foreign travel by a sanyasin (forwarded message)

Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Feb 9 13:26:20 CST 2000

On Tue, 8 Feb 2000, Ashish Chandra wrote:


> once existed all over the world. The land of Bhaarat Varsha is as defined by
> the Vishnu purana (?) "Uttaram yat samuddrasya, himaadrashchaiva
> dakshiNam...".

[ This extract is from the Vishnu Purana. It gives an account of the kings
  who had ruled the earth "long ago", while providing an explanation as to
  why India is called Bharata. ]

Book 2, chapter 2

Maitreya - You have related to me, Brahmana, the creation of Svayambhuva;
I am  now desirous to hear from you a description of the earth: how many
are its oceans and islands, its kingdoms and its mountains, its forests
and rivers and the cities of the gods, its dimensions, its contents, its
nature, and its form.

Parasara - You shall hear, Maitreya, a brief account of the earth from me:
a full detail I could not give you in a century.

The seven great insular continents are Jambu, Plaksha, Salmali, Kusa,
Krauncha, Saka, and Pushkara...

Jambudvipa is in the centre of all these: and in the centre of this
continent is the golden mountain Meru...

Book 2, chapter 3

The country that lies to the north of the ocean, and south of the snowy
mountains, is called BhArata, for there dwelt the descendants of Bharata.
It is nine thousand leagues in extent, and is the land of works (karma
bhuumi), in consequence of which men go to heaven, or obtain emancipation.

The seven main chains of mountains in BhArata are Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya,
Suktimat, Riksha, Vindhya, and ParipAtra.

>From this region heaven is obtained, or even, in some cases, liberation
from existence; or men pass from hence into the condition of brutes or
fall into hell. Heaven, emancipation, a state in mid-air, or in the
subterraneous realms, succeeds to existence here, and the world of acts is
not the title of any other portion of the universe.


On the east of BhArata dwell the Kiratas (the barbarians); on the west,
the Yavanas (Ionian Greeks); in the centre reside the Brahmanas,
Kshatriyas, vaishyas and Sudras, occupied in their respective duties of
sacrifice, arms, trade and service.


In the BhArata-varsha it is that the succession of four yugas, or ages,
the Krita, the Treta, the Dvapara, and Kali, takes place; that pious
ascetics engage in rigorous penance; that devout men offer sacrifices; and
that gifts are distributed; all for the sake of another world. In
Jambudvipa, Vishnu, consisting of sacrifice, is worshipped, as the male of
sacrificial rites, with sacrificial ceremonies: he is adored under other
forms elsewhere. BhArata is therefore the best of the divisions of
Jambu-dvipa, because it is the land of works (karma bhuumi): the others
are places of enjoyment (bhoga bhuumi) alone. It is only after many
thousand births, and the accumulation of much merit, that living beings
are born in BhArata as men. The gods themselves exclaim, "Happy are they
who, consigning all the unheeded rewards of their acts to the supreme and
eternal Vishnu, obtain existence in that land of works, as their path to
him. We know not, when the acts that have obtained us heaven shall have
been fully recompensed, where we shall renew corporeal confinement; but we
know that those men are fortunate who are born with perfect faculties in

I have thus briefly described to you, Maitreya, the nine divisions of
Jambu-dvipa, which is a hundred thousand Yojanas in extent, and which is
encircled, as if by a bracelet, by the ocean of salt water, of similar

> You can refer to the extract from Hindu Dharma here:
> I would appreciate if someone were to explain what we mean when we say Jambu
> Dveepe as a part of the Sandhyavandanaa. Dveep means an island doesn't it?

Jambuudviipa seems to be the purANic name for what is commonly called
"Asia" (or Eurasia) of which BhArata-varshha (India) is a part.

> ashish


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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