Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 5 Chapter 24:1-9

Book 5: Chapter 24

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 24: Verses 1-9
The position of Rahu etc., and the limits of the heavenlike subterranean regions

Sri Suka went on : Some people (well-versed in the Pauranika lore) declare that ten thousand Yojanas below the sun (a heavenly body called) Rahu moves about like a lunar mansion. The deity presiding over it, who was by birth a vile demon, having been born of (a mother,) Simhika (by name), attained by the grace of the Lord immortality and the (exalted) rank of a planet (thus, influencing the destiny of men), though unworthy of these. (The story) of his birth and deeds, 0 dear son, we shall narrate later on (in Books, VI and VIII). They declare the sphere of the burning sun, that shines yonder, as ten thousand Yojanas, that of the moon as twelve thousand and that of Rahu as thirteen thousand Yojanas in extent-(the same Rahu) who assails the sun and the moon on the day when the two dwell together and the day of the full moon (respectively), nursing a grudge against them ever since he interposed himself between them (in the garb of a god to share the feast of nectar, which was being doled out to the gods by the Lord Himself appearing in the form of a bewitching woman, Mohini by name vide Discourse IX of Book VIII-and his identity was disclosed by the sun-god and the moon-god). Seeing the celebrated and favourite missile (discus) of the Lord, Sudarsana by name, placed by Him by the side of both the aforesaid (planets) for their protection-on coming to know their (delicate) plight-and formidable by its splendour, constantly revolving, he (Rahu) stands facing it for an hour or so (lit., 48 minutes), shaking with fear and bewildered at heart and retreats even from a distance. It is this incident (his proceeding against either of the two planets in a hostile manner and standing awhile in front of it in a menacing attitude) that the people refer to as a (solar or lunar) eclipse (as the case may be).

At (a distance of) quite as many (ten thousand) Yojanas (as Rahu stands below the sun) below Rahu lie the abodes (realms) of (demigods such as) the Siddhas (a class of beings possessing mystic powers from their very birth), Caranas (celestial bards) and Vidyadharas (celestial artistes). Below these lies the aerial region, the sports-ground (abode) of the hosts of Yaksas (the attendants of Kubera, the god of riches), Raksasas (ogres), Picas (goblins), Pretas (spirits) and BhUtas (ghosts), extending as far (below) as the wind fiercely blows and clouds are met with. At a distance of a hundred Yojanas below that (the aerial region) lies this earth (the terrestrial region), extending as far (high) as the foremost of birds such as the swans, vultures, hawks and eagles (are able to) soar. The situation of the earth as well as the arrangement of its parts has (already) been described as it is. Even below (in the bowels of) the earth there exist seven holes in the earth (subterranean regions)-situated at a distance of ten thousand Yojanas (from one another) and each extending to the (same) length and breadth of ten thousand Yojanas, viz., Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala. In the houses, gardens, pleasure-grounds and stadia in these heavenlike subterranean regions-houses etc., exuberantly rich in sensuous enjoyments, affluence and joy born of power, surpassing even those enjoyed in heaven-live as householders Daityas and Danavas (two species of superhuman beings noted for their herculean strength and gigantic form) and serpents (born of Kadru, one of the wives of the sage Kasyapa), whose wives and children, relations and kinsmen and servants are ever highly delighted and devoted (to them), whose desires are never thwarted even by most powerful gods (like Indra) and who divert themselves with their uncanny skill in (various) arts. In these regions, O great king (Pariksit), shine forth cities built by the miraculous architect Maya, and richly adorned with wonderful house, defensive walls, gates, town halls, places of worship, quadrangles and resting-places etc., built of various excellent gems of best type, as well as with grand mansions of the lords of these regions, whose terraces are (ever) crowded with pairs of Nagas and Asuras (demons), pigeons and parrots and Mainas.



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