Sakadwipa (RE: Rising of the sea and other Migration myths)

Yaroslav Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Thu Jan 27 14:36:49 UTC 2000

Though the MahAbhArata really places the ZAkadvIpa continent to the
east of Meru (XII.14.23), the first ZAkadvIpa (Maga) Brahmans seem
to come from the NW, acc. to the SAmba legend, related in the SAmba-,
BhaviSya-, Brahma- and SkandapurANa. In this case the ZAkadvIpa as
the place of their origin is to be connected rather with the historical
SakasthAna, i.e. modern Seistan in Eastern Iran. Invited by the KRSNa's son SAmba,
the Magas first settled in Mitravana/SAmbapura/MUlasthAna (=
historical Multan). They brought with them the pratice of wearing avyanga
(a corruption of the Avestan term meaning the "sacred girdle of the
Zoroastrians") and the specific cult of the Sun-God, worshipped under
his Old Iranian name Mithra, which was later replaced by Middle
Iranian Mihr/Mehr/Mihir (from whence Indian Mihira). Research done by
several generations of scholars has revealed the gradual spread of the
ZAkadvIpa Brahmans over the Indian subcontinent and eventually their
penetration even into Eastern India. The well-known Indian ethnologist P.L.Vidyarthi
in his brilliant monograph on the city of GayA in Bihar expressed his opinion of
Iranian (Magian) origin of the local ZAkadvIpi Brahmans. The Bibliography on the
problem of Indian Magi (including basic works by R.C.Hazra, K.Hoffman and H. von Stietencron)
see in my article "An Iranian Myth in Eastern India: GayOmart and the Mythology of GayA"
in: Orientalia Suecana (Uppsala), XLVII (1998), pp. 148-149.


Wed, 26 Jan 100 22:27 +0300 MSK Paul Kekai Manansala wrote to INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK:

> Yashwant Malaiya wrote:
> >
> > I have assumed that Sakadwipa is the land beyond Hindukush
> > from where the Maga came from, and the descendants of some
> > of them are know as the Sakadvipis in Bihar.
> >
> > What specific clues Mahabharata and Puranas have regarding its
> > location?
> >
> The Mahabharata states that Sakadwipa is east of Meru (in the
> description of the dvipas).
> A number of Puranas place Udayagiri, which is traditionally located in
> the East (Ramayana, etc.) on Sakadwipa. Matsya, at least, also locate
> the home of Garuda on Sakadwipa, and Garuda home is also associated with
> the eastern regions in the Ramayana and other works.
> Sakadwipa is described in Puranas and other works as lush in Salmali
> (silk-cotton), Parijata (coral tree) and sandalwood trees, all tropical
> varieties of the Indies.  Another such tree, of course, is the namesake
> Saka, or teak, tree.
> I have discussed this subject with a few Sakadwipi brahmins from
> Deoghar, Noida and Patna and they agreed that their origin was from the
> far east.
> Whether this was connected in any way at all with Epic and Puranic
> tradition, they did not say.
> Regards,
> Paul Kekai Manansala
> --
> Check out
Yaroslav Vassilkov (yavass at
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 16:47 +0300 MSK

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