Chapter V

On the description of the receptacle of beings and on the mountains and on the origin of rivers

1-31. Śrī Nārāyaṇa said:

O Child Nārada! Now hear in detail about the divisions of the earth into the Dvīpas and the Varṣas as marked out by the Devas. In brief, I describe about them; no one can speak about this in details.

First, the Jambu Dvīpa is one lakh Yojanas in its dimensions. This Jambu Dvīpa is round like a lotus. There are nine Varṣas in it and excepting the Bhadrāśva and Ketumāla, each is nine thousand Yojanas in its dimensions (i.e., in its diameter or circumference?) and there are eight very lofty mountains, in those Varṣas, forming their boundaries.

Of the Varṣas, the two Varṣas that are situated in the North and South, are of the size of a bow (segmental); and the four others are elongated in their size.

The centre of all these Varṣas is named Īlāvrita Varṣā and its size is rectangular. In the centre of this Īlāvarṣa is situated the golden Śumeru Mountain, the King of all the mountains, one lakh Yojanas high. It forms the pericarp of the lotus earth. The top of this mountain is thirty Yojanas wide.

O Child! The sixteen thousand Yojanas of this mountain is under the ground and the eighty four Yojanas are visible outside.

In the north of this Īlāvarṣa are the three mountains the Nīlagiri, the Śvetagiri and the Śringavau, forming the boundaries respectively of the three Varṣas named Ramyaka, Hiraṇmaya and Kuru respectively.

These run along from the east and gradually extend at their base and towards the salt ocean (Lavana Samudra).

These three mountains, that form the boundaries, are each two thousand Yojanas wide. The length of each from the east towards north is less by one-tenth (1/10) of the above dimensions. Many rivers take their source and flow from them.

On the south of Īlāvarṣa three beautiful mountain ranges, named Niṣadha, Hemakūṭa, and Himālayās, are situated, extending from the east. They are each one Ayuta Yojanas high. These three mountains form the boundaries again of Kimpuruṣa and Bhārata Varṣā.

To the west of Īlāvrita is situated the mountain called Mālyavān and to the east are situated the mountains Gandhamādan, Nīla, and Niṣadha, the centres of the highest sublime grandeur and beauty. The length and breadth of these the boundary (limiting) mountains are each two thousand Yojanas.

Then the mountains Mandāra, Supārśvak, and Kumuda and others are situated in the Ketumāla and Bhadrāśva Varṣas; but these all are reckoned as the Pāda Parvatas (mountains at the foot) of the Śumeru mountain.

The height and breadth of each of these is one Ayuta Yojanas. These form the pillars, as it were, of Meru on the four sides.

On these mountains, the mango, the jack, plantain, and the fig trees and various others are situated, four hundred (400) Yojanas wide and eleven hundred (1,100) Yojanas high; they seem to extend to the Heavens and form, as it were, the flagstaff on the top.

The roots, bases of these trees as well as their branches are wonderfully equally thick and extend to enormous distances.

On those mountain tops are situated again, the four very capacious lakes. Of these, one lake is all milk; the other lake is all honey; the third lake is all sugarcane juice and the fourth lake is all sweet water.

There are, then, again the four very lovely gardens named Nandana, Chaitraratha, Vaibhrājaka, and Sarvatobhadra, very lovely, enchanting and pleasing to the delicate female sex and where the Devas enjoy the wealth and prosperity and their other Yogic powers.

Here the Devas live always with numerous hordes of women and have their free amorous, dealings with them, to their heart's contents and they hear the sweet songs sung by the Gandharvas and Kinnaras, the Upa Devatās about their own glorious deeds.

On the top of the Mandāra mountain, there are the Heavenly mango trees eleven hundred Yojanas high; the sweet delicious nectar-like mango fruits, very soft and each of the size as the summit of a mountain, fall to the ground; and out of their juices of a colour of the rising sun, a great river named Aruṇodā takes her origin.

Here the Devas always worship the great Devī Bhagavatī named Aruṇā, the Destructrix of all sins, the Grantrix of all desires, and the Bestower of all fearlessness with various offerings and with the lovely water of this Aruṇodā river, with great devotion.

O Child! In ancient days, the King of the Daityas worshipped always this Mahā Māyā Aruṇā Devī (and obtained immense wealth and prosperity).

He who worships Her becomes cured of all diseases, gets his health and other happiness by Her grace. Therefore She is named Ādya, Māyā, Atulā, Anantā, Puṣṭī, Īśvaramālinī, the Destroyer of the wicked and the Giver of lustre and beauty and thus remembered on this capacious earth. The river Jāmbūnada has appeared as a result of Her worship, containing divine gold.

Here ends the Fifth Chapter of the Eighth Book on the description of the receptacle of beings and on the mountains and on the origin of rivers in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.