Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter XXV - Description of the earth

1. These ladies then alighted from the sky in their forms of intelligence, and passing over the mountainous regions, saw the habitations of men on the surface of the earth.

2. They saw the world situated as a lotus, in the heart of the first male Nara (Brahma); the eight sides forming the petals of the flower, the hills being its pistils, and the pericarp containing its sweet flavour.

3. The rivers are the tubes of its filaments, which are covered with drops of snow resembling their dust. The days and nights rolling over it, like swarms of black-bees and butterflies, and all its living beings appearing as gnats fluttering about it.

4. Its long stalks which are as white as the bright day light, are composed of fibres serving for food, and of tubes conducting the drink to living beings.

5. It is wet with moisture, which is sucked by the sun, resembling the swan swimming about in the air. It folds itself in sleep in the darkness of night in absence of the sun.

6. The earth like a lotus is situated on the surface of the waters of the ocean, which make it shake at times, and cause the earthquake by their motion. It is supported upon the serpent Vasuki serving for its understalk, and is girt about by demons as its thorns and prickles.[1]

7. The mount Meru (and others) are its large seeds, and the great hives of human population; where the fair daughters of the giant race, propagated (the race of men), by their sweet embrace (with the sons of God).[2]

8. It has the extensive continent of Jambudwipa situated in one petal, the petioles forming its divisions, and the tubular filaments its rivers.

9. The seven elevated mountains, forming the boundary lines of this continent, are its seeds; and the great mount of Sumeru reaching to the sky, is situated in the midst. (i. e. the topmost north pole).

10. Its lakes are as dewdrops on the lotus-leaf, and its forests are as the farina of the flower; and the people inhabiting the land all around, are as a swarm of bees about it.

11. Its extent is a thousand yojanas square, and is surrounded on all sides by the dark sea like a belt of black bees.

12. It contains nine varshas or divisions, which are ruled by nine brother kings, resembling the regents of its eight petalled sides, with the Bharata-varsha in the midst.

13. It stretches a million of miles with more of land than water in it. Its habitable parts are as thickly situated as the frozen ice in winter.

14. The briny ocean which is twice as large as the continent, girds it on the outside, as a bracelet encircles the wrist.

15. Beyond it lies the Saka continent of a circular form, and twice as large as the former one, which is also encircled by the sea.

16. This is called the milky ocean for the sweetness of its water, and is double the size of the former sea of salt.

17. Beyond that and double its size is the Kusadwipa continent, which is full of population. It is also of the size of a circle, and surrounded by another sea.

18. Around it lies the belt of the sea of curds, delectable to the gods, and double the size of the continent which is encircled by it. And again: "when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men, which were of old, men of renown".

19. After that lies the circle of the Krauncha dwipa, which is also twice the size of the former one, and surrounded by a sea in the manner of a city by a canal.

20. This sea is called the sea of butter, and is twice as large as the continent which is girt by it. Beyond it lies the Salmali dwipa, girt by the foul sea of wine.

21. The fair belt of this sea resembles a wreath of white flowers, like the girdle of the Sesha serpent, forming the necklace hanging on the breast of Hari.

22. Thereafter is stretched the Plaxa dwipa, double the size of the former, and encircled by the belt of the sea of sugar, appearing as the snowy plains of Himalaya.

23. After that lies the belt of the Pushkara dwipa, twice as large as the preceding one, and encircled by a sea of sweet water double its circumference.

24. Hence they saw at the distance of ten degrees, the descent to the infernal regions; where there lay the belt of the south polar circle, with its hideous cave below.

25. The way to the infernal cave is full of danger and fear, and ten times in length from the circle of the dwipas; (continents).

26. This cave is encompassed on all sides by the dreadful vacuum, and is half covered below by a thick gloom, appearing as a blue lotus attached to it.

27. There stood the Lokaloka Kumeru or South Polar mountain, which is bright with sun-shine on one side, and covered by darkness on the other, and is studded with various gems on its tops, and decked with flowers growing upon it.

28. It reflected the glory of the three worlds (in the everlasting snows), which are clapped as a cap of hairs on its top.

29. At a great distance from it, is a great forest, untrodden by the feet of any living being; and then proceeding upward, they saw the great northern ocean encompassing the pole on all sides.

30. Further on they beheld the flaming light of the aurora borealis, which threatened to melt the snowy mountain to water.

31. Proceeding onward, they met with the fierce Boreas or north winds, blowing with all their fury and force.

32. They threatened to blow away and uproot the mountains, as if they were dust or grass; and traversed the empty vacuum with their noiseless motion.

33. Afar from these they saw the empty space of vacuum, stretching wide all about them.

34. It spreads around to an unlimited extent, and encompasses the worlds as a golden circlet encircles the wrist, (i. e. the belt of the zodiac).

35. Thus Lila, having seen the seas and mountains, the regents of the worlds, the city of the gods, the sky above and the earth below in the unlimited concavity of the universe, returned on a sudden to her own land, and found herself in her closet again.

Footnotes and references:


This means the demons to have first peopled the borders and skirts of the earth. See Hesiod. Works and Days. Book I. V 200.


That the Meru or Altain chain in Scythia, was the great hive of human race is an undisputed truth in history. So Moses speaks of the giant race in Genesis chapter VI. V 2 and 4. "And there were giants in the earth in those days, and also after that. And when the sons of God saw the daughters of men fair, they took them to wives, of all which they chose."