The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes shakadvipa: mountains, rivers and countries which is chapter 8 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the eighth chapter of the Svarga-khanda (section on the heavens) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 8 - Śākadvīpa: Mountains, Rivers and Countries

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:

1-3a. O best one, you have duly described (to us) Jambukhaṇḍa. Tell us correctly the extent of its dimensions. You who see the whole, tell us properly about the extent of the ocean, as well as about Śākadvīpa and the sacred Kuśadvīpa: also tell us properly about Śālmala and about Krauñca-dvīpa.

Sūta said:

3b-6. O brāhmaṇas, there are many islands which have covered the earth. I shall describe the seven islands: Listen, O best brāhmaṇas. The measure of the mountain Jambu is full eighteen thousand and six hundred yojanas. The extent of the salt sea is said to be double this. It is crowded with many countries, and is beautified with gems and corals. It is also adorned with mountains variegated with many minerals. Crowded with siddhas and cāraṇas, the ocean is circular in form.

7-10. O best ones, I shall now duly describe Śākadvīpa. O pious ones, today listen properly when I am describing it. O best brāhmaṇas, it is twice the size of Jambudvīpa. O glorious ones, best sages, the milky ocean too which surrounds it is like that with its divisions. The communities there are righteous, and the men there never die. Then whence can there be dearth? The men there are endowed with the lustre of forgiveness. O best sages, I have duly told you this brief description of Śākadvīpa. O glorious ones, what else should I tell you?

The sages said:

11. O you righteous one, you have duly given us a brief description of Śākadvīpa. O very intelligent one, now describe it correctly and in detail.

Sūta said:

12-13a. Like that here also, O brāhmaṇas, there are seven mountains. They are jewelled mountains. Also there are oceans, rivers. I shall (now) tell their names; O righteous ones, you are asking about a very useful thing.

13b-18. The first mountain having gods, sages and gandharvas (as its residents) is called Meru. O glorious ones, (the other) mountain stretching towards the east is Malaya. From it clouds proceed in all directions and there they are generated. O sages, beyond it the large mountain is Jaladhāra. From it Indra always takes excellent water. O best brāhmaṇas, from that rain is produced in the rainy season. (Then there is) the high mountain Raivataka, where (i.e. over which) the constellation Revatī is eternally fixed in the firmament. The grandsire himself has made this arrangement. O best brāhmaṇas, on the north is the great mountain called Śyāma. It has the brightness of new clouds; it is high; is rich and has a bright body; due to it the people there are dark (yet) cheerful.

The sages said:

19. O Sūta, a great doubt has come to us (i. e. arisen in our mind): How have they entirely become dark?

Sūta said:

20-39. O very wise, best sages, in all the islands (men of) dark and fair complexion may be found; but since dark complexion (among people) prevailed, it is called Śyāma (i. e. dark) mountain. O best sages, next to this there is a large mountain Durgaśaila. Then there is the mountain Keśarin, from which breezes (fragrant) with saffron blow. The measure of (each of) them is twice (that of the one mentioned before). O best brāhmaṇas, the wise have said that there are seven countries in them (i.e. in the island). That of the great Meru is Mahākāśa; that of the giver of water (i.e. Malaya) is Kumudottara; O very wise ones, the country of Jaladhāra is known as Sukumāra; (the country) of Raivataka is (called) Kaumāra; and of Śyāma is (called) Maṇikāñcana. O best brāhmaṇas, in the centre of the island there is a great tree called Śāka having height and breadth which can be measured with that in the Jambudvīpa. Beings always go to it. The countries in it are holy, and Śiva is worshipped there. Siddhas, cāraṇas and deities go there. All the subjects there are pious; and the four castes, free from jealousy are engaged in their own duties. A thief is never seen there. The people there, O very wise ones, have a long life and, being free from old age and death, grow like rivers during the rainy season. The rivers there have holy water and the Ganges flows there in many streams. O brāhmaṇas, they are Sukumārī, Kumārī, Sītā, and Śitodakā, also Mahānadī, similarly the river Maṇijalā, and the river called Ikṣuvardhanikā, O best sages. From there proceed rivers having holy water and very beautiful, in hundreds of thousands, from where Indra showers. It is not possible (for me) to remember and recount their names. (All) these excellent rivers are holy. Then there are four holy countries well-known in the world: Mṛga, Maśaka Mānasa and Mallaka. Mṛga is mostly populated with brāhmaṇas who are engaged in their duties. In Maśaka live kṣatriyas who are pious and grant the desires (of supplicants). O glorious ones, in Mānasa live vaiśyas acting according to the rules of their caste. With all their desires satisfied, they are brave and settled in the ways of virtue and material gains. In Mallaka live śūdras, and (these) men behave righteously. O best brāhmaṇas, there is no king, no punishment, nor those who inflict punishment. Those men, knowing what is right, protect one another. This much only can be said about that island.

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