Imperceptible Gateway from Earth to Heaven

Imperceptible Gateway from Earth to Heaven

Eastern Side of �??Ancient Indian Geography�?? depicted by Maharshi Valmiki

The first ever recorded chronicle of lands, oceans, islands, inhabitants etc., in the universe, is in the �??Kishkindha Kanda�?? of Maharshi Valmiki�??s Sanskrit Ramayana and its Telugu version, Vasudasa Swamy�??s Andhra Valmiki Ramayana. This spectacular �??Ancient Indian Geography�?? was nothing short of the so-called Google Maps. The context was, when monkey chiefs with Vanaras went around the earth, East, South, North-West and North sides, at the behest of King Sugreeva in search of Sita abducted by Ravana, Sugreeva enlightened them about the topography with minute details. Vinata went to East, Angada and Hanuman to South, Sushena to West, and Shatabali to North.

The East Side referred to was the East of �??Jambu Dwipa,�?? the Indian subcontinent inclusive of South-East Asia, encompassing Mount Mandara, Adi Shesha, Mount Sunrise, Eastern Compass, Gateway to Heaven etc. The meridian of Saraswati Triveni, confluence of Rivers Ila, Bharati and Saraswati, is still the Prime Meridian for the Indian astronomers. The first observatory Ujjain, the place where an Ancient River �??Saravati�?? flowed circuitously in Central India, is on this Meridian. Saravati pronounced as �??Sharavati�?? could also be a river that originates and flows within Karnataka State.

Places sequentially indicated on the East Side were: Riversides of Bhagirathi or Ganga, Sarayu, Kaushiki (Coosi), Yamuna, Mount Kalinda, Rivers Saraswati, Sindhu, Shona (Shon), Kaala Mahi etc. River �??Saraswati,�?? the �??Creative Center of Man�??, that once coursed during Vedic Period either disappeared or may be coursing underground. It is believed that this perennial river was flowing from Himalayas through Punjab, Haryana, Western Rajasthan, and through the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, and if this could be traced, it will be an abundant source of underground water. River Sindhu and westerly Indus River also may be different. It is believed as another easterly River called Indusa. Then come kingdoms Brahma Maala, Videha (Mithila, the birth place of Sita, now known as Tirhoot), Malva, Kaashi, Kosala, Magadha (Bihar), Pundra, Anga, and Koshakaara.

Then come peak of Mount Mandara, which harbored extensive unsightly and odd physical featured beings, �??Unkillable, Mighty Man-Eater Tribals,�?? some of whom appear as horrific half-man half-tiger like mermaids. Going beyond by mountaineering or hopping or boating, one will come across the splendorous Yava (Jawa) Island with seven kingdoms. These could be the group of islands, Jawa, Sumatra, Bali, Indonesia etc., referred to as Indian �??Chief Archipelago.�?? In and around Yava islands, there are Golden and Silver islands with gold-mines. Ganesha Stone Image has been found in many parts of Jawa and Bali. Mountain Shishira, which touches heaven with its peak, adored by Gods and Demons, is found on crossing over Yava Island.

Reddish Watered River Shona, in appearance as a Vast Ocean, with gulfs and bays studded with an infinity of islands, deep and speedy drift, adored by Siddhas and Charanas, is found on the other coast of ocean. On proceeding further, Plaksha Island, where vast rivers emerge from mountains, is seen. Then the Ikshu Island and the terribly furious, tempestuous, blaring, and tide-ripped Ikshu Samudra or Salt Ocean will appear. Colossal bodied demons with everlasting hunger inhibit that ocean, which demons always capture, prey by the shadow as endued by Brahma.

Moving ahead, the disastrous Lohita Ocean or Red Ocean (Madhu Samudra or Wine Ocean) is seen, where there is an island called Shalmali Dwipa or Shalmali Island. It is named so because of Shalmali tree that stands there. Mansion, constructed by Vishvakarma, the Heavenly Architect for Vinata's son, Garuda, the Eagle-Vehicle of Vishnu, which is decorated with numerous jewels, and shine like Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva is seen in that Island.

Horrifying and merciless Mandeha Demons, hanging upside down from mountain peaks are seen nearby there. Mandeha demons attack the rising Sun, who overcomes them with the help of the palmfuls of water, offered by worshippers and consecrated with the Gayatri Hymn. The Sun proceeding on his way will burn them down. Mande regain their lives and start repeating the same obstruction of Sun's path on next morning by hanging from the peaks of mountain.

Milky Ocean (Jaloda Sea) looks like a whitish cloud and a lustrous necklace with waves swaying is seen next. White mountain �??Rishabha,�?? of colossal size, surrounded by trees, the flowers of which have heavenly fragrance, is at its center. �??Lake Sudarshana�?? replete with silvery lotuses whose threads are golden in sparkle is also seen, where kingly swans are seen running about. The lake attracts Charanas, Yakshas, Kinnaras and hosts of Apsara females, coming to play in the waters.

On crossing this, the soft-water ocean frightening all beings, is seen. Nearby exists Horse Faced dreadfully bright fire, which originated from the anger of Sage Aurasa. Yelling sounds from oceanic beings dwelling undersea are audible there. This evidently refers to the Submarine Volcanic Fire, which often changed the characteristic of Indian Archipelago and the groups of islands lying in the Pacific. On the northerly area of the ocean there is an enormous, thirteen Yojanas long �??Mountain Jatarupashila,�?? also known as �??Golden Rock Mountain,�?? glittering like gold.

Then there is seen, the �??Adi Shesha, the Chesterfield of Lord Vishnu, Ananta,�?? the lotus-petal broad-eyed thousand-hooded Serpent God, sitting on top of that mountain holding the Universe on his hoods. It is the symbol of the sky or infinite space studded with the starry and planetary systems. The insignia or emblem of �??Ananta,�?? a Golden Pylon resembling palm tree with three branches on the peak of that mountain, radiating with golden podium appears there. This pylon of palm tree is constructed as the �??Easterly Compass�?? by Celestial Gods. Beyond this pylon, the divine �??Majestic Udaya Mountain or Mount Sunrise�?? that greatly glitters like gold will be seen. Beyond this, it is all west. Mount Sunrise, splendorous with attractively flowered and sun-like glittering trees, with its Peaks of Hundred Yojanas height touching heavens, is spectacular in look.

On top of Mount Sunrise, another pinnacle �??Saumanasa Peak�?? of one Yojana width and ten Yojanas height, also completely golden one, is seen. Saumanasa Peak is to the eastern border of India near the tropic of cancer. Thill is now known as 'Somara' in Manipur. It is believed that the God Almighty, Supreme Being, and the Trivikrama, or Lord Vishnu, made his first foothold on that pinnacle Saumanasa, and the second on the pinnacle of Mount Meru to tread the Heavens. The Sun is by far visible in Jambu Dwipa when he rises on Saumanasa, after he had circled the Jambu Dwipa in a northerly route. This is an interesting reference to the physical phenomena of the apparent motion of the sun, which sets in west (America) and reappears in East (Asia).

There the great two different groups of sages �??Vaikhanasas and Vaalakhilyaas�?? will come into view with a feel of brilliance, for those ascetics will be with the glory of the Sun. Then the �??Sudarshana Lake�?? and �??Sudarshana Island�?? will be seen, in the presence of which resplendence, the eyes of all living beings will become enlightened due to the illuminating entity of universe, the Sun, will be sojourning.

The eastern dawn sparks redly because the golden hue of Mount Sunrise overlaps the resplendence of the generous Sun. In the beginning, Brahma, the Creator, ordained this Mount Sunrise to be the �??Gateway for the Earth to Heaven,�?? and even as the rising place for the Sun; as such, this is verily called the 'Eastern Quarter of the Compass.�?? Beyond Mount Sunrise, the eastern quarter is blocked. It will be bordered with Gods since it is the Gateway to �??Heaven,�?? and everything is imperceptible, since it will be void of both Sun and Moon.

(Courtesy: Vasudasa Swamy�??s Andhra Valmiki Ramayana and Desiraju Hanumanta Rao�??s Valmiki Ramayana in English)

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