SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 8 CHAPTER 11

THE EIGHTH BOOK

Chapter XI

On the description of the continents and of Bhāratvarṣa

1. Nārāyaṇa said:

In this Bhāratvarṣa (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. Nārada said:

Thou art the Bhagavān. Obeisance to Thee. Thou art completely free from attachment and envy and Thou art the incarnate of Dharma, Jñāna and Vairāgyam (Dispassion). No trace of Ahaṁkāra (egoism) is in Thee. Obeisance to Thee.

Thou hast nothing of wealth; Thou art the foremost of the family of Riṣis; Thou art Nara Nārāyaṇa. 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 involved in the work of creation, etc. Though Thou residest in every embodied being, yet no hunger and thirst can compel 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 has started from Thee and it is established in Thee. The Bhagavān Hiraṇyagarbha has given instructions on the cleverness in Yoga, thus:

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 Guṇas.

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 Jñāna and Vijñāna be afraid in the end of their separation from the body, then their study of the Śāstras 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 Māyā brings about and which is very difficult to discard by other means, will leave us quickly.

Nārada, the seer of all, well qualified with the knowledge of all the Tattvas, the foremost of the Munis, thus worships and praises Nārāyaṇa Who is unaffected by any of the Upādhis and who corresponds to Nitya and Līlā (both Permanent and the Pastime-making).

O Devarṣi! I now describe to you the rivers and mountains in Bhāratvarṣa. Hear attentively:

 Malaya, Mangalaprastha, Maināka, Chitrakūṭa, Riṣabha, Kūtaka, Kolla, Sahya, Devagiri, Riṣyamūka, Śrīśaila, Vyankaṭa, Mahendra, Vāridhāra, Vindhya, Śuktimān, Rikṣa, Pāriyātra, Droṇa, Chitrakūṭa, Govardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nīla, Gaurmukha, Indrakīla, Kāmagiri 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:

Tāmraparṇī, Chandravasā, Kritamālā, Vaṭodakā, Vaihāyasī, Kāverī, Veṇā, Payasvinī, Tungabhadrā, Kṛṣṇavenā, Śarkarā, Vartakā, Godāvarī, Bhīmarathī, Nirvindhyā, Payoṣṇikā, Tāpī, Revā, Surasā, Narmadā, Saraswatī, Charmaṇvatī,

and the Indus, Andha, and Sone, Riṣikulyā, Trisāmā, Vedasmriti, Mahānadī, Kauśikī, Yamunā, Mandākinī, Drisadvatī, Gomatī, Sarayū, Oghavatī, Saptavatī, Susamā, Śatadru, Chandrabhāgā, Marudbridhā, Vitastā, Asiknī and Viśvā and many other rivers.

Those persons that take their births in this Varṣā enjoy the (Divya) Divine, human, and the lower enjoyments, as the effects of their Karmas, in accordance with their Sāttvic, Rājasic, and Tāmasic qualities.

All the inhabitants of this Varṣā take their Sannyāsa, Vānaprasthīs, etc., in accordance with the rules of their Varṇas (castes) respectively and enjoy beatitudes as dictated (in their Śāstras).

The Vedavādis (the propounders of the Vedas), the Riṣis, and the Devas declare that this Varṣā is superior to all the other Varṣas as the Grace of God is easily obtained here.

They say:

Oh! What an amount of good works, the inhabitants of Bharata Varṣā did in their previous lives, that by their influence, the Bhagavān Hari has become pleased with them without them having any Sādhanās (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, Mukuṇḍa 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 Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa. Our tastes for sense enjoyments would increase and we would be wholly deprived of Bhagavān.

Far better it is to be born in this Bhārata Varṣā 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 Bhārata, getting this mortal coil can within a short period devote themselves to the Bhagavān 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 stories about Vaikuṇṭha are not heard;

where there are no assemblages of saints who take refuge of the Lotus feet of Bhagavān; where the great sacrifices and festivities of the Bhagavān Viṣṇu are not celebrated.

Those persons, that do not strive for Mokṣa, when they get human births and when they possess Jñāna, Kriya (methods of doing sacrifices and other works for the help of Jñāna) and Dravya (materials for those sacrifices), are certainly like beasts and get themselves repeatedly entangled into bondages.

The people of Bhārata Varṣā offer oblations to Indra and other deities, invoking their names separately, with proper rules (Vidhis), mantras, and puroḍāsas (a sacrificial oblation made of ground rice and offered in Kapālas or vessels); but the All sufficient Bhagavān 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 Paramārtha, the Highest Goal. Because he want the people to ask again and again after receiving what they have 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.

Thus We are living very happily in the Heavens as the fruit of the Iṣṭāpūrta that we performed fully; yet we want that we may also be born in Bhārata Varṣā with our memory all renewed with the thought of the Bhagavān Hari. The Bhagavān residing in this Bhāratvarṣa, awards the highest welfare to its inhabitants.

29-32. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Devarṣi! Thus the Devas of the Heavens, the Siddhas, the Highest Riṣis, sing the excellent merits of this Bhāratvarṣa.

There are the eight Upadvīpas of this Jambū Dvīpa:

When the sons of the King Sāgara were searching for the footprints of the stolen horse (for Aśva Medhā sacrifice), they found these Upadvīpas; so it is definitely stated.

The names of these Upadvīpas are:

Svarṇaprastha, Chandraśukra, Āvartana, Ramāṇaka, Mandaropākhya, Hariṇa, Pañchajanya, and Ceylon.

The length and breadth of Jambū Dvīpa have been described; now the other six Dvīpas, Plakṣa and others will be described. Hear.

Here ends the Eleventh Chapter of the Eighth Book on the description of the continents and of Bhāratvarṣa in the Mahāpurāṇam, Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.