Our Home in the Universe, According to the Puranas

I ran into this article while searching for sankalpam for USA devotees. At times, even basic picture gives us a better understanding. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the details here….

Although a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes an illustration requires clarification. The drawing above represents my graphic understanding of the Shrimad Bhagavatam’s concept of the Bhu-Mandala, upon which we reside.

Mount Sumeru: In the middle we see Mount Sumeru. This great mountain is wider at the top, yet it is also flat. Mount Sumeru stands as the center (or stigma, a flower’s reproductive organ) of the lotus that is Bhu-Mandala. Further, the petals of the lotus can be seen dividing the different regions into the seven islands of Bhu-Mandala. Mount Sumeru is surrounded by other mountains that have very sharp peaks. As the Bhagavatam explains:

“There are other mountains beautifully arranged around the foot of Mount Meru like the filaments around the whorl of a lotus flower. Their names are Kuranga, Kurara, Kusumbha, Vaikanka, Trikuta, Shishira, Patanga, Ruchaka, Nishadha, Sinivasa, Kapila, Shankha, Vaidurya, Jarudhi, Hamsa, Rishabha, Naga, Kalanjara and Narada.” (5.16.26)

The flat peak of Mount Sumeru is the sitting place of Lord Brahma, the creator of this Universe. Nearby are also the sitting places for each one of the dig-palas or deities of the eight directions, namely:

Indra (east)
Varuna (west)
Kuber (north)
Yamaraja (south)
Ishana (northeast)
Agni (southeast)
Alakshmi (southwest)
Vayu (northwest)

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