Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 11:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhumi Parva) Chapter 11:2

Dhritarashtra said,—'A great doubt ariseth in my mind, O Sanjaya, from what thou hast said. Why, O Suta's son, would the people there be of dark complexion?

Sanjaya said,—'O great king, in all islands, O son of Kuru's race, men may be found that are fair, and those that are dark, and those also that are produced by a union of the fair and the dark races. But because the people there are all dark, therefore is that mountain called the Dark Mountain. After this, O chief of the Kurus, is the large mountain called Durgasaila. And then cometh the mountain called Kesari. The breezes that blow from that mountain are all charged with (odoriferous) effluvia. The measure of each of these mountains is double that of the one mentioned immediately before. O thou of Kuru's race, it hath been said by the wise that there are seven Varshas in that island. The Varsha of Meru is called Mahakasa; that of the water-giving (Malaya) is called Kumudottara. The Varsha of Jaladhara is called Sukumara, while that of Raivatak is called Kaumara; and of Syama, Manikanchana. The Varsha of Kesara is called Mandaki, and that called after the next mountain is called Mahapuman. In the midst of that island is a large tree called Saka. In height and breadth the measure of that tree is equal to that of the Jamvu tree in Jamvudwipa. And the people there always adore that tree. There in that island are, many delightful provinces where Siva is worshipped, and thither repair the Siddhas, the Charanas, and the celestials.

The people there, O king, are virtuous, and all the four orders, O Bharata, are devoted to their respective occupation. No instance of theft can be seen there. Freed from decrepitude and death and gifted with long life, the people there, O king, grow like rivers during the season of rains. The rivers there are full of sacred water, and Ganga herself, distributed as she hath been into various currents, is there. Sukumari, and Kumari, and Seta, and Keveraka, and Mahanadi, O Kauravya, and the river Manijala, and Chakshus, and the river Vardhanika, O thou best of the Bharatas,—these and many other rivers by thousands and hundreds, all full of sacred water, are there, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, from which Vasava draweth water for showering it as rain. It is impossible to recount the names and lengths of rivers. All of them are foremost of rivers and sin-cleansing. As heard by all men there, in that island of Saka, are four sacred provinces. They are the Mrigas, the Masakas, the Manasas, and the Mandagas. The Mrigas for the most part are Brahmanas devoted to the occupations of their order. Amongst the Masakas are virtuous Kshatriyas granting (unto Brahmanas) every wish (entertained by them). The Manasas, O king, live by following the duties of the Vaisya order. Having every wish of theirs gratified, they are also brave and firmly devoted to virtue and profit. The Mandagas are all brave Sudras of virtuous behaviour. In these provinces, O monarch, there is no king, no punishment, no person that deserves to be punished. Conversant with the dictates of duty they are all engaged in the practice of their respective duties and protect one another. This much is capable of being said of the island called Saka. This much also should be listened to about that island endued with great energy.[1]



  1. Probably this mythical account of Sakadwipa embodies some vague tradition current in ancient India of some republic in Eastern Asia or Oceanic Asia (further east in the Pacific). Accustomed as the Hindus were to kingly form of government, a government without a king, would strike them exactly in the way described in the last two slokas.