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Upakarma, rites, rituals etc.

From: Pradeep (pradeepjanakiraman_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Aug 01 2001 - 23:25:47 PDT

> If we go back even further in time when the label
> "bharatha kandam" might have been coined for
> these "rituals" South India might just be on
> the periphery of the classical "bharatha kande".

okay. I actually went to the Saranagathi Journal and read the 
chapters that mentioned about Space (earth and other regions) and Time

I also happen to have the translation from Sanskrit-English word-word 
of Srimad-Bhagavatham along with the "Moolam". I mean to say this 
translation is not like a summary of a chapter or summary of a 
Skandha where one gives his/her own bhaashyam and a meaning. It is a 
word-word, sentence-sentence translation. 

So to go to the exact place where this debatable topic lies...it 
figures in "Skandha-V" Chapters 15-20 more specifically where Sri 
Suka explains to Raja Parikshit the plan of JambuDweepa and its 
various Varshas and describes various features, mountains, rivers, 
nature of people in each place, and how Narayana is worshipped. 

This figures exactly after "Jada-Bharatha" charithram and along with 
Priyavrata's line of descendants. 

There Suka mentions about the greatness of Bharatha-Varsha which he 
mentions as the area south of Himalayas and north of the ocean. Also 
to cover areas in south-india also he mentions that there are rivers 
like Kaveri, Godavari and Tamaraparani. I suppose these cover the 
major south-states of T.N, Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka. 

He goes to say that Bharatha-Varsha is the "Tapo-bhoomi" and even the 
celestials long for a birth in this place. He says that the Devas 
feel jealous of the inhabitants of this place because it is only in 
this place that one hears incessantly the glories of the Supreme Lord 
Narayana and where there are so many temples visited and sung and 
praised by the saints of the highest order and where Narayana's feet 
have walked. 

The rest of the varshas he mentions as "Bhoga-Bhoomis" unequivocally. 
Nonetheless there the people also might perform rites and rituals as 
they wish. There people are supposed to enjoy a lot of worldly-bliss 
etc. There is detailed description of all the enjoyments also. 

Now, of the 18 puranas the Bhagavatham is considered to be part of 
the 6-Satvic puranas and among them the most authentic and the 
greatest. Sri Krishna himself has said that he is the Bhagavatham 
itself to Uddhava and Vidura before the end of his avatar. ("Srimad 
Bhagavatham Swayam Harir-evah")

So there's no doubt about its authenticity. And I have also heard 
from many a pravachanam and discourses that just like in a house 
where there's a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom for different 
purposes..."Bharatha-Varsha" is the "kitchen" of the world where one 
can prepare the food. This is an analogy only to say that it is for 
spiritual and ritual practices. The other areas are for other 
purposes. 

Infact there's now a lot of debate about Jesus' visit to India during 
his missing 16-17 years and he meeting the great saints of Himalayas 
and other religious areas of Bharatha-Varsha. 

While adding to the glory of "Bharatha-Varsha" Suka goes on to say 
how one attains the equal merit of a Ashwamedha yaga and the Rajasuya 
Yaga by taking each step along the "alakananda" and how one is 
purified of all sins by taking bath in the Ganges. 

Suka also says that "only" for the inhabitants of "Bharatha-Varsha" 
there are options open. To rise up to the levels of celestials and 
other worlds or to degrade to the level of Nether worlds or to attain 
moksha. The residents of the other places "dont" have these options 
as they are only reaping the benefits of their karmas. 

I dont have a copy of the Bhagavatham with me as I am typing 
this ...or else I could give the exact number of these verses for 
reference. 

Later many a saint has sung the glory of Brindavanam. One is supposed 
to attain to Moksham if one lives in Brindavanam for a long-time, if 
one dies in Kashi etc. etc. Which other country or varsha's mahimai 
has been mentioned in any purana or any sastra in such detail ? 

Whatever may be God's decision...it is his nirnayam that "bharatha-
varsha" is the undoubted punya-bhoomi and the karma-bhoomi. 

Any other interpretation of the fact is only upto the invidual's own 
discretion and Bhavam. 

-- Pradeep 



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