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In Indian Cosmology, dvīpa (Devnagari: द्वीप "peninsula, island"; also mahadvipa "great island") is the term for the major divisions of the terrestrial sphere, sometimes translated as "continents".

Dvīpa has a further meaning than "island" and "continent". "Dvipa" also means "planets" situated in the ocean of outer space.

"The "planets" are called "dvīpas". Outer space is like an ocean of air. Just as there are islands in the watery ocean, these planets in the ocean of space are called dvīpas, or islands in outer space" (Chaitanya Caritamrita Madhya 20.218, Purport)

There are 7 dvipas;[1] the list of seven (sapta-dvipa) is (e.g. Mahabharata 6.604 ):

  1. Jambu ("Indian Blackberry tree")
  2. Plaksha ("Ficus religiosa (Peepal) tree")
  3. Shalmali ("Bombax tree")
  4. Kusha ("grass")
  5. Kraunca ("Mountain")
  6. Shaka ("Pine tree")
  7. Pushkara ("Maple tree")

The word dvīpa is from an older form *dui-Hpa- and means "having water on two side", it is cognate with Young Avestan 'duuaēpa' which means the same.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/pf/pf40.htm
  2. ^ Vaan, Michiel de. 2008. Etymological dictionary of Latin and the other Italic languages. Leiden: Brill. p.19.

External links[edit]