Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 5 Chapter 1:30-41

Book 5: Chapter 1

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 1: Verses 30-41
The story of Priyavrata

(Once he observed that) even to the extent the glorious sun-god lights the earth's surface (viz., up to the Lokaloka mountain) in the course of his circuit round Mount Sumeru (the mountain of the gods), he shines only on one-half of that portion and leaves the other half shrouded in darkness. He (however) did not like this. His superhuman glory having been enhanced by virtue of his adoration of the Lord, he thereupon like another sun made seven circuits (round the earth) after the sun, in his effulgent car, as swift as the sun, determined to turn night as well into day. The tracks that were sunk by the fellies of the wheels of his chariot came to be the most celebrated seven oceans, which divided the earth into (what are known as) the seven Dwipas (or main divisions). The Dwipas are (severally) known as Jambudwipa, Plaksadwipa, Salmalidwipa, Kusadwipa, Krauncadwipa, Sakadwipa and Puskaradwipa.

As regards dimensions, each succeeding one is twice as large as the preceding one and is placed beyond the ocean and encircling it. The seven oceans (severally) contain salt water, the juice of sugar-cane, wine, clarified butter, milk, fluid curds and pure water and serve as a moat as it were one for each of the seven Dwipas. They are equal in extent to the Dwipa enclosed by them and are situated one beyond and encircling each of the seven Dwipas severally.[1] Priyavrata (the spouse of queen Barhismati) severally made his dutiful sons-Agnidhra, ldhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Medhatithi and Vitihotra by name, each the ruler of one of these divisions-Jambudwipa and so on. And his daughter, Urjaswati by name, he gave away to Usana (the sage Sukracarya, the preceptor of the Asura kings); it was of her that Devayani, the celebrated daughter of Sukracarya (nicknamed as Kavya or Kavi) was born. Such an achievement on the part of devotees of the Lord (who measured the three worlds in a couple of strides)--devotees who by resorting to the dust of His feet have been able to conquer the six senses (the five senses and the mind)-is not to be wondered at; for even a pariah immediately shakes off his bondage if he utters the Lord's Name only once.

Thus possessed of immeasurable strength and prowess, king Priyavrata once felt (much) disgusted at heart since he regarded himself very unhappy as it were on account of his contact with the world of master ( a product of the three Gunas), which dogged him even after he had taken shelter under the feet of the celestial sage (Narada), and said this (to himself); "Oh, what a wrong I have done in that I have (allowed) myself to be hurled by the senses into the terrible and deceptive pit of sensuous pleasures-which are products of Avidya (nescience) ! Therefore enough, enough of these! Fie upon me, a veritable ape for the amusement of this woman!" In this way he condemned himself. In the light of wisdom, recovered by the grace of the Supreme Deity, he proportionately divided the earth among his devoted sons and abandoned the queen, whom he had enjoyed as a source of pleasure, along with the imperial fortune, like a dead body; and, disgusted at heart (with this world) he followed once again the path (of renunciation) chalked out for him by the divine sage Narada, realizing in his heart the glory of the pastimes of Sri Hari (that had given him the strength to renounce his all). These are the verses actually sung of old in praise of Emperor Priyavrata :- Who else than the almighty Lord could do the work accomplished by Priyavrata, who in his attempt to disperse the darkness (of night) produced the seven oceans out of the tracks sunk by the fellies (of the wheels of his chariot), nay, who divided the earth (into so many Dwipas) for the convenience of living beings (inhabiting the same) and fixed the limits of every Dwipa by allocating separate rivers, mountains and forests (to each). Devoted to the servants of the Supreme Person, he looked upon as akin to hell the fortunes of the subterranean worlds, the heavenly regions and the terrestrial globe as well as those acquired through actions (performed in a previous existence) or Yoga (concentration of mind or mystic powers).'

Thus ends the first discourse, forming part of the story of Priyavrata !s conquest, in Book Five of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.


  1. The relative position of the seven Dwipas and the seven oceans should be understood as given below. The first in order is Jambudwipa, which has a width of 8,00,000 miles and is girded by an ocean of salt water, equal in width to Jambudwipa. Beyond the ocean of salt water and twice as much in width (i. e., 16,00,000 miles wide) is Plaksadwipa, which is in its turn enclosed by an ocean containing the juice of sugar-cane and equal in width to the latter. On the other side of this ocean and twice as large in extent (i.e., 32,00,000 miles wide) is Salmalidwipa, encircled by an ocean of wine as large as the Dwipa itself. Lying immediately after the ocean of wine and twice as large (or 64,00,000 miles wide) is Kusadwipa, surrounded by an ocean of clarified butter equal in width to Kusadwipa. On the outer coast of the ocean of clarified butter and twice as large (i.e., 1,28,00,000 miles wide) is Krauncadwipa, girded by an ocean of milk equal in width to the latter. Beyond the ocean of milk and twice as large in extent (i.e., 2,56,00,000 miles wide) is Sakadwipa, enclosed in its turn by an ocean of fluid curds as large as the Dwipas itself. On the other side of the ocean of fluid curds and twice as large (i.e., 5,12,00,000 miles wide) is Puskaradwipa, itself encircled by an ocean of pure water equal in width to the latter.