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Carlos Cruañas

Jambudvipa and its Continents
Rajasthan or Gujarat. India
15th Century
Pigments on cloth
70cm. X 73cm.

In the Jain philosophy the cosmos (loka) is a reality, and is called substance (dravya). Jain cosmology considers the universe divided in three worlds (triloka): the lower (adholoka) the upper (urdhaloka) and the middle world (madhialoka). The middle world is formed by countless rings of lands or islands (dvipas), surrounded by different oceans (samudras). It is the smallest of the worlds, but the most important, where humans and animals live, tirthankaras are born and liberation can be accomplished.

This diagram shows the center of the middle world: Jambudvipa, the island of the pink apple tree (our world) with Mt Meru in its center, divided in seven continents by mountain chains and surrounded by Lavasanamudra, the salad ocean. Encircling them there are two islands, (Dhatakkikhandavipa and Puskaradvipa) surrounded by a high mountain chain beyond which persons nor animals can be born and the concept of time doesn�t exist any more.
The sacred geography of the Jambudvipa describes a mythological realm, that has its correspondence with ancient Indian geography, but the fundamental question is its morality and soteriologic aspect: among these seven continents only in two and a half liberation can be obtained (karmabhumis), the rest are lands of bliss (bogabhumis) and lucky humans that live in this utopic world can not practice ascetic and, therefore, can not accomplish liberation.

all text, images � Carlos Cruañas


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