Markandeya Puranam

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KRAUSTUKI said: – How many are the islands, the oceans; how many, O thou twice-born one, are the mountains, and how many are also the continents, and what are the rivers of these? What again are the measures of the great elements, and similarly of the mountain Lokaloka and the changes, the measures, and the movements of the moon and the sun. Tell me, O thou great Muni, all this in detail. (1-3)

MARKANDEYA said: – This earth, Oh thou twice-born one, is fully a hundred and a half crore (of yojana) in extent. I shall describe to you all the places contained therein, hear thou of that.

(4) Those islands that have been described by me, commencing with the Jambudwipa, O thou twice-born one, and ending with the Puskaradwipa, hear of them again in detail, Oh thou possessor of the eight good qualities of kindness &c. (5) The islands called Jambu, Plaksha, and then, Shamala and Kusha, and Crauncha, similarly Saka and the island Puskara, of these, each succeeding one is double the extent of that which is named before it.

(6) And they are covered on all sides by the seven oceans, namely the Labana, the Dugdha, the Sarpi, the Dadhi, the Ikshu, and the Jala, of which also each one is twice the extent of the preceding one. (7) I shall tell you of the position of the Jambudwipa, listen to me. It is in length and breadth a lac of yojana. (8) The seven Kula mountains in this are Himaban, Himakuta, Rishabha, Meru, Neela, Sweta, similarly Sringi. (9) The two great mountains in the middle of it are each a lac of yojana in extent. Of these two, that which is towards the south and that which is towards the north, of them one is less than the other by ten thousand yojana, their

hight is two thousand yojana and similarly the whole extent of the base is also two thousand yojana. (10-11) All the six Kula mountains enter into the womb of the ocean; and the earth here is sloping towards the south and north, and at the middle it is raised to great heights. (12) Know that on the southern side of this are three continents or Barshas and similarly three on the northern side; and between them the Ilabrata-Barsha stands as a crescent. (13) Towards the east of it is the Barsha of Bhadrashwa, and to the west that of Ketumala, and in the centre of Ilabrata is the golden mountain, Meru. (14) The height of this great mountain is eighty-four thousand yojana; and it has entered into the earth to sixteen thousand yojanas, and is sixteen thousand yojanas in breadth. (15) Because it stands in the form of a circular plate therefore its top is thirty-two yojanas in extent, and on the four sides, commencing with the east, of the four colours, white, yellow, black and red, – the four castes reside, according to their respective colours1. (16-17) In this mountain are the courts of Indra and other protectors of the world, and in the centre of them all, is the court of Brahma, which is fourteen thousand yojanas in height. (18) Similarly below it is the Biskamba mountain, whose height is ten thousand yojana. In the division of sides according to the east &c, are one after another stationed the mountains Mandara, Gandhamadana, Bipula, and similarly Suparsha, adorned with trees peculiar to each. The mount Mandara has got the Kadamba tree as peculiar to it; while the distinctive tree of Gandhamadana is the Jambu or the jaman; similarly the Aswathwa tree is peculiar to Bipula, and the immense Bata is peculiar to Suparsha; and these mountains are eleven hundred yojanas in extent in all. (19-21) The mountains on the eastern side are Jathara, and Devakuta, and Anila and Nishadha which two have run into each other. (22) Nishadha and Paripatra are situated on the western side of Meru, as in the eastern mountains similarly also in these, the extent is the same as that of Anila and Nishadha. (23) On the south are the two great mountains Kailasa and Himaban they two are extented from east to west and stand extended to the limits of the ocean. (24) Similarly the mountains to the north are Sringaban and also Jarudhi; as in the south so also in the north these extend to the limits of the ocean. (25) Oh thou most excellent Brahman, these eight are called the Maryada mountains. Himabat, Himakuta, and other mountains are at the distance of nine thousand Yojanas from each other, from east to west, and south to north; and are situate on all sides of Meru in the Barsha called Ilabrita. (26-27) Those Jaman or Jambu fruits that grow in the Gandhamadana mountain, of the size of the body of an elephant, fall on the top of the mountain. (28) From the melting of those fruits arise the river known by the name of Jambu, where is produced the gold called Jambunada. (29) She (this river) having encircled the Meru enters again into its own source, and the waters of it are drunk, Oh thou tiger among the twice-born persons, by the people of those regions. (30) Vishnu exists in the Bhadrashwa as Ashwasira, in Bharata as the tortoise, in Ketumala as the boar, and in the next Barsha Ilabrtiha as fish. (31) In these four Barshas objects that defeat the evil influences of stars are arranged according to the arrangement of the stars. (32)