THE REAL ATLANTIS
Atlantis has actually been found, in as much as two real histories are combined by Plato in his dialogue on civic morality called TIMAEUS. The Atlantis of Plato never existed in the exact same way he writes in his book. He was inspired by two historical events.
The first one was the overnight sinking of the Greek city-state of Helike. According to the Ancient Greek historians “The city and a space of 3 miles below it sank into the earth and were covered over by the sea. All the inhabitants perished without a trace, and the city was obscured from view except for a few building fragments projecting from the sea. Ten Spartan ships anchored in the harbour were dragged down with it. An attempt involving 2,000 men to recover bodies was unsuccessful. The buildings remained visible through the water for some time.” Eventually, the city was covered with sediment and lost to history. However, this event happened during Plato’s lifetime, and he would certainly have known of it.
A short video about finding Helike, which inspired Plato’s Atlantis:
The second historical ‘Atlantis’ was Lord Krishna’s heavenly city of Dwarka, far away in the ‘World Ocean’ which was known as ‘Oceanus’ to the Greeks (which included the Indian & Atlantic Oceans). The fabulous province had originally come from Vaikuntha, many yugas before, having a capital called Kushasthali. Dwarkaraja Krishna rebuilt it with many fortified gates (dvara) and three circular moats. It resembled a heavenly city after being decorated by the Gods at Krishna’s request. The other meaning of Dvaravati is “doorway to liberation”.
Most of the details of Plato’s Atlantis came from Dwarka, like the concentric moats, their size, their ratios, the four gates and bridges in the four directions, the central temple, the ten governors, the hot and cold water in high-rise buildings of gold and crystal, the horse-racing tracks, the happiness, detachment and wealth of its citizens due to spiritual advancement.
The Greek names of its rulers are derived from Sanskrit, eg: Basileo = Vasudevi (Krishna’s Queen), Poseidon = Pati-dhana (master of wealth) Atlas = Ananta (who holds the earth), and Helios = Hari (King of Dwarka). In the city were celestial courtesans who the Greeks called Nymphai.
Dwarka had abundant crops twice a year, there were fabulous palaces, parks, flower gardens, singing birds, decorated lakes, street lights and vehicles, temples, and auditoriums. There were markets and theaters and health spars. Dwarka had huge armies, elephants, technology of flight and crystal-energy. The city-state fought wars and occupied territories, had immense wealth and pious citizens. In fact, the kingdom was so perfect, when the time came, Krishna had to arrange on a pretext of pride and adversity amongst his own clan members, a civil war. The day Krishna left this world, the city and surrounds sank below the Arabian Sea in one day and night. The temples were still visible for some time afterward.
This story of Dwarka was available to Plato from the Mahabharata and Harivamsa, written 2,500 years earlier (which was like the original “Iliad & Odyssey” of India) with whom the Greeks traded. According to estimates of the yojana, Dwarka was similar in size to the Gujarat peninsula today.
Here is a short video about the discovery of the sunken Dwarka by researchers today:
Decide for yourself, if these legends are the same, by comparing the original Greek and Sanskrit source material, translated into English below.
THE LOST CITY OF ATLANTIS
Descriptions from the original Greek sources
TIMAEUS by Plato (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) (trans. Bury):
Crit. Then listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages. He was a relative and a dear friend of my great-grandfather, Dropides, as he himself says in many passages of his poems; and he told the story to Critias, my grandfather, who remembered and repeated it to us. There were of old, he said, great and marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed into oblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, and one in particular, greater than all the rest. This we will now rehearse. It will be a fitting monument of our gratitude to you, and a hymn of praise true and worthy of the goddess, on this her day of festival.
Soc. Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of the Athenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to be not a mere legend, but an actual fact?
Crit. I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten. Now the day was that day of the Apaturia which is called the Registration of Youth, at which, according to custom, our parents gave prizes for recitations, and the poems of several poets were recited by us boys, and many of us sang the poems of Solon, which at that time had not gone out of fashion. One of our tribe, either because he thought so or to please Critias, said that in his judgment Solon was not only the wisest of men, but also the noblest of poets. The old man, as I very well remember, brightened up at hearing this and said, smiling: Yes, Amynander, if Solon had only, like other poets, made poetry the business of his life, and had completed the tale which he brought with him from Egypt, and had not been compelled, by reason of the factions and troubles which he found stirring in his own country when he came home, to attend to other matters, in my opinion he would have been as famous as Homer or Hesiod, or any poet.
And what was the tale about, Critias? said Amynander.
About the greatest action which the Athenians ever did, and which ought to have been the most famous, but, through the lapse of time and the destruction of the actors, it has not come down to us.
Tell us, said the other, the whole story, and how and from whom Solon heard this veritable tradition.
He replied:-In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity for their foundress; she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes call Athene; they are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them. To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old.
On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called “the first man,” and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened. Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you. Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied, that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes.
There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us. When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient.
The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer does not prevent, mankind exist, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed-if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples. Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for those genealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children.
In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word. For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.
Solon marvelled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens. You are welcome to hear about them, Solon, said the priest, both for your own sake and for that of your city, and above all, for the sake of the goddess who is the common patron and parent and educator of both our cities. She founded your city a thousand years before ours, receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touching your citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action; the exact particulars of the whole we will hereafter go through at our leisure in the sacred registers themselves. If you compare these very laws with ours you will find that many of ours are the counterpart of yours as they were in the olden time. In the first place, there is the caste of priests, which is separated from all the others; next, there are the artificers, who ply their several crafts by themselves and do not intermix; and also there is the class of shepherds and of hunters, as well as that of husbandmen; and you will observe, too, that the warriors in Egypt are distinct from all the other classes, and are commanded by the law to devote themselves solely to military pursuits; moreover, the weapons which they carry are shields and spears, a style of equipment which the goddess taught of Asiatics first to us, as in your part of the world first to you.
Then as to wisdom, do you observe how our law from the very first made a study of the whole order of things, extending even to prophecy and medicine which gives health, out of these divine elements deriving what was needful for human life, and adding every sort of knowledge which was akin to them. All this order and arrangement the goddess first imparted to you when establishing your city; and she chose the spot of earth in which you were born, because she saw that the happy temperament of the seasons in that land would produce the wisest of men. Wherefore the goddess, who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of all settled that spot which was the most likely to produce men like herself. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and still better ones, and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became the children and disciples of the gods.
Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vast power, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars.
But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.
I have told you briefly, Socrates, what the aged Critias heard from Solon and related to us. And when you were speaking yesterday about your city and citizens, the tale which I have just been repeating to you came into my mind, and I remarked with astonishment how, by some mysterious coincidence, you agreed in almost every particular with the narrative of Solon; but I did not like to speak at the moment. For a long time had elapsed, and I had forgotten too much; I thought that I must first of all run over the narrative in my own mind, and then I would speak. And so I readily assented to your request yesterday, considering that in all such cases the chief difficulty is to find a tale suitable to our purpose, and that with such a tale we should be fairly well provided.
And therefore, as Hermocrates has told you, on my way home yesterday I at once communicated the tale to my companions as I remembered it; and after I left them, during the night by thinking I recovered nearly the whole of it. Truly, as is often said, the lessons of our childhood make wonderful impression on our memories; for I am not sure that I could remember all the discourse of yesterday, but I should be much surprised if I forgot any of these things which I have heard very long ago. I listened at the time with childlike interest to the old man’s narrative; he was very ready to teach me, and I asked him again and again to repeat his words, so that like an indelible picture they were branded into my mind.
As soon as the day broke, I rehearsed them as he spoke them to my companions, that they, as well as myself, might have something to say. And now, Socrates, to make an end my preface, I am ready to tell you the whole tale. I will give you not only the general heads, but the particulars, as they were told to me. The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. Let us divide the subject among us, and all endeavour according to our ability gracefully to execute the task which you have imposed upon us. Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose, or whether we should seek for some other instead.
Soc. And what other, Critias, can we find that will be better than this, which is natural and suitable to the festival of the goddess, and has the very great advantage of being a fact and not a fiction? How or where shall we find another if we abandon this? We cannot, and therefore you must tell the tale, and good luck to you; and I in return for my yesterday’s discourse will now rest and be a listener.
CRITIAS by Plato (106 -121 trans. Bury):
Timaeus. How thankful I am, Socrates, that I have arrived at last, and, like a weary traveller after a long journey, may be at rest! And I pray the being who always was of old, and has now been by me revealed, to grant that my words may endure in so far as they have been spoken truly and acceptably to him; but if unintentionally I have said anything wrong, I pray that he will impose upon me a just retribution, and the just retribution of him who errs is that he should be set right. Wishing, then, to speak truly in future concerning the generation of the gods, I pray him to give me knowledge, which of all medicines is the most perfect and best. And now having offered my prayer I deliver up the argument to Critias, who is to speak next according to our agreement.
Critias. And I, Timaeus, accept the trust, and as you at first said that you were going to speak of high matters, and begged that some forbearance might be shown to you, I too ask the same or greater forbearance for what I am about to say. And although I very well know that my request may appear to be somewhat and discourteous, I must make it nevertheless. For will any man of sense deny that you have spoken well? I can only attempt to show that I ought to have more indulgence than you, because my theme is more difficult; and I shall argue that to seem to speak well of the gods to men is far easier than to speak well of men to men: for the inexperience and utter ignorance of his hearers about any subject is a great assistance to him who has to speak of it, and we know how ignorant we are concerning the gods. But I should like to make my meaning clearer, if Timaeus, you will follow me.
All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation. For if we consider the likenesses which painters make of bodies divine and heavenly, and the different degrees of gratification with which the eye of the spectator receives them, we shall see that we are satisfied with the artist who is able in any degree to imitate the earth and its mountains, and the rivers, and the woods, and the universe, and the things that are and move therein, and further, that knowing nothing precise about such matters, we do not examine or analyse the painting; all that is required is a sort of indistinct and deceptive mode of shadowing them forth. But when a person endeavours to paint the human form we are quick at finding out defects, and our familiar knowledge makes us severe judges of anyone who does not render every point of similarity. And we may observe the same thing to happen in discourse; we are satisfied with a picture of divine and heavenly things which has very little likeness to them; but we are more precise in our criticism of mortal and human things. Wherefore if at the moment of speaking I cannot suitably express my meaning, you must excuse me, considering that to form approved likenesses of human things is the reverse of easy. This is what I want to suggest to you, and at the same time to beg, Socrates, that I may have not less, but more indulgence conceded to me in what I am about to say. Which favour, if I am right in asking, I hope that you will be ready to grant.
Socrates. Certainly, Critias, we will grant your request, and we will grant the same by anticipation to Hermocrates, as well as to you and Timaeus; for I have no doubt that when his turn comes a little while hence, he will make the same request which you have made. In order, then, that he may provide himself with a fresh beginning, and not be compelled to say the same things over again, let him understand that the indulgence is already extended by anticipation to him. And now, friend Critias, I will announce to you the judgment of the theatre. They are of opinion that the last performer was wonderfully successful, and that you will need a great deal of indulgence before you will be able to take his place.
Hermocrates. The warning, Socrates, which you have addressed to him, I must also take to myself. But remember, Critias, that faint heart never yet raised a trophy; and therefore you must go and attack the argument like a man. First invoke Apollo and the Muses, and then let us hear you sound the praises and show forth the virtues of your ancient citizens.
Crit. Friend Hermocrates, you, who are stationed last and have another in front of you, have not lost heart as yet; the gravity of the situation will soon be revealed to you; meanwhile I accept your exhortations and encouragements. But besides the gods and goddesses whom you have mentioned, I would specially invoke Mnemosyne; for all the important part of my discourse is dependent on her favour, and if I can recollect and recite enough of what was said by the priests and brought hither by Solon, I doubt not that I shall satisfy the requirements of this theatre. And now, making no more excuses, I will proceed.
Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean. The progress of the history will unfold the various nations of barbarians and families of Hellenes which then existed, as they successively appear on the scene; but I must describe first of all Athenians of that day, and their enemies who fought with them, and then the respective powers and governments of the two kingdoms. Let us give the precedence to Athens.
In the days of old the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment. There was no quarrelling; for you cannot rightly suppose that the gods did not know what was proper for each of them to have, or, knowing this, that they would seek to procure for themselves by contention that which more properly belonged to others. They all of them by just apportionment obtained what they wanted, and peopled their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure;-thus did they guide all mortal creatures.
Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order. Hephaestus and Athene, who were brother and sister, and sprang from the same father, having a common nature, and being united also in the love of philosophy and art, both obtained as their common portion this land, which was naturally adapted for wisdom and virtue; and there they implanted brave children of the soil, and put into their minds the order of government; their names are preserved, but their actions have disappeared by reason of the destruction of those who received the tradition, and the lapse of ages. For when there were any survivors, as I have already said, they were men who dwelt in the mountains; and they were ignorant of the art of writing, and had heard only the names of the chiefs of the land, but very little about their actions. The names they were willing enough to give to their children; but the virtues and the laws of their predecessors, they knew only by obscure traditions; and as they themselves and their children lacked for many generations the necessaries of life, they directed their attention to the supply of their wants, and of them they conversed, to the neglect of events that had happened in times long past; for mythology and the enquiry into antiquity are first introduced into cities when they begin to have leisure, and when they see that the necessaries of life have already been provided, but not before.
And this is reason why the names of the ancients have been preserved to us and not their actions. This I infer because Solon said that the priests in their narrative of that war mentioned most of the names which are recorded prior to the time of Theseus, such as Cecrops, and Erechtheus, and Erichthonius, and Erysichthon, and the names of the women in like manner. Moreover, since military pursuits were then common to men and women, the men of those days in accordance with the custom of the time set up a figure and image of the goddess in full armour, to be a testimony that all animals which associate together, male as well as female, may, if they please, practise in common the virtue which belongs to them without distinction of sex.
Now the country was inhabited in those days by various classes of citizens;-there were artisans, and there were husbandmen, and there was also a warrior class originally set apart by divine men. The latter dwelt by themselves, and had all things suitable for nurture and education; neither had any of them anything of their own, but they regarded all that they had as common property; nor did they claim to receive of the other citizens anything more than their necessary food. And they practised all the pursuits which we yesterday described as those of our imaginary guardians. Concerning the country the Egyptian priests said what is not only probable but manifestly true, that the boundaries were in those days fixed by the Isthmus, and that in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes; the boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropus on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left. The land was the best in the world, and was therefore able in those days to support a vast army, raised from the surrounding people. Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce.
How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight.
The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left. But in the primitive state of the country, its mountains were high hills covered with soil, and the plains, as they are termed by us, of Phelleus were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last the traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying.
Such was the natural state of the country, which was cultivated, as we may well believe, by true husbandmen, who made husbandry their business, and were lovers of honour, and of a noble nature, and had a soil the best in the world, and abundance of water, and in the heaven above an excellently attempered climate. Now the city in those days was arranged on this wise. In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deucalion. But in primitive times the hill of the Acropolis extended to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and included the Pnyx on one side, and the Lycabettus as a boundary on the opposite side to the Pnyx, and was all well covered with soil, and level at the top, except in one or two places.
Outside the Acropolis and under the sides of the hill there dwelt artisans, and such of the husbandmen as were tilling the ground near; the warrior class dwelt by themselves around the temples of Athene and Hephaestus at the summit, which moreover they had enclosed with a single fence like the garden of a single house. On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children’s children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose.
Where the Acropolis now is there was a fountain, which was choked by the earthquake, and has left only the few small streams which still exist in the vicinity, but in those days the fountain gave an abundant supply of water for all and of suitable temperature in summer and in winter. This is how they dwelt, being the guardians of their own citizens and the leaders of the Hellenes, who were their willing followers. And they took care to preserve the same number of men and women through all time, being so many as were required for warlike purposes, then as now-that is to say, about twenty thousand. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. And next, if I have not forgotten what I heard when I was a child, I will impart to you the character and origin of their adversaries. For friends should not keep their stories to themselves, but have them in common.
Yet, before proceeding further in the narrative, I ought to warn you, that you must not be surprised if you should perhaps hear Hellenic names given to foreigners. I will tell you the reason of this: Solon, who was intending to use the tale for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child. Therefore if you hear names such as are used in this country, you must not be surprised, for I have told how they came to be introduced. The tale, which was of great length, began as follows:-
I have before remarked in speaking of the allotments of the gods, that they distributed the whole earth into portions differing in extent, and made for themselves temples and instituted sacrifices. And Poseidon, receiving for his lot the island of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the island, which I will describe. Looking towards the sea, but in the centre of the whole island, there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. Near the plain again, and also in the centre of the island at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain not very high on any side.
In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth born primeval men of that country, whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito. The maiden had already reached womanhood, when her father and mother died; Poseidon fell in love with her and had intercourse with her, and breaking the ground, enclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the centre, so that no man could get to the island, for ships and voyages were not as yet. He himself, being a god, found no difficulty in making special arrangements for the centre island, bringing up two springs of water from beneath the earth, one of warm water and the other of cold, and making every variety of food to spring up abundantly from the soil. He also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children; and dividing the island of Atlantis into ten portions, he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother’s dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men, and a large territory. And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas, and after him the whole island and the ocean were called Atlantic.
To his twin brother, who was born after him, and obtained as his lot the extremity of the island towards the Pillars of Heracles, facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him, Gadeirus. Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon. To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him. Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. And of the fifth pair he gave to the elder the name of Azaes, and to the younger that of Diaprepes. All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea; and also, as has been already said, they held sway in our direction over the country within the Pillars as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia.
Now Atlas had a numerous and honourable family, and they retained the kingdom, the eldest son handing it on to his eldest for many generations; and they had such an amount of wealth as was never before possessed by kings and potentates, and is not likely ever to be again, and they were furnished with everything which they needed, both in the city and country. For because of the greatness of their empire many things were brought to them from foreign countries, and the island itself provided most of what was required by them for the uses of life. In the first place, they dug out of the earth whatever was to be found there, solid as well as fusile, and that which is now only a name and was then something more than a name, orichalcum, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the island, being more precious in those days than anything except gold. There was an abundance of wood for carpenter’s work, and sufficient maintenance for tame and wild animals.
Moreover, there were a great number of elephants in the island; for as there was provision for all other sorts of animals, both for those which live in lakes and marshes and rivers, and also for those which live in mountains and on plains, so there was for the animal which is the largest and most voracious of all. Also whatever fragrant things there now are in the earth, whether roots, or herbage, or woods, or essences which distil from fruit and flower, grew and thrived in that land; also the fruit which admits of cultivation, both the dry sort, which is given us for nourishment and any other which we use for food-we call them all by the common name pulse, and the fruits having a hard rind, affording drinks and meats and ointments, and good store of chestnuts and the like, which furnish pleasure and amusement, and are fruits which spoil with keeping, and the pleasant kinds of dessert, with which we console ourselves after dinner, when we are tired of eating-all these that sacred island which then beheld the light of the sun, brought forth fair and wondrous and in infinite abundance.
With such blessings the earth freely furnished them; meanwhile they went on constructing their temples and palaces and harbours and docks. And they arranged the whole country in the following manner: First of all they bridged over the zones of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis, making a road to and from the royal palace. And at the very beginning they built the palace in the habitation of the god and of their ancestors, which they continued to ornament in successive generations, every king surpassing the one who went before him to the utmost of his power, until they made the building a marvel to behold for size and for beauty. And beginning from the sea they bored a canal of three hundred feet in width and one hundred feet in depth and fifty stadia in length, which they carried through to the outermost zone, making a passage from the sea up to this, which became a harbour, and leaving an opening sufficient to enable the largest vessels to find ingress.
Moreover, they divided at the bridges the zones of land which parted the zones of sea, leaving room for a single trireme to pass out of one zone into another, and they covered over the channels so as to leave a way underneath for the ships; for the banks were raised considerably above the water. Now the largest of the zones into which a passage was cut from the sea was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land which came next of equal breadth; but the next two zones, the one of water, the other of land, were two stadia, and the one which surrounded the central island was a stadium only in width. The island in which the palace was situated had a diameter of five stadia. All this including the zones and the bridge, which was the sixth part of a stadium in width, they surrounded by a stone wall on every side, placing towers and gates on the bridges where the sea passed in. The stone which was used in the work they quarried from underneath the centre island, and from underneath the zones, on the outer as well as the inner side. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. Some of their buildings were simple, but in others they put together different stones, varying the colour to please the eye, and to be a natural source of delight. The entire circuit of the wall, which went round the outermost zone, they covered with a coating of brass, and the circuit of the next wall they coated with tin, and the third, which encompassed the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum.
The palaces in the interior of the citadel were constructed on this wise:-in the centre was a holy temple dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, which remained inaccessible, and was surrounded by an enclosure of gold; this was the spot where the family of the ten princes first saw the light, and thither the people annually brought the fruits of the earth in their season from all the ten portions, to be an offering to each of the ten.
Here was Poseidon’s own temple which was a stadium in length, and half a stadium in width, and of a proportionate height, having a strange barbaric appearance. All the outside of the temple, with the exception of the pinnacles, they covered with silver, and the pinnacles with gold. In the interior of the temple the roof was of ivory, curiously wrought everywhere with gold and silver and orichalcum; and all the other parts, the walls and pillars and floor, they coated with orichalcum. In the temple they placed statues of gold: there was the god himself standing in a chariot-the charioteer of six winged horses-and of such a size that he touched the roof of the building with his head; around him there were a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins, for such was thought to be the number of them by the men of those days. There were also in the interior of the temple other images which had been dedicated by private persons. And around the temple on the outside were placed statues of gold of all the descendants of the ten kings and of their wives, and there were many other great offerings of kings and of private persons, coming both from the city itself and from the foreign cities over which they held sway. There was an altar too, which in size and workmanship corresponded to this magnificence, and the palaces, in like manner, answered to the greatness of the kingdom and the glory of the temple.
In the next place, they had fountains, one of cold and another of hot water, in gracious plenty flowing; and they were wonderfully adapted for use by reason of the pleasantness and excellence of their waters. They constructed buildings about them and planted suitable trees, also theymade cisterns, some open to the heavens, others roofed over, to be used in winter as warm baths; there were the kings’ baths, and the baths of private persons, which were kept apart; and there were separate baths for women, and for horses and cattle, and to each of them they gave as much adornment as was suitable. Of the water which ran off they carried some to the grove of Poseidon, where were growing all manner of trees of wonderful height and beauty, owing to the excellence of the soil, while the remainder was conveyed by aqueducts along the bridges to the outer circles; and there were many temples built and dedicated to many gods; also gardens and places of exercise, some for men, and others for horses in both of the two islands formed by the zones; and in the centre of the larger of the two there was set apart a race-course of a stadium in width, and in length allowed to extend all round the island, for horses to race in. Also there were guardhouses at intervals for the guards, the more trusted of whom were appointed-to keep watch in the lesser zone, which was nearer the Acropolis while the most trusted of all had houses given them within the citadel, near the persons of the kings. The docks were full of triremes and naval stores, and all things were quite ready for use. Enough of the plan of the royal palace.
Leaving the palace and passing out across the three you came to a wall which began at the sea and went all round: this was everywhere distant fifty stadia from the largest zone or harbour, and enclosed the whole, the ends meeting at the mouth of the channel which led to the sea. The entire area was densely crowded with habitations; and the canal and the largest of the harbours were full of vessels and merchants coming from all parts, who, from their numbers, kept up a multitudinous sound of human voices, and din and clatter of all sorts night and day.
I have described the city and the environs of the ancient palace nearly in the words of Solon, and now I must endeavour to represent the nature and arrangement of the rest of the land. The whole country was said by him to be very lofty and precipitous on the side of the sea, but the country immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain, itself surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea; it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the centre inland it was two thousand stadia. This part of the island looked towards the south, and was sheltered from the north. The surrounding mountains were celebrated for their number and size and beauty, far beyond any which still exist, having in them also many wealthy villages of country folk, and rivers, and lakes, and meadows supplying food enough for every animal, wild or tame, and much wood of various sorts, abundant for each and every kind of work.
I will now describe the plain, as it was fashioned by nature and by the labours of many generations of kings through long ages. It was for the most part rectangular and oblong, and where falling out of the straight line followed the circular ditch. The depth, and width, and length of this ditch were incredible, and gave the impression that a work of such extent, in addition to so many others, could never have been artificial. Nevertheless I must say what I was told. It was excavated to the depth of a hundred, feet, and its breadth was a stadium everywhere; it was carried round the whole of the plain, and was ten thousand stadia in length. It received the streams which came down from the mountains, and winding round the plain and meeting at the city, was there let off into the sea. Further inland, likewise, straight canals of a hundred feet in width were cut from it through the plain, and again let off into the ditch leading to the sea: these canals were at intervals of a hundred stadia, and by them they brought down the wood from the mountains to the city, and conveyed the fruits of the earth in ships, cutting transverse passages from one canal into another, and to the city. Twice in the year they gathered the fruits of the earth-in winter having the benefit of the rains of heaven, and in summer the water which the land supplied by introducing streams from the canals.
As to the population, each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand. And of the inhabitants of the mountains and of the rest of the country there was also a vast multitude, which was distributed among the lots and had leaders assigned to them according to their districts and villages. The leader was required to furnish for the war the sixth portion of a war-chariot, so as to make up a total of ten thousand chariots; also two horses and riders for them, and a pair of chariot-horses without a seat, accompanied by a horseman who could fight on foot carrying a small shield, and having a charioteer who stood behind the man-at-arms to guide the two horses; also, he was bound to furnish two heavy armed soldiers, two slingers, three stone-shooters and three javelin-men, who were light-armed, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships. Such was the military order of the royal city-the order of the other nine governments varied, and it would be wearisome to recount their several differences.
As to offices and honours, the following was the arrangement from the first. Each of the ten kings in his own division and in his own city had the absolute control of the citizens, and, in most cases, of the laws, punishing and slaying whomsoever he would. Now the order of precedence among them and their mutual relations were regulated by the commands of Poseidon which the law had handed down. These were inscribed by the first kings on a pillar of orichalcum, which was situated in the middle of the island, at the temple of Poseidon, whither the kings were gathered together every fifth and every sixth year alternately, thus giving equal honour to the odd and to the even number. And when they were gathered together they consulted about their common interests, and enquired if anyone had transgressed in anything and passed judgment and before they passed judgment they gave their pledges to one another on this wise:-There were bulls who had the range of the temple of Poseidon; and the ten kings, being left alone in the temple, after they had offered prayers to the god that they might capture the victim which was acceptable to him, hunted the bulls, without weapons but with staves and nooses; and the bull which they caught they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription.
Now on the pillar, besides the laws, there was inscribed an oath invoking mighty curses on the disobedient. When therefore, after slaying the bull in the accustomed manner, they had burnt its limbs, they filled a bowl of wine and cast in a clot of blood for each of them; the rest of the victim they put in the fire, after having purified the column all round. Then they drew from the bowl in golden cups and pouring a libation on the fire, they swore that they would judge according to the laws on the pillar, and would punish him who in any point had already transgressed them, and that for the future they would not, if they could help, offend against the writing on the pillar, and would neither command others, nor obey any ruler who commanded them, to act otherwise than according to the laws of their father Poseidon.
This was the prayer which each of them-offered up for himself and for his descendants, at the same time drinking and dedicating the cup out of which he drank in the temple of the god; and after they had supped and satisfied their needs, when darkness came on, and the fire about the sacrifice was cool, all of them put on most beautiful azure robes, and, sitting on the ground, at night, over the embers of the sacrifices by which they had sworn, and extinguishing all the fire about the temple, they received and gave judgment, if any of them had an accusation to bring against any one; and when they given judgment, at daybreak they wrote down their sentences on a golden tablet, and dedicated it together with their robes to be a memorial.
There were many special laws affecting the several kings inscribed about the temples, but the most important was the following: They were not to take up arms against one another, and they were all to come to the rescue if anyone in any of their cities attempted to overthrow the royal house; like their ancestors, they were to deliberate in common about war and other matters, giving the supremacy to the descendants of Atlas. And the king was not to have the power of life and death over any of his kinsmen unless he had the assent of the majority of the ten.
Such was the vast power which the god settled in the lost island of Atlantis; and this he afterwards directed against our land for the following reasons, as tradition tells: For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them. By such reflections and by the continuance in them of a divine nature, the qualities which we have described grew and increased among them; but when the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power. Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows-* The rest of the Dialogue of Critias has been lost.
DIODORUS SICULUS ON THE TITAN-RULERS OF ATLANTIS
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 3. 56. 1 – 57. 8 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
“But since we have made mention of the Atlantioi (Atlanteans) [i.e. their war with the Amazons, see the following section], we believe that it will not be inappropriate in this place to recount what their myths relate about the genesis of the gods, in view of the fact that it does not differ greatly from the myths of the Greeks. Now the Atlantians, dwelling as they do in the regions on the edge of Okeanos (the Ocean) and inhabiting a fertile territory, are reputed far to excel their neighbours in reverence toward the gods and the humanity they showed in their dealings with strangers, and the gods, they say, were born among them. And their account, they maintain, is in agreement with that of the most renowned of the Greek poets [Homer, Iliad 14.200] when he represents Hera as saying:
‘For I go to see the ends of the bountiful earth, Okeanos source of the gods and Tethys divine their mother.’
This is the account given in their myth: Their first king was Ouranos (Uranus, Heaven), and he gathered the human beings, who dwelt in scattered habitations, within the shelter of a walled city and caused his subjects to cease from their lawless ways and their bestial manner of living, discovering for them the uses of cultivated fruits, how to store them up, and not a few other things which are of benefit to man; and he also subdued the larger part of the inhabited earth, in particular the regions to the west and the north. And since he was a careful observer of the stars he foretold many things which would take place throughout the world; and for the common people he introduced the year on the basis of the movement of the sun and the months on that of the moon, and instructed them in the seasons which recur year after year.
Consequently the masses of the people, being ignorant of the eternal arrangement of the stars and marvelling at the events which were taking place as he had predicted, conceived that the man who taught such things partook of the nature of the gods, and after he had passed from among men they accorded to him immortal honours, both because of his benefactions and because of his knowledge of the stars; and then they transferred his name to the firmament of heaven, both because they thought that he had been so intimately acquainted with the risings and the settings of the stars and with whatever else took place in the firmament, and because they would surpass his benefactions by the magnitude of the honours which they would show him, in that for all subsequent time they proclaimed him to be the king of the universe.
To Ouranos, the myth continues, were born forty-five sons from a number of wives, and, of these, eighteen, it is said, were by Titaia (Titaea), each of them bearing a distinct name, but all of them as a group were called, after their mother, Titanes (Titans). Titaia, because she was prudent and had brought about many good deeds for the peoples, was deified after her death by those whom she had helped and her name was changed to Gê (Earth). To Ouranos were also born daughters, the two eldest of whom were by far the most renowned above the others and were called Basileia (Queen) and Rhea, whom some also named Pandora. Of these daughters Basileia, who was the eldest and far excelled the others in both prudence and understanding, reared all her brothers, showing them collectively a mother’s kindness; consequently she was given the appellation of ‘Great Mother’; and after her father had been translated from among men into the circle of the gods, with the approval of the masses and her brothers she succeeded to the royal dignity, though she was still a maiden and because of her exceedingly great chastity had been unwilling to unite in marriage with any man.
But later, because of her desire to leave sons who should succeed to the throne, she united in marriage with Hyperion, one of her brothers, for whom she had the greatest affection. And when there were born to her two children, Helios (the Sun) and Selenê (the Moon), who were greatly admired for both their beauty and their chastity, the brothers of Basileia, they say, being envious of her because of her happy issue of children ad fearing that Hyperion would divert the royal power to himself, committed an utterly impious deed; for entering into a conspiracy among themselves they put Hyperion to the sword, and casting Helios [i.e. the child Phaethon of myth], who was still in years a child, into the Eridanos river, drowned him. When this crime came to light, Selene, who loved her brother very greatly, threw herself down from the roof, but as for his mother, while seeking his body along the river, her strength left her and falling into a swoon she beheld a vision in which she thought that Helios stood over her and urged her not to mourn the death of her children; for, he said, the Titanes would meet the punishment which they deserve, while he and his sister would be transformed, by some divine providence, into immortal natures, since that which had formerly been called ‘holy fire’ in the heavens would be called by men ‘the sun’ (hêlios) and that addresses as menê would be called ‘the moon’ (Selene).
When she was aroused from the swoon she recounted to the common crowd both the dream and the misfortunes which had befallen her, asking that they render to the dead honours like those accorded to the gods and asserting that no man should thereafter touch her body. And after this she became frenzied, and seizing such of her daughter’s playthings as could make a noise, she began to wander over the land, with her hair hanging free, inspired by the noise of the kettledrums and cymbals, so that those who saw her were struck with astonishment. And all men were filled with pity at her misfortune and some were clinging to her body, when there came a mighty storm and continuous crashes of thunder and lightning; and in the midst of this Basileia passed from sight, whereupon the crowds of people, amazed at this reversal of fortune, transferred the names and the honours of Helios and Selenê to the stars of the sky, and as for their mother, they considered her to be a goddess and erected altars to her, and imitating the incidents of her life by the pounding of the kettledrums and the clash of cymbals they rendered unto her in this way sacrifices and all other honours.”
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 3. 60. 1 – 61. 6 :
[After a digression on Phrygian mythology following the passage above Diodorus continues with his Atlantian story.]
“After the death of Hyperion, the myth relates, the kingdom was divided among the sons of Ouranos (Uranus), the most renowned of whom were Atlas and Kronos (Cronus). Of these sons Atlas received as his part the regions on the coast of Okeanos (the Ocean), and he not only gave the name of Atlantioi (Atlanteans) to his peoples but likewise called the greatest mountain in the land Atlas. They also say that he perfected the science of astrology and was the first to publish to mankind the doctrine of the sphere; and it was for this reason that the idea was held that he entire heavens were supported upon the shoulders of Atlas, the myth darkly hinting in this way at his discovery and description of the sphere.
There were born to him a number of sons, one of whom was distinguished above the others for his piety, justice to his subjects, and love of mankind, his name being Hesperos (Evening-Star). This king, having once climbed to the peak of Mount Atlas, was suddenly snatched away by mighty winds while he was making his observations of the stars, and never was seen again; and because of the virtuous life he had lived and their pity for his sad fate the multitudes accorded to him immortal honours and called the brightest of the stars of heaven after him.
Atlas, the myth goes on to relate, also had seven daughters, who as a group were called Atlantides [i.e. the Pleiades] after their father, but their individual names were Maia, Elektra (Electra), Taÿgetê (Taygeta), Steropê, Meropê, Halkyonê (Halcyone), and the last Kelaino (Celaeno). These daughters lay with the most renowned heroes and gods and thus became ancestors of the larger part of the race of human beings, giving birth to those who, because of their high achievements, came to be called gods and heroes; Maia the eldest, for instance, lay with Zeus and bore Hermes, who was the discoverer of many things for the use of mankind; similarly the other Atlantides also gave birth to renowned children, who became the founders in some instances of nations and in other cases of cities.
Consequently, not only among certain barbarians but among the Greeks as well, the great majority of the most ancient heroes trace their descent back to the Atlantides. These daughters were also distinguished for their chastity and after their death attained to immortal honour among men, by whom they were both enthroned in the heavens and endowed with the appellation of Pleiades. The Atlantides were also called ‘nymphai’ (nymphs) because the natives of that land addressed their women by the common appellation of ‘nymphe.’
Kronos (Cronus), the brother of Atlas, the myth continues, who was a man notorious for his impiety and greed, married his sister Rhea, by whom he begat that Zeus who was later called ‘Olympios’ (Olympian) . . .
Zeus, the son of Kronos, emulated a manner of life the opposite of that led by his father, and since he showed himself honourable and friendly to all, the masses addressed him as ‘father.’ As for his succession to the kingly power, some say that his father yielded it to him of his own accord, but others state that he was chosen as king by the masses because of the hatred they bore towards his father, and that when Kronos made war against him with he aid of the Titanes, Zeus overcame him in battle, and on gaining supreme power visited all the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the race of men. He was pre-eminent also in bodily strength and in all the other qualities of virtue and for this reason quickly became master of the entire world. And in general he showed all zeal to punish impious and wicked men and to show kindness to the masses. In return for all this, after he had passed from among men he was given the name of Zên [from the verb ‘to live’], because he was the cause of right ‘living’ among men, and those who had received his favours showed him honour by enthroning him in the heavens, all men eagerly acclaiming him as god and lord for ever of the whole universe.
These, then, are in summary the facts regarding the teachings of the Atlantioi (Atlanteans) about the gods.”
DIODORUS SICULUS ON THE ATLANTEAN-AMAZON WAR
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 3. 53. 1 – 55. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
“We are told, namely, that there was once in the western parts of Libya, on the bounds of the inhabited world, a race which was ruled by women and followed a manner of life unlike that which prevails among us. For it was the custom among them that the women should practise the arts of war and be required to serve in the army for a fixed period, during which time they maintained their virginity . . .
As mythology relates, their home was on an island which, because it was in the west, was called Hespera (Evening), and it lay in the marsh Tritonis. This marsh was near Okeanos (the Ocean) which surrounds the earth and received its name from a certain river Triton which emptied into it; and this marsh was also near Aithiopia [Africa] and that mountain by the shore of Okeanos which is the highest of those in the vicinity and impinges upon Okeanos and is called by the Greeks Atlas. The island mentioned above was of great size and full of fruit-bearing trees of every kind, from which the natives secured their food . . .
The Amazones (Amazons), then, the account continues, being a race superior in valour and eager for war, first of all subdued all the cities on the island except one called Menê (Moon), which was considered to be sacred and was inhabited by Aithiopian Ikhthyophagoi (Fish-Eaters), and was also subject to great eruptions of fire and possessed a multitude of the precious stones which the Greeks call anthrax, sardion, and smaragdos; and after this they subdued many of the neighbouring Libyans and nomad tribes, and founded within the marsh Tritonis a great city which they named Kherronesos (Chersonese) (Peninsular) after its shape.
Setting out from the city of Kherronesos, the account continues, the Amazones embarked upon great ventures, a longing having come over them to invade many parts of the inhabited world. The first people against whom they advanced, according to the tale, was the Atlantioi (Atlanteans), the most civilized men among the inhabitants of those regions, who dwelt in a prosperous country and possessed great cities; it was among them, we are told, that mythology places the birth of the gods, in the regions which lie along the shore of Okeanos, in this respect agreeing with those among the Greeks who relate legends, and about this we shall speak in detail a little later.
But when the terrible fate of the inhabitants of Kernê became known among their fellow tribesmen, it is related that the Atlantioi (Atlanteans), struck with terror, surrendered their cities on terms of capitulation and announced that they would do whatever should be commanded them, and that the queen Myrina, bearing herself honourably towards the Atlantioi, both established friendship with them and founded a city to bear her name [i.e. Myrina] in place of the city which had been razed; and in it she settled both the captives and any native who so desired. Whereupon the Atlantioi presented her with magnificent presents and by public decree voted to her notable honours, and she in return accepted their courtesy and in addition promised that she would show kindness to their nation. And since the natives were often being warred upon by the Gorgones (Gorgons), as they were named, a folk which resided upon their borders, and in general had that people lying in wait to injure them, Myrina, they say, was asked by the Atlantioi to invade the land of the afore-mentioned Gorgones. But when the Gorgones drew up their forces to resist them a mighty battle took place in which the Amazones, gaining the upper hand, slew great numbers of their opponents and took no fewer than three thousand prisoners; and since the rest had fled for refuge into a certain wooded region, Myrina undertook to set fire to the timber, being eager to destroy the race utterly, but when she found that she was unable to succeed in her attempt she retired to the borders of her country . . .
The story is also told that the marsh Tritonis disappeared from sight in the coruse of an earthquake, when those parts of it which lay towards Okeanos were torn asunder.”
[N.B. For the Libyan Amazones, Diodorus combines accounts of the mythical Hesperides and the legendary warrior-women of the Makhlyes (Machlyes) tribe of Lake Tritonis. The Gorgones are based on the monsters encountered by the hero Perseus who is actually mentioned in the passage which follows. Here he encounters the Gorgon0tribe some time after the Amazon-Atlantean-Gorgon war occurred. Herakles is mentioned in the same context visiting the Hesperides. The Atlanteans are either an indigenous people dwelling about Mount Atlas in North Africa or are based on the Phoenician colonies of the region. Diodorus also refers to Plato’s story of the sinking of Atlantis in the last line of the passage quoted above. The unusual combination of myths and legends is an Hellenistic Greek attempt to rationalize a variety of stories and present them as true history.]
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 3. 10. 11 :
“[Diodorus briefly discusses sources for the ancient Greek histories of Egypt, sub-Saharan Africa, Libya and the Atlas region–the last three are all referred to as Aithiopia (Ethiopia) :] Concerning the historians, we must distinguish among them, to the effect that many have composed works on both Aigyptos (Egypt) and Aithiopia (Ethiopia), of whom some have given credence to false report and others have invented many tales out of their own minds for the delectation of their readers, and so may justly be distrusted.” [N.B. Aithiopia is the ancient Greek term for the whole of Africa, not just the land of Ethiopia.]
OTHER ANCIENT WRITERS ON ATLANTIS
Aelian, On Animals 15. 2 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
“Those who live on the shores of Okeanos (Ocean) [i.e. on the Atlantic coast of North Africa] tell a fable of how the ancient kings of Atlantis, sprung from the seed of Poseidon, wore upon their head the bands from the male Ram-fish, as an emblem of their authority, while their wives, the queens, wore the curls of the females as a proof of theirs.”
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 6. 199 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
“There is reported to be another island off [African] Mount Atlas [in the Atlantic], itself also called Atlantis, from which a two days’ voyage along the coast reaches the desert district in the neighbourhood of the Western Aethiopes [i.e. black Africans] and the cape mentioned above as the Horn of the West, the point at which the coastline begins to curve westward in the direction of the Atlantic.”
Plato, Critias – Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
Plato, Timaeus – Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History – Greek History C1st B.C.
Plutarch, Lives – Greek Historian C1st – 2nd A.D.
Aelian, On Animals – Greek Natural History C2nd – 3rd A.D.
From the original Sanskrit sources:
(Garga Samhita, Mahabharata, Bhagavata & Brahma-Vaivarta Puranas)
THE LOST CITY OF DWARKA
Dwarka, Dwaraka, Dvārakā, or Dvāravatī (The-city-of-Gates) finds mention in many Sanskrit epics including the Mahabharata, Harivamsha, Srimad Bhagavatam, Skanda Purana, Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana and the Garga-Samhita. As you read on, remember the ancient Greek Atlantis, and compare it with these much older Vedic descriptions of Sri Krishna’s heavenly city of Dvārakā, His circular fortified capital city in the Kingdom of Anarta. In recent decades archaeological evidence has proven the antiquity of the ancient Anarta Kingdom, the sea-faring coastal region of the Indus Valley. It’s port Dwarka traded with ancient Sumer and Egypt, and became so famous that Sumer’s walled city was named Uruk or Warka after it. Excavations underneath present day Dwarka have determined the city has been inhabited for a minimum of 6,000 years, and like Troy, has established the mythical city of Krishna to be factual history. Even 3,500 later, the Kingdom of Thailand was also named Dvāravatī as Hindu culture expanded into S.E. Asia.
DESCRIPTION OF DWĀRKĀ (from Garga-Samhita)
In just one night Krishna and Visvkarma built the City of Dwarka in the heavenly Anarta* Kingdom, which lay off the west coast in the ocean of fearful roaring (Arabian Sea). The Dvārakā city-state was 100 yojanas [150 to 800 miles**] across. Consisting of three concentric islands and moats, it was perfectly protected in all eight directions.
Anarta: *In a previous yuga, the great Rajarishi Anarta Maharaja had received this 100 yojana portion of Vaikuntha as a boon. His son Raivata (whose daughter Revati became Balarama’s wife) brought a mountain here and built a city called Kushasthali. When Krishna appeared to Anarta’s son, His own tears of joy at seeing the devotion of the King formed the river Gomati here. Thus, the new country, dynasty and mountain were named after them; the Anarta Kingdom and Mt. Raivata.
Yojanas **There seems to be different magnitudes of yojana in Sanskrit literature. Several standard measures are 8.5 miles, 8 miles, 5 miles, and 1.5 miles. These have been called ‘the astronomy’ ‘the standard’ ‘the jyotisha’ and the ‘geographical’ yojana magnitudes, for different types of calculations.
The inner-city fortress is 12 yojanas across, it has 900,000 palaces, including 16,108 for his queens and, almost 100 years later, many for Srimati Radhika (in some accounts). At the entrance to Sri Radha’s main palace is lake Lila-sarovara. Krishna’s palace is 5 yojanas in size, near it is Krishna Kunda. 18 steps to the east is lake Balabhadra-sarah. Farther to the south is a place sacred to Ganesha. To the west is Dana-tirtha. A mile north is Maya-tirtha, where Goddess Durga dwells.
The surrounding fortress is 22.5 yojanas [34 to 180 miles] wide. At the gate in the east is Indra-tirtha, Surya-kunda at the south, Brahma-tirtha in the west, and Nailalohita in the north, where Siva resides. All the Demigods and sages, the seven rishis, the Maruts and many others reside there. Ravana worshipped a Shiva-linga here in a previous yuga. Sapta-samudraka-tirtha is the holy place of the seven oceans. Vishnu, Brahma, Siva, Indra, Vayu, Surya, Kuvera, Candra, Kshiti, Agni and Varuna always stay on the shore here. Indeed, all 70,000,000 holy places in the universe reside here.
The third fortress island is 50 yojanas [75 to 400 miles] wide and houses many palaces made of jewels. Hanuman guards the east gate here day and night. Sri Sudarsana-cakra guards the southern gate, while Jambavan guards the western gate, and Vishvaksena guards the north.
Outside the third fortress is the holy Pindaraka-tirtha, which stands between Mount Raivata and the ocean. Where Dwarka meets the mainland and the Sarasvati River, is the holy Prabhāsa-tirtha. This is where Lord Balarama began his Pilgrimage during the Great War. Where the river Gomati enters the ocean is said to be the king of holy places.
When Sudhama brahmana came to Dvaraka, from the boat he saw many golden palaces, assembly halls, fortresses and crossroads. It had great arches, and wonderful coloured domes, all made of jewels. The inhabitants were extremely beautiful, happy and full of opulence as they strolled along the wide pathways and beautiful gardens. The palaces were filled with jewels, comfortable beds and chairs, fans, awnings, canopies, archways, golden dishes and delicious food.
That glorious Dvaraka, that Krishna brought from Vaikuntha, is more splendid than monsoon clouds glittering with lightning. However, when Lord Krishna leaves this world, Dvaraka City will be flooded by the ocean.
LORD ŚRĪ KṚṢṆA, THE KING OF DVĀRAKĀ
(From Bhagavata Purana – Sarva Darshini Canto 10 and Prabhupada’s ‘Krishna Book’)
Krishna built a fortress within the ocean measuring twelve yojanas. Within that fort, He built a magnificent city. In that city it was seen that Viṣvkarma manifested all his skills in architecture. It was constructed with main roads, side roads, yards and houses not extending beyond their designated areas. There were stables of silver, brass and iron, and houses with gold kalashas and spires of rubies and other jewels. It had temples and towers. The city became especially beautiful with the residences of Krishna.
He established the parijata tree there. Kuvera is the lord of treasure. His treasures are padma nidhi, mahapadma nidhi, matsa nidhi, kurma nidhi, udaka nidhi, nila nidhi , mukunda nidhi and sankha nidhi. The masters of the directions gave their own particular wealth.
By the power of yogamaya potency he brought the citizens of Mathura to Dvaraka. (This is described in the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda): “While the residents of Mathura were in deep sleep Janardana picked them up and placed them suddenly in Dvaraka. When they woke up they saw that they were sitting with wives and children in golden houses.”
The city of Dvārakāpuri was filled with the opulence’s of all seasons. There were hermitages, orchards, flower gardens, parks and reservoirs of water breeding lotus flowers all over. Herewith is the description of Dvārakā’s opulence, it was surrounded by flower gardens and fruit orchards along with reservoirs of water and growing lotuses. All the people depended on nature’s gifts of fruits and flowers. Here we find pious trees which produce seasonal flowers and fruits, beautiful gardens, parks and reservoirs of water with ducks and swans playing in the midst of lotus flowers, and there were cows giving abundance of milk and butter. Thus Dvārakā-dhāma is described as the ideal human civilization.
The city gateway, the household doors and festooned arches along the roads were all nicely decorated with festive signs like plantain trees and mango leaves, all to welcome the Lord. Flags, garlands and signs painted with slogans all combined to shade the sunshine.
The highways, subways, lanes, markets and public meeting places were all thoroughly cleansed and then moistened with scented water. And to welcome the Lord, fruits, flowers and unbroken seeds were strewn everywhere. In each and every door of the residential houses, auspicious things like yogurt, unbroken fruits, sugarcane and full waterpots with articles for worship, incense and candles were all displayed.
On hearing that the most dear Krishna was approaching Dwārkā dhāma, magnanimous Vasudeva, Akrūra, Ugrasena, the powerful Balarāma, Pradyumna, Cārudeṣṇa and Sāmba the son of Jāmbavatī, all extremely happy, abandoned resting, sitting and dining. They hastened toward the Lord on chariots with brāhmaṇas bearing flowers and other auspicious items. Before them were elephants, emblems of good fortune. Conchshells and bugles were sounded, and Vedic hymns were chanted. Thus they offered their respects, which were saturated with affection.
At the same time, many hundreds of well-known prostitutes [courtesans] began to proceed on various vehicles. They were all very eager to meet the Lord, and their beautiful faces were decorated with dazzling earrings, which enhanced the beauty of their foreheads.
Expert dramatists, artists, dancers, singers, historians, genealogists and learned speakers all gave their respective contributions, being inspired by the superhuman pastimes of the Lord. Thus they proceeded on and on.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna approached them and offered due honour and respect to each and every one of the friends, relatives, citizens and all others who came to receive and welcome Him. When Lord Krishna passed over the public roads, all the ladies from the respectable families of Dvārakā went up to the roofs of their palaces just to have a look at the Lord. They considered this to be the greatest festival. (It appears from the verse that the inhabitants of Dvārakā were all owners of big palaces. This indicates the prosperity of the city.) Thereafter, the Lord entered His palaces, which were perfect to the fullest extent. His wives lived in them, and they numbered over sixteen thousand. (Lord Krishna married 16,108 wives, and each of them had ten sons. Therefore 161,080 sons. They all grew up, and each of them had as many sons as their father, and the whole aggregate was something near 1,610,800 family members of the Lord.)
In the seventieth chapter of the Tenth Canto of Bhagavata Purana there is a description of Krishna’s morning activities as well as consideration by the assembly of what action to take on hearing from the messenger Narada-Rishi. In the previous chapter it was stated that Krishna had faith in artha, dharma and kama. Now starting the brahma muhurta, what type of dharmic conduct did Krishna have? This is now described.
When the dawn had obviously arrived, with the crowing of the roosters, the wives such as Rukmini embraced by their husbands (Krsna in his many forms), cursed, “O roosters! You are the cause of bringing the dawn which brings separation from Krsna. You should immediately die.”
Awakened by the fragrant breezes, the bees were singing. This singing awakened the birds. These birds, like bards, awakened Krsna. Because of losing the embrace of her husband, Rukmini did not consider the auspicious brahma muhurta to be auspicious. Rukmini represents all the queens, who all felt the same.
Krsna executed all of his duties. Being most expert he performed the sandhya rites, and chanted the brahma gayatri silently. Being self controlled, Krsna would execute his duties. Daily he would give 13,084 cows with first born calves. He would touch auspicious things like brown cows.
He would greet his ministers. Distributing to the brāhmanas and others the garlands and other things, he would then accept them for enjoyment himself. Taking the folded hands of his charioteer with his right hand he would mount the chariot.
First, the queens glanced at Krsna, though he was accompanied by Satyaki, Uddhava and others, with shy loving glances. This indicated their pain of separation from him “How can we endure this?” By this hint of perplexity, he became bound. He smiled to pacify them. “O unsteady women, just by this little separation you are disturbed. I will return very soon to eat.” Then bewildering their minds with just a smile, he got out of difficulty: freed from the bondage of their loving glances he went off.
Leaving each palace in each of his forms, each form would be seen only by the residents and surrounding neighbours of that particular palace, and not by others. Coming along the main road up to the entrance of the assembly hall, those forms would then become one, and he would enter the hall with only one form, surrounded by the Vrṣnis. The best of the Yadus was surrounded by the best among men, the Yadus.
Jesters, dancers and magicians and others honoured the Lord in their groups. Groups danced and other groups sang. The bards and others offered praises. Brahmanas chanted the Vedas and those expert at speaking related stories of pious kings.
The last verse of chapter 29 from the Vishnu Purana (Book 5) gives a glimpse of the military power of Dwarka, which increased after the defeat of King Naraka in the far east of Bharata:
“Krishna also beheld in the palace six thousand large elephants, each having four tusks; 2,100,000 horses of Kamboja and other excellent breeds: these Govinda dispatched to Dwaraka, in charge of the servants of Naraka. The umbrella of Varuna, the jewel mountain, which he also recovered, he placed upon Garuda; and mounting him himself, and taking Satyabhama with him, he set off to the heaven of the gods.”
ŚRĪ NĀRADA’S VISIT TO DVĀRAKĀ (from Bhagavata Purana 10.69.1-12)
The City was filled with the sounds of birds and bees flying about the parks and pleasure gardens, while its lakes, crowded with blooming indivara, ambhoja, kahlara, kumuda, and utpala lotuses, resounded with the calls of swans and cranes.
Dvaraka boasted 900,000 royal palaces, all constructed with crystal and silver and splendorously decorated with huge emeralds. Inside these palaces, the furnishings were bedecked with gold and jewels.
Traffic moved along a well laid-out system of boulevards, roads, intersections, and marketplaces, and many assembly houses and temples of demigods graced the charming city. The roads, courtyards, commercial streets, and residential patios were all sprinkled with water and shaded from the sun’s heat by banners waving from flagpoles.
In the city of Dvaraka was a beautiful private quarter worshiped by the planetary rulers. This district, where the demigod Vishvakarma had shown all his divine skill, was the residential area of Lord Hari [Krishna], and thus it was gorgeously decorated by the sixteen thousand palaces of Lord Krishna’s queens. Narada Muni entered one of these immense palaces.Supporting the palace were coral pillars decoratively inlaid with vaidurya gems. Sapphires bedecked the walls, and the floors glowed with perpetual brilliance. In that palace Tvashta had arranged canopies with hanging strands of pearls; there were also seats and beds fashioned of ivory and precious jewels. In attendance were many well-dressed maidservants bearing lockets on their necks, and also armor-clad guards with turbans, fine uniforms, and jeweled earrings.
The glow of numerous jewel-studded lamps dispelled all darkness in the palace. My dear king, on the ornate ridges of the roof danced loudly crying peacocks, who saw the fragrant aguru incense escaping through the holes of the latticed windows and mistook it for a cloud.
In the following verses (SB 10.69.13-37) the daily life of Sri Krishna, the Lord of Dwarka, is witnessed by the sage Narada. A typical day in Krishna’s palaces is like this:
In that palace the learned brāhmaṇa saw the Lord of the Sātvatas, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, together with His wife, who fanned Him with a gold-handled yak-tail fan. She personally served Him in this way, even though she was constantly attended by a thousand maidservants equal to her in personal character, beauty, youth and fine dress. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the greatest upholder of religious principles. Thus when He noticed Nārada, He rose at once from Goddess Śrī’s bed, bowed His crowned head at Nārada’s feet and, joining His palms, had the sage sit in His own seat. The Lord bathed Nārada’s feet and then put the water on His own head. After fully worshiping the great sage of the demigods according to Vedic injunctions, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is Himself the original sage, conversed with Nārada, and the Lord’s measured speech was as sweet as nectar. Finally the Lord asked Nārada, “What may We do for you, Our lord and master?”
Śrī Nārada said: O almighty Lord, it is no surprise that You, the ruler of all worlds, show friendship for all people and yet subdue the envious. As we well know, You descend by Your sweet will in order to bestow the highest good on this universe by maintaining and protecting it. Thus Your glories are widely sung. Please favor me so that I may constantly think of You as I travel about. Please grant Me the power to remember You.
Nārada then entered the palace of another of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s wives, my dear King. He was eager to witness the spiritual potency possessed by the master of all masters of mystic power. There he saw the Lord playing at dice with His beloved consort and His friend Uddhava. In another palace Nāradajī saw that Lord Kṛṣṇa was engaged as an affectionate father petting His small children. From there he entered another palace and saw Lord Kṛṣṇa preparing to take His bath. In one place the Lord was offering oblations into the sacrificial fires; in another, worshiping through the five mahā-yajñas; in another, feeding brāhmaṇas; and in yet another, eating the remnants of food left by brāhmaṇas. Somewhere Lord Kṛṣṇa was observing the rituals for worship at sunset by refraining from speech and quietly chanting the Gāyatrī mantra, and elsewhere He was moving about with sword and shield in the areas set aside for sword practice.
In one place Lord Gadāgraja was riding on horses, elephants and chariots, and in another place He was resting on His bed while bards recited His glories. Somewhere He was consulting with royal ministers like Uddhava, and somewhere else He was enjoying in the water, surrounded by many society girls and other young women. Somewhere He was giving well-decorated cows to exalted brāhmaṇas, and elsewhere he was listening to the auspicious narration of epic histories and Purāṇas. Somewhere Lord Kṛṣṇa was found enjoying the company of a particular wife by exchanging joking words with her. Somewhere else He was found engaged, along with His wife, in religious ritualistic functions. Somewhere Kṛṣṇa was found engaged in matters of economic development, and somewhere else He was found enjoying family life according to the regulative principles of the śāstras. Somewhere He was sitting alone, meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental to material nature, and somewhere He was rendering menial service to His elders, offering them desirable things and reverential worship.
In one place He was planning battles in consultation with some of His advisers, and in another place He was making peace. Somewhere Lord Keśava and Lord Balarāma were together pondering the welfare of the pious. Nārada saw Lord Kṛṣṇa engaged in getting His sons and daughters married to suitable brides and bridegrooms at the appropriate time, and the marriage ceremonies were being performed with great pomp. Nārada observed how Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the master of all yoga masters, arranged to send away His daughters and sons-in-law, and also to receive them home again, at the time of great holiday celebrations. All the citizens were astonished to see these celebrations.
Somewhere He was worshiping all the demigods with elaborate sacrifices, and elsewhere He was fulfilling His religious obligations by doing public welfare work, such as the construction of wells, public parks and monasteries. In another place He was on a hunting expedition. Mounted on His Sindhī horse and accompanied by the most heroic of the Yadus, He was killing animals meant for offering in sacrifice. Somewhere Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of mystic power, was moving about in disguise among the homes of ministers and other citizens in order to understand what each of them was thinking.
Thus, by Kṛṣṇa’s blessing, Śrī Narada could now remember the Lord of Dwarka in so many ways. In these next verses, the messenger Sri Narada arrives at the assembly hall and speaks:
I am asking you about the welfare of all the people of the worlds since it is improper to ask about your welfare, it being impossible that you could have any misfortune. “Are the three worlds free from fear nowadays?”
“Well, how should I know this?”
Giving permission for the ceremony but remaining here is not good. You should go there.
“But what is the purpose in their seeing me?” Krishna answers.
“Even the outcastes become purified by hearing, chanting and meditating on you, who are the form of concentrated Brahman.”
“What is the cause of this eagerness to see me?” Krishna asked.
You, whose fame and foot water purify the universe, have been invited to Yudisthira’s sacrifice, where there is a necessity of everything being purified.
In the assembly, the Yadavas , Krsna’s allies, wanting to conquer Jarasandha, did not listen to Narada’s words. Smiling, with skillful words which would impress upon Uddhava his own desires in the matter, Krsna spoke to Uddava. He did this in order to make known to all the excellence of Uddhava’s skill in giving advice.
Uddhava began to speak: “You should help Yudhisthira who wants to perform a sacrifice, which was stated by Narada. You should also protect those who desire your shelter by killing Jarasandha, which is the opinion of the assembly and the messenger.”
Narada, Krsna and the elder Yadavas approved of Uddahvas words which were faultless because of conclusive arguments. The elder Yadus approved, but the hint here is that Aniruddha and other younger Yadus, wanting to have war immediately, did not approve.
Taking permission from the elders such as Vasudeva, Krsna ordered his servants to prepare for departure. Having his wives, he mounted his chariot. They went because they also were invited and were eager to attend.
Krishna’s infantry, cavalry and warriors in chariots all followed, along with many women attendants. The queens, ever faithful to Krishna, in carts drawn by men, on horses and in palanquins, followed after their husband. Female servants such as washerwomen went, tying firmly on the camels household goods such as houses made of usira grass.
During the day glittering with the sun’s rays, the army with weapons, crowns and jewels looked splendid. Krishna, passing through Anarta, Sauvira, Maru and Kuruksetra (vinasanam), crossed mountains, rivers, cities, villages, pastures and quarries, until he reached the Pandava capital.
As the senses go out to meet the life air, King Yudisthira went out to meet Krsna. Yudhisthira arranged for Krsna’s stay at Indraprastha in such a way that each day became a new experience.
Krishna resided there, and liberated Maya Danava from the fire so that he could build the assembly hall. Those previous events related in the fifty eighth chapter, rescuing maya and his building the assembly hall, are here repeated because of absorption in the topic. The order is as follows: he burned the Khanda forest, got Arjuna the Gandiva bow, obtained Kalini while hunting, while staying at Indraprastha for four months of the monsoon. Then Krsna returned to Dvaraka, married Kalini, Bhadra and other queens, killed Naraka and performed other deeds. Then he was invited to the rajasuya sacrifice.
In the eightieth chapter of Canto Ten, back in the magnificent city of Dvarka, Krishna’s old school-friend Sudama brahmana, comes to visit:
“He passed through three encampments of troops protecting the outer gates, and three courtyards with long rooms protecting the inner gates, and, accompanied by some brahmanas living there, passed near the houses of the unconquerable Vrsnis and Andhakas. He entered into the chief house among all the sixteen thousand palaces of the sixteen thousand queens.” That was the palace of Rukmini as confirmed by the Padma Purana: “He remained silent for a second at the door of Rukmini’s palace” Forgetting everything else for a short time, he remained as if merged in the happiness of Brahman.”
Seeing him, Krsna got up and went to the courtyard. He embraced him with his arms in great bliss. Krishna put the water that he used to wash his feet on his head.
Rukmini herself, the Goddess of Fortune, fanned him with a camara.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF DVĀRAKĀ (from “Krishna Book” trans. Bhaktivedanta Swami)
Krishna constructed Dwaraka city in the midst of the sea. Firstly, He constructed a very strong wall covering ninety-six square miles, and the wall itself was within the sea. It was certainly wonderful and was planned and constructed by Vishwakarma. No ordinary architect could construct such a fort within the sea, but an architect like Vishwakarma, who is considered to be the engineer among the devatas, can execute such wonderful craftsmanship anywhere in the universe.
It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that this new, well-constructed city, developed within the sea, had regular planned roads, streets and lanes. There were also well-planned parks and gardens filled with plants known as kalpa-vrikshas, or desire trees. These desire trees are not like the ordinary trees of the material world; the desire trees are found in the spiritual world. By Krishna’s supreme will, everything is possible, so such desire trees were planted in Dwaraka, the city constructed by Krishna. The city was also filled with many palaces and gopuras, or big gates. These gopuras are still found in some of the larger temples. They are very high and constructed with fine artistic skill. Such palaces and gates held golden waterpots (kalashas). These waterpots on the gates or on the palaces are considered auspicious signs.
Almost all the palaces were skyscrapers. In each and every house there were underground rooms containing big golden and silver pots for stocking grain. And there were many golden waterpots within the rooms. The bedrooms were all bedecked with jewels, and the floors were mosaic pavements of marakata jewels. The Vishnu Deity, worshiped by the descendants of Yadu, was installed in each house in the city. The residential quarters were so arranged that the different castes—brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras—had their respective quarters. In the center of the city was a residence made specifically for King Ugrasena. This was the most dazzling of all the houses.
When Indra saw that Krishna was constructing a particular city of His own choice, he sent the celebrated parijata tree of the heavenly planets to be planted in the new city, and he also sent a parliamentary house, Sudharma. The specific quality of this assembly house was that anyone participating in a meeting within it would overcome the influence of invalidity due to old age. The demigod Varuna presented a horse, which was all white except for black ears and which could run at the speed of the mind. Kuvera, the treasurer of the devatas, presented the art of attaining the eight perfectional stages of material opulence. In this way, all the demigods began to present their respective gifts according to their different capacities. There are thirty-three million demigods, each entrusted with a particular department of universal management. All the demigods took the opportunity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s constructing a city of His own choice to present their respective gifts, making the city of Dwaraka unique within the universe.
THE HISTORY OF DVĀRAKĀ
Lord Balarāma’s Wedding (from Garga-Samhita 3:1-24)
In this way, I have described to you the reason the Lord lives in Dvārakā. Now I will tell you everything of the marriages of Krishna and Balarāma, the two Supreme Personalities of Godhead. O king of Mithilā, please hear the story of Lord Balarāma’s wedding, a sacred and transcendental story that removes all sins and increases the span of one’s life.
(Several mahayugas before Krishna’s appearance …) a noble-hearted king named Ānarta was born in the Sūrya dynasty. The country of Ānarta-desa, which was created within the ocean where there were terrible sounds, was named after him. His son was the virtuous king Raivata, who ruled the kingdom from his capitol Kuṣasthali. He had a hundred sons and one daughter. His daughter, who was named Revati, yearned to have a husband that was handsome, lived eternally, and was better than all other men. One day he placed his daughter on a chariot decorated with gold and jewels, and wandered the earth to find a proper husband. By his mystic power he traveled to Brahmaloka. His intention to ask for a proper husband for his daughter, he bowed before the demigod Brahmā. As the apsara Pūrvacitti was singing, he found his opportunity. Aware that now he had Brahmā’s attention, he spoke what was in his heart.
Sri Raivata said: You are the greatest, the oldest, the seed from which this universe has sprouted, the great soul and the great controller. O Brahmā, you stay always in your own abode. You create, maintain, and destroy this universe. O lord, the Vedas are Your mouth, religion is your chest, irreligion is your back, Manu is your intelligence, the demigods are your limbs, the demons are your feet, and this entire creation is your body. This universe is like a small āmalaka fruit in your hand. You are like a charioteer driving this universe through the modes of nature. You are like a spider and this universe is your web. In the future you will swallow up this entire universe. The realm of King Indra is under your control, what to speak of the realms of ordinary kings or the perfections of yoga. You always stay in the highest realm. To you, O lord of limitless virtue, I offer my respectful obeisances. You are self-born. You are the grandfather of all in the universe. You are the best of the demigods. You see everything. O lord, please tell me who should become my daughter’s husband, a divine husband that lives forever and has all virtues.
Sri Nārada said: O king of Mithilā, when he heard these words, self-born Brahmā, who sees everything, smiled and spoke to King Raivata. Sri Brahma’ said: O king, a moment in this realm of Brahmaloka is equal to four yugas on the earth Your children, grandchildren, and other relatives are no longer on the earth. We do not hear anything of the descendents of your children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. The dynasty no longer exists. Therefore you should approach Lord Balarāma, who is the best of all, the jewel of men, and the person that lives eternally, and offer your jewel-daughter to Him. Krishna and Balarāma are the two original Supreme Personalities of Godhead. They are Goloka’s two masters, who have descended to remove the earth’s burden. Krishna and Balarāma, who are the two Supreme Lords, who are the two masters of numberless universes, who are Vasudeva’s two sons, and who are kind to Their devotees, are now splendidly manifest in Dvārakā, with the Yādavas as Their companions.
Sri Nārada said: Hearing these words, the great king Raivata bowed down before Lord Brahma’ and then quickly went to the supremely opulent city of Dvārakā. As a wedding present he gave a chariot built by Vishvakarma that was eight celestial miles long and yoked with a thousand horses, and he also gave many splendid garments and jewels he had received from Brahmā. After giving these gifts he left to perform austerities at sacred Badarikāshrama. Then there was a great festival in the capital of the Yādavas. In home after home, the Supreme Lord Balarāma appeared with Srimati Revati. One who hears this story of Lord Balarāma’s wedding becomes free of all sins and attains the supreme perfection.
(from Mahabharata Book 14, Section 59)
Janamejaya said, After having conferred that boon on Utanka, O foremost of regenerate persons, what did the mighty-armed Govinda of great celebrity next do’ Vaisampayana said, Having granted that boon to Utanka, Govinda, accompanied by Satyaki, proceeded to Dwaraka on his chariot drawn by his large steeds endued with great speed. Passing many lakes and rivers and forests and hills, he at last came upon the delightful city of Dwaravati.
It was at the time, O king, when the festival of Raivataka had begun, that he of eyes like lotus-petals arrived with Satyaki as his companion. Adorned with many beautiful things and covered with diverse Koshas made of jewels and gems, the Raivataka hill shone, O king, with great splendour. That high mountain, decked with excellent garlands of gold and gay festoons of flowers, with many large trees that looked like the Kalpa trees of Indra’s garden, and with many golden poles on which were lighted lamps, shone in beauty through day and night. By the caves and fountains the light was so great that it seemed to be broad day. On all sides beautiful flags waved on the air with little bells that jingled continuously. The entire hill resounded with the melodious songs of men and women. Raivataka presented a most charming prospect like Meru with all his jewels and gems. Men and women, excited and filled with delight, O Bharata, sang aloud. The swell of music that thus rose from that foremost of mountains seemed to touch the very heavens. Everywhere were heard spouts and loud whoops of men who were in all stages of excitement.
The cackle of thousands of voices made that mountain delightful and charming. It was adorned with many shops and stalls filled with diverse viands and enjoyable articles. There were heaps of cloths and garlands, and the music of Vinas and flutes and Mridangas was heard everywhere. Food mixed with wines of diverse kinds was stored here and there. Gifts were being ceaselessly made to those that were distressed, or blind, or helpless. In consequence of all this, the festival of that mountain became highly auspicious. There were many sacred abodes built on the breast of that mountain, O hero, within which resided many men of righteous deeds. Even thus did the heroes of Vrishni’s race sport in that festival of Raivataka. Equipt with those mansions, that mountain shone like a second Heaven. At the arrival of Krishna, O chief of Bharata’s race, that prince of mountains resembled the blessed abode of Indra himself.
Worshipped by his relatives, Krishna then entered a beautiful mansion. Satyaki also went to his own quarters with a delighted soul. Govinda entered his residence after a long absence, having accomplished feats of great difficulty like Vasava amid the Danava host. The heroes of the Bhoja, Vrishni, and Andhaka races, all came forward to receive that high-souled one like the deities advancing to receive him of a hundred sacrifices. Endued with great intelligence, he honoured them in return and enquired after their welfare. With a gratified heart he then saluted his father and mother. The mighty-armed hero was embraced by both of them and comforted too by numerous evidences of affection. He then took his seat with all the Vrishnis sitting around him. Having washed his feet and dispelled his fatigue, Krishna of mighty energy, as he sat there, then recounted the chief incidents of the great battle in answer to the questions put to him by his sire.
(more from the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Krishna-Janma Khanda 105:79-83 & 106:11)
During the glorious wedding ceremony of Baladeva and Revati, thirty million bards, seventy million brahmins, one thousand sannyāsis (recluses) one thousand yatis and brahmachāris, two thousand avadhutas (ascetics not subject to any rites) who had subdued anger and other passions likewise proceeded forward. Thousands of gardeners holding lotus flowers and splendidly dressed, various kinds of architects, musicians forming 100,000 musical bands and hundreds of thousands of dancers took up the rear. The Gandharvās from heaven, singing in a melodious tune, also started with Lord Krishna. All of them beheld the most beautiful city surrounded by seven moats and seven ramparts, graced by one hundred gates and constructed by Viśwa-Karmā with different kinds of gems.
THE CREATION OF DWĀRKĀ (from Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Krishna-Janma Khanda Chapters 103-104)
103:1-15. Nārāyana said, “Later on, Krishna with Baladeva came to Madhupura, greeted the feet of his parents and having arrived at the root of the fig tree, he remembered Garuda and also recollected with esteem, the sea of salt, Viśvakarma, the desired wheel of Sudarśana, the club called Kaumodaki, the variety of couches called Pāñchajanya, and the desired land of Vaikuntha. He laid aside his cow-herd dress and put on the garb of a king.
In the meantime, the excellent irresistible Sudarśana, the King of weapons calculated to vanquish the foe radiant like Hari and bright like millions of suns appeared before Lord Krishna. Garuda following in the track of the chariot of diamond also appeared before him. Viśwa-Karmā with his pupils, trembling also appeared there with a respectful inclination of his head and bowed before the feet of Krishna.
Lord Krishna smiled and spoke to them by turns affectionately; O great-minded ocean, give me some space measuring one hundred yojanas, on which I wish to construct a city and afterward I shall return it to you. O Viśwa-Karmā, the best of architects, construct a temple, attractive to all people, enchanting and unrivaled in the three worlds on the land which Lord Varuna will offer me. That city must be like the Vaikuntha, always courted by believers, better than the seven heavens and very delightful. O magnanimous royal bird, until the construction of Dwārka, always remain with Viśwa-Karmā, O Sudarśana, the best of disc-weapons, you, too, should always remain by my side”.
Nārada, Varuna and others, having bowed to the command of Krishna, went away, but the disc-weapon remained by the side of Krishna. Lord Krishna installed the powerful and magnanimous Ugrasena, the father of Kamsa on the throne and the Ksatryas of noble rank recognised him (Ugrasena) as king and honoured him as such. The most blessed Krishna, rewarded the royal Yadavas, conquered Jarāsandha, and by strategy, killed the dreadful Kāluyavanas despatched by Jarāsandha. The tranquil Viśwa-Karmā, with a thrill of raptures in his body through reverence, with streaming eyes and folded hands said to Krishna, the great Lord of the world, “O Lord of the world, how shall I construct Dwārka as directed by you? O most blessed Lord, please point out to me the method of its construction.
16-30. Lord Krishna said: “With rubies, emeralds, excellent gems called Indra-Nila, (sapphire) Ruchaka, (alkali) Paribhadra (the Devadara) Kalanka (iron-stone) Syamantaka, (the gem which yields eight loads of gold everyday) Sulphur, blue stones, the Moon stone marked with crystal, the Sunstone, green stones, dark-blue stones, stones of various hues, yellow stones of the colour of the pigment of cows, blue stones of the colour of the seeds of lotus and pomegranate, black stones, stones of the colour of lotus, white champak or heated gold, stones a hundred times more valuable than gold, reddish stone, (good-looking, bright, heavy, excellent and adored) and polished stones, in a proper manner and after due consideration, construct a lovely city extending over an area of a hundred yojanas.
So long as the construction is not finished, the Yakṣas must bring from the Himālaya mountains heaps of precious stones. 700,000 of Yakṣas deputed by Kuvera, 100,000 Vetāls (corpses animated by evil spirits) and Kuṣmāṇḍas (goblins) deputed by Śiva, demons and Brahma-demons deputed by Pārvatī, the daughter of the mountain will assist you in the construction of the celestial palace fit for the habitation of 68,000 married damsels. Also construct pavilions consisting of excellent trees, void of bad trees, containing picturesque gates of architectural design, having lion-gates encircled by moats and ramparts, and containing twelve additional gates fit for the habitation of a hundred principal queens. Attach to every house an auspicious court-yard consisting of lunar altars. After constructing the habitation of the Yadus, build quarters for servants. After having constructed a most excellent mansion for Ugrasena, the King of kings, construct a house for my revered father, Vasudeva which should be delightful by all means.
During verses 31-75, Viśwa-Karmā enquired from Krishna which trees and flowers were auspicious and which were inauspicious to place near pavilions and palaces, and which timbers and which measures should be used in construction. Lord Krishna explains all this, but reassures Viśwa-Karmā that precious gems and precious metals will be used instead of timber for construction. After being instructed so, both Garuda and Viśwa-Karmā slept at the foot of a fig tree near the ocean. As they slept, they saw in their dreams the wonderful city of Dwarka, completed in all its glory:
The architects who constructed the city ridiculed Viśwa-Karmā in his dream. Other Garudas and other powerful birds likewise mocked Garuda. When Garuda in his dream awoke, he beheld the most wonderful city of Dwārkā extending over a hundred Yojans. The sight of the city abashed Viśwa-Karmā also. That city obscured with the accumulation of its rays even the land of Brahmā and concealing even the sun and heaps of diamonds with the halo of its effulgence manifested itself in a splendid style.
104:1-14 Nārāyana said, “ In the meantime, Brahmā, Śiva, Pārvatī, Ananta, Dharma, the sun, the Fire, Kuvera, Varuṇa, the god of wind, Yama, Indra, the moon-good, the eleven Rudras, the Vasus, the twelve Adityas, the demons, Gandharvas, Kinnaras and all others arrived at the root of the holy fig tree with a view to see the city of Dwārkā. Seeing that Lord Krishna had arrived there with Baladeva, they soon adored that excellent Being. The inhabitants of the sky, mounted on their vimanas, continued to observe the delightful and enchanting city of Dwārkā from the sky.
They saw that Dwārkā, decked with pearls, gems, diamonds and other precious stones was circular in appearance and covered a square area of a hundred Yojanas. Seven bottomless moats encircled the city. A hundred thousand lakes dedicated to pleasure came into existence. 300,000 beautiful groves containing lotuses kissed by bees contributed greatly to the charms of the town. Dwārkā all round redolent of blooming, delightful flowers was refreshed by the wind associated with the cooling, fragrant sandal. The city teemed with a billion coconut trees and four billion catecheus trees, and likewise with mangoes and jacks delicious to the taste. Palm trees, as delicious as mangoes, the holy fig-trees, the jejube, the hog-plum and the banyan tree graced the town in all directions. The silk-cotton tree, the rose-apple, the Kadamb, the bamboo, the tamarind, the Champak, the sandal, the Nāgeswar (an ornamental tree) the orange, the lime, the pomegranate, the emblie, myrabalan and the amalaka all the more graced that beautiful city.
15-21. The Śāla (a timber tree), the Piyāla, the Hintāl (marshy date tree) the Śiriṣa (the tree producing very delicate flowers), the sensitive plant and several other beneficial trees made that polished city still more auspicious. That city ornamented with most precious gems, pearls and diamonds, full of jars constructed with diamonds, pearls and precious stones, marked by excellent staircases constructed with enchanting gems, protected by strong golden bars and chains, decorated with columns constructed with emerald, embellished with wonderful, polished pictures, decked with gems, graced with white yak-whisks, delicate clothes and looking glasses and adorned with countless elevated temples was inlaid with sapphire and beautifully furnished with court-yards constructed with rubies. It was charmingly intersected by royal roads and other avenues. The gods who had arrived there were astonished at the sight of the celestial Dwārkā which contained stables, a hundred thousand windows effulgent with the luster of gems and radiant like the noon-tide sun of summer.
72-82. At the words of Krishna, King Ugrasena, with a cheerful disposition attended by the Yadus went to his excellent palace situated in the heart of Dwārkā which was superior even to the mansion of India and effulgent with the luster of valuable gems. Thousands of sentinels armed with spears and clubs were guarding the threshold of the house, He then beheld his own pavilion which was graced with hundreds of temples constructed with gems and which was protected on all sides by six gates of a similar type.
The king saw ten million excellent elephants (in the enclosure of elephants) infatuated with wine and forty million ordinary elephants in the elephant-shed. Horses (six times the number of the powerful elephants) that shamed in lustre even the horse mounted by the sun-god were accommodated in the stable. O Nārada, king Ugrasena saw among the royal elephants, a peerless elephant, in fact, the lord of all conveyances. That elephant by his personal accomplishments even put to shame Airāvata, the elephant of Indra. The king also beheld ten million big horses of the type of Ucchai-Sravā 10,000 ordinary horses and 60,000 soldiers constituting the infantry. The King also beheld half a million charioteers, chariot-horses outnumbering the chariots six times and cavalry suited to the horses. The Parliament mansion occupied by the Sudharma council, constructed with precious gems, was encompassed by this army. In the center, guarded by one billion awesome sentinels, was convened the governing council of pious citizens. Effulgent with the luster of avenues constructed with valuable gems, it was adorned with countless lovely thrones of gemstones, furnished with red blankets and exquisite tapestries and encompassed by gods and saints. The King then listened to the auspicious sound of the conches, the drums and the recitation of the Vedas by the Munis as he entered the council.
83-93. Having witnessed his arrival Krishna, Baladeva, Brahmā, Siva, Ananta (the best of gods), other gods, the Munis who practice austerities, the best of adepts and the kings including Vasudeva got up. The most powerful Ugrasena, at the bidding of the Munis and Lord Krishna, sat down on a lovely gem-throne. Garga and other Munis and the gods likewise directed him to sit down. O Nārada, the installation of the great king was performed with mantras of the Vedas enchanted with the holy waters of seven sacred streams and deposited in golden jars. The Supreme Being Krishna gave to the great King Ugrasena a pair of lovely clothes formerly presented to him by Varuṇa. The most powerful Baladeva gave to Ugrasena a wreath of Pārijāt, an ornament of gem and a parasol of gem. Brahmā offered to king Ugrasena an earthen pot; Siva gave him a spear; Pārvatī, a string of gems; and Lakṣmī, a flower garland. The other gods, Munis, the best of adepts and kings gave dowries to Ugrasena by turns. Vāsudeva presented to the monarch a white yak-whisk which in days of yore was presented to Krishna by the wind-god. O saint, Nanda, king of cow-herds, presented to the king a revered cow of plenty called Surabhi; and Devakī likewise offered to him excellent gems.
THE APPEARANCE OF ŚRĪ DVĀRAKĀ (from Garga-Samhita 9:1-34)
Sri Bahulāshva said: Glorious Dvārakā City is famous in the three worlds. Sri Krishna , the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, resides there. I have heard that Dvārakā City was manifested from Lord Krishna’s transcendental body. How and when did it come to this earth? O master, please tell.
Sri Nārada said: Excellent. You have asked an excellent question. By hearing the reason for Dvārakā’s arrival on this earth, even a great sinner, or even a murderer becomes pure at heart.
There was a king named Sharyāti who for ten thousand years ruled the earth according to religious principles. Sharyāti had three very pious sons: Uttānabarhi, Anarta, and Bhūriṣeṇa. To Uttānabarhi King Sharyāti gave the eastern part of his kingdom, to Bhūriṣeṇa he gave the southern part, and to Anarta he gave the western part. King Sharyāti said to them: This entire earth is mine. I rule and protect it according to religious principles. I am most powerful. I have conquered this earth by my own power. In the future you three will also rule and protect this earth.
Hearing his father’s words, the middle son, Anarta, who was very wise, laughed and spoke words of great wisdom. Sri Anarta said: You do not own this earth. Nor do you rule and protect it. Nor did you conquer it with your own power. Only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the all-powerful ruler of this earth. The earth is Lord Krishna’s property. He rules and protects it. He conquered it with His great power. No one is powerful like Lord Krishna. He creates, maintains, and destroys this universe. He is the Supreme Brahman. He is time, the master of all that subdue. He has entered within all living entities and all elements. He is the shelter and resting place of all living entities and all elements. He is the entire universe. He is the object of all sacrifices. He is the most perfect Supreme Personality of Godhead. Out of fear of Him the wind blows. Out of fear of Him the sun shines. Out of fear of Him Indra gives rain. Out of fear of Him death moves on the earth. O king, please become free from pride and false ego and with all your heart worship Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Wounded by the arrows of his son’s words, and his lips trembling in anger even though what he was confronted with was the truth, Sharyāti spoke to his son Anarta. Sharyäti said: Fool, get out! Why do you talk as if you were my teacher? You may not live any place in my kingdom. Take help from this Krishna you worship. Will He not give you some new land not now a part of the earth?
Sri Nārada said: Addressed in this way, respectful Anarta said to the king, “I will not live anywhere in your kingdom, which extends to all the countries of the earth.” Banished by his father, Anarta went to the seacoast and entered the ocean, where he performed austerities for ten thousand years. Pleased by his loving devotion, Lord Krishna appeared before him and said, “Ask for a boon.” Overcome with love, and the hairs of his body erect with joy, Anarta quickly stood up and with folded hands bowed before Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. Sri Anarta said; I offer my respectful obeisances to You, who are Lord Vāsudeva. I offer my respectful obeisances to You, who are Lord Sankarsana, Lord Pradyumna, and Lord Aniruddha. I offer my respectful obeisances to You, who are the master of the devotees. I, who was banished by my father, now take shelter of You. O Lord, please give me a country where I may reside, a country outside my father’s kingdom of the earth. I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who removes the sufferings of the surrendered souls and who mercifully gave to Dhruva Mahārāja the best of all abodes.
Sri Nārada said: Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is kind to the downtrodden and who was pleased at heart, with His glorious mouth spoke words deep like thunder to poor Anarta, who was bowing down before Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: I am pleased by Your devotion, but I do not have another earth in this universe to give you. O king, what should I do to grant the boon you ask? Therefore, O mighty one, I will place on this earth a one hundred yojana portion of my pure and glorious Vaikuntha world. Sri Nārada said: O king of Videha, after speaking these words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who loves His devotees, took His Sudarsana-cakra, lifted up a one hundred yojana portion of Vaikuntha, and placed it in the ocean filled with fearful sounds (The Arabian Sea). O king, in this way, after ten thousand years Anarta attained a kingdom with all the opulence’s of Vaikuntha and a dynasty with many noble sons and grandsons. By the Lord’s mercy that country was named Anarta after him.
When he heard all this, Anarta’s father, Sharyāti, became astonished. Anarta’s son was named Revata. Revata lifted the mountain that was Mount Shaila’s son and placed it in the country of Anarta. That mountain was named Raivata after him. Building a great capitol city named Kushasthali, Revata ruled the kingdom of Anarta. Revata took his daughter to Brahmaloka. That I have already described in the story of her marriage to Lord Balarāma. The demigods know that the sacred city of Dvārakā as the gateway to liberation.
BUILDING THE CITY OF DVĀRAVĀTI (DWĀRKĀ)
(version from the Harivamsha Purana* – Vishnu Parva)
*There are different histories of Dwarka’s creation in the Vedic literature because the histories come from different Kalpas, or ‘days of creation’.
Sri Garuda said: “Paying obeisance to the lord of devas (Krishna), I left your side and went to Kushasthali to check whether the place is suitable for you to live. I went there and looked all around from the sky. O the best among devas! I saw a city with all auspicious signs. The city is located on the sea, cooled by eastern winds. Surrounded by the sea all around, it cannot be conquered even by devas.
Along with all kinds of jewels, trees with all kinds of fruits as desired, with flowers in all seasons and beautiful everywhere. Resided by people of all stages, combined with all desires and qualities, full of men and women, giving happiness as ever, along with compound wall and trench, decorated with towers and watch towers, with strange crossways and large arched doorways along with strange machines with bolts, sparkling with golden fences , together with army having men, elephants, horses and chariots, crowded with people of different directions and locations, along with trees having divine flowers and fruits, having great houses decorated with flags, flagstaffs and garlands, terrible for the enemy groups, increasing happiness for friends, the best city among those suitable for the king of men to reside.
O lord! Make Raivata, the best among mountains, a residence of devas, like the divine Nandana, decoration of the entrance of the city. O the best among devas, please go there and establish your residence. This city will become most suitable for the maidens to move around.
Named as the city of doors, this city will be, famous in the three worlds and beautiful as the city of Amaravati for Indra. If the great ocean provides a well surrounded land, Vishvakarma will carry out many works as he likes.
With the divine jewels from the three worlds such as loadstones, pearls, corals, diamonds and cats eye gems as thought to be suitable, decorating hundreds of the divine pillars, the city will become similar to the assembly of devas in heaven.
O lord! Build mansions, shining like moon and sun, protected by devas and gandharvas, decorated by divine flags and flagstaffs, sparkling with white jambunada gold and decorated by all kinds of jewels.”
After considering the danger to his family and relatives, if they were to stay in Mathura, Krishna decided to move his entire Yadava Dynasty to the western shores of Bharata.
All the Yadavas, the experts in battle, lead by Vasudeva in front, with the front portion of the army, arrived at the place beautified by variety of creepers, with the forest of coconut trees, beautified with creepers of uraria, sida spinosa and forests of pandanus. At some places there were forests of palmyra trees, punnaga, elangi trees and vine creepers. The Yadava leaders reached the marshy place near the seashore. All the comfort loving Yadavas, enjoyed at each beautiful locations like devas enjoying in heaven.
Krishna, the slayer of enemies, considering the construction of the city, saw the vast place, beautified by the ocean, suitable for the carriages, having red soil, enriched with all good signs of a city, suitable for the residence of Lakshmi-devi, full of sea breezes, served by the sea water, belonging to the king of the sea, shining with the signs of a city.
The mountain named Raivataka, shining with a tall peak like Mandara, is located not very far. There Ekalavya resides where Drona lived for a long time. There are many men and all kinds of jewels at this place. That is where the ground for games was constructed for the king. That was named Dvaravati which was vast and having eight parts similar to board for dice game. Krishna had also desired to construct a city there.
The Yadavas, liking the place, halted the army there. During the day, when the sun was hot, those leaders of the army, ordered to stake the tents. Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna, the best among men, made the buildings there and assigned names with his mind.
The next day, in the early morning, devoid of impurities, as the sun was rising, the lord Krishna performed the morning rituals. Then he roamed in the area to see a suitable place for the fortress. Then The Slayer of Keshi, with eyes beautiful as lotus petals, the best among speakers, spoke to the Yadavas, like Indra speaks to devas.
“Look at this land selected by me. It is like heaven. I have also assigned a name for the city by which it will be famous. This city made by me on the earth, named Dvaravati (city with gates) will be marvelous like the city, Amaravati of Indra. I will also have made symbols, houses, four cross squares, royal paths and complete quarters for women. All of you, starting with King Ugrasena, shall enjoy without any concern, like devas. Take household items, make three cross junctions, measure the royal paths and the paths for buildings. In this place, there must be built for each of us a palace, well planned with crossroads and well-ordered highways, in which our selected deities can be installed. The city, likely to fulfill all the Yadavas wishes and leading to their progress, shall be made by, the best architect of devas, the lord, son of Prajapati, Vishvakarma, out of his mind.”
For him to come, contemplating in his mind, Krishna stood alone facing the devas. At that moment itself, the preceptor of architects, Vishvakarma, the best among devas, having great intellect, stood before Krishna.
Vishvakarma said: “O Vishnu! One who is firmly resolute! Quickly sent by Indra, I have come here as your servant. Tell me what should I do. O deva! You are the same as, the god of gods, the one without any decline, Shiva is, to me. O lord! There is no difference between both of you. O the one with great arms (Krishna)! Speak the words for all the three worlds to know. I can see the matter. Tell me what shall I do.”
Hearing the humble words of Vishvakarma, the best among yadus, the enemy of Kamsa (Krishna) spoke these words in reply. “You are knowledgeable about the meaning of secrets of devas. We are living here. O the best among devas! It is essentially your duty to construct a house for me here. O one who is resolute! Construct a city for me, suitable to my splendour, along with houses showing your skill.”
Your work is to construct this city as the best on earth, like Amaravati in heaven. O one with great intellect, you are capable of doing that. Make this place of mine as it is in heaven. Let men see my city, the seat of prosperity of the yadu race.”
Hearing this, Vishvakarma, the lord of intellect told Krishna, who performed difficult tasks, said: “O lord! I will do all this as you wish. This area of city will be insufficient for your people. This (city) will be enlarged, prosperity will be a beauty of this (city). In this (city) all four oceans, in their form, will roam freely, if the king of water desires to leave some space, O the best among men!, then the city, all along will be proper with all good signs.”
Hearing what was said, Krishna, the best among speakers, who had already decided, spoke to the ocean, the lord of rivers: “O Ocean! Please leave (a place of) ten and two (twelve) yojanAs (one yojana= 9 miles) in your self, if you respect me. With the place given by you, this city will be sufficient to support my entire army.”
Hearing the words of Krishna, the lord of rivers, combined with the help of wind, left the place (occupied by) the water body. Then Vishvakarma was pleased seeing the site for the city. The ocean showed high respect to Lord Govinda.
Then Vishvakarma spoke to Krishna, the son of yadus. “Krishna! From today itself, let all occupy the residences. O lord! I have already made this great city conceptually with my mind without any delay of time. Decorated with houses, and beautified by good arches, gates and an assembly of watch towers like bracelets worn on the upper arm, this city will be comparable to a an ensign (symbol of royalty) of (goddess) earth.”
For attending to Krishna, a large women’s quarters was also made in the city at a place worshipped by the gods. Then the beautiful city, the city of gates (Dvaravati) of Vishnu was marvelously made by Vishvakarma by his mental efforts.
The best walls of the fort shined with sculptured doors along with trenches, door frames and archways. With beautiful women, men and merchants along with varieties of commodities as though the skytravellers (birds) have come down on earth with wells of drinking water, beautiful ponds, shining with gardens, beautiful like a woman having long eyes, flourishing with squares, endowed with an assembly of best houses, large number of pathways, decorated with white royal paths, this city is beautified on earth by the ocean, like the city of Indra beautifies heaven with an assembly of important jewels.
An auspicious place even for the gods, causing anxiety to the tribute paying princes, with its skyline filled with buildings, filled with the sound of groups of people on earth having many kingdoms, the wind cooled by the currents of the ocean, beautified with wet lands and gardens, with beautiful people, the city of Dvaraka sparkled like the sky shining with stars.
The fort shining with the colour of sun and pots of gold, with sounds from many grand houses sparkling with golden colour, shining with many buildings having doors with the colour of white clouds, standing high here and there, indicating the grand route, Krishna along will all sons of Yadavas, resided in that city, making it sparkle like the moon sparkles the sky. Vishvakarma made the city like the capitol city of heaven. The Lord entered the temple of devas for worshipping.
Again an idea occurred to Krishna, who knows the soul, to make the people prosperous by offering them lots of wealth. In the night, Krishna invoked Shankha, the best treasure of all treasures, the best given by Vaishravana (the lord of wealth). That Shankha, the king of treasure himself, knowing the invocation of Krishna, came near the lord of Dvaraka.
“Lord! I am the protector of the wealth of devas. What shall I do? O the son of Yadu, O the one with great arms! Order me what shall I do?
Then the lord of sages, Krishna, told Shanka, the best of guhyakas: “Offer wealth to those people here, who are having less wealth. I do not like to see thin, untidy people, people who ask for alms, people who do not have wealth in this city.”
Accepting the order of Krishna, nodding his head, the king of treasure, ordered the treasures to shower wealth in all the houses of the City of Gates, Dvarka. There was none without wealth. There was no luckless man. There never was any thin or untidy person in Dvaravati.
Lord Krishna then summoned Vayu, the Lord of Wind to bring forth the assembly hall of heaven, Sudharma. Understanding the words of Krishna, who performs difficult tasks, the lord of wind, with a speed suitable to him, went to heaven. Honouring all the devas and after informing them about the words of Krishna, he returned to earth, taking the assembly hall of Sudharma with him.
In this way, Hari, without having any decline, divinely decorated his city, with divine items, like a woman is decorated. He established the code of conduct, set up rows and standards, engaged generals of army and managers for nature. Ugrsena was made the king, Sage Sandipani was made the priest, Adhishti was made the chief of army and Vikadru the chief minister.
Krishna, with great intellect, made ten elders, the chieftains of Yadava race, as ministers for all matters. Daruka, the best charioteer, was engaged for driving the chariot of Krishna. The best fighter Satyaki was appointed as the chief fighter.
Krishna, who is never despised, made these arrangements in the city. The creator of the world (Krishna) enjoyed thus with Yadavas on the face of earth. Then, with the consent of Krishna, Balarama married Revati, the daughter of King Raivata, endowed with good behaviour.
Thus ends the 58th Chapter of Vishnu-parva, of Sri Harivamsa, Building the City of Dvaravati.
DVĀRAKĀ IS BEAUTIFIED AGAIN
Chapter 98, Vishnuparva of Harivamsha
Mounted on Garuḍa, Krishna saw the city of Dvārakā from the sky. The city appeared like the world of devas, echoing the sounds of ocean waves all around. There were mountains decorated with jewels, machines, houses for entertainment, gardens, large forests, terraces and quadrangles (in the city).
After Krishna arrived at the city, the king of devas (Indra) summoned Viśvakarmā and spoke as follows: (Indra said) O the best of sculptors! If you wish to do what is dear to me, then for Krishna’s pleasure, make the city more beautiful than it is now.
O the best among devas! Make the city of Dvārakā shine, like my city, like heaven with hundreds of gardens. Whatever you consider in the three worlds as jewels, you shall bring all those immediately to the city of Dvārakā. Krishna is always alert by all means for the work of devas. The highly powerful Krishna is involved in wars of terrible forms.
Based on the words of Indra, Viśvakarmā went to the city and renovated it all over, making it appear like Amaravati of Indra. The city, decorated by the divine, beautiful conceptions of Viśvakarmā was seen by the lord of Dashārha, Krishna, who has the bird (Garuḍa) as his vehicle. Then, that Lord Nārāyaṇa became pleased, seeing that Dvārakā, which he was about to enter, was enriched by all kinds of wealth.
He saw that beautiful trees were flourishing in Dvārakā, pleasing to the eye, created for him by Viśvakarmā. The city was surrounded by moats, with water resembling the waters of Gaṅgā and Sindhu, having blooming lotus flowers and served by swans. In the colours of sunlight, the tall towers of the city dazzled with golden pots on the top, like the sky sparkling with the garland of clouds. With forests as beautiful as Nandana and Chitraratha, Dvārakā shone like the sky shining with water-bearing clouds.
The Raivataka mountain dazzled with beautiful peaks and caves. On the eastern direction, there was an arch with Lakṣmī, decorated with jewels and gold. The southern direction dazzled with five coloured creepers spreading like the flag of Indra (rainbow). The western direction, likewise, does not have any decline.
O the best among kings! The northern direction is beautifully decorated by the white mountain Vēṇumān, similar to Mandara mountain. The Raivataka mountain is beautified by the great forests, the forests of all seasons, Citrakaṁ, Pancvarṇaṁ as well as Pāncajanyaṁ.
The great forest, Meruprabha, covered by creepers all over and the great forests Bhānu as well as Puṣpaka also dazzle. The forests Śatāvarta and Karavīrākaraṁ are beautified by the trees, Akṣaka, Bījaka as well as Mandārā. The great forests Caitrarathaṁ, Nandanaṁ, Ramaṇaṁ and Bhāvanaṁ beautify the mountain Vēṇumān all over.
The beautiful river Mandākinī with a pool of lotus flowers having leaves as beautiful as cats eye gems, flows on the eastern side. There, the peaks of the mountains are decorated by many Deva-Gandharvas, wishing for the welfare of Krishna, prompted by Viśvakarmā.
Mahānadī, the river with sacred water, flows in the city of Dvārakā with about fifty large outlets, providing happiness to the residents. The city with unknown limits has tall buildings. Surrounded by deep moats, it is full of best buildings with walls painted white. The city of Dvārakā was seen, as protected by sharp spear like machines such as śataghni (a weapon studded with iron spikes), having huge wheels and decorated by gold.
The city has eight thousand chariots decorated with bells. The chariots have beautiful flags, flying high, as in the city of devas. Krishna saw the city of Dvārakā, eight yojana wide and twelve yojana long, along with its nearby regions having double the area. There are eight main roads and sixteen great quadrangles. The city served by a main road was created according to the rules of Uśanas (Śukrācārya) himself.
The women (of the city) were also capable of fighting. Then what to say about the Vrishnis, the great chariot fighters? There was a best way for the troops and there were seven large roads. There, Viśvakarmā himself had made those great roads.
Then, in the city, the best among the best cities, the son of Devakī (Krishna) saw with pleasure, houses of different types having staircases decorated with gold and jewels, generating pleasure for men, made by Viśvakarmā for the Yādavas with fame. The city had quadrangles with buildings having great huge sounds. The city had gardens with flowers and beautiful flags flying high. The city had buildings with golden pots shining on the top. The city had beautiful tall buildings like the peaks of Meru mountain. The top of the buildings, more white than white, decorated with gold pots, appeared beautiful like the peaks of mountains.
The buildings of five colours as well as golden colour appeared beautiful as though showered with flowers. Sounds as loud as thunder were heard from the buildings which appeared like mountains of different shapes. The tall buildings made by Viśvakarmā dazzled with lights blazing like fire. The buildings, with the splendour of the moon and sun, embraced the sky.
The tall house of the son of Vasudeva (Krishna), decorated by the clouds, dazzles with the able Yādavas along with beautiful wild trees. The house of Lord Krishna made by Viśvakarmā in the city of Dvārakā, appeared beautiful like the sky covered by clouds. This house of Krishna’s was seen, four yojana wide and long. The palace was with immeasurable wealth.
As told by Indra, Viśvakarmā, the great soul, made the city with great buildings and artificial mountains, famous in the world. The golden buildings were considered beautiful by all beings. The palace of Queen Rukmini, the best, made by Viśvakarmā, named Kancana, is like the tall peaks of the Meru mountain.
The white residence in which Queen Satyabhāmā stays, having staircases decorated with beautiful jewels is known as bhogavat. The building with the colour of clear sun is decorated by flags. The surroundings were beautiful. There were tall flagpoles with flags on all four sides. The main building is blessed being the residence of Queen Jāmbavatī. Like a second sun, that building with its splendour, diminished the beauty of the other buildings.
With its colour equal to that of the rising sun, the building was between the two (buildings of Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā). The building made by Viśvakarmā was divine like the peak of Kailāśa. There is a building bright like gold and blazing like fire, vast and tall like ocean and widely known as Meru.
O the best of the Bhārata race! In that building, Queen Gāndhārī, the daughter of the king of Gāndhāra, the one who flourishes her race, lives as desired by Lord Krishna.
The building, famous as Padmakula, highly splendorous with the colour of lotus is for Queen Bhadrā. The great building shines with radiance. O the best among kings! The building named Suryaprabha, with all desirable qualities, is for Queen Lakṣaṇā, as intended by Krishna who wields the bow Shāranga.
O the one of Bhārata race! All people who saw the building decorated with cat’s-eye gems, with bright green colour know that it is the residence of Queen Mitravindā, worshipped by the groups of deva sages, the best among the buildings for the wife of Dwārkānātha.
There is another main building made by Viśvakarmā, most beautiful among the beautiful (buildings) appearing fixed as a mountain, the residence of Queen Suvārtā, famous among all the devas, famous as Ketumalta.
There is another main building made by Viśvakarmā himself, with a perimeter of one yojana, full of all auspicious jewels. There is a shining building with the name Virajā radiating light. In that building there is a rest house of the great soul, Krishna.
All along golden poles with flags are installed properly, indicating the way to Krishna’s palace. Many divine jewels are kept there along with the mountain Vaijayanta which was brought by the great lion of Yādavas (Krishna).
That peak of Haṁsakuta which was in the lake of Indradyumna, as tall as sixty palm trees and as wide as half a yojana, along with Kinnaras and Naga serpents, is famous in the world, as it was brought and installed there by Lord Krishna while all the beings were watching.
The best and tall peak of the Meru mountain, which touches the path of the sun along with hundreds of lotus flowers and golden aerial vehicles, full of gold, divine and famous in the three worlds, was pulled out and brought (to Dvārakā) for Krishna by Viśvakarmā.
That mountain, the best among the best, along with all medicinal plants was purposefully brought according to the words of Indra. The pārijāta tree, was brought there by Krishna himself, after fighting with the devas, who were protecting that best among trees in Indra’s heaven.
Along with hundreds of lotus flowers and golden aerial vehicles, there are jewels and trees with flowers and fruits. There are large bodies of water full of red lotus flowers, jewels and fragrant blue lotus flowers and boats decorated with jewels and gold. Great trees such as the sal, the palmyra palm, the kadamba, and sandalwood with hundreds of branches dazzle on the shores of the lakes.
These trees found on the mountains of Himalaya and Meru mountains were brought by Viśvakarmā for that lion of the Yadava race. In the forest, there are great trees, providing red, yellow, pink, dark blue and white flowers and fruits in all the seasons. In that best city, there are rivers with clear water pools along with plain banks having good sand, gravels and pebbles. There are other rivers with flowers and variety of trees and creepers on the banks having golden sand, gravel and pebbles. In that city, there are many trees with excited groups of peacocks and cuckoos who are always delighted.
In that city, provision is made for the staying of groups of elephants as well as cattle, swine, deer as also birds. In that beautiful city, there are golden buildings, each a hundred cubits tall, made by Viśvakarmā, which are highly beautiful, surrounding the city like a mountain. Each of these great mountains, ponds and lakes as also forests and gardens were provided all around in that city by Bhauma (Viśvakarmā).
KRISHNA ARRIVES AT DVĀRAKĀ
Chapter 99, Vishnuparva of Harivamsha
Approaching from the sky mounted upon that great carrier Garuḍa, Lord Krishna beheld his residence, shining with hundreds of buildings, along with hundreds, thousands and ten thousands of pillars studded with jewels and decorated by blazing arches and wonderful trees. The buildings shone everywhere with colourful golden stages. The greatest building was the residence of Krishna. That vast golden building is covered with glass pillars. There are ponds of water full of lotus flowers and red fragrant lotus flowers.
That building is covered with jewels and gold, having staircases decorated with jewels. There are excited peacocks and cuckoos which are always enjoying. There are many ponds with fully blossomed lotus flowers. The mountain made by Viśvakarmā is the fort for that residence. That building, one hundred cubits tall, and surrounded by a moat, was made for that lion of the Vrishni dynasty by Viśvakarmā.
The building, brilliant as the celestial palace of Indra, is half a yojana wide. Krishna, who strikes terror upon his enemies, reached there mounted on Garuḍa and blew his white conch. With the sound of that conch, the ocean waves rose. The sky resounded with the fearful sound. Hearing the great sound of Pāñcajanya and seeing Garuḍa, the Kukuras and Andhakas became devoid of sorrows. Seeing Krishna with the conch, chakra and mace in his hands and mounted on Garuḍa, with the splendour comparable to sun, the residents of the city were overjoyed.
The trumpets blared and the kettledrums sounded loud. All the residents shouted loudly like lions. Then all the Yadus, Kukuras and Andhakas, happy to see their Lord, assembled. Keeping that son of Vasudeva in front, accompanied by the sounds of conch and trumpet, king Ugrasena arrived at the house of Vasudeva. Devakī attended to them happily in the house as also Rohiṇī, Yaśodā as well as the women of Ahuka.
Then Krishna went to his house, mounted on Suparṇa (Garuḍa). Hari traveled as he intended, accompanied by devas.
At the entrance of the house, Krishna alighted. He worshipped the Yādavas as they deserved. Honoured by Balarama, Ahuka, Pradyumna and others, he entered his residence, taking the jewel mountain. Pradyumna, the son of Rukmiṇī, brought the great tree, the pārijāta, loved by the wife of Indra, to Krishna’s house. Due to the splendour of the pārijāta, the people saw the body relations of the superior valiants and they became happy. Govinda praised by the great bulls of Yadava race, entered the palace made by Viśvakarmā.
Sri Krishna installed the mountain with jewels at the center of the inner quarters along with the Vrishnis. The conqueror of enemies after worshipping the best of the trees, installed the divine tree pārijāta, at a place he liked.
After getting the permission of kinsmen, Lord Krishna honoured the women previously taken away by Naraka with divine ornaments, clothes, maids and lots of wealth. Vasudeva also honoured those women before, with garlands bright like moonlight and shining jewels. Devakī, Rohiṇī, Revatī and Ahuka also honoured the women.
Satyabhāmā, the best among women, became the carrier of good fortune. Rukmiṇī, the daughter of Bhīṣmaka, became the goddess of the family. Krishna provided houses and many gifts along with beautiful buildings and mountain peaks.
ASCENSION OF KRISHNA AND THE SINKING OF DWĀRKĀ
(from the Bhagavata Purana)
Thereafter, Lord Krishna observed that tremendous disturbances were taking place in the holy city of Dvārakā. Thus the Lord spoke to the assembled senior members of the Yadu dynasty as follows. Sri Krishna said: Our dynasty has been cursed by the brāhmaṇas. Such a curse is impossible to counteract, and thus great disturbances are appearing everywhere around us. My dear respected elders, we must not remain any longer in this place if we wish to keep our lives intact. Let us go this very day to the most pious place Prabhāsa. We have no time to delay.
Thus advised by Sri Krishna, the Yādavas made up their minds to go to that holy place, Prabhāsa-kṣetra, and thus yoked their horses to their chariots. Uddhava was a constantly faithful follower of Lord Krishna. Upon seeing the imminent departure of the Yādavas, hearing from them of the Lord’s instructions and taking note of the fearful omens, he approached the Personality of Godhead in a private place. He bowed down with his head at the lotus feet of the supreme controller of the universe and with folded hands addressed Him as follows. O Lord Keshava, my dear master, I cannot tolerate giving up Your lotus feet even for a fraction of a moment. I urge You to take me along with You to Your own abode.
Thus addressed, Krishna, the son of Devakī, began to reply confidentially to His dear, unalloyed servant Uddhava. “O greatly fortunate Uddhava, you have accurately revealed My desire to withdraw the Yadu dynasty from the earth and return to My own abode in Vaikuṇöha. Thus Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and all other planetary rulers are now praying for Me to resume My residence in Vaikuṇṭha. Answering the prayer of Lord Brahmā, I descended within this world along with My plenary portion Lord Baladeva, and performed various activities on behalf of the demigods. I have now completed My mission here. Now due to the brāhmaṇas’ curse the Yadu dynasty will certainly perish by fighting among themselves; and on the seventh day from today the ocean will rise up and inundate this city of Dvārakā.”
Then Lord Brahmā arrived at Prabhāsa along with Lord Śiva and his consort, the sages, the Prajāpatis and all the demigods, headed by Indra. The forefathers, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyādharas and great serpents also came, along with the Cāraṇas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Kinnaras, Apsarās and relatives of Garuḍa, greatly eager to witness the departure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As they were coming, all these personalities variously chanted and glorified the birth and activities of Lord Krishna. Crowding the sky with their many airplanes, they showered down flowers with great devotion.
Lord Krishna then ascended into His own abode, without employing the mystic āgneyī meditation to burn up His so-called body, a duplicate, which he left behind for the cremation ceremony performed by his Queens. As soon as Dāruka, Krishna’s charioteer, reached Dvārakā, he threw himself at the feet of Vasudeva and Ugrasena and drenched their feet with his tears, lamenting the loss of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Dāruka delivered the account of the total destruction of Krishna’s dynasty, the Yādava warriors, and upon hearing this, the people became deeply distraught in their hearts and stunned with sorrow. Feeling the overwhelming pain of separation from Krishna, they struck their own faces while hurrying to the place where their relatives lay dead.
Tormented by separation from the Lord, His parents gave up their lives at that very spot. My dear Parīkṣit, the wives of the Yādavas then climbed onto the funeral pyres, embracing their dead husbands. The wives of Lord Balarāma also entered the fire and embraced His body, and Vasudeva’s wives entered his fire and embraced his body. The daughters-in-law of Lord Hari entered the funeral fires of their respective husbands, headed by Pradyumna. And Rukmiṇī and the other wives of Lord Kṛṣṇa – whose hearts were completely absorbed in Him – entered His fire.
Arjuna then saw to it that the funeral rites were properly carried out for the dead, who had no remaining male family members. He executed the required ceremonies for each of the Yadus, one after another. As soon as Dvārakā was abandoned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ocean flooded it on all sides, O King, sparing only His palace. Arjuna took the survivors of the Yadu dynasty – the women, children and old men – to Indraprastha, where he installed Vajra as ruler of the Yadus.
SINKING OF DVĀRAKĀ CITY (from Mahabharata)
Vaishampayana said: Meanwhile Daruka, going to the Kurus and seeing those mighty car-warriors, the son of Pritha, informed them of how the Vrishnis had slain one another with iron bolts. Hearing that the Vrishnis along with the Bhojas and Andhakas and Kukuras had all been slain, the Pandavas, burning with grief, became highly agitated. Then Arjuna, the dear friend of Keshava, bidding them farewell, set out for seeing his maternal uncle. He said that destruction would soon overtake everything. Proceeding to the city of the Vrishnis with Daruka in his company, O powerful king, that hero beheld that the city of Dwaraka looked like a woman bereft of her husband.
Those ladies who had, before this, the very Lord of the universe for their protector, were now lordless. Seeing that Partha had come for protecting them, they all set up a loud wail. Ladies had been wedded to Vasudeva. Indeed, as soon as they saw Arjuna arrive, they uttered a loud cry of sorrow. As soon as the Kuru prince met those beauteous ones deprived of the protection of Krishna and of their sons as well, he was unable to look at them, his vision being obstructed by tears. The Dwaraka river had the Vrishnis and the Andhakas for its water, steeds for its fishes, cars for its rafts, the sound of musical instruments and the rattle of cars for its waves, houses and mansions and public squares for its lakes. Gems and precious stones were its abundant moss. The walls of adamant were the garlands of flowers that floated on it. The streets and roads were the strong currents running in eddies along its surface. The great open squares were the still large lakes in its course.
Rama and Krishna were its two mighty alligators. That agreeable river now seemed to Arjuna to be the fierce Vaitarani bound up with Times net. Indeed, the son of Vasava, endued with great intelligence, beheld the city to look even thus, reft as it was of the Vrishni heroes. Shorn of beauty, and perfectly cheerless, it presented the aspect of a lotus flower in the season of winter. Beholding the sight that Dwaraka presented, and seeing the numerous wives of Krishna, Arjuna wailed aloud with eyes bathed in tears and fell down on the earth. Then Satya, the daughter of Satrajit, and Rukmini too, O king, fell down beside Dhananjaya and uttered loud wails of grief. Raising him then they caused him to be seated on a golden seat. The ladies sat around that high-souled one, giving expression to their feelings. Praising Govinda and talking with the ladies, the son of Pandu comforted them and then proceeded to see his maternal uncle.
To the eyes of the conditioned souls, it seemed that Lord Hari had abandoned Dvārakā, although actually He had not, for it is said that He never leaves Dvārakā (nityaà sannihitas tatra). All the Lord’s associates that had not descended with Him from the spiritual world were then sent by the Lord to Hastināpura, and by Lord Krishna’s order, the water of the ocean, which had surrounded Dvārakā like a great moat, rose and flooded the city, covering all the palaces and other buildings of Dvārakā.
Arjuna describing the destruction of Dvārakā: “The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of that beautiful city. The sea covered up everything. I saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The waters had become as placid as a lake, and the city of Dvārakā remained submerged in that Arabian Sea”. Beholding this wonderful sight, Arjuna and the women from Dvārakā walked faster and faster.
After all these events had passed, the heroic sons of Pandu banded together for their final journey. They proceeded with their faces turned towards the south, then, by the northern coast of the salt sea, those princes of Bharatas race proceeded to the south-west. Turning next towards the west, they beheld the city of Dvārakā covered by the ocean. Turning next to the north, those foremost ones proceeded on. Observant of Yoga, they were desirous of making a round of the whole Earth before ascending Mt Meru to reach Heaven.
Thus the original surviving texts in Greek and Sanskrit have been translated here for comparison. It can only be concluded, noting the amazing similarities in specific details, especially the concentric motes and gates, and the incomparable opulence of Atlantis, that Plato had indeed heard the ancient stories of Dvārakā, and had woven those details into his instructive dialogues. It must also be remembered that within Plato’s lifetime, in 373BC, the great coastal capital city of Helike had also disappeared in just one night, beneath the Corinthian Sea, leaving no survivors. Thus the story of Atlantis had two very real sources in ancient history.
History has also shown that the story of Atlantis/Dvārakā has remained so popular that many fake doctrines and novels have been written about it for profit and fame. Do not be conned by charlatans, like Madame Blavatsky, who twisted and plagiarised sacred Indian texts for her personal gain, or other psychics who claim to have the ‘real story of Atlantis’. The original Sanskrit histories written by Sri Vyasadeva and Sri Garga-acarya about Dvārakā are the last authorised accounts of that great city which Plato had relocated and renamed Atlantis for the benefit of warning his own people, the Athenians, the results of political greed and arrogance.
The dialogues composed by Plato echo the ancient teachings of the Indian Puranas, that civilizations, and indeed the Earth, undergo cycles of successive creation and destruction. For example, from his work ‘Critius’: “There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story that even you [Greeks] have preserved, that once upon a time, Phaethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals.”
For more information about the original ‘Atlantis’, here are some fascinating documentaries about the discovery of the ancient sunken cities of Dwarka and Helike:
Dwarka and Helike:
Copyright © 2017 Steve M. Doyle (Soolaba)