Book 5: Chapter 19
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 19: Verses 22-31
What has been gained by us through sacrificial performances, austerities and (other) sacred vows, (practice of) charity and other (meritorious) acts, so difficult to perform, or even through the fruitless attainment of heaven (earned through those meritorious acts), where one gets no opportunity for the remembrance of Bhagavan Narayana, which is eliminated due to excessive gratification of the senses ? (Nay,) securing (birth in) the land of Bharatavarsa on the, part of men with a short span of life is preferable to the attainment of the abode (the spheres higher than Indra's heaven, viz., Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka or Brahmaloka) of those who live for a (whole) Kalpa (the lifetime of the three worlds, covering a thousand revolutions of the four Yugas, or 4,32,00,00,000 human years)-an abode which leads to rebirth (after one has enjoyed one's allotted span of life there). For, offering (to the Lord) the actions done in the course of an instant (even) with their mortal body, wise men (in this land) attain to the fearless Abode of Sri Hari. That region-be it the abode of Brahma (the highest ruler of the gods) himself-should in no case be resorted to, where streams of nectar in the shape of the stories of Lord Visnu do not flow, where there are no pious devotees of the Lord, living on those nectarean streams and where there are no sacrificial performances intended to propitiate Lord Visnu (the Lord of sacrifices) and accompanied with grand festivities (in the shape of sacred music and dancing etc.). Those Jivas (embodied souls), however, who do not strive to secure immunity from rebirth (even) after attaining birth in the human race---fully equipped with knowledge (discrimination), capacity for actions leading to knowledge and substances helpful to such activities-fall into bondage again like wild birds (disentangled from the fowler's net, yet carelessly sporting on the same tree where they were once entrapped).
"Invoked in sacrifices under diverse names (Indra, Agni and so on) by the people of Bharatavarsa, the same Lord-who is (not only) perfect (in every respect) but who is the Bestower of (all) blessings (sought for by men)--Himself gladly accepts (nay, eats) the oblations set apart (for different gods) in (due) proportions and poured into the sacrificial fire (for being conveyed to those gods) with reverence according to the correct procedure, while reciting the sacred text (consecrated to the deity invoked) and with (particular) regard to substance (which is different in the case of different gods). True, the Lord grants men's prayer, (when) implored by them; but certainly He does not confer the real boon (on such men) as (is evident from the fact that) their supplication is renewed (not long) after their prayer is granted. To them (however) who adore Him, seeking nothing (of Him), He vouchsafes (reveals) of His own accord His own lotus-feet, which satiate (one's) longings (for all time). If there is (any) religious merit-following from a good sacrifice duly performed, a religious discourse properly delivered or (any other noble) act done by us (in a previous existence)-still left (to our credit) after (enjoying) the pleasures of heaven, 0, let us be blessed with an incarnation in the Ajanabhavarsa (Bharatavarsa), endowed with (#he) consciousness (that Sri Hari alone is worthy of adoration), inasmuch as (we know that) Sri Hari extends (His) blessing (grace) to those who worship Him. Sri Suka went on : Some (wise men), O king, speak of eight minor Dwipas (islands), comprised in Jambudwipa and brought into existence by the sons of king Sagara while digging up this globe on all sides in the course of their search for the horse (released by their father preparatory to the performance of a horse-sacrifice). They are known as Swarnaprastha, Candraukla, Avartana, Ramanaka, Mandaraharina, Pancajanya, Sirhhala and Lanka. In this way the division of Jambudwipa into (so many) Varsas has been described to you, O jewel among the descendants of Bharata, even as I was told (by my preceptor).
Thus ends the nineteenth discourse entitled "A description of Jambudwipa, " in Book Five of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.
- We have already seen how this subdivision of the terrestrial globe, was previously called Ajanabhavarsa and came to be known as Bharatavarsa after the name of its illustrious ruler, Emperor Bharata (vide. V. vii. 3).
- Vide IX. viii. 8-9.