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Chapter 12

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘O Kauravya, that which is heard about the islands in thenorth, I will recount to thee, O Great king. Listen to me now. (Thitherin the north) is the ocean whose waters are clarified butter. Then is theocean whose waters are curds. Next cometh the ocean whose waters arewine, and then is another ocean of water. The islands, O king, are doublein area of one another as they proceed further and further towards thenorth. And they are surrounded, O king, by these oceans.[69] In theisland that is in the middle, there is a large mountain called Goura madeof red arsenic; on the western island, O king, is the mountain Krishnathat is the favourite (abode) of Narayana. There Kesava guardethcelestial gems (in profusion), and thence, inclined to grace, hebestoweth happiness on creatures. Along with the kingdoms there, O king,the (celestial) clump of Kusa grass in Kusadwipa, and the Salmali tree inthe island of Salmalika, are adored. In the Krauncha island also, themountain called Maha-krauncha that is a mine of all kinds of gems is, Oking, always adored by all the four orders of men. (There), O monarch, isthe mountain called Gomanta that is huge and consists of all kinds ofmetals, and whereon always resideth, mingling with those that have beenemancipated, the puissant Narayana, otherwise called Hari, graced withprosperity and possessed of eyes like lotus leaves. In Kusadwipa, O kingof kings, there is another mountain variegated with corals and calledafter the name of that island itself. This mountain is inaccessible andmade of gold. Possessed of great splendour, O Kauravya, there is a thirdmountain there that is called Sumida. The sixth is called Harigiri. Theseare the six principal mountains. The intervening spaces between oneanother of these six mountains increaseth in the ratio of one to two asthey proceed further and further towards the north. The first Varsha iscalled Audhido; the second is Venumandala; the third is called Suratha;the fourth is known by the name of Kamvala; the fifth Varsha is calledDhritimat; and the sixth is named Prabhakara; the seventh Varsha iscalled Kapila. These are the seven successive Varshas. In these, gods andGandharvas, and other creatures of the universe, sport and take delight.In these Varshas the inhabitants never die. There, O king, are norobbers, nor any tribes of Mlecchas. All the residents are almost whitein complexion, and very delicate, O king.

“‘As regards the rest of the islands, O ruler of men, I will recount allthat hath been heard by me. Listen, O monarch, with an attentive mind. Inthe Krauncha island, O great king, there is a large mountain calledKrauncha. Next to Krauncha is Vamanaka; and next to Vamanaka isAndhakara. And next to Andhakara,[70] O king, is that excellent ofmountains called Mainaka. After Mainaka, O monarch, is that best ofmountains called Govinda; and after Govinda, O king, is the mountaincalled Nivida. O multiplier of thy race, the intervening spaces betweenone another of these mountains increaseth in the ratio of one to two. Iwill now tell thee the countries that lie there. Listen to me as I speakof them. The region near Krauncha is called Kusala; that near Vamanaka isManonuga. The region next to Manonuga, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, iscalled Ushna. After Ushna is Pravaraka; and after Pravaraka isAndhakaraka. The country after Andhakaraka is named Munidesa. AfterMunidesa the region is called Dundubhiswana teeming with Siddhas andCharanas. The people are almost white in complexion, O king. All thesecountries, O monarch, are the habitations of gods and Gandharvas. In (theisland of) Pushkara is a mountain called Pushkara that abounds withjewels and gems. There always dwelleth the divine Prajapati himself. Himall the gods and great Rishis always adore with gratifying words andworship reverently, O king. Diverse gems from Jamvudwipa are used there.In all these islands, O king, Brahmacharyya, truth, and self-control ofthe dwellers, as also their health and periods of life, are in the ratioof one to two as the islands are more and more remote (northwards). Oking, the land in those islands, O Bharata, comprises but one country,for that is said to be one country in which one religion is met with. TheSupreme Prajapati himself, upraising the rod of chastisement, alwaysdwelleth there, protecting those islands. He, O monarch, is the king. Heis their source of bliss. He is the father, and he is the grand-father.He it is, O best of men, that protecteth all creatures there, mobile orimmobile. Cooked food, O Kauravya, cometh there of itself and thecreatures eat it daily. O mighty-armed one. After these regions is seen ahabitation of the name of Sama. It is of a starry-shape having fourcorners, and it hath, O king, thirty-three mandalas. There dwell, OKauravya, four princely elephants adored by all.[71] They are, O best ofthe Bharatas, Vamana, and Airavata, and another, and also Supratika.[72]O king, with rent cheeks and mouth, I do not venture to calculate theproportions of these four elephants.[73] Their length, breadth andthickness have for ever remained unascertained. There in those regions, Oking, winds blow irregularly from all directions.[74] These are seized bythose elephants with the tips of their trunks which are of the complexionof the lotus and endued with great splendour and capable of drawing upeverything in their way. And soon enough after seizing them they thenalways let them out. The winds, O king, thus let out by those respiringelephants, come over the Earth and in consequence thereof creatures drawbreath and live.’

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Thou hast, O Sanjaya, told me everything about thefirst subject very elaborately. Thou hast also indicated the positions ofthe islands. ‘Tell now, O Sanjaya, about what remains.’

“Sanjaya said,–‘Indeed, O great king, the islands have all beendescribed to thee. Listen now to what I truly say about the heavenlybodies and about Swarbhanu, O chief of the Kauravas, as regards itsdimensions. It is heard, O king, that the planet Swarbhanu is globular.Its diameter is twelve thousand Yojanas, and its circumference, becauseit is very large, is forty-two thousand Yojanas, O sinless one,[75] assaid by the learned of olden times. The diameter of the moon, O king, isstated to be eleven thousand Yojanas. Its circumference, O chief of theKurus, is stated to be thirty-eight thousand nine hundred Yojanas of theillustrious planet of cool rays. It hath been heard that the diameter ofthe beneficent, fast going and light-giving Sun, O thou of Kuru’s race,is ten thousand Yojanas, and his circumference, O king, is thirty-fivethousand eight hundred miles, in consequence of his largeness, O sinlessone. These are the dimensions reckoned here, O Bharata, of Arka. Theplanet Rahu, in consequence of his greater bulk, envelops both the Sunand the Moon in due times. I tell thee this in brief. With the eye ofscience, O great king, I have now told thee all that thou hadst asked.Let peace be thine. I have now told thee about the construction of theuniverse as indicated in the Shastras. Therefore, O Kauravya, pacify thyson Duryodhana.[76]’

“Having listened to this charming Bhumi Parva, O chief of the Bharatas, aKshatriya becometh endued with prosperity, obtaineth fruition of all hisdesires, and winneth the approbation of the righteous.[77] The king wholisteneth to this on days of the full-moon or the new-moon, carefullyobserving vows all the while, hath the period of his life, his fame andenergy, all enhanced. His (deceased) sires and grandsires becomegratified. Thou hast now heard of all the merits that flow from thisVarsha of Bharata where we now are!'”

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