The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said.---"Thou art intelligent, O Sanjaya, and acquainted with the truth (about everything). Thou hast duly given a description of the island in brief. Tell us now of the island in detail. Tell us now of the dimension of the expanse of land that lies in the portion looking like a hare. Thou mayst then speak of the portion resembling peepul tree."
Vaisampayana said,--"Thus addressed by the king, Sanjaya began to say.
"Sanjaya said,--'Stretching from east to west, are these six mountains that are equal 2 and that extend from the eastern to the western ocean. They are Himavat, Hemakuta, that best of mountains called Nishadha, Nila abounding with stones of lapis lazuli, Sweta white as the moon, and the mountains called Sringavat composed of all kinds of metals. 3 These are the six mountains, O king, which are always the resorts of Siddhas and Charanas. The space lying between each of these measures a thousand Yojanas, and thereon are many delightful kingdoms. And these divisions are called Varshas, O Bharata. In all those kingdoms reside creatures of diverse species. This (the land where we are) is in the Varsha that is called after Bharata. Next to it (northwards) is the Varsha called after Himavat. The land that is beyond Hemakuta is called Harivarsha, South of the Nila range and on the north of the Nishadha is a mountain, O king, called Malyavat that stretches from east to west. Beyond Malyavat northwards is the mountain called Gandhamadana. 4 Between these two (viz., Malyavat and Gandhamadana) is a globular mountain called Meru made of gold. Effulgent as the morning sun, it is like fire without smoke. 5 It is eighty-four thousand Yojanas high, and, O king, its depth also is eighty-four Yojanas. It standeth
bearing the worlds above, below and transversely. Besides Meru are situated, O lord, these four islands, viz., Bhadraswa, and Ketumala, and Jamvudwipa otherwise called Bharata, and Uttar-Kuru which is the abode of persons who have achieved the merit of righteousness. The bird Sumukha, the son of Suparna, beholding that all the birds on Meru were of golden plumage, reflected that he should leave that mountain inasmuch as there was no difference between the good, middling, and bad birds. The foremost of luminaries, the sun, always circumambulates Meru, as also the moon with (his) attendant constellation, and the Wind-god too. The mountain, O king, is endued with celestial fruits and flowers, and it is covered all over with mansions made of furnished gold. There, on that mountain, O king, the celestials, the Gandharvas, the Asuras, and the Rakshasas, accompanied by the tribes of Apsaras, always sport. There Brahman, and Rudra, and also Sakra the chief of the celestials, assembled together, performed diverse kinds of sacrifices with plentiful gifts. Tumvuru, and Narada and Viswavasu, and the Hahas and the Huhus, repairing thither, adored the foremost of the celestials with diverse hymns. The high-souled seven Rishis, and Kasyapa the lord of creatures, repair thither, blessed be thou, on every parva day. 1 Upon the summit of that mountain, Usanas, otherwise called the Poet, sporteth with the Daityas (his disciples). 2 The jewels and gems (that we see) and all the mountains abounding in precious stones are of Meru. Therefrom a fourth part is enjoyed by the holy Kuvera. Only a sixteenth part of that wealth he giveth unto men. On the northern side of Meru is a delightful and excellent forest of Karnikaras, covered with the flowers of every season, 3 and occupying a range of hills. There the illustrious Pasupati himself, the creator of all things, surrounded by his celestial attendants and accompanied by Uma, sporteth bearing a chain of Karnikara flowers (on his neck) reaching down to his feet, and blazing with radiance with his three eyes resembling three risen suns. Him Siddhas truthful in speech, of excellent vows and austere ascetic penances, can behold. Indeed, Maheswara is incapable of being seen by persons of wicked conduct. From the summit of that mountain, like a stream of milk, O ruler of men, the sacred and auspicious Ganga, otherwise called Bhagirathi, adored by the most righteous, of universal form and immeasurable and issuing out with terrific noise, falleth with impetuous force on the delightful lake of Chandramas. 4 Indeed that sacred lake, like an ocean, hath been formed by Ganga herself. (While leaping from the mountains), Ganga, incapable of being supported by even the mountains, was held for a hundred thousand years by the bearer of Pinaka
on his head. 1 On the western side of Meru, O king, is Ketumala. 2 And there also is Jamvukhanda. Both are great seats of humanity, O king. 3 There, O Bharata, the measure of human life is ten thousand years. The men are all of a golden complexion, and the women are like Apsaras. And all the residents are without sickness, without sorrow, and always cheerful. The men born there are of the effulgence of melted gold. On the summits of Gandhamadana, Kuvera the lord of the Guhyakas, with many Rakshasas and accompanied by tribes of Apsaras, passeth his time in joy. Besides Gandhamadana there are many smaller mountains and hills. The measure of human life there is eleven thousand years. There, O king, the men are cheerful, and endued with great energy and great strength and the women are all of the complexion of the lotus and highly beautiful. Beyond Nila is (the Varsha called) Sweta, beyond Sweta is (the Varsha called) Hiranyaka. Beyond Hiranyaka is (the Varsha called) Airavata covered with provinces. The last Varsha in the (extreme) north and Bharata's Varsha in the (extreme) south are both, O king, of the form of a bow. These five Varshas (viz., Sweta, Hiranyaka, Elavrita, Harivarsha, and Haimavat-varsha) are in the middle, of which Elavrita exists in the very middle of all. Amongst these seven Varshas (the five already mentioned and Airavata and Bharata) that which is further north excels the one to its immediate south in respect of these attributes, viz., the period of life, stature, health, righteousness, pleasure, and profit. In these Varshas, O Bharata, creatures (though of diverse species) yet, live together. Thus, O king, is Earth covered with mountains. The huge mountains of Hemakuta are otherwise called Kailasa. There, O king, Vaisravana passeth his time in joy with his Guhyakas. Immediately to the north of Kailasa and near the mountains of Mainaka there is a huge and beautiful mountain called Manimaya endued with golden summits. Beside this mountain is a large, beautiful, crystal and delightful lake called Vindusaras with golden sands (on its beach). There king Bhagiratha, beholding Ganga (since) called after his own name, resided for many years. There may be seen innumerable sacrificial stakes made of gems, and Chaitya tree made of gold. It was there that he of a thousand eyes and great fame won (ascetic) success by performing sacrifices. There the Lord of all creatures, the eternal Creator of all the worlds, endued with supreme energy surrounded by his ghostly attendants, is adored. There Nara and Narayana, Brahman, and Manu, and Sthanu as the fifth, are (ever present). And there the celestial stream Ganga having three currents, 4 issuing out of the region of Brahman, first showed herself, and then dividing
herself into seven streams, became Vaswokasara, Nalini, the sin-cleansing Saraswati, Jamvunadi, Sita, Ganga and Sindhu as the seventh. The Supreme Lord hath (himself) made the arrangement with reference to that inconceivable and celestial stream. It is there that 1 sacrifices have been performed (by gods and Rishis) on a thousand occasions after the end of the Yuga (when creation begins). As regards the Saraswati, in some parts (of her course) she becometh visible and in some parts not so. This celestial sevenfold Ganga is widely known over the three worlds. Rakshasas reside on Himavat, Guhyakas on Hemakuta, and serpents and Nagas on Nishadha, and ascetics on Gokarna. The Sweta mountains are said to be the abode of the celestial and the Asuras. The Gandharvas always reside on Nishadhas, and the regenerate Rishis on Nila. The mountains of Sringavat also are regarded as the resort of the celestials.
"'These then, O great king, are the seven Varshas of the world as they are divided. Diverse creatures, mobile 2 and immobile, are placed in them all. Diverse kinds of prosperity, both providential and human, are noticeable in them. They are incapable of being counted. Those desirous, however, of their own good believe (all this), I have now told thee of that delightful region (of land) of the form of a hare about which thou hadst asked me. At the extremities of that region are the two Varshas, viz., one on the north and the other on the south. Those two also have now been told to thee. Then again the two islands Naga-dwipa and Kasyapa-dwipa are the two ears of this region of the form of a hare. The beautiful mountains of Maleya, O king, having rocks like plates of copper, form another (prominent) part of Jamvudwipa that having its shape resembling a hare.'"
13:2 The Bombay text reads Varsha parvatas for parvatas samas.
13:3 For Pinaddha occurring in the Bengal texts, the Bombay edition reads Vichitra.
13:4 The Bengal texts add a line here which is properly omitted in the Bombay edition.
13:5 After the 10th occurs a line in the Bengal text which is evidently vicious.
14:1 Day of the full-moon and that of the new-moon.
14:2 The Bengal texts, except the Burdwan one, have divi for Daityas, of course, the latter reading is correct.
14:3 The Bombay text has Sarvatas (which is better) for Sarvata in the Bengal texts.
14:4 in the first line of 28, the Bengal texts read Sirasas (ablative) for Sikhhrat of the Bombay edition. In the last line of 29 also, the Bombay text has plavantiva-pravegena for the Bengal reading patatyajapravegena. No material difference of meaning arises if one or the other is accepted.
15:1 Alluding to the tradition of Siva's holding Ganga on his head and for which the great god is sometimes called Gangadhara.
15:2 This word occurs in various forms, Ketumala and Ketumali being two others.
15:3 The Bombay edition reads tu for cha after Jamvukhanda. The meaning becomes changed.
15:4 The sacred stream Ganga is believed to have three currents. In heaven the current is called Mandakini; on earth, it is called Ganga; and in the subterraneous world it is called Bhogavati.
16:1 The Bengal texts, excepting the Burdwan one, incorrectly read Sakram for Satram.
16:2 The correct reading is Gatimanti. Many of the Bengal texts incorrectly read matimanti, which is unmeaning.
Next: Section VII