Brief description of Oceans, Dvipas, Mountains and Rivers
King Priyavrata, the eldest son of Svayambhu Manu, who ruled the entire Earth for eleven Arbuda years (one Arbuda has ten million years) measured the length and breadth of Earth by his highly luminous chariot. He woke up early mornings, and he found that one side of his bed was bright with sunshine and the other was dark. He drove by his chariot and perform ‘pradakshina’ (circumabulation) the Earth seven times by his mystical powers and ensured that his chariot’s course was lit up as the day. Also, there were Seven Oceans viz. Ksaroda (Salt water), Ikshuraba (Sugar cane juice), Sura (Wine), Ghitoda (Ghee), Kshiroda (Milk), Dadhi Mandala (Curd) and Jalodhi (Water) and the gaps of Land formed between the Oceans were Seven ‘Dvipas’ (Islands) viz. Jambu Dvipa, Plaksha Dvipa, Salmali Dvipa, Kusa Dvipa, Krouncha Dvipa, Saka Dvipa, and Pushkara Dvipa. Jambu Dvipa is like a lotus and has a lakh yojanas of area (one Yojana has an esimated eight miles or 13 km) containing nine Varshas in north and south of the Dvipa and has eight lofty mountains being the dividers of the Varshas and the center of the Varshas is called Ilavarta and famous Sumeru mountain is at the center of Ilavarta. This mountain is as high as one lakh yojanas with its top has an area of thirty yojanas, which was stated to be the place for most revered Sages performing meditation. On the north of Jambu Dvipa are the mountains of Nilagiri, Svetha Giri and Rsringavayu. On the South of Ilavarsha are the three mountain ranges of Nishadha, Hemakuta and Himalayas as these formed the borders of Kimpurushas and Bharat Varsha. On the West of Ilavrata are the Malyavan mountains and to the East are Gandhamadana and Nila. In two other Varshas of Jambu Dvipa viz. Ketumala and Bhadrasva are the mountains of Mandara, Suparvsvak and Kumuda. Atop Mandara are the heavenly trees of mangoes of divinely taste and thereunder is River Arunodaya on the banks of which Devas and Sages make group prayers to Devi Aruna for prosperity, health and happiness. On the east of Meru are two mountains Jathara and Hemakuta, on the West are Pavamana and Pariyatra; to the South of Meru are Kailasa and Karavira; North Sringagiri and Makaragiri; on top of Sumeru are nine Cities viz. Manovati, Amaravati, Tejovati, Samyamani, Krishnagana, Shraddhavati, Gandharvati, Mahodaya, and Yasovati besides Brahmapuri, the Abode of Brahma; of these, Indra stays at Amaravati, Fire God at Tejovati and the rest are the homes of Lokpalakas. Devi Ganga ( Ganges) originating from Vishnu pada (His feet) passes through Dhruva Mandala, Chandra loka, Brahma loka from where gets divided into four channels (‘Dharas’) viz. Sita, Alaknanda, Bhadra and Chaturbhadra; one channel goes around Sumeru, then to Gandhamadan range, Bhadresvara and finally into Salt Ocean in East; another channel falls from Malyvan range to Ketumaheswara and submerges in Western Ocean; yet another channel of Ganges transformed as Alaknanda flows from Brahmaloka to Girikuta mountain and forests to Hemakunta in Bharat Varsha and joins the Southern Ocean and finally the Triloka Pavani Ganga named Bhadra falling from Sringavan mountain flows through the Northern Kuru Region. Many other rivers flow through the ‘Karma Bhumi’ and integrate the culture of Truthfulness and Virtue. ‘Adi Purusha’ and various Devas worship Devi Bhagavati at various Varshas (TimeDistance Capsules) like Ketumala Varsha and Nava Varsha. In Ilavrita Varsha, Deva Rudra born out of Brahma’s eyebrows, resides only along with women and any male entering the region would automatically get converted as a female; this is the exclusive place of Rudra’s worship to Maha Bhagavati. Similarly in Harivarsha, worship is targetted to Lord Narasimha when Lakshmi prays to Him by saying Om Hram Hrim Hrum, Namo Bhagavate Hrishikesaya. In Hiranmaya Varsha, Kurma Svarupa (Tortoise), Lord of Yoga is worshipped by Aryama, the Ruler of Pitris who meditated as: Om Namo Bhagavatey Akuparaya. In Uttara Kuru Mandala, Lord Varaha (The Great Boar) is worshipped and Devi Prithivi praises the Lord praying ‘Om Namo Mantra Tattva Lingaya Yajna kratave’. In Kimpurusha Varsha, the worship of Mahapurusha Rama is led by Lord Hanuman by saying Om Bhagavatey Uttama Slokaya, as endorsed by Devi Sita.
Bharata Varsha is of the most noteworthy and relevant region of contemporary interest.Among the most important mountains are: Malaya, Mangalaprastha, Mainaka, Chitrakuta, Risabha, Kutaka, Kolla, Sahya,Devagiri, Rishyamuka, Srisaila, Venkata, Mahendra, Varidhara, Vindhya, Suktiman, Riska, Pariyatra, Drona, Gobardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nila, Gaurmukha, Indrakila, Kamagiri and so on. Rivers (besides Ganga) are Tamraparni, Chandravasa, Kritimala, Vatodaka, Vaihyasi, Kaveri, Vena, Payasvini, Tungabhadra, Krishnaveni, Sarkara, Vartaka, Godavari, Bhiramati, Nirbindhya, Payosnika, Tapi, Reva, Surasa, Narmada, Sarasvati, Indus, Andha, Charmanvati, Sone, Rishikulya, Trisama, Vedasmriti, Mahanadi, Kausiki, Yamuna, Mandakini, Gomati, Sarayu, Saptavati, Susama, Chandrabhaga, Marudbhridha, Askini and Visva. Persons given birth to in Bharata Varsha are stated to be highly fortunate as they have excellent and maximum opportunities to enjoy the ‘Iham’ (of the present birth) and ‘Param’ (Post-life celestial pleasures). They could certainly reap the advantage of the short but significant life time by enjoying all round happiness, fame and freedom, provided they follow the righteous path, devotion and sacirifice. At the same time a regulated Dharmic life would ensure heavenly bliss after their inevitable mortal termination. It is the controlled and moderate life style without excesses of anything except Virtue coupled with awareness of Super Energy and maximum investment of the time and opportunity are the hall marks of a life worth living till the end.
Besides Jambu Dvipa, there were som Upa Dvipas also around Bharata Varsha, viz. Lanka, Svarnaprastha, Chandrasukara, Avartana, Ramanaka, Mandoprakhya, Harina, and Panchajaya.
Beyond the Seven Dvipas aforementioned viz. Jambu Dvipa, Plaksha Dvipa, Salmali Dvipa, Kusa Dvipa, Krouncha Dvipa, Saka Dvipa and Pushkara Dvipa, is situated ‘ Lokaloka’. This Land, between Loka and Aloka, is an open space of gold and there is no living being existing, as it would be converted into gold. The rays of Sun, Polar Star and Planets pass through the Lokaloka. Beyond the Lokaloka mountain is a radiant route passing through an oval shaped golden egg and the Sun born out of it, called Hiranyagarbha, helps demarcate the Sky, Heaven, Earth and so on.
Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at [email protected]