Thursday, October 23, 2008


According to the Vishnu Purana,"The country that lies north of the ocean and the south of the snowy munatains is called Bharat for there dwell the descendants of the Bharat."

In Sanskrit, as per Vishnu Purana,
Uttaram yastsamundrasya,
Himadres Haiva dakshinain
Vaisham tad Bharatam nama
Bharatiyatia santatih.
In other words, it is stated that the subcontinent of India stretches from the Himalayas to the sea. It is known as Bharatvarsha, or the land of Bharat where the descendants of Bharata live.

Bharata was a king highly praised in Puranas.

As per the contents of various Puranas, Bharatvarsh was a land which formed the part of a larger unit called Jambu-dvipa. Bharatvarsha on Jambu-divipa (the continent) was considered to be the innermost of the seven concentric islands or the continents into which the earth, as conceived in the Puranas, was supposed to have been divided.In epics and some of the Purana, the whole Jambu-divpa is called the Bharatvarsha.

According to one other interpretation, varsham means country and thus Bhartavarsha means the country of Bharata or the country of the descendants of Bharata, son of Dushyant and Shakuntla and nurtured by Rishi Kanva.

Defined by Raja Rammohun Roy, a poliglot and an Indian Reformer in his published track titled, "Exposition of the Practical Operation of the Judicial and Revenue System of India, and of the General Character and Conditioin of its Native Inhabitants, as submitted in Evidence to the Authorities in England, with Notes and Illustrations. Also a brief preliminary sketch of the Ancient and Modern Boundaries, and of the History of that country.", published by Smith, Elder and Co., Cornhill, London, 1832. (1832, the year of death of Raja Rammohun Roy)

The Explanation is extracted as follows from the section Preliminary Remarks, page v and vi. (Note: It is verbatim reproduction wherein the spellings as they appeared in their has been retained)

"India, anciently called the “Bharat Varsha” after the name of a monarch called “Bharat” is bound on its south by the sea; on east partly by this sea, and partly by ranges of mountains, separating it from the ancient China, or rather the countries now called Assam, Cassay and Arracan; on the north by a lofty and extensive chain of mountains which divides it from Tibet; on the west partly by the ranges of mountains, separating India from the ancient Persia, and extending towards the Western Sea, above the mouth of the Indus, and partly by this sea itself. It lies between the 8th and 35th degrees north latitude, and the 67th and 93d degrees of east longitude.

In the foot notes, Raja Rammohun Roy had remarked as follows:

Vaarshaa implies a large tract of continent cut off from other countries by natural boundaries, such as oceans, mountains, or extensive deserts.

Further, on Bharat he wrote,

“Bharat” a humane and powerful prince, suppose to have sprung from the “Indu-Bangs” or lunar race.

Raja Rammohun Roy had excluded the territories east of Bhramputra river, starting from Assam from the territories of India as given in his report. However, he had given following substantiating note about the exclusion of the territories both on the east and west.
He writes;
“The boundary mountains are interrupted on the east between 90 degree and 91 degree East. and latitude 26 degree and 27 degree North. Hence the countries to the east of the Burrampooter, as Assam, Ava, Siam, &c as far as 102 degree east longitude, are by some authors considered as part of India, though beyond its natural limits; and by European writers usually called ‘India Beyond Ganges’. There, relics of Sanscrit literature, and remains of Hindu temples are still found. Other ancient writers, however, considered these countries as attached to China, the inhabitants having greater resemblance to the Chinese in their features.

The western boundary mountains are in like manner broken at Longitude 70 degree East, and at Latitude 34 degree North. Consequently the countries beyond that natural limit, such as Caubul and Candhar, are supposed by some to be included in India, and by others in Persia. But many Hindu antiquities still exist there to corroborate the former notion. Not only the northern boundaries of mountains of India, but also those mountains which form the eastern and western limits of it, are by the ancient writers of India termed Himalaya, and considered branches of that great chain. “In north direction is situated the prince of mountains, the ‘immortal Himalaya’ which immerse both in the eastern and western seas, stands on earth as a standard of measure (or line of demarcation).” Cali Das.”

Acknowledgement following the fair use rule on the internet

The following book is available as Full View book and permitted to be downloaded as PDF on

Additional Note with Reference
Bharatvarsha is divided into nine Khandas or parts: Indra-dvipa, Kaserumat, Taamra varna Gabhastimat, Naga-dwipa, Saumya, Gandharva and Varuna. (Source: A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion by John Dowson, Rupa and Co. New Delhi)

The above post is reposting of

External Links
1. Wikipedia Article: Bharat
Comment: Useful, contains reference to the term Bharatvarsh which however does not add much to that already given above. Visit Recommended
2. Books Google for Raja Rammouhan Roy book as mentioned above.

Edit Report:
Reviewed and Checked: July 4, 2009.
Added Reference of Wikipedia under External Links. July 4, 2009.
Added a note from Raja Rammohun Roy book.
May 2, 2010: Added elaboration on the term Bhartvarsha.

The Rig Veda: Complete (Forgotten Books)Wisdom of the Vedas (Theosophical Heritage Classics)The Rig Veda (Penguin Classics)The Holy VedasThe Rig-VedaThe Upanishads (Classic of Indian Spirituality)Commentaries on the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita: The Three Branches of India's Life-TreeHymns from the Vedas and Upanishads, Vedic ChantsInitiation to the VedasThe Atharvaveda (Forgotten Books)Hymns of the Samaveda (Forgotten Books)The Vishnu Purana, Book 1 of 6: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition (Forgotten Books)Vishnu PuranaThe Vishnu Purana: A System of Hindu Mythology and TraditionThe Vishnu Purana V3: A System Of Hindu Mythology And Tradition (1866)The Vishnu Purana, Volume 2The Vishnu PuránaThe Vishnu Purana, Volume 1

1 comment:

  1. which is the best book or article which gives the history of bharat from 500 BCE to 1947 CE ?


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