Vishnu Purana says:

उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् ।
वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संततिः ।।

uttaraṃ yatsamudrasya himādreścaiva dakṣiṇam
varṣaṃ tadbhārataṃ nāma bhāratī yatra santatiḥ

The country (varṣam) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bhāratam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata.

Now my questions are:

  • In which Mahayuga (with Manvantara) did Bharatha live?
  • What was name of Bhāratam before the rule of the King Bharatha?
  • 1
    It's actually not clear if India is named after Shakuntala's son Bharata, or whether it's only named after Rishabha's son Bharata; a question was posted about it here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/8917/36 In any case, I can easily give you the lineage from Bharata to Shantanu. As far as when he lived, it was certainly in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. I'm not sure what Mahayuga he lived in, but it would have been a relatively early Mahayuga considering that Bharata raised Brinaspati's son sage Bharadhwaja, whom I discuss here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/9255/36 – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 13 '16 at 8:48
  • I personally think the interpretations are wrong, since we have all not read the original Sanskrit versions and other books related to the same. I have understood the same as this: Mount Meru is the center of the galaxy, on the south side there are 7 planets capable of holing humanoids life. These 7 planets were distributed. Manu resides in another planet which exists on another plain. This is where the lokas come in like Brahma Loka, Tap Loka, etc. the ones which are above our plain of existence. Manu along with Indra and the 7 Rishis come after Brahma who comes after Vishnu. – Anirudh Goel Mar 22 '17 at 3:42
  • Of the 7 Rishis, 1 being Kashyap Rishi who had many wifes, from 1 came the Demi Gods, from the 2nd came the Rakshas, from the 3rd came snakes, from the 4th came Lord Garuda. So for the Gods Indraloka was created and for the snakes and demons the sub lokas which are below the earth were created. I may be wrong, but would love to know where, please comment and explain. – Anirudh Goel Mar 22 '17 at 3:42

India is called Bharat, after son of King Rishabh. Answer is given here in Vishnu Puran .

As per the puranas, there were 3 Bharats:-

1) Bharat, son of Rishabh, in line of Priyavrata Manu after whom India is called Bharat

2) Bharat, son of Dashrath(Suryanvansh king)

3) Bharat, son of Dushyanat(Chandravansh Kuru king)

MAITREYA.-- You stated that Priyavrata and Uttánapáda were the sons of Swáyambhuva Manu, and you repeated the story of Dhruva, the son of Uttánapáda: you made no mention of the descendants of Priyavrata, and it is an account of his family that I beg you will kindly communicate to me.

PARÁŚARA.--Priyavrata married Kámyá, the daughter of the patriarch Kardama, and had by her two daughters, Samrát and Kukshi, and ten sons, wise, valiant, modest, and dutiful, named Agnídhra, Agnibáhu, Vapushmat, Dyutimat, Medha, Medhatithi, Bhavya, Savala, Putra, and the tenth was Jyotishmat 2, illustrious by nature as by name. These were the sons of Priyavrata, famous for strength and prowess. Of these, three, or Medha, Putra, and Agnibáhu, adopted a religious life: remembering the occurrences of a prior existence, they did not covet dominion, but diligently practised the rites of devotion in due season.

Priyavrata having divided the earth into seven continents, gave them respectively to his other seven sons 3. To Agnídhra he gave Jambu-dwípa; to Medhatithi he gave Plaksha-dwípa: he installed Vapushmat in the sovereignty over the Dwípa of Sálmali; and made Jyotishmat king of Kuśa-dwípa: he appointed Dyutimat to rule over Krauncha-dwípa; Bhavya to reign over Sáka-dwípa; and Savala he nominated the monarch of the Dwípa of Pushkara.

Agnídhra, the king of Jambu-dwípa, had nine sons, equal in splendour to the patriarchs: they were named Nábhi, Kimpurusha, Harivarsha, Ilávrita, Ramya, Hirańvat, Kuru, Bhadráśwa, and Ketumála 4, who was a prince ever active in the practice of piety.

Hear next, Maitreya, in what manner Agnídhra apportioned Jambu-dwípa amongst his nine sons. He gave to Nábhi the country called Hima, south of the Himavat, or snowy mountains. The country of Hemakút́a he gave to Kimpurusha; and to Harivarsha, the country of Nishadha. The region in the centre of which mount Meru is situated he conferred on Ilávrita; and to Ramya, the countries lying between it and the Níla mountain. To Hirańvat his father gave the country lying to the north of it, called Śweta; and, on the north of the Śweta mountains, the country bounded by the Śringaván range he gave to Kuru. The countries on the east of Meru he assigned to Bhadráśwa; and Gandhamádana, which lay west of it, he gave to Ketumála

Nábhi, who had for his portion the country of Himáhwa, had by his queen Meru the magnanimous Rishabha; and he had a hundred sons, the eldest of whom was Bharata. Rishabha having ruled with equity and wisdom, and celebrated many sacrificial rites, resigned the sovereignty of the earth to the heroic Bharata, and, retiring to the hermitage of Pulastya, adopted the life of an anchoret, practising religious penance, and performing all prescribed ceremonies, until, emaciated by his austerities, so as to be but a collection of skin and fibres, he put a pebble in his mouth, and naked went the way of all flesh. The country was termed Bhárata from the time that it was relinquished to Bharata by his father, on his retiring to the woods.

This was the creation of Swáyambhuva Manu, by which the earth was peopled, when he presided over the first Manwantara, in the Kalpa of Varáha

The Bharata Varsha, ruled by King Nabhi, was earlier called "Hima" as explained in Vishnu Purana.

Chapter Race of Priyavrata: Description of seven continents of Brahmanda Purana says Grandsons of Swayambhuva Manu colonized the Earth in first Treta Yuga of Swayambhuva Manvantara.

Suta said,

  • Svayambhuva Manvantara had ten grandsons who were similar to him. The entire earth. The entire earth consisting of seven continents was colonized by them along with its towns, oceans and mines in every sub-continent in the first Treta-Yuga of Swayambhuva Manvantara. (Pg-135)
  • Thus the entire earth consisting of seven continents were colonized by seven sons of Priyavrata, who were the grandsons of Svayambhuva Manvnatara. (Pg-139)
  • Thus, when annihilation takes place, these seven settlements are created again and again by the kings of all seven sub-continents.
  • This is nature of colonization of continents and Kalpa.
  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question about the Mahayuga when Shakuntala's son Bharata lived, or the lineage from Shakuntala's son Bharata to Shantanu. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 13 '16 at 14:09
  • OK, but Anil wants to know the descent of Shantanu from Sakuntala's son Bharata. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 13 '16 at 16:50
  • Ravi, you are correct. I have just read Brahmanda Purana and it is mentioned that names are fixed to the continents of earth and the places are called by same name in all Kalpas and Manvantaras. Yes, they were allotted continents in first Treta Yuga of Swayambhuva Manvantara. – The Destroyer Feb 14 '16 at 3:08
  • But my doubt is, how could Jainism exist at beginning of Kalpa? – The Destroyer Feb 14 '16 at 3:10
  • @TheDestroyer Just like Rishabhadeva existed, Jainism also existed because Rishabha deva was the founder of it. – Chinmay Sarupria Apr 14 '16 at 5:02

What was name of Bhāratam before the rule of the King Bharatha?

It was always called Bhārata even before any king by that name ruled, says Sri Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma in this YouTube video.

He says Bhārata is the name given to Parameshwara (Supreme God) as He bears the burden of and protects the living beings and the world around as noted in this Vedic hymn:

bharatva ramanatvāt bharataha ++

And since we live in a world whose weight is born by Parameshwara, the world is called Bhārata and its residents Bharatha's.

Agni-deva is also known as Bharata because he accepts or bears the oblations offered during a yajna. Since we live in the land of yajna's, the land is referred to as Bhārata or Bharata-varsha. As it says in the Vedas:

agnimicchadvam bhāratāh ++

So for those two reasons, the world has always been referred to as Bhārata.

++: I've not been able to find a reference to these Vedic hymns. If someone can find the correct reference or translation, I'd be happy to update my answer. Thanks.

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