Episode # 71 – The “JAMBU-DVEEPA” – A distance calculation!!!

In the previous episode, we had concluded the summary of the first “Amsa” and commenced with the second “Amsa”, wherein Sage Maithreya is asking Sage Paraashara the next question. He is now asking about Svaayambhva Manu’s second son, Priyavrata. We’ve already witnessed in the first Amsa about the other son, Utthaanapaada, wherein we witnessed the all-important Dhruva-Charitra. We should remember here that Dhruva was the son of Utthaanapada. After Dhruva, came Anga. After Anga came Vena. After Vena came Pruthu. We’ve seen at length about all these people in our previous project – Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. Sage Sukhaachaarya too had given a detailed accord on all these people, and hence I’m not going into the individual “Charitras” here. We shall witness now what we’ve not seen yet. 

Thus, now the talk is going to be about Priyavrata and his family lineage. Sage Paraashara starts his accord by explaining that this Priyavrata had ten sons. The eldest son of Priyavrata was named as “Aagneethra”. As the ten sons were growing up, Priyavrata was thinking about how to split his kingdom into ten different smaller kingdoms, so as to give them to each of the sons. As a father, Priyavrata wanted to do something good to his sons, and he planned thus. However, the first three sons clearly said to their father that they do not want any share in the kingdom and that, they would like to be left alone from all this. Having heard this from Aagneethra and the two others, Priyavrata’s job now becomes a bit easier. It’s only the question of seven more sons, isn’t it? Hence, division becomes easier. The problem comes only if all the ten sons are fighting for their share, and at this stage the role of the father becomes miserable, isn’t it? We’re seeing this rampantly in today’s world – How families are getting split because of property issues! 

Here, we’re going to see that Priyavrata was the ruler of the entire world! We’re today fighting for some miniscule amounts of property here and there in some corner of the world, isn’t it? 🙂 Now, for Priyavrata’s seven sons, he splits the entire world into seven different “Dveepas”. This is what we refer often to as “Sapta-Dveepa”. The word “Sapta” means seven, and “Dveepa” means a portion of this entire world. Sage Paraashara lists out the names of the seven Dveepas here thus: The first one is called “Jambu-Deveepa”. The second one is called as “Plaksha-Dveepa”. Subsequently, there are the five other Dveepas, namely Shaalmala-Dveepa, Kusha-Dveepa, Krauncha-Dveepa, Shaaka Dveepa and Pushkara Dveepa. Readers should carefully note these names here, as these are often referred to, in various places of our Sanaatana Dharma literature in various contexts. Thus, Priyavrata splits the entire world into these seven Dveepas, To understand these points better, readers must have a fairly good imaginary power here – We should imagine huge concentric circles around the earth’s surface, spreading across length and breath. The center portion of all these concentric circles is nothing but the first Dveepa, which is called the “Jambu-Dveepa”. This is the Dveepa which Priyavrata gave to his eldest son, Aagneetra, even though he refused to take it. However, with the instruction from his father, Aagneethra took it upon himself to rule. 

Now, we’ve to measure the distance of each of the “Dveepas” isn’t it? The Jambu Dveepa, according to Sage Paraashara, is around 100,000 Yojanas in distance. In our Sanaatana Dharma literature, we would quite often come across this parameter of measuring distance – “Yojana”. If we’ve to equate this Yojana measurement to our modern day kilometer or mile calculation, we can say that one Yojana would approximately equal around 8 miles, or 13.2 kilometers. Now we can imagine what would be the distance of one lakh Yojanas. We’ve to simply multiply by 8 or 13.2 to get the exact miles or kilometers respectively. Thus, this is the distance that the Jambu Dveepa covers. 

Now we’ll understand why this Dveepa is referred to as “Jambu-Dveepa”. In fact, “Jambu” is the name of a fruit that was found abundant in this Dveepa. People who were living here were very fond of this Jambu fruit and they used to relish the juice of this fruit very much. As it was very good for health, people in this Dveepa were living hale and healthy by consuming the juice of this Jambu fruit. This is the reason why this Dveepa was referred to as the “Jambu-Dveepa”. Thus, the second characteristic of this Jambu-Dveepa is that, it is surrounded by huge swathes of oceans! The oceans were comprising of water, which was salty and brackish in nature. The length of the ocean was spanning to almost the same distance of the entire Jambu Dveepa, which is around one lakh Yojanas. Here, we’ve to imagine that the Jambu Dveepa is in the center like a circle, and the diameter of this huge circle is around one lakh Yojanas. Now, the oceans are surrounding this huge circle in the form of a concentric circle, and the diameter of this circle is also around one lakh Yojanas. 

Similarly, the next Dveepa, called the “Plaksha Dveepa” spans over a diameter of around two lakh Yojanas and there would again be an ocean that is forming the next level of concentric circle. The diameter of this would be another two lakh Yojanas. The next Dveepa would be forming the next level of the concentric circle, with a diameter spanning around four lakh Yojanas. There would again be another ocean that is surrounding this Dveepa too,  and this would also be around four lakh Yojanas in diameter. Similarly, the other Dveepas would be forming the subsequent concentric circles with around eight Lakh Yojanas, 16 Lakh Yojanas, 32 Lakh Yojanas and 64 Lakh Yojanas respectively in diameter. This is how the Dveepa calculation is done. 

Thus, we can see here that the smallest of the small Dveepas is the “Jambu-Dveepa”, which is at the center of everything. Surrounding the Jambu Dveepa are the subsequent six Dveepas, spanning a diameter of around 64 Lakh Yojanas, in the forms of concentric circles around. So for today, let us understand this calculation and we shall wait till the next episode to talk more on this! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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