Invisible, inaccessible Hell, abode of Terminator Yama

Invisible, inaccessible Hell, abode of Terminator Yama

South Side of ‘Ancient Indian Geography’ as depicted by Maharshi Valmiki

Maharshi Valmiki in his ‘Sanskrit Ramayana’ and Vasudasa Swamy in his verse-by-verse Telugu transcreation, ‘Andhra Valmiki Ramayana,’ in the ‘Kishkindha Kanda’ recorded natural features in the Southern side of Universe, which for all practical purposes was the very well scripted ‘Ancient Indian Geography’ more or less sort of modern Google Maps. Monkey King Sugreeva enlightening Angada, Hanuman, and team of Vanaras, before they leave in search of Sita abducted by Demon Ravana, gave a vivid picture and precise account of different spots in the southern side of Jambu Dwipa up to Southern MostPart of travelable regions. Beyond this, there will be the abode of Yama Dharma Raj, God of Termination, the impassable Hell.

Sequentially these locations may concisely be mentioned as the Thousand Crested Vindhya Mountains, River Narmada coursing little southerly to that range, along with River Godavari, River Krishnaveni, Maha Nadi, River Varada, territories of Mekhala, Utkala, cities of Dasharna, kingdoms of Abravanti, Avanti, Vidarbha, Mahishaka, Vanga, Kalinga, Kaushika territories etc. Mountain Vindhya in fact refers to the branches of whole of Eastern and Western Ghats Range. Similarly, Himalayas were referred to, beginning with Kashmir Western Edge, to Bhutan Eastern Edge. So also is the Hindu Kush. This means that Vindhya was not simply the mountain in the River Narmada Region, but beyond.

Maha Nadi may be the earlier Utkala or Kalinga kingdom (Odisha). Mekhala or the Yamara Kantaka is the mountain from where the River Narmada emerges. River Varada is now called Wardha in Maharashtra. Avanti kingdom is a gateway to Arabian horses and the present-day Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. The Vanga is the present-day Bengal which retained its epical name, but while pronouncing it becomes Banga because the Sanskrit grammar allows to pronounce likewise. Kaushika is also read as Kashika. Kalinga is Odisha which touches Bengal at its north, and it is the Kie-ling-kia as said by Huet Tsang.

Later, appear the places, Dandaka Forest, and its Mountains all over, Rivers, Caves, River Godavari passing through Dandaka, Provinces of Andhra, Pundra, Chola, Pandya, Kerala etc. Andhra is the present-day Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Chola is the Northern Area of present Tamil Nadu, Pundra is somewhere in between Andhra and Chola. Pandya is Southern-Most area, the Kanyakumari or Kanniyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu, and Kerala is the present Kerala state from Gokarna to Kanyakumari.

Then the iron-ore mines as its vast mouth, Mount Malaya, with amazing crests, motley flowered forests, and bushes of Sandalwood Trees will be seen. This Mountain is also called Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, which is a unique site located in the Western Ghats in the Southern part of India from which River Thamirabarani (or Tamraparni or Porunai) emerges. Thereafter, comes divine River Kaaveri, the best river in southern peninsula of India that flows from Braham Giri Mountains in Coorg of Western India to the East, draining in Bay of Bengal to where apsaras make pleasure-trips. On top of the splendid Mount Malaya, Sage Agastya sits on the top and none can cross River Tamraparni full of crocodiles, without his consent. One legend is that Agastya led the course of this River to the ocean for twenty-seven days from its source.

Down South of the River Tamraparni is Sinhala Desha or the present-day Sri Lanka. From there, while proceeding to the Pandya Kingdome, a fully golden castle-door bracing the compound-wall of the fortress, which is decorated with pearls and jewels, will appear. Then on reaching the Southern Ocean, proceeding further a little, one can reach the glorious Mount Mahendra. Agastya once confined this Mount’s one end in the Ocean, and the other end is only now visible. This Mountain will be completely golden with marvelous terraces and trees, and it will be steeping into ocean on the other side of land, and this mountain becomes the jumping-off point over the see into Lanka. (Mahendragiri is the mountain from which Hanuma leaps to Lanka)

Mount Mahendra is glorified with numerous kinds of flowered trees and mountaineers. Important gods, sages, yakshas and even apsaras will adore it, and it is overspread with the groups of siddhas and Charanas, and thus it will be heart-stealing for a look. And the Thousand-eyed Indra will always be visiting this Mount Mahendra on every auspicious day. There is a dazzling island on the other side of the shore of Mount Mahendra, which is breadthwise a Hundred Yojanas, and which is a closed one for humans. This island on the other shore of the ocean is Ravana's Lanka, and it is believed to be the present-day, Sri Lanka. A Female Demon Anagarika also termed as Simhika whom Hanuma tears apart in Sundara Kanda will be there in the midst of southern ocean who eats prey by grabbing its shadow when flying overhead.

After hundred yojanas and on crossing over that island, Pushpitaka Mountain, shining forth with a glory similar to sunrays on one side and with that of moonshine on the other, is found in the Ocean, which is adored by the celestials like Siddhas and Charanas. Its lofty crests will look as if they are scribbling on the sky. One of its summit will be golden which the Sun adores, and the other will be silvery whitish which the Moon adores, and that mountain is unperceivable to the unfaithful ones, or to the unkindly ones or to unbelievers. This phenomena of ‘Tropic of Capricorn’ one of the five major circles of latitude marked on maps of Earth,contains the subsolar point and the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead.

Then on going across that Sacrosanct Mountain and taking a highly treacherous route,after fourteen Yojanas from it, there is the Mountain Suryavantam. On crossing over it, there will be Mountain Vaidyuta whose trees will be all-time heart-pleasing and they yield fruits satisfying every one’s taste. Proceeding further Mountain Kunjara is there which will be pleasing both to eye and heart, on which Vishvakarma built a Mansion, the Golden Abode for Agastya, which will be decorated with numerous gemstones.

Then there is an unvanquishable city named Bhogavati, which is an Abode of Snakes. Deadly serpents with harrowing teeth and fatal venom will be protecting it, in which Vasuki, the most powerful and hazardous king of serpents, will be living. On crossing over that there will be superb Rishabha Mountain which looks like a Holy Bull, and is full with every kind of gemstone. This Mountain is full of Sandalwood Trees of ochry-yellowy, lotus-leaf-greenly, and sky-blue colors. The legend was that Gandharvas known as Rohita will be protecting this woodland of trees. Five Gandharva kingswill be residing there. It is also the dwelling place of those with unusual delicacy or refinement by their pious activities, of whom some resemble the Sun, some Moon, and some Fire by their physique.

From Mount Rishabha to the terminus of the earth the invincible beings who won heavens will be staying. After that, farther from earth, there is the most dreadful world of manes, namely the Abode of Yama, the Terminator, where none can go beyond this point. That world of manes will be encompassed with an alarming darkness, and it is the capital city of Yama, the Terminator. After that there is no entry into the abode of Yama for the mortals. This is the Indian Mythological Naraka, 'The Hell', and there are various sections in this Hell for various sins committed while alive or on rebirth, of course if one believes!

(Courtesy: Vasudasa Swamy ‘Andhra Valmiki Ramayana’

and Sri Desiraju Hanumanta Rao English Valmiki Version)

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