(1) The king [Parîkchit] said: 'You spoke [in 5.1: 31-33] about the sphere of the earth [Bhû-mandala] saying that it stretches as far as the heat of the sun reaches and as far as the moon and myriad of stars can be seen. (2) Because of Priyavrata's circumambulating in his chariot [in 5.1: 30-31] by the seven ditches [of the wheels] the oceans were created which separated the seven different dvîpas. This you all clearly described o great one. Concerning this subject of study I'd like to know everything about the sizes and characteristics in question. (3) With before our eyes the material qualities of the Supreme Lord who - despite of the fact that He Himself is free from the modes - assumed the gross form [of the universe], the mind is ready to focus on His more subtle form as the light of the soul [that stands for] the supreme spiritual entity. O dear teacher, be pleased to tell us how He, whom one knows as the Great Lord Vâsudeva, can be comprehended as something demonstrable [tat].'
(4) The rishi said: 'O great King, there are endless transformations of the material qualities [the gunas] of the Supreme Lord. Even though not even a person living as long as Brahmâ is capable of putting it into words or fully understand this, I nevertheless shall try to explain in terms of names, forms and proportions that what from the unmanifest has manifested [as Bhûloka, our terrestrial world]. (5) The width of this area all around the earth [our material 'island'], this space inside the whorl of the lotus flower [of the galaxy] unfolding in the night which is as round as a lotus leaf, measures a terrible number of yojanas [or light years as we say these days*]. (6) Therein nine subdivisions are found [one central area and eight peripheral 'areas separated by mountains'; so-called varshas] of nine times thousand yojanas neatly separated by eight boundaries of rock ['mountain-ranges', 'spiral arms' or giri]. (7) Among these there is one area in the center named Ilâvrita which is entirely golden and known as the most renown of all mountains, Mount Meru. This area stretches up as far as it is wide and it is of this lotus-like unfolded universe the pericarp that measures a thirty two thousand yojanas at its base. It stretches sixteen thousand yojanas upwards to its top as well as below [according to modern astronomy our galaxy is about seven thousand lightyears thick].
(8) North and further north of Ilâvrita [projected on the globe of the earth] there are one after the other stretching out the three ranges of Nîla, S'veta and S'ringavân, which each by one tenth are flatter in their marking the varshas of Ramyaka, Hiranmaya and Kuru. Stretching out for two thousand yojanas, they reach to the Kshâroda ocean in the east and west [the 'salty one']. (9) The same way there are to the south of Ilâvrita the Nishadha, Hemakûtha and Himâlaya ranges that stretch out with a body of thousands of yojanas to the east dividing a same number of varshas which are called Hari, Kimpurusha and Bhârata. (10) And likewise to the west of Ilâvrita as well as to the east are situated the two demarcations of the western Mâlyavân and eastern Gandhamâdana ranges which for two thousand yojanas stretch out to the mountains the Nîla and the Nishadha. They constitute the borders of the varshas called Ketumâla and Bhadrâs'va. (11) The mountains named Mandara, Merumandara, Supârs'va and Kumuda at four sides form a belt around Mount Meru which massively spreads out for countless yojanas. (12) On these four mountains standing like flagstaffs one finds, spread over as much as a thousand yojanas, four kinds of the very best of trees: the mango, the rose apple, the kadamba and the banyan. With their branches they cover hundreds of yojanas. (13-14) There are four lakes of the purest water, milk, honey and sugarcane juice, drinking from which the demigods [the Apsaras, Gandharvas, Câranas, Kinnaras etc.] have a natural command of the powers of yoga o best of the Bharata dynasty. There are also four gardens called Nandana, Caitraratha, Vaibhrâjaka and Sarvatobhadra. (15) The enchanted and enchanting wives of the powerful demigods, whose glories together with those of their partners are sung by the lesser gods, are there engaged in their pastimes. (16) On the slopes of the Mandara, at eleven-hundred yojanas from the top, from the mango tree named Devacûta the fruits fall down that sweet as nectar are as big as mountain peaks. (17) From the broken mangoes the reddish juice streams in large quantities that is very sweet and fragrant, being mixed as it is with other aromas. It flows down from the top of Mandara mountain in the east of Ilâvrita-varsha in a river called the Arunodâ. (18) The wind in contact with the limbs of Bhavânî [the wife of S'iva], her maid servants and the chaste wives of the Yakshas [S'iva's followers] using this water, fragrant therefrom can be smelled for ten yojanas around. (19) Similarly the juice of the elephant sized rose apple fruits that with their tiny seeds are broken to pieces because of falling to the ground at ten-thousand yojanas from the top of Merumandara, flows down in a river named the Jambû-nadî through the entire southern region of Ilâvrita. (20-21) The mud of both the banks that is completely saturated with that juice, delivers dried under the influence of the air and the sun continually [a kind of gold] named Jâmbû-nada. It is used by the denizens of heaven and provides the ever youthful wives of the demigods with all kinds of ornaments in the form of belts, diadems, bangles and so on. (22) But from the big kadamba standing on the slope of the mountain Supârs'va five streams of honey flow from its hollows tens of feet wide [five vyâmas of about five to six feet each] which from the top of that mountain flow down and penetrate the entire western region of Ilâvrita with their fragrance. (23) These flows sweetly perfume, through the breath issuing from the mouths of those who drank from them, the air over a distance of hundred yojanas. (24) So too from the top of Kumuda mountain, on which the banyan tree grows that with its thick stems is called S'atavals'a ['a hundred trunks'], big rivers flow in the northern direction of Ilâvrita. They bring happiness in fulfilling all desires by carrying in their wake an abundance of milk, yogurt, honey, clarified butter, molasses, food grains and so on, as well as a certain wealth of clothing, bedding, sitting places, ornaments and more of such goods. (25) Those citizens who make use of these benefits never ever get wrinkles, gray hair, fatigued, bad smelling perspiration, old of age, diseased, premature death, cold or heat, a waning luster or whatever variety of troubles and sufferings. For their entire life they are of nothing but an unlimited happiness.
(26) Like the filaments of the whorl of a lotus all around the base of Mount Meru are arranged twenty or more mountains carrying names as the Kuranga, Kurara, Kusumbha, Vaikanka, Trikûtha, S'is'ira, Patanga, Rucaka, Nishadha, Sinîvâsa, Kapila, S'ankha, Vaidûrya, Jârudhi, Hamsa, Rishabha, Nâga, Kâlañjara and the Nârada. (27) Mount Meru with its golden brilliance like fire, is surrounded by eight mountains of which the two in the east are called Jathhara and Devakûtha, the two in the west Pavana and Pâriyâtra, the two in the south Kailâsa and Karavîra and the two in the north Tris'ringa and Makara. Each of them stretching out for two thousand yojanas, they together cover eighteen thousand square yojanas. (28) On top of Mount Meru one finds in the middle the dwelling place, the city of the most powerful self-born one [Lord Brahmâ], stretching to all sides for many thousands of yojanas and about which the sages say that it is entirely golden [our galaxy does so for twenty-six-thousand light years to its pericarp and forty to sixty thousand light years in diameter, compare verse 7]. (29) Around that center in each direction the eight cities of the rulers over the planetary systems are found which being four times as small are of a likewise form (**).'