Bhumi Parva is the sixty second Upa parva included in the sixth Maha parva named as Bhishma parva. Vaishampayana continued narration to Janamejaya in reply to his queries as follows.

How Sanjaya had elaborated the Earth with the oceans in Mahabharat?

नैकधातु विचित्रैश्च पर्वतैरुपशोभितः ।
सिद्ध चारण संकीर्णः सागरः परिमण्डलः ॥

Meaning: Wonderful different types of elements were there in the various beautiful hills and different kinds of people like Siddhas and long legged persons were on the islands on this tiny Earth, surrounded by oceans, being spherical in nature. 

The conclusion of ancient Indian people about the Earth as a sphere or globe shape was really recordable. The salt water was more than the land soil surrounding it. 

Dritarashtra being a blind emperor was very curious to know about his ruled Earth. 

What was the specialty of some of the distant islands on this Earth?

From more than the seven islands, soldiers had come to participate in the war. Shaka, Kusha, Manichaka, Shama, Raivata, Modaki and Sukumara were some of their names of the islands. Some more islands were told to Dritarashtra. They were surrounded by salt water. They had got their names from the mountains in the middle of those islands. Some people were black in colour. Most of them were sincere devotees of Krishna. Krauncha was another Island. Some of the islands were very rich in many respects. Hence none of the people of that society died due to poverty. Then the citizenship of a particular society is referred as ‘Janapada’.

प्रागायतो महाराज मलयो नाम पर्वतः । 
यतो मेघाः प्रवर्तन्ते प्रभवन्ति च सर्वशः ॥

Meaning: In the Eastern side, there exists a mountain called Malaya. The clouds were generated from the sea and pass over it and spread (causing rain) to various or all directions. 

Sanjaya narrating events to Dritarashtra
Sanjaya narrating events to Dritarashtra
तत्र परेण कौरव्य जलधारो महागिरिः । यत्र नित्यमुपादत्ते वासवः परमं जलं ।
यतो वर्षं प्रभवति वर्षाकाले जनेश्वर ॥

Meaning: Thereafter O Kaurava king, the mountain was called as Jaladhara. There, daily rains happen. It happens by the grace of Vasava, the angel of rain. O king, it is like rainy season always there. Shillong or Cherrapunji was ever famous for highest rainfall in the world, Mahabharata was telling wonderful truth. In due course of time, most of these places got new names due to different kings and different languages of people.

The names of various islands were told. Later, the description of solar measurements and lunar measurements were also described. Rahu causing eclipse was also told to Dritarashtra. Names of various nations were also referred. The own nation was Bharata Varsham. Some islands were referred where autonomous ruling existed. Even though the emperor was supreme for the entire Earth, small islands were allowed autocracy since there were no criminals at all. Sanatana Dharma was followed there.  People lead happy life everywhere always by co-operating with one other.  No problematic issues were brought before the emperor.

What was the additional benefit for Sanjaya by the holy vision obtained through Vyasa?

Sanjaya got the holy vision from Vyasa. He was able to answer all the doubtful queries of Dritarashtra. So Sanjaya told the facts of truth as asked by Dritarashtra. He could describe every social set up of people in the whole world and that has been covered in this Bhumi Parva. The peripheral diameters of Sun or Moon, the time of eclipse were also described by Sanjaya as additional benefits of the holy vision.

The Mahabharata war was like a world war but still, there were some young princes kept away from the war being minors. War could not happen then in one’s lifetime but declared after many centuries. The army consisted of trained soldiers, chariots, elephants and horses. The defence system was very well managed. The camps were like small temporary townships with all facilities. 

How Sanjaya previously got the idea as he narrated in Bhumi Parva?

Sanjaya was the charioteer of Dritarashtra and frequently acted as a messenger or private secretary to Dritarashtra. Dritarashtra was blind by birth and due to the holy vision granted by Vyasa, the Mahabharata war was reported by Sanjaya.

Also, Bhishma had conducted many Ashvamedhas and Sanjaya had witnessed them all. Having participated in many Ashvamedhas and travelled throughout the world for collecting the donations for many Ashvamedhas, Sanjaya had got the idea of many islands as he narrated in Bhumi Parva.

How many Ashwamedhas were conducted by Bhishma?

Bhishma had conducted three hundred Ashvamedhas. A shloka in the start of Bhagavadgita Upa parva regarding this would confirm it in the next article. 

How Bhishma had conducted Ashwamedhas without fighting with ladies?

Bhishma had never fought with ladies but was successful in conducting three hundred Ashvamedhas in Hastinavati. Nobody had installed Duryodhana to the throne of the emperor but he had assumed himself on the Hastinavati throne. Since Dritarashtra was blind, nobody had opposed him but treated him with sympathy. Karna was helping Duryodhana as a sincere friend and whenever a fight with any lady soldier had to be faced, Karna was arranging the regiments. Karna being the disciple of Parashurama, all the islands were brought under the administration of Hastinavati. The various nations of the emperor were enjoying their own ruling set up in their land but the Sanatana Dharma was the code for conduct of rules.  

Why and how Bhishma had finished his task of three hundred Ashvamedhas?

After Pandavas had left for their exile of twelve years, Bhishma felt sorry to leave them. Drona also felt the same but both Bhishma and Drona were bound under the grace donations of Duryodhana for their livelihood. Karna was in the Hastinavati Palace as a friend of Duryodhana and looked after the administrations for and on behalf of Duryodhana for thirteen years. Bhishma was a sincere devotee of Vishnu.

When Duryodhana desired to conduct Rajasuya yaga, he was advised to do Vaishnava Yajna and finished it with the help of Bhishma. Under Goshayatra upa parva in this website, Vaishnava Yajna of Duryodhana was described. Bhishma had intended Duryodhana to indulge him in good deeds like Ashvamedha, instead of debating with Karna to plan the killing of Pandavas during their life in exile. Later, Bhishma sought permission to celebrate something great on all Dvadashi days of all months for that Dritarashtra as an emperor and Duryodhana as his faithful son had agreed happily.

Bhishma had favored Indian cows also. On every Dvadashi day in the Palace of Hastinavati, Bhishma had arranged for the Ashvamedha yaga and hence per year, twenty five Ashvamedha yagas were done counting all the Dvadashi days of the entire year. Bhishma was dispatching his army intelligence cadets every day with instructions to circumscribe this Earth (the Bhumi) and report to him within a year. Hence after visiting the entire Earth by them, Bhishma was getting the daily reports. There were many experts in conducting the Ashvamedha yagas in his time. The various methods of Ashvamedha yaga do not compel the killing of any horse and baking horse meat. It is wrong to think of a wandering horse as mandatory and ultimately killing it and sacrificing it like a dramatic model.

Bhishma and Drona were strong supporters of Indian vegetarian food system. Bhishma had already supported his father to conduct seven Ashvamedha yagas on the banks of Yamuna river while he was alive. Based on that experience, he had completed similar Ashvamedha yagas to the satisfaction of Late Shantanu in Hastinavati, observing all twenty five Dvadashi days per year. So after four years, he had completed one hundred Ashvamedha yagas observing the similar algorithm as a diverting subject for Duryodhana.

Later, in memory of Chitraveerya, for the next four years, Bhishma had conducted Ashvamedha yagas on all Dvadashi days. Alike, in memory of Vichitraveerya also, Bhishma had conducted Ashvamedha yagas for the next four years on all Dvadashi days. Thus, twelve years had passed by Bhishma by completing three hundred Ashvamedha yagas successfully. Drona had also helped in that task. Drona had worn protective dresses to complete the Ashvamedha yaga as and when ordered and fighting with lady soldiers as required.

During these twelve years, the donations were collected voluntarily from the ten nations falling under different administrations and one Bharata varsha being own land, totalling eleven Akshohini regiments under Bhishma. But the seven Akshohini regiments were not aligned with Duryodhana. Only for the sake of the smooth conducting of Ashvamedha yaga, either Drona or Karna was convincing and obliging them. Shikhandi was the disciple of Drona and offered donations for all Ashvamedha at Hastinavati. Drishtadyumna was the king known to Karna and offered donations for all Ashvamedha at Hastinavati, but from Kamboja, Karna had to use royal powers to get donations to Hastinavati. Matsya was self-supported in many respects and livestock was their ear marked wealth. So Virata was exempted from donations.

Thus within twelve years, at the rate of twenty five per each year, Bhishma had successfully completed three hundred Ashvamedha yagas. Later on, during the thirteenth year, Duryodhana was not interested in Ashvamedha yaga but his main intention was to search out the where about of Pandavas in cognition. So the Gograhana Parva happened and that story is already described in this website separately. Except Bhishma, Arjuna had induced sleep to all the Kaurava warriors in the Gograhana. Bhishma had agreed for his exile to be ended then and there.

Why Ashvamedhas of Bhishma had not been highlighted in Mahabharata?

In due course of time, several chapters of Mahabharata were lost due to many reasons. In the narration to Janamejaya, orating or reading of Mahabharata was recommended as more virtuous than conducting Ashvamedha yaga. Hence in many versions of Mahabharata, Ashvamedhas of Bhishma had not been highlighted.

The time duration of twelve years spent by Pandavas in forests was more attractive than the happy life of Kauravas and Bhishma spent within the Hastinavati Palace. Duryodhana did not deserve or worthy for the credits of three hundred Ashvamedhas but Bhishma did it in his presence, in his palace, very cleverly, in favor of the forefathers of Dritarashtra. So Shantanu, Chitraveerya and Vishitraveerya got the front seats in their heavenly life.

What were the differences or similarities experienced in the views of Sanjaya and Sugriva of Ramayana about their contemporary status of the Earth? 

In the Ramayana, Sugriva was requested by Rama to search for the missing Sita. Then Rama asked Sugriva as to how he got the knowledge about the entire world. Sugriva had replied Rama quoting on his fight with his brother Vali. Whenever Vali chased Sugriva, he had jumped from island to island trying to hide somewhere but after several rounds to the Earth, reached Rishyamuka Mountain. This had been already illustrated in this website in the article about Sugriva of Ramayana. There was no difference but more similarities experienced in the views of Sanjaya about the contemporary status of the Earth. The Earth is always permanent as described in this website under the article about the Earth. Only some regions get shuffled.

What was the main comparison in the wars of Rama and Bhishma?

Bhishma had barred lady soldiers in participating in the war. But one Shikhandi had participated in the war. In Ramayana, human soldiers were barred in participating in the war, instead, monkeys had taken the active role of actions. But one man Lakshmana, the brother of Rama had participated in the war. This was the main comparison in the style of wars of Bhishma and Rama.

Whether lady fighters fought in the wars of Ramayana and Mahabharata?

Yes. Later, in Pandavas Ashwamedha, some lady soldiers had participated, but then Bhishma was not alive. In Ramayana also, Shurpanakha and Kumbhini had fought with Tara (the wife of Late Vali) and were killed. In this website under the article on Sugriva, it is already illustrated. In India, military education is an optional subject for ladies.

Next post, Mahabharat: Bhagavad Gita Parva would be more interesting.

Mahabharat: Bhishma Pathana Parva would be presented separately in another article.

On reading this story, children would gain more memory power, great moral strength in their life in future; create a sense of self-reliance leading to peace and progress.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us. 

Readers may share this story with children, friends and family.

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