As I discuss in this answer, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa which summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. You can read the Brahma Sutras here. In any case, Adhyaya 3 Pada 3 of the Brahma Sutras describes the Brahmavidyas, 32 lessons found in the various Upanishads which can each lead you to Brahman if you meditate upon them. You can see the full list of 32 Vidyas here.

Now as I discuss in this question, one of these Brahma Vidyas is the Samvarga Vidya, and it is found in Prapathaka 4 of the Chandogya Upanishad. It was taught by a cart-driver named Raikva to the king Janashruti Pautrayana. The story goes roughly as follows. Janashruti was a great king who performed numerous Yagnas and was extremely magnanimous in his generosity. As a result of his deeds his face shone with a powerful aura. Once two birds were flying near him and one bird told the other bird that they should stay away from Janashruti because his aura might burn them. The second bird responded, "Don't speak of Janashruti as if he were like Raikva of the cart". Janashruti immediately wanted to find this Raikva, and he approached Raikva with great riches and asked Raikva to teach him Brahman. Raikva refused, because Janashruti asked in an arrogant manner. But then Raikva ultimately dedided to teach him after Janashruti came back and asked in a more humble manner, as described in this chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad

Then Gânasruti Pautrâyana took again a thousand cows, a necklace, a carriage with mules, and his own daughter, and went to him. He said to him: 'Raikva, there are a thousand cows, a necklace, a carriage with mules, this wife, and this village in which thou dwellest. Sir, teach me!' He, opening her mouth, said: 'You have brought these (cows and other presents), O Sûdra, but only by that mouth did you make me speak.' These are the Raikva-parna villages in the country of the Mahâvrishas (mahâpunyas) where Raikva dwelt under him.

My question is, where are the Raikvaparna villages that Janashruti gifted to Raikva?

Now this excerpt from the Setu Mahatmya of the Skanda Purana says that Raikva lived on the Gandhamadana mountain near Rameshwaram. So since Janashruti said that he was giving Raikva the vilage Raikva was living in, are the Raikvaparna villages in the viciniy of Rameshwaram?

The other clue we have is the Chandogya Upanishads' statement that the Raikvaparna villages are in "the country of the Mahavrishas". But this book suggest that the Mahavrishas were in North India, and yet Rameshwaram is at the Southern tip of India. So what's going on?

There are actually two mountains called Gandhamadana, one near Rameshwaram and one in or near the Himalayas, so I suspect there may have been a transcription error in the Skanda Purana, and that Raikva may have actually lived in the Himalayan Gandhamadana. In any case, are there any other scriptures that mention the Raikvaparna villages, or modern places in India which have names close to Raikvaparna?

  • If Skanda Purana is describing the Setu then it's likely that the Gandhamadana in question is the Rameshwaram one.
    – Surya
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:57
  • You know maybe Mahavrishas is referring to the region where Mahendragiri mountains are situated.
    – Surya
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:59


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .