Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Saptadvipas included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Saptadvīpas


General information.

The seven islands are Jambūdvīpa, Plakṣadvīpa, Śālmalidvīpa, Kuśadvīpa, Krauñcadvīpa, Śākadvīpa and Puṣkaradvīpa. Each of these islands is surrounded by sea. The sea that surrounds Jambūdvīpa is the Lavaṇa sea (salt sea), the Plakṣa dvīpa is surrounded by the sea of Sugarcane-juice, Śāmalidvīpa by the sea of liquor, Kuśadvīpa by the sea of ghee, Krauñcadvīpa by the sea of curd Śākadvīpa by the sea of milk and the Puṣkaradvīpa by the sea of pure water. In the centre of all, lies the Jambūdvīpa and in the centre of this island, stands the golden mountain meru. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 2, Chapter 2).


There is a story about the origin of these seven islands and the surrounding seas, in Devī Bhāgavata Skandha 8.

Two famous sons named Priyavrata and Uttānapāda were born to Svāyambhuva Manu. Priyavrata and his children ruled the country for a period of eleven arbudas, that is a hundred million years. Though he was aged so much the power of his mind and body did not show any sign of weakness. At this time he saw once the sun travelling on the first side of the earth, and began to think. "When the sun is walking on one side of the earth, the other side must naturally be dark. Will it happen so in our time? In all places at all times it should be bright and there should be no darkness." Thinking thus he got into a chariot as bright as the sun and travelled round the earth seven times. During these travels the wheels of the chariot made seven furrows on the earth. These furrows became the seven seas and the beds between the furrows became seven islands.

Sovereign powers.

Priyavrata made his seven sons sovereigns of the seven islands. These seven sovereign rulers were Agnīdhra, Idhmajihva, Yajñabāhu, Hiraṇyaretas, Ghṛtapṛṣṭha, Medhātithi and Vītihotra.

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