THE EIGHTH BOOK
On the description of the continents and of Bhâratavarsa
1. Nârâyana said :-- In this Bhâratavarsa (India) I am present, as the First of all, in the shape of the Man, at present existing before you. Let you praise Me incessantly thus:--
2-28. Nârada said :-- Thou art the Bhagavân. Obeisance to Thee. Thou art completely free from attachment and envy and Thou art the incarnate of Dharma, Jñâna and Vairâgyam (Dispassion). No trace of Ahamkara (egoism) is in Thee. Obeisance to Thee. Thou hast nothing of wealth; Thou art the foremost of the family of Risis; Thou art Nara Nârâyana. Thou art the Parama Hamsa (the highest class of ascetics and renouncers of the world). Thou art the Highest Guru; Thou art happy with Thyself and the Leader of all; I bow down to Thee. Thou art the Lord of all, yet not mixed in the work of creation, etc. Though Thou residest in every embodied being, yet no hunger and thirst can press Thee; though Thou art the Witness, yet Thy sight is not at all disturbed by the proximity. Thou art not at all connected and no desires can come to Thee; Thou art the Witness. So I bow down to Thee. This path of Yoga had
come out of Thee and it is established in Thee. The Bhagavân Hiranyagarbha has given instructions on the cleverness in Yoga, thus :-- That leaving aside the egoism of this body, the seat of all evils, the people at last will take resort to the path of Bhakti and set their minds on Thee, Who art beyond the pale of the three Gunas. If, like the ignorant persons very much attached to this world as well as the next, the wise pass their time in the thoughts of their sons, wives, and riches and ultimately become very much pained on the destruction of this ugly body, persons, versed in Jñâna and Vijñâna be afraid in the end of their separation fron the body, then their study of the S'âstras and all their labours become labours merely, without any effect. When such a thing occurs to the learned, then O Thou, the Subduer of the knowledge of senses! Thou Thyself givest us instructions that we may easily think of Thee. Then this terrible clinging to this ugly body that Thy Mâyâ brings about and which it is very difficult to discard by other means, will leave us quickly. Nârada, the seer of all, well qualified with the knowledge of all the Tattvas, the foremost of the Munis, thus worships it and praises Nârâyana Who is unaffected by any of the Ûpâdhis and who corresponds to Nitya and Leelâ (both Permanent and the Pastime-making). O Devarsi! I now describe to you the rivers and mountains in Bhâratvarsa. Hear attentively. Malaya, Mangalaprastha, Mainâka, Chitrakûta, Risabha, Kûtaka, Kolla, Sahya, Devagiri, Risyamûka, S'ris'aila, Vyankata, Mahendra, Vâridhâra, Vindhya, S'uktimân, Riksa, Pâriyâtra, Drona, Chitrakûta, Gobardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nîla, Gaurmukha, Indrakîla, Kâmagiri and many other mountains, that cannot be numbered. Great merits accrue on seeing these mountains. Hundreds and thousands of rivers issue from these mountains. Drinking their waters, bathing in them and visiting them and singing their praises completely destroy the sins of mind, word and body. The names of the rivers are :-- Tâmraparnî, Chandravas'â, Kritamâlâ, Vatodakâ, Vaihâyasî, Kâverî, Venâ, Payasvini, Tungabhadrâ, Krisnavenâ, S'arkarâ, Vartakâ, Godâvarî, Bhîmarathî, Nirbindhyâ, Payosnikâ, Tâpî, Revâ, Surasâ, Narmadâ, Sarasvatî, Charmanvatî, and the Indus, Andha, and Sone, Risikulyâ, Trisâmâ, Vedasmriti, Mahânadî, Kaus'ikî, Yamunâ, Mandâkini, Drisadvatî, Gomatî, Sarayû, Oghavatî, Saptavatî, Susamâ, S'atadru, Chandrabhâgâ, Marudbridhâ, Vitastâ, Asiknî and Vis'vâ and many other rivers. Those persons that take their births in this Varsa enjoy the (Divya) Divine, human, and the lower enjoyments, as the effects of their Karmas, in accordance with their Sâttvik, Râjasik, and Tâmasik qualities. All the inhabitants of this Varsa take their Sannyâsa, Vânaprasthas, etc., in accordance with the rules of their Varnas (castes) respectively and enjoy
beatitudes as dictated (in their S'âstras). The Vedavâdis (the propounders of the Vedas), the Risis, and the Devas declare that this Varsa is superior to all the other Varsas as the Grace of God is easily obtained here. They say: Oh! What an amount of good works, the inhabitants of Bhârata Varsa did in their previous lives, that by their influence, the Bhagavân Hari has become pleased with them without their having any Sâdhanâs (good Yogic practices). Therefore we also desire to have our births there, for there if we be born amidst the persons there, we would be able serve Hari, Mukunda in every way. What will severe austerities, gifts, sacrifices, and practising vows avail us? Even if we go to Heaven, what benefit we will derive there? Then we would never be able to bring our mind to the lotus-feet of the Bhagavân Nârâyana. Our tastes for sense enjoyments would increase and we would be wholly deprived of Bhagavân. Far better it is to be born in this Bhârata Varsa as short-lived persons, than to acquire other places where one can live up to the period of Kalpa and then be reborn. For the intelligent people of Bhârata, getting this mortal coil can within a short period devote themselves to the Bhagavân Hari and be free from rebirth. That place is never to be visited and served, even if that be Svarga Loka where the nectar-like ocean of the sayings of Vaikuntha are not heard; where there are no assemblages of saints who take refuge of the Lotus feet of Bhagavân; where the great sacrifices and festivities of the Bhagavân Visnu are not celebrated. Those persons, that do not try for Moksa, when they get human births and when they possess Jñâna, Kriyâ (methods of doing sacrifices and other works for the help of Jñâna) and Dravya (materials for those sacrifices), are certainly like beasts and get themselves repeatedly entanged into bondages. The people of Bhârata Varsa offer oblations to Indra and other deities, invoking their names separately, with proper rules (Vidhis), mantras, and purodâsas (a sacrificial oblation made of ground rice and offered in Kapâlas or vessels); but the All sufficient Bhagavân Hari, the Giver of blessings accepts those very gladly.
True that He grants unto the people what they ask from Him; but He hardly gives anybody the Paramârtha, the Highest Goal. The reason being that the people ask again and again after receiving what they had asked. So He gives of Himself His own lotus-feet to those who, having abandoned all their desires, worship Him and Him only with the idea of love. (1) Thus :-- We are living very happily in the Heavens as the fruit of the Istâpûrta that we performed fully; yet we want that we may also be born in Bhârata Varsa with our memory all renewed with the thought of the Bhagavân Hari. The Bhagavân residing in this Bhâratvarsa, awards the highest welfare to its inhabitants.
29-32. Nârâyana said :-- O Devarsi! Thus the Devas of the Heavens, the Siddhas, the Highest Risis, sing the excellent merits of this Bhâratavarsa. There are the eight Upadvîpas of this Jambudvîpa :-- When the sons of the King Sagara were searching for the footprints of the stolen horse (for As'vamedha sacrifice), they found these Upadvîpas; so it is definitely stated. The names of out and made these are :-- Svarnaprastha, Chandras'ukra, Âvartana, Ramânaka, Mandaropâkhya, Harina, Pânchajanya, and Ceylon. The length and breadth of Jambudvîpa have been described; now the other six Dvîpas, Plaksa and others will be described. Hear.
Here ends the Eleventh Chapter of the Eighth Book on the description of the continents and of Bhâratavarsa in the Mahâpurânam, S'rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.