5

Lalla's Shishyavriddhida Tantra is a Hindu astronomical work dating to the 8th century. In this excerpt from the Shishyavriddhida Tantra, Lalla describes the geography of Bharatavarsha, i.e. the Indian subcontinent:

There are (nine) parts of (the country of Bharata), viz., Aindra, Kaseru, Tamraparna, Gabhastimat, Kanya, Saumya, Naga, Varuna and Gandhaarva. There are seven principal mountains (in Bharata), viz. Mahendra, Shulti, Sahya, Vindhya, Pariyata, Malaya and Riksha. Kumarika (Kanya) has all four castes (as inhabitants); the remaining eight parts of only the outcastes.

My question is, what is the Kanya region of India which the Shishyavriddhida Tantra identifies as the only place where the four castes live, at least as of the 8th century?

Considering that it is known as both "Kanya" and "Kumarika", I think it may refer to Kanyakumari, which is the Southern tip of Tamil Nadu. If so, it would be consonant with what the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Vedanta Desikan says in this chapter of his Rahasyatraya Sara:

Holy regions like Aryavarta have, owing to the nature of the Yuga (Kali) become unfit for abode, owing to the rites of varna and ashrama getting mingled.... [W]e are also told about places where Bhagavatas live in Kali Yuga: "In Kali Yuga there will be born, here and there, noble souls who consider that Narayana is the supreme object of attainment. They will be born in number in Tamil Nad on the banks of the Tamraparni, of the Kritamala, of the Palar, of the renowned Cauvery and of the river which flows westwards[.]" ... As stated in these passages, it is these places inhabited by Bhagavatas, that are suitable for the residence of the prapanna in this Kali Yuga.

In any case, are there any commentaries on the Shishyavriddhida which shed light on this?

  • During the time of Mahabharata, bhArata varsha referred to the entire globe. Aindra khanda is modern day America. It could be that the author is referring to the various continents/khandas. Gabhasthimat may refer to the land of the rising sun ( my speculation) and tamraparna to the nordic regions. BTW, is it lalla devi of kashmir? – user1195 Apr 26 '17 at 12:19
  • 1
    @moonstar2001 If you read the rest of the chapter, he's very clearly talking about India. He talks about what mountains and oceans make up its boundaries, it's location within Jambudvipa etc. America is Krauncha Dvipa Aindra Kanda, not Jambudvipa Bharatavarsha Aindra Kanda – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 26 '17 at 13:18
  • 1
    @moonstar2001 And no, this isn't Lalla Devi, this is a male astronomer named Lalla who lived in the 8th century: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalla – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 26 '17 at 13:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .