The last few episodes saw some important discussions on a very interesting story that involves King Puranjana and his friend Avignyaata. This is a story that we can relate directly to our human life that we’re leading currently. Every aspect of our spiritual progress and cultivating the awareness of it, is spoken about in detail. Specially, in the last episode we had witnessed a discussion on how we maintain our spiritual progress intact, while we are still leading a worldly life. This is where we spoke about “detachment” and how we practice it in modern day life. Of course, we’ve spoken about this at multiple occasions before, this context assumes more significance because this entire story revolves around the situation wherein people tend to forget Bhagawan while pursuing more and more of the worldly pleasures. Hence the point here is that, although we might lead a materialistic worldly life at the outset, we still have to remember that we have a spiritual path to undertake, and being in a family life, as King Janaka rightly points out, both the husband and wife should together walk the path of Dharma. Thus, it is not that we shouldn’t get married, raise a family, etc. The point here is that, even though we raise a family, we should be able to lead ourselves and our family towards Dharma.
Thus at the end, just like how Avignyaata hand-holds King Puranjana at the end and takes him to a peaceful place devoid of all the sufferings, Bhagawan hand-holds us as our spiritual progress increases, and finally takes us to Vaikunta. Of course, I’ve explained this story in a very brief manner. If we have a look at the text, Sage Sukhaachaarya explains this in a mammoth amount of detail, which can be expanded into another 100 episodes easily! Thus, the story of King Puranjana and Avignyaata directly pertains to us as human beings and how are we trying to reach Bhagawan, despite so many distractions here and there, caused by our mind and its whims and fancies. So with this, we come to the end of the fourth Skandha of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. So in the fourth Skandha, we’ve witnessed the events and happenings of Utthaanapada’s life, as well as few people who came after him – Dhruva, Anga, Vena, Pruthu and finally we saw what happened to Puranjana. Now we move on with the fifth Skandha, which talks about Priyavratha and Aagneethra, who form the next generations after King Pruthu and Puranjana.
This Aagneethra had a son by name Naabhi. Naabhi had a son by name Rishabha-Deva. These two people, viz., Naabhi and Rishabha Deva were the people who came up with how the earth can be categorized. It can be remembered by readers that in our earlier episodes we’ve spoken about how “time” can be divided and sub-divided into many categories. Here we’re going to talk about how Mother earth (Bhoomi) can be divided and sub-divided into many such categories. These categorizations were done primarily by these two people and thus it is important for us to understand this in detail.
It should be understood by all of us that at the moment we’re living in the area called “Bhoo-Mandala” which is nothing but the earth’s surface. Above this “Bhoo-Mandala”, we have six “Lokas” that exist. Below us, there are seven “Lokas”. Thus we have fourteen “Lokas”, which comprise Mother Earth. This classification is based on the height above and below the basic “Bhoo-Mandala” where we live. Similarly if we’ve to look at the classification based on the “breadth”, Sage Sukhaachaarya puts this into perspective thus:
“Bhaada muktam bhagawatha utthamah shlokasya!
Shreemath charanaaravindha makarandharashya aavisheta chetasaha!!
Bhaagawatha paramahamsa daitha kathaam kinchith antharaaya vihataam!
Svaam shivatamaam padavim nah praayena hinvanti!!”
Sage Sukhaachaarya explains to King Parikshit as to how Mother Earth is classified into many parts. It all starts with this Aagneetra taking his chariot and going around the earth seven times. In fact, to trace back a little bit, Aagneethra’s first three sons did not have any interest in ruling any kingdom. The remaining four sons of his, wanted to have their own kingdoms and hence Aagneethra goes around with his chariot and makes seven rounds. As he makes seven rounds, the earth gradually takes shape into seven different oceans, which were full of salted water! Similarly, Aagneethra’s seven rounds created seven different oceans. These oceans were termed as “Samudra”. In the middle of all these seven oceans arose few masses of land that separated each of the seven oceans and these land masses were collectively called as “Dveepa”.
So for today, let us stop at this point and start understanding this important classification. Initially it might be a little confusing for readers to comprehend, however, as we progress into this discussion in the subsequent episodes, clarity would emerge. At this moment, we should not go into our modern day geography textbooks and compare what we see today in the world maps. This classification is grossly different from what we have today. Hence, readers shouldn’t get confused with this aspect. We shall wait till the next episode, to continue this discussion further. Stay tuned! 😉