According to Puranic cosmography, the entire Cosmos is divided into 7 continents (sapta-dvipa vasumati) separated by the seven encircling oceans, each double the size of the preceding one (going out from within). The seven continents of the Puranas are stated as:
Jambudvipa, Plaksadvipa, Salmalidvipa, Kushadvipa, Krounchadvipa, Shakdvipa, and Pushkaradvipa.
My Storyteller mind said alright – Simple. our present day 7 continents with different names … Surprise Surprise !!! Then I read on …
I am introduced to the concept of ”A central world mountain, called Meru / Sumeru Parvat” - the centre of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.
It is not the Sun as the present day Solar System states … So let us see the picture the Puranas created. I wish I could work with graphics to explain this better.
- Right in the centre of everything – Is the Sumeru Mountain – Surrounded by the 1st continent – Jambudvipa, which then, like a moat is surrounded by Salt water – Ocean I presume. Human beings live here on the Jambydvipa. It is the only Karma Bhoommi … lives which seek the heaven and Mokhsha, take birth here on the karma bhoomi.
- Then the salt water is surrounded with the 2nd dvipa – The Plaksadviipa. The inhabitants of Plaksadvipa apparently live for one thousand years. They are beautiful like the demigods, and they also beget children like the demigods. They pray to the Sun. This island is surrounded by an ocean of sugarcane juice.
- Then Salmalidvipa — surrounded by an equally broad body of water called Surasagara, the ocean that tastes like liquor. The inhabitants of this island worship Soma, the moon-god. This island also has a gigantic tree which is the residence of Garuda, the king of all birds and carrier of Lord Vishnu.
- Kusadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of liquid ghee as broad as the island itself. The inhabitants worship Fire.
- Outside the ocean of clarified butter / liquid ghee, is another island, known as Krauncadvipa. Krauncadvipa is then further surrounded by an ocean of milk as broad as the island itself. Inhabitants worshiped Varuna - the demigod who has a form of water.
- Beyond the ocean of milk, is the island, Śākadvīpa, surrounded by an ocean churned yogurt. And its inhabitants worship the Supreme Lord in the form of Vayu - the demi god Wind / Air
- Pushkaradvipa, surrounded by an ocean of very tasteful water. On Pushkaradvipa there is a great lotus flower with 100,000,000 pure golden petals, as effulgent as the flames of fire. That lotus flower is considered the sitting place of Lord Brahma, who is the most powerful living being and who is therefore sometimes called Bhagvan.
In the chariot of the sun-god, the sun travels on the top of the mountain in an orbit called the Samvatsara, encircling Mount Meru. The sun’s path on the northern side is called Uttarāyana, and its path on the southern side is called Dakshināyana. One side represents a day for the demigods, and the other represents their night. the inhabitants of this tract of land worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead as represented by Lord Brahmā.
AND … beyond the ocean of sweet water and fully surrounding it, is a mountain named Lokāloka, which divides the countries that are full of sunlight from those not lit by the sun. All living entities, including demigods, human beings, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, creepers and trees, depend upon the heat and light given by the sun-god from the sun planet.
WOW !!! This is quiet a design they tried to pass down as a story. I noticed some common things.
Seven Dvipas. Each dvipa then has 7 islands, 7 rulers, seven boundary mountains and seven rivers. The inhabitants of every islands are also divided into four castes. Every dvipa had a very pious tree which is worthy of worship. Each dvipa worshipped either of these:
- The Sun
- The Moon
Were they trying to describe the orbits?
THIS IS ROUGHLY THE DESCRIPTION OF ONE FOURTH OF THE UNIVERSE … THE VEDIC UNIVERSE … At the end of this write up, from all that I read – from the research that went into it, from the vastness of it – I’m humbled. Genuinely humbled. Credit for the excerpts & pictures goes to all the original composers & writers. I am just putting my thoughts together & thinking aloud.
God Bless them. I bow down to the Vedic Studies