In this volume we first meet the powerful King Priyavrata, who rose to the heavens like a second sun to dissipate the darkness of night and create the divisions of Bhumandala. Then comes his son Agnidhra, who weds the celestial beauty Purvachitti and begets on her nine sons, who each become a lord of one of the provinces of Jambudvipa, the great earthly island on which we reside. One of those sons, Nabhi, begets Lord Rishabha, the divine incarnation famous for showing the path of Jada-yoga, practised by highly advanced mystics. Rishabha delivers profound spiritual instructions to his hundred sons, the most famous of which was Bharat, after whom the earth was named. We hear how King Bharat somehow fell from the pinnacle of spiritual practise and became a deer in his next life. He then took birth as the self-realised soul, Jada Bharat. In a dialogue of astonishing brilliance, Bharat instructs King Rahugana, laying bare the stark reality of material existence and showing us how to conquer the mind and transcend all suffering. After this, the great sage Shukadeva takes us on a fantastic cosmic journey, revealing the structure and intricacies of the universal planetary systems, from the highest regions of heaven down to the paradisical subterranean provinces of Bila Svarga, homes of the Daityas, Danavas and Nagas—dark beings of phenomenal power. Finally, we hear a harrowing description of the many hells that sinful persons reach, essential reading for anyone who wants to get a bit more serious about his spiritual life.
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