The Markandeya Purana
Canto LX - The description of the Earth (concluded)
This page relates “the description of the earth (concluded)” which forms the 60th chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 60 is included the section known as “exposition of the manvantaras”.
I will tell thee, O brāhman, what the continent Kimpuruṣa is; where men with real bodies live ten thousand years; where men and women are indeed free from sickness and free from sorrow, and there the fig-tree is called ṣaṇḍa; it grows very high, it is like a grove. Those men are always drinking the juice of its fruit; and the women are born with lasting youthfulness and are fragrant as the lotus.
Next to Kimpuruṣa is mentioned Harivarṣa. There mankind are born of the appearance of gold; they all descend there from the world of the gods, and are shaped like the gods in all respects. In Harivarṣa all the men quaff fine sugar-cane juice; neither old age afflicts them there, nor do they suffer from decay at all; and they live in truth for the whole of their time free from sickness.
I have mentioned Ilāvṛta, which is in the middle, the continent of Meru. The sun does not burn there, nor do men suffer from decay; and they do not grasp at selfish gains. The rays of tḥe moon and the sun, of the constellations and 9 planets there are the sublime lustre of Meru. Mankind are born there bright as the lotus flower, fragrant as the lotus flower; they feed on the juice of the jambu fruit; and their eyes are as wide as the lotus leaf. And their life there lasts for thirteen thousand years. There is a saucer-shaped expanse in the middle of Meru in Ilāvṛta; therein is the great mountain Meru; thus is made known Ilāvṛta.
Next I will tell of the continent Ramyaka; hearken thereto. And there the green-leaved Indian fig-tree is the lofty tree. And the people there pass their time drinking the juice of its fruit. There the men who eat its fruit live for ten thousand years; they are pre-eminent for sexual pleasures and are pure; they are free from old age and ill odours.
And north of that is the continent famed by name as Hiraṇmaya; where the river Hiraṇvatī gleams with abundant lotuses. Mankind there are born with great strength, full of vigonr, with large bodies, eminently good, wealthy and benign of look.
Footnotes and references:
Utpala-gandhikāḥ ; this-word, neuter, also means a species of sandal of the colour of brass and very fragrant.
Labhante nātma-lābhañ ca; it seems impossible to take these words with raśmayaś candra-sūryayoḥ.
For meru-madhye read meru-madhya.
Nyag-rodha, Ficus indica.