puṣkara Dvīpa is surrounded by the ocean of sweet water. All round this ocean extends to as much area as the Puṣkara Dvīpa. In girth and extent it is equal to Puṣkara.

In the same manner all the seven Dvīpas are surrounded by oceans severally and there are seven oceans in all.

29. The seventh ocean is beyond all Dvīpas. Thus the comparative sizes of dvīpas and oceans are stated.

30. The great ocean of sweet waters is stationed enveloping the Puṣkara.

31. Beyond that is the situation of the world. The earth is golden and twice in extent. The entire thing is comparable to a single rock.

32. beyond it is the globular mountain of delimitation. It is partially dim and partially bright. It is called Lokāloka.

33. O brahmins, this earth abides, as long as this visible-cum-invisible mountain exists. Its height is stated to be ten thousand yojanas.

34. The extent of the great mountain Lokāloka is also that much. The rays of the sun pass over its inner and nether half.

35. In its other half there is perpetual darkness. Hence it is called Lokāloka. Thus, the world Bhūr is explained succinctly.

36-39. The Bhuvarloka is upto the sun. O excellent sages, the Svarloka is upto Dhruva (pole star). There are seven wheels of the wind,[2] viz., Āvaha, Pravaha, Anuvaha, Saṃvaha, Vivaha, Parāvaha and Parivaha, O brahmins, these are the seven wheels of the wind.

O brahmins, the clouds, sun, moon, stars, planets, seven sages (Great Bear) are one above the other. The distance from the surface of the earth up to pole star is fifteen hundred thousand yojanas.

40-43. The solar sphere is one hundred thousand yojanas above the surface of the earth. Above it the chariot of the sun is sixteen thousand yojanas. The Meru is eighty-four thousand yojanas above the surface of the earth. The Maharloka extends to a crore of yojanas above Dhruva. O brahmins, the Janaloka extends to two crores of yojanas beyond Maharloka. Tapeoloka extends to four crores of yojanas beyond Janaloka. Beyond that the Brahmaloka extends to six crores of yojanas. O brahmins, the holy worlds in this Cosmic Egg are thus seven.

44. Beneath the seven nether worlds are the crores of hells. They are twentyeight in number beginning with Ghora and ending with Māyā.

45-46a. The sinners are cooked in them in accordance with their past activities. They say that in each of them there are five hells beginning with Raurava and ending with Avīci.

46b-47. The Cosmic Egg has been mentioned by me at the outset. So also the sheaths of the Cosmic Egg. Incidentally the creation of Brahmā too was mentioned in great detail. It should be known that there are thousands and crores of Eggs like these.

48-52. Since Pradhāna is present everywhere within each of these Cosmic Eggs there are fourteen worlds in all sides as well as above and below. O leading brahmins, the cause of their creation is lord Śiva himself. The eight-bodied Śiva is present in all the Eggs, in the exterior of the Eggs, in the coverings of the Eggs, in the extremities of the darkness and beyond darkness. Wonderful it is, every thing in the universe is the body of the unembodied great Ātman, of Maheśa, of the intelligent Mahādeva.

The mistress of the eight-bodied Śiva is the divine Prakṛti. Mahat etc. are his progeny; all the Paśus (Individual Souls) who identify themselves with their bodies are His servants.[3]

53. The lord Śiva is infinite. He is devoid of beginning and end. He is the Puruṣa. He is identical with the seven principles beginning from Pradhāna. His body is Pradhāna itself, having sixteen limbs. (i.e. the organs of knowledge, organs of action, elements and mind). He himself is Maheśvara and Aṣṭatanu (eight-bodied).

54. It is due to the power of His command that the earth is held steady. So also the mountains, clouds, oceans, luminaries, Devas beginning with Indra, those who go about in the aerial chariots as well as the mobile and immobile beings.

55. Devas including Indra saw the lord devoid of specific characteristics in the guise of a Yakṣa.[4] On seeing him they wondered “What is this?” They went to the Yakṣa. Unable to come to any conclusion, fire and others exerted themselves but became weak and inefficient.

56. O brahmins, in front of that Yakṣa the fire-god could not burn even, a blade of grass; the wind-God could not shake a blade of grass; all the leading immortal beings failed to exercise their respective powers over him.

57. At that time, the enemy of Vṛtra (i.e. Indra), the lord of Devas, the cause of all prosperity, approached him along with the leading Devas. He said to the Yakṣa, the lord of Devas, with great curiosity in his mind, “Who are you, Sir?”

58. At that time the Yakṣa vanished. Then the splendidfaced daughter of Himavat, Umā, shining gloriously with many auspicious ornaments appeared in front of him.

59. Indra and others asked that unborn daughter of Himavat, Umā, the intensely bright one;—“O Goddess, O excessively refulgent, what is this? O Umā, who was this shining one in the body of Yakṣa?”

60. On hearing it, Umā said: “the Yakṣa is invisible.” Devas including Indra bowed down to that deity having the gait of a lion, and to Umā unborn and of red, white and black colour.

61. On. being honoured by all the leading immortal beings, the deity, the cause of the activity of Devas and Asuras, said:—Formerly I was Prakṛti subservient to the behests of the Puruṣa the Yakṣa.

62. Hence, O brahmins, the entire Egg originated from the unborn at his behest and from the Egg originated Brahmā. The entire world originated from him along with the luminaries. Thus the universe is identical with the Unborn (aja).

Footnotes and references:


Mahāvīta and Dhātakīkhaṇḍa. These are the two provinces of Puṣkara-dvīpa (identified with Japan, Manchuria and SE Siberia). The mountain Manasa runs in a circle like a full moon and divides the two provinces. The exterior province is Mahāvīta and the interior is Dhātakī.


All the Purāṇas mention seven divisions of the stratosphere.


[verses 48-53]—The aṣṭamūrti (eight-formed, p. 166) Śiva is the householder whose mistress is Prakṛti, whose subjects are intellect, ego and five subtle elements. His eight-formed body has sixteen parts, viz., five gross elements, five organs of action, five organs of knowledge and the mind.


Yakṣa—Śiva in the form of Yakṣa—a semidivine being, cf. Brahma-Gītā cited in. Śivatoṣiṇī.—[svasya darśayituṃ teṣāṃ durjñeyatvaṃ tathaiva ca || āvirṣabhūva sarvajño yakṣarūpeṇa he surāḥ ||]

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