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Purānic Geography Part 2


The Puranic Geography of Bhārata-varsha, continued:

UPDATED DECEMBER 2021 – A recent interview with Arjuna Das from his “Theology Unleashed” YouTube channel:

UPDATED DECEMBER 2020 – My two-part documentary about Puranic Geography is now ready to view on YouTube!

Puranic Geography PART 1
Puranic Geography PART 2

Before I begin with summaries of the remaining chapters of my still unpublished book “Purāṇic Geography of Bhārata-varṣa” I would like to answer some questions I have recently received:

Question 1. Do you believe in a globe Earth or a flat Earth?

There is no simple answer to this question. Whenever I supply a brief answer to flat-earth / globe-earth questions, I mostly get misunderstood. Therefore I’m supplying that answer within a greater context below. The short answer is Earth has simultaneous spherical and planar properties, as it is stated in the Narada Purana (viz. Ch3 & Ch54). If I must choose from your black and white question, the best answer is that “Earth of our experience is flat – but it appears as a globe.”

Because there is hard scientific evidence that one can travel the world according to globe mathematics, and because all astronomers get accurate results from the globe model – I have to accept Earth has a global nature. However, on the other hand, there is also hard scientific evidence that the Earth does not curve according to the modern scientific model. Examples of this evidence include the telescopic photography of landforms seen across the Mediterranean Sea, as well as infrared-photography across the great plains of North America that should be impossible to see due to the maths of curvature. For another example, on the 2nd of May 2021, a new test was performed by scientists at FECORE on the curvature of Lake Balatan, Hungary. Using non-divergent lasers over a 48 mile stretch of water, the lack of the expected WGS84 geoid curvature was observed and filmed >>

People often mistake angular resolution for ocean curvature to explain common observations, for example, the disappearance of the bottom of a boat or building seen over a stretch of water. Also, no matter how high one goes, the horizon remains eye level. It is because of these phenomena that a rebellious and religious flat-earth movement gained popularity from 2015, but due to “fact checking” software used by social media, and the wave of interest in the pandemic, numbers have dropped since 2019.

So, as far as scientific evidence goes, the long-standing physical globe Earth model has to be questioned, and I believe this topic has now entered into the Puranic category of “Achintya” or the inconceivable. Fortunately, this ‘achintya’ can be explained by several simple methods; by particle physics, by theoretical mathematics, by Vedic sankhya, by Puranic slokas, and by the Vedanga limb of Jyotisha Astronomy.

Answers lie with ‘the consciousness of the observer’, as stated in both Sankhya of the Bhagavatam and with modern scientific experiments. Consider the classic double-slit experiment.

The Double-Slit Experiment. An elegant experiment done at the Pasteur Institute showed that light could be seen to be a wave and particle at the same time. It was published in Scientific American in the early nineties.


A photon has both non-physical (wave) and physical (particle) properties, which is ‘inconceivable’ that ‘one thing’ can be ‘two opposite things’ at the same time. It is when the conscious observer and the photon detector enter the experiment that the photon displays a dual nature which is “inexplicable using classical mechanics” (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 3. Addison-Wesley. pp. 1.1–1.8.). Now consider the sankhya statements of the Gita and Bhagavatam that every action requires “the place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavor, and the Supersoul” (BG 18.14) or that reality is actually constructed from only 5 physical elements and 21 non-physical elements (SB 3.26.11 & 3.26.18).

Sankhya physics, as Risiraja Prabhu explains, is based on Paramatma, atma, desire, karma, action and time, before we deal with the end manifestation of gross matter, and therefore there is quite a difference between a ‘thing’ and the ‘thought of a thing’. The modern scientific community doesn’t understand that all physical reality is a result of consciousness. In his book “Mystic Universe” I think Risiraja claims Earth is a physical sphere, but in the realm of the mind, it is a flat plane. However, I take the opposite view proposed by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur that the Earth is flat, as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, but appears to be global according to the mind’s calculation, and according to Jyotisha Shastra. This statement is summarised by Sri Bhaskaracarya in the Siddhanta-siromani, Goladhyaya (Book 4) 1.5-6:

The Armillary sphere is said by the wise, to be a representation of the celestial sphere, for the purpose of ascertaining the proofs of the positions of the Earth, the stars, and the planets: this is a species of figure, and hence it is deemed by the wise to be an object of mathematical calculation. 5.

It is said by ancient astronomers that the purpose of the jyotish science is judicial astrology, and this indeed depends upon the influence of the horoscope, and this on the true places of the planets: these true places can be found only by a perfect knowledge of the spheric. A knowledge of the spheric is not to be attained without mathematical calculation. How then can a man, ignorant of mathematics, comprehend the doctrine of the sphere? 6.

These slokas indicate that the sphere earth is just an illusion, a mental construct, and a mathematical model only. We will be mistaken if we measure the earth empirically with our limited senses.

Vintage armillary spheres, used from ancient China to Persia to Europe, place the sphere-earth model within the celestial sphere of planets and constellations, as described in 13th Chapter of the Surya-Siddhanta

The Surya-siddhanta (12-13) and the Narada Purana (54) both discuss the 1600 yojana diameter of the sphere earth, plus the calculation of the latitude and longitude on the earth by degrees using the prime meridian of Lanka/Ujjain and the equator as reference points. The Sūrya-Siddhānta clearly describes a wooden earth globe device with Meru becoming the axis passing through both poles (similar to the photo on the right).

Sūrya-Siddhānta Chapter 13, sloka 3&4:

(the Ācārya) will create a wonderful earth-sphere (bhūbhagola), by keeping in front an earth-globe of desired size and made of wood. He will then fix a staff, passing through the middle of the earth-globe and protruding on the either side of the Meru, two sustaining orbits (kakshādvaya) and the equinoctical orbit (viṣuva kakshā). [Translation by Danavir Goswami]

(the Ācārya will) Prepare the wonder-working fabric of the terrestrial and stellar sphere (bhūbhagola). Having fashioned an earth-globe of wood, of the desired size, fix a staff, passing through the midst of it and protruding at either side, for Meru; and likewise a couple of sustaining hoops (kakshā), and the equinoctial hoop. [Translation by Burgess]

This mathematical model describes how conditioned humans actually observe and measure both the celestial sphere and the plane of the earth. However, both texts also begin with the standard flat description of Jambudvipa and the flat-bow of Bhārata-varṣa.

Therefore, according to sankhya terminology, humans experience with their senses a flat earth beneath their feet, and see a dome of stars in the sky. But in their minds, they remember they have flown around the earth according to spherical flight-times, and trust a Vaisnava calendar based on their temple’s local latitude and longitude. I would suggest, using the logic of Sadaputa and Rsiraja prabhus, that perception of the Earth and of the Bhagavatam, are subject to the consciousness or adhikar of the viewer. To the conditioned senses the Earth is flat, but to the conditioned mind it is global.

Jyotisha mathematics converting the flat plane of Bharata into an imaginary globe for the function of creating horoscopes and calendars. Any point on Earth can become the center of a plane underneath the apparent dome of the sky.

Because modern society runs on the globe model GPS, and astronomers and navigators use this model, it is accepted by the masses. However NASA and other agencies create propaganda to extract funds from the masses, by the moon-landings, by photoshopping images from high-altitude cameras, by green-screen shots of the ISS astronauts. The popularising of the globe in schools and in Hollywood creates no motivation to test the curvature of the Earth by the common people.

I have full faith the Bhagavatam and the Puranas describe the actual reality of the universe according to the vision of the Gods and Mahajanas, like Bhagavan, Shiva, Vayu, Surya, Sukadeva, Narada-Rsi and Lord Brahma. However, for the conditioned souls in Karma-Bhumi, or Earth, the Lord has revealed the Jyotish Shastras for the purpose of Astronomy, Astrology, horoscopes, ayurvedic healing, calendars, and even navigation by the stars. This is how ordinary humans perceive the universe. This line of thought is held by Vedic Astronomer Yajñeśvara Śarmā in his work called Virodhamadana. This is exactly how he reconciles the contradictory Puranic vs Jyotish models of the Earth. Link below.

Similarly, one can take the theoretical mathematical idea of Sadaputa Prabhu and declare that Śrīla Prabhupada’s analogy “just like the animal he is bound up” situation of the Bhārata-varṣa jivas, who are trapped within the lotus petal of Bhārata-varṣa:  “that bull. His eyes are closed …. within their own limited sphere they can go this way or that way …. if you are in the midst of the petal, you cannot understand it is a petal”  (3 July 1977).

The Lotus Earth. Just as the entire universe is an expanded material lotus fractal-reiteration of the lotus of Goloka, so also Bhumandala, Jambudvipa, Bharata-varsa and even Bharata-khanda (India) have their own lotus forms. The conditioned jiva is trapped within the closed lotus of Karma-Bhumi-Earth, just as a bee is trapped within a closed lotus flower at night-time, or just as an ox is tied to a pole within the threshing mill with blinkers on, he thinks he is travelling in a straight line.
The Lotus of Bharata-India (2) containing nine khandas, as described by Varaha-mihira in his Brihat-Samhita, and (1) the distance between the Char-Dhams encompassing India popularised by Sri Shankaracarya. (Maps by Cunningham 1979)

Geometry states that If we take a bull and tie him to a stake in 2D space, he goes in a limited circle. If that bull is tied up in a 3D space, he goes in a “limited sphere”, if that bull is tied up in 4D space, he travels in a limited hypersphere. This is the fourth-dimension of Sadaputa’s 5th Canto mathematics. If a jiva travels in a straight line within a hypershpere, he will eventually return to where he began. This is the condition we observe on Earth. If we fly or sail in a straight line, we finally return to our point of origin. This is the lotus petal of Bhārata-varṣa / Earth that is described so many times in the Puranas as “Achintya”

“Achintya” in the Puranas. To help illustrate my essential concept that Earth is inconceivably both flat and curved, I will conclude this answer with support from shastra that what we, humans of Karma-ksetra, only partially see our world as the flat realm of Bhārata, but will also see it as the Jyotish sphere known to the ancients.

 I have collected several slokas from the Puranas where the listeners are warned that the measurement of the conditioned humans will never be logical, in regard to the size of the universe, the size of the Earth, and the distance between celestial objects. The Gods and Sages state that measurements of Puranic cosmography will be inconceivable or become guesswork by the mundane mind.

Below in alphabetical order, important phrases are highlighted in bold text:

Agni Purana Chapter 120 – The Extent of The Universe 

O Sage ! One does not have any knowledge about the limit of that infinite. That nature has been the source of everything else. (15)

Bhāgavata Purāa 5.16 – A Description of Jambūdvīpa 

The great ṛṣi Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, there is no limit to the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. This material world is a transformation of the material qualities, yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly, even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahmā. No one in the material world is perfect, and an imperfect person could not describe this material universe accurately, even after continued speculation. O King, I shall nevertheless try to explain to you the principal regions, such as Bhūloka, with their names, forms, measurements and various symptoms. (5.16.4)

Brahmanda PurāChapter 15 – The Length and Extent of the Earth 

Sūta said : Oh! I shall recount to you the length and extent of the earth, the number of the oceans and the number and extent of the islands. There are thousands of different islands that are included in the seven continents. They cannot be recounted in due order, because this world is studded and constantly (surrounded by them). I shall recount the seven continents along with the moon, the sun and the planets. (4-6) Men mention their magnitudes by means of guess alone. One cannot arrive by means of guess alone, at those things which cannot be even pondered upon. That which is beyond nature is called Acintya (inconceivable). (7-8a)

Brahmavaivarta PurāChapter 7 – Creation of the Earth, Mountains and Oceans. 

Though Īśvara is unable to count them, still it is quite difficult for them to manage the daily routine of the universe, including the sky and directions. O best of the Brāhmanas, all the things which exist in the artificial world, they are all perishable and are all like the dreams. Goloka, which is located beyond Śivaloka and Viṣṇuloka, is the eternal place. Like the soul, the sky and directions, these are eternal and are beyond the artificial globe. (18-20)

Liga PurāChapter 61 – The Situation of the Planets 

Thus the specific and fixed establishment of the luminaries and planets has been evolved by the great lord for the working of the world. (58) It has been made to function intelligently by the lord at the beginning of the kalpa. The lord is the support of all luminaries and he identifies himself with them. This is a wonderful phenomenon that is caused by the unique Pradhāna and is incomprehensible. The movement of the luminaries can­not be understood by the man with his physical eye. It can be understood by the learned man only through Vedic treatises, by inference and direct perception, by cogent arrangements and careful analysis in his mind. (59-63) O excellent sages, the causes for the decision in regard to the validity concerning the luminaries are five viz : – the eye, scripture, water, the written document and calculation. (64)

Matsya Purana Chapter 125 – Description of the movement of the sun and his chariot 

Thus listening to the story of the movement of the sun and the moon, besides the planets, Saunaka and other rsis spoke to Suta, the son of Lomaharsana. (1) The Rsis asked- “O Suta- the best of the orators, how do the planets and the constellations move about in the solar system? Do they move about collectively or separately? Does anyone make them move, or they move of their own. We are anxious to learn about this secret. You therefore please speak out the same? (2-3) Suta said – O Sages, this is the subject which confuses the people, because in spite of its being visible, it still confuses the people. (4)

Padma PurāCanto 3, Chapter 3 – Various Mountains and Regions of the Earth. 

Wherever the creatures consisting of the five elements are seen running about, men speak about their measures with (the help of their) reason. One should not, however, (seek to) understand matters that are inconceivable by reason. O best sages, (now) I shall describe to you the island of (i.e. called) Sudarśana. O illustrious ones, this island is circular – has the form of a wheel. It is covered with river waters, and with mountains resembling oceans, also with cities of various sizes and delightful countries; it is full of trees endowed with flowers and fruits; is having grains and (other) wealth. It is surrounded on all sides by the salt ocean. As a man would see his own face in a mirror, in the same way the circular Sudarśana island can be seen (in the Moon). Two of its parts (appear) like a pippala tree and two like a large hare. On all its sides it is surrounded by all (kinds of) herbs. Other than this (portion) all else should be known to be water. I shall describe the rest in brief. (11-17)

Varāha PurāChapter Seventy-five – Jambūdvīpa and Meru 

Rudra said: I shall now tell you in detail about the Jambūdvīpa and the number of oceans and islands in it. Also the number of regions in it, the different rivers etc, and again their extent and the movements of the sun and the moon. It is not easy to describe thousands of islands within the seven major ones by which the whole universe is filled. I shall say about the seven islands and also about the sun and moon, about which people propound logical authority. But it is not possible for logic to accomplish what is unthinkable. And what is beyond nature is really unthinkable. I shall, therefore, describe Jambūdvipa as it is and the dimensions of its different regions. (1-6)

Vayu Purana Chapter 34 / Chapter 53 

There are thousands of small islands which are included in the seven islands. They cannot be described even in a hundred years. I will narrate to you only the seven islands, Sürya and Candra. Man tries to know them through logic, but logic should not be applied to know a thing which is beyond our grasp. That which is eternal and superior to Prakriti cannot be subjected to logic. Here, logic does not work. 34.6-8

This was created by God at the start of the kalpa and all the details were taught by him with great care. This mighty planetary system is a category of Prakriti, it’s support and supervising deities included. It is not possible to count the number of these categories by anyone. The movements of these luminaries cannot be seen and understood by the naked eye. We should follow the scriptures, our perceptions and our inferences and believe with devotion in what has been stated in the scriptures. Dear intellectuals, the eye, the scriptures, the water, the pictures (diagrams) and mathematics – these five are the means of knowing anything about the celestial system. 53.120-123.

The limited vision of the same truth. Six blind men are asked to describe the elephant they are feeling. Each give a description of the part without understanding the whole. In the same way there are many contradictory descriptions of the Earth.

The description of the Earth, and of heavenly island of Jambudvipa, and of the heavenly Mount Meru will never be understood by the logic and mathematics of ordinary conditioned souls. Even the great sages and sons of Lord Brahma himself, could not agree on the shape of Mt. Meru from each of their perspectives: Vayu Purana Chapter 34, 61-64:

“I will narrate to you what I described as the pericarp earlier. Listen to it attentively. Atri thought that Meru had a hundred edges. The sage Bhrgu thought it had a thousand edges. Sāvarni thought it had eight edges. Bhāguri thought it had four. Vārsāyani thought it was an ocean. Gālava thought it was a bowl. Gārgya thought it was like a tuft of hair raised above. Krostaki thought it was circular. Every sage thought of it as having the same form as it appeared to have, viewing from his side, and no sage could view the Meru in full. Only Brahma knows it in full.”

The Achintya (Inconceivable) Earth

Question 2. If Bharata-varsa / Earth is flat, how do you explain day and night?

Whether we begin by studying the description of the Bhārata-varṣa Earth from reading the Puranas, or by studying the Vedic Astronomy of the Jyotisa literature, or by analytical survey of our plane(t) using telescopes, navigating by the stars, high altitude balloons or plotting the path of aircraft, we will eventually run into inexplicable data.

Let us begin with the example of how day and night occurs according to the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, text 5.21.9:

“People living in countries at points diametrically opposite to where the sun is first seen rising will see the sun setting, and if a straight line were drawn from a point where the sun is at midday, the people in countries at the opposite end of the line would be experiencing midnight. Similarly, if people residing where the sun is setting were to go to countries diametrically opposite, they would not see the sun in the same condition.”

This statement is almost identical to that written in the Vāyu Purana, text 50.97-101:

“When it is the forenoon of the people of the southern and western countries, it is the late night to the people who live in Uttarapatha i.e. the northern region. It is early in the night for the territories that are in the north and east. Same is the situation when the sun shines in the abodes of the north, during the northern transit. When the sun is in the midday in Sukha, the city of Varuna (the western quarter), it rises in Vibhāvarī, the city of Soma. When the sun sets in the city of Yama, it is midnight in Amarāvatī. Then the sun is in midday in Vibha, the city of Soma. In the Amarāvatī of Mahendra, when the sun gets aloft, it is midnight in Saṁyamana and the sun sets in the city of Varuna.”

Similar statements are found in the Jyotisa (astronomical text) of the Surya-Siddhanta 12.38-40 and 12.70-71:

38-40 “Around the middle of the Meru in the directions of the east etc., and at equal distances in the ocean are the four cities made by Gods in the different varṣas. To the east of Meru at a fourth part of the Earth’s circumference in the Bhadrāśva-varṣa is the city called Yamakoti having golden ramparts and arched gateways. So to the south in the Bhārata-varṣa there is the great city called Laṅkā, to the west in the Ketumāla-varṣa there is the city called Romaka. To the north in the Kuru-varṣa there is the city called Siddhapuri. There perfected great souls live free from all agonies.

70-71 When the sun passes overhead at the Bhadrāśva-varṣa at the same time the sun is rising in the Bhārata-varṣa, in Ketumāla-varṣa we have midnight and in Kuru-varṣa, we have the sunset. Likewise, by virtue of the sun’s revolution, we have in Bhārata and other varṣas noon, sunrise, midnight and sunset.”

The flat circular plane of Jambudvipa, surrounded by salt ocean, in the center of the gigantic plane of Bhu-mandala (not shown here). As described in both Puranas and the Surya-siddhanta, the sun orbits this central island at a horizontal distance of approx. 93 million miles, illuminating one side, then the other, by its circular motion, creating day and night for the inhabitants of the varṣas and four cardinal cities.

Now let’s see if this makes sense. When the Sun is traveling millions of miles to the south of Jambudvipa, and only about 800,000 miles high, Earth’s city of Laṅkā in Bhārata-varṣa experiences noon. At that time the beings in Siddhapuri in Kuru-varṣa, directly opposite, experience midnight, while Yamakoti in the east experiences sunset, and Romaka in the west experiences sunrise. This is shown in the diagram above.

Now the first problem we find is this: at noon we see the sun directly overhead here in Laṅkā, Bhārata-varṣa, Earth, when it should be far to the south in the sky. This also means that all of Bhārata-varṣa should be illuminated by the sun, the whole Earth included! When is there ever daylight all over the Earth? This just doesn’t make sense, and in the Puranic texts, the word ‘achintya’ or ‘inconceivable’ has been used to describe these two conundrums.

Next, what happens twelve hours later, when the Sun’s orbit is millions of miles north of Meru and north of Siddhapuri? (opposite of the illustration above). Siddhapuri in Kuru experiences noon, but this should mean that every single part of Bharata-varsa/Earth is in complete darkness of night, since the sun is now setting in Romaka in Ketumāla-varṣa, while the sun is just rising in Yamakoti, Bhadrāśva-varṣa. Since when is there no sunlight anywhere on Earth at the same time? This also makes no sense, “achintya”.

Therefore the simple explanation given in the Bhagavatam, nor the Vayu Purana, nor initially in the Surya-siddhanta explains what we, the conditioned souls, observe every day and night on Earth.

Because of this, the special Vedanga of Jyotish has been revealed by the Lord to explain what jivas experience from within the confines of Karma-ksetra, Karma-Bhumi, and also what karmas can be predicted for any jiva who takes birth, considering their exact time of birth, and the exact longitude and latitude of birth on the jyotish (imaginary) Earth sphere.

Illustration by Sadaputa Dasa from his 1980 book Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy, showing the similarity of spherical and planar models of Earth and Jambudvipa

In his attempt to explain day and night, on both the Earth and the Puranic Jambudvipa, R.L. Thompson (Sadaputa Das) created the image above, and theorized that four inter-related models of the Earth and the Vedic Cosmos were encoded within the descriptions found in the Bhagavata Purana image below).

The Bhagavatam uses Bhu-mandala to represent at least four reasonable and consistent models: (1) a topographical map of south-central Asia, (2) a polar- projection map of the Earth globe, (3) a map of the solar system, and (4) a map of the celestial realm of the demigods.

Now let us study the logic of the description given in the 5th Canto of the Bhagavatam. Looking at the image below, it makes no sense at all that the sun, millions of miles horizontally away from the earth (Bharata-varsa) and only 100,000 yojanas (800,000 miles) above sea-level, could appear directly overhead anywhere on Earth especially within the tropics. This description in the Bhagavatam does not match our human sense perception at all!

This image tries to represent the extremely small ratio of the sun’s height compared to the enormous horizontal distance to Meru and Earth at the center of Bhu-mandala. The ratio is 1:1200, the height of Meru and the Sun cannot be ascertained in this diagram it is so disproportionate

The Surya-siddhanta, accepted as being an ancient Sanskrit text much older than the Greeks or Babylonians, makes very interesting calculations by taking this model of Jambudvipa, and its four cardinal cities (one on Earth, and the other three in heavenly varshas) and transposing them on the equator of our mathematical Earth globe. Though this makes no sense at all, try to follow the process as it is described in the text:

Surya-siddhanta, Chapter 12, Slokas 52-53

Similarly, those who are located on the same line (samasṇtrastha) regard each other as being (situated) below. As for example, the inhabitants of Bhādrāśwa or Ketumāla or those of Laṅkā and the inhabitants of the perfected place are located on the same line. As the shape of the earth is spherical (vartula), people in each place think themselves to be uppermost. But as the globe of earth is situated in ether, what then is its upper and lower side?

In the one chapter, the flat description of Jambudvipa’s four cardinal varshas somehow becomes the description of a globe with these varshas on the equator. No wonder this process is beyond mundane logic!

Here we have the standard model of Jambudvipa in the center of Bhu-mandala, surrounded by the salt ocean. On the shore, in the cardinal directions, are placed the four cities of the gods, Siddhapuri, Yamakoti, Lanka and Romaka. We are then told to place these non-Earth cities on the equator of our Earth ‘globe’ each at 90 degrees to each other, beginning with Lanka, which represents Earth’s latitude and longitude of 0° North & 75.7885° East. This process is ‘achintya’ it has no logic!

The Surya-siddhanta tells us to transpose that Jambudvipa, with Meru in the center, onto the northern hemisphere of a mathematical sphere. The North Pole now represents Meru, the Axis Mundi, and the equator represents the circular edge of Jambudvipa, and lying on it is Ravana’s Lanka, directly south of Meru/North Pole on the Vedic Meridian of Longitude passing through the eternal Saptapuri of Ujjain the Vedic Astronomy Prime meridian.

Now Siddhapuri (supposedly the north-most city of Jambudvipa in Uttarakuru) lies bang in the Pacific Ocean almost directly south of Roswell, New Mexico. Sadaputa explained it like this in his first Vedic Astronomy book. Refer to the diagram above or the ‘Mapping of the Longitude and Latitude of Bharata-varsa’ illustration below. Does any of this make sense? No, it is inconceivable, “Achintya” but this sphere mathematics used by modern astronomy and the Surya-siddhanta actually explains what we see in the sky.

This map above tries to illustrate the synthesis of Purāṇic and Jyotiśa descriptions of the Earth. The yojana has different magnitudes according to the perspective of the research. In the Sūrya-siddhānta, there are several magnitudes of measurement, including the Solar, Sidereal and Civic (14.1-2).

If one is creating a horoscope, then the bow-shaped Bhārata becomes a mathematical sphere “1,600 yojanas in diameter” (eg: NP.54.81) placed in the center of the celestial sphere. From the perspective of geography, the Puranas give the distance from the Arctic to the Antarctic to be 9,000 yojanas, and the length of India to be one-ninth of that “one thousand yojanas from Kanyakumari to Gangotri” (eg: VāP.42.80). If one is comparing the size of Meru to the Himavan Mountain Barrier of 80,000y, then the southern salt ocean bow containing Earth’s continents is an average of 36,000 yojanas wide because “Jambūdvīpa is as circular as the solar disc” and the boundary mountains “enter the sea”.

Above is detail from a cosmology illustration of Bhārata-varṣa, bearing its global characteristics, by Thiruvenkata Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami (1806-1877).

The Achintya nature of Mother Bhumi is that She is Transcendental Narayani, Mystic Mayadevi, Mother Cow, the vast flat plane of Earth beneath our feet, a mathematical sphere upon the axis of the universe, a hyper-dimensional lotus-petal, and a prison with walls made of karma!

We must try to remember that Bhārata-varṣa is our living breathing mother and keeper, not just a mechanical model to be understood by yojanas!

updated 23rd October 2020

continued …….. updated 1/11/2021

Question 3: “Puranic Geography – where does our Earth reside according to ancient Hindu (Vedic) Cosmology? How can Earth be both a sphere and flat?”

Answer 1: By studying my articles “Puranic Geography of Bhārata-vara” I & II, you would have read that the great Srimad Bhagavatam clearly states in some slokas that “Bhārata-vvara is the whole Earth Planet”, and yet, in some other slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam it is clearly stated that “Bhārata-vara is the Indian sub-continent (sometimes called “Punya-Bhumi)”. How to resolve this issue? …. I understand that the pious region of Bhārata-vara/Bhārata-khanda (India) is the ‘Capital Territory’ of the entire bow-shaped track of land called ‘Bhārata-vara’ which represents our entire Earth Plane(t). In many Puranas the words Bhārata-varsa and Bhārata-khanda are inter-changeable.

Answer 2. Earth is flat and immobile according to ordinary human senses, it is only when the shape of the Earth is contemplated by the MIND, and after mathematical equations ‘prove’ that the Earth is a sphere, that mankind thinks of Earth as a sphere. Thus, simultaneously and inconceivably, Earth is FLAT to the human senses and SPHERICAL to the human mind. Srila Prabhupada, our Grand-Guru, has stated Earth is both “flat and round”, and it appears that the Siddhas & Gods view Earth/Bharata as a plain, while the trapped conditioned souls within Bharata-varsa, and especially trapped within Kali-yuga, only see Earth as a sphere.

If we consider the Puranic model that Jambudvipa and Earth are lotus flowers, lotus petals, and lotus leaves, then, we have the experience that the lotus will open during the sunshine, and close into a teardrop-sphere-shape at night. Kali-yuga is the “night” of spiritual realization, so it is fitting that Earthlings feel trapped when they travel and sail all over Bharata-varsa/Earth and experience the illusion that Earth is a sphere. This illusion has been created by the Lord, and as such, He also delivers the Jyotish Scriptures to mankind, so that he can accurately determine auspicious times to fast and also for initiations, weddings, travel, and for inauspicious eclipses. Even though the Puranic Earth is flat, the mathematics to calculate astronomy and astrology is actually spherical, using converging lines of longitude, and decreasing Earth circumferences for the equator, the north & south Tropic circles, and the Varsa-bordering Arctic and Antarctic circles for the apparent ‘Sphere’ Earth.

That Earth is both simultaneously, according to perception, flat and spherical is most definitely inconceivable, and thus, before each Puranic Chapter on Earth’s measurements, we are told by Srila Vyasadeva, every time in each Purana, that these measures DO NOT FOLLOW HUMAN LOGIC!

Copyright © 2019-2020 Steve M. Doyle (Soolaba)

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