In the previous episode, we had moved on from the Puranjana-Avignyaata story and commenced the next important and interesting discussion on the different ways in which this world (Mother Earth) is divided into. We’ve now moved into the fifth Skandha of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and here we’re witnessing Sage Sukhaachaarya’s enchanting discussion on the various divisions of Mother Earth, how were the oceans and land masses formed, etc. We’ve seen this same kind of classification with respect to time, initially when we started this project. Now we’re going to see this classification for the world. We’ve seen yesterday that the division of the world on which we’re living is called the “Bhoo-Mandala”, which is nothing but the surface of the earth. Above and below this surface, there are different “Lokhas” (Worlds). There are seven above us and six below us! In total thus, we can see fourteen different “Lokhas” into which the earth is classified.
It’s very interesting to find this kind of a description in modern-day geographical texts as well. We talk about four different “spheres” that are above the earth surface – Troposphere, Stratosphere, Ionosphere and Exosphere and around five to six different spheres underground – The clayey region, watery region, rocky region, and so on and so forth. If we try and equate both the modern-day findings and that what Sage Sukhaachaarya has described thousands of years ago, there is lot of matching, except of course for the fact that the technical terms used then and now are different. However, the concept remains grossly the same!
Having said thus, this classification is with respect to the distance in terms of height above and below the earth surface on which we live. Now if we’ve to look at the length-breadth classification, Sage Sukhaachaarya invokes a beautiful story of Aagneethra 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”.
This is where, when we do the “Sankalpa” Mantra before every important spiritual offering, we chant the following:
“Jamboodveepe – Bhaaratavarshe – BharatahKande – Meroho – Dakshine paarshve – Sakaapthe…”
Here, we have the phrase called “Jamboodveepe” and we’re now witnessing an interesting description of what is “Dveepa”. It is to be noted that we currently live in the “Jamboodveepa”. Above and below us, there are seven different “Dveepa’s” that exist. So when we chant this section of the “Sankalpa-Mantra”, we mean to convey to Bhagawan that we’re performing this spiritual offering, sitting at the “Jamboodveepa” portion of Mother Earth. Within this Jamboodveepa, we are sitting amidst a huge land mass (can also be referred to a continent) called “Bharata Kanda”
(We might be able to roughly equate this to today’s Asian, Australian and part of African continents together. Perhaps in those days, the landmass of the earth was all together this way. However, owing to various natural changes that happened, in the likes of subsequent earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. certain land masses started drifting apart from the main Bharata Kanda and took shape into different “continents” that we see in today’s world map. Hence, we should understand here that when the world was created at the beginning, many landmasses were clubbed together and subsequently they separated from each other and the ocean waters came in the middle of all of them. This is an interesting point to make here, because modern day geological science too suggests a same theory!)
Amidst this huge “Bharata-Kanda”, we are sitting at a country called ”Bhaaratavarsha”. This, of course we might be familiar with – Bhaaratavarsha refers to the Indian subcontinent. When we say, “Indian Subcontinent”, it also encompasses the present-day India, along with several of its neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, parts of China, Nepal and a segment of the Arabian area. Of course, as years passed by, different kingdoms arose and thus, several new countries took shape. Thus, while chanting the Sankalpa-Mantra, readers should now be able to understand what exactly we are chanting! This is very important, as this mantra indicates the entire geological and geographical location at which we are living! In a similar way, we keep chanting many Mantras and Slokas monotonously without understanding the meaning behind it. If we have an in-depth view of the meaning of every Mantra that we chant, it would be mind-blowing and thus we would be able to understand and comprehend the depth of knowledge that our ancient Maharishis and Scholars have had, without going to any sort of school or a university! This is the real significance of our Hindu Sanaathana Dharma and this sort of an in-depth knowledge and understanding doesn’t exist in any other religion in the world, except Hinduism. This is the reason why Hinduism is a revered and a respected religion across the globe even today!
Thus, the point to be noted here is that, the “Dveepa” in which we live currently is called as the “Jamboodveepa”. As mentioned above, there are other “Dveepas” that constitute Mother Earth. What are they? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! 😊