“The official Sanskrit name for India is Bharat.”
Bharat : meaning
“Bha” means Light and Knowledge,
“rata” means “Devoted”.
Bharat means “devoted to light as against darkness”. The name “Bharat” was symbolic in nature revealing the fact that the whole country was highly enlightened spiritually.
2) The Vayu Purana says ‘he who conquers the whole of Bharata-varsa is celebrated as a samrāt’ (Vayu Purana 45, 86).
3) According to the Puranas, this country is known as Bharatavarsha after the king Bharata Chakravarti. This has been mentioned in Vishnu Purana (2,1,31), Vayu Purana,(33,52), Linga Purana(1,47,23), Brahmanda Purana (14,5,62), Agni Purana ( 107,11–12), Skanda Purana, Khanda (37,57) and Markandaya Purana (50,41) it is clearly stated that this country is known as Bharata Varsha. Vishnu Purāna mentions:
ऋषभो मरुदेव्याश्च ऋषभात भरतो भवेत्
भरताद भारतं वर्षं, भरतात सुमतिस्त्वभूत्
Rishabha was born to Marudevi, Bharata was born to Rishabh,
Bharatavarsha (India) arose from Bharata, and Sumati arose from Bharata
—Vishnu Purana (2,1,31)
ततश्च भारतं वर्षमेतल्लोकेषुगीयते
भरताय यत: पित्रा दत्तं प्रतिष्ठिता वनम (विष्णु पुराण, २,१,३२)
This country is known as Bharatavarsha since the times the father entrusted the kingdom to the son Bharata and he himself went to the forest for ascetic practices.
—Vishnu Purana (2,1,32)
The realm of Bharata is known as Bharātavarṣa in the Mahabhārata (the core portion of which is itself known as Bhārata) and later texts. The term varsa means a division of the earth, or a continent. A version of the Bhagavata Purana says, the name Bharata is after Jata Bharata who appears in the fifth canto of the Bhagavata.
– Vishnu Purana (2.3.1)
uttaraṃ yatsamudrasya himādreścaiva dakṣiṇam
varṣaṃ tadbhārataṃ nāma bhāratī yatra santatiḥ
उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् ।
वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संततिः ।।
“The country (varṣam) that lies north of the (Indian) ocean and south of the snowy mountains (Himalayas) is called Bhāratam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata.”
4) Āryāvarta (Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, “abode of the Aryans”) is a name for North India in classical Sanskrit literature. The Manu Smriti (2.22) gives the name to “the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the Eastern (Bay of Bengal) to the Western Sea (Arabian Sea)”.
5) SBMP 5.16.9 – ‘evaḿ dakṣiṇenelāvṛtaḿ niṣadho hemakūṭo himālaya iti prāg-āyatā yathā nīlādayo ‘yuta-yojanotsedhā hari-varṣa-kimpuruṣa-bhāratānāḿ yathā-sańkhyam’
evam — thus; dakṣiṇena — by degrees to the southern side; ilāvṛtam — of Ilāvṛta-varṣa; niṣadhaḥ hema-kūṭaḥ himālayaḥ — three mountains named Niṣadha, Hemakūṭa and Himālaya; iti — thus; prāk-āyatāḥ — extended to the east; yathā — just as; nīla-ādayaḥ — the mountains headed by Nīla; ayuta-yojana-utsedhāḥ — ten thousand yojanas high; hari-varṣa — the division named Hari-varṣa; kimpuruṣa — the division named Kimpuruṣa; bhāratānām — the division named Bhārata-varṣa; yathā-sańkhyam — according to number.
Similarly, south of Ilāvṛta-varṣa and extending from east to west are three great mountains named (from north to south) Niṣadha, Hemakūṭa and Himālaya. Each of them is 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] high. They mark the boundaries of the three varṣas named Hari-varṣa, Kimpuruṣa-varṣa and Bhārata-varṣa [India].
6) SBMP 5.17.9 – ‘tathaivālakanandā dakṣiṇena brahma-sadanād bahūni giri-kūṭāny atikramya hemakūṭād dhaimakūṭāny ati-rabhasatara-raḿhasā luṭhayantī bhāratam abhivarṣaḿ dakṣiṇasyāḿ diśi jaladhim abhipraviśati yasyāḿ snānārthaḿ cāgacchataḥ puḿsaḥ pade pade ‘śvamedha-rājasūyādīnāḿ phalaḿ na durlabham iti’
tathā eva — similarly; alakanandā — the branch known as Alakanandā; dakṣiṇena — by the southern side; brahma-sadanāt — from the city known as Brahmapurī; bahūni — many; giri-kūṭāni — the tops of mountains; atikramya — crossing over; hemakūṭāt — from Hemakūṭa Mountain; haimakūṭāni — and Himakūṭa; ati-rabhasatara — more fiercely; raḿhasā — with great force; luṭhayantī — plundering; bhāratam abhivarṣam — on all sides of Bhārata-varṣa; dakṣiṇasyām — in the southern; diśi — direction; jaladhim — the ocean of salt water; abhipraviśati — enters into; yasyām — in which; snāna-artham — for bathing; ca — and; āgacchataḥ — of one who is coming; puḿsaḥ — a person; pade pade — at every step; aśvamedha-rājasūya-ādīnām — of great sacrifices like the Aśvamedha yajña and Rājasūya yajña; phalam — the result; na — not; durlabham — very difficult to obtain; iti — thus.
Similarly, the branch of the Ganges known as Alakanandā flows from the southern side of Brahmapurī [Brahma-sadana]. Passing over the tops of mountains in various lands, it falls down with fierce force upon the peaks of the mountains Hemakūṭa and Himakūṭa. After inundating the tops of those mountains, the Ganges falls down onto the tract of land known as Bhārata-varṣa, which she also inundates. Then the Ganges flows into the ocean of salt water in the south. Persons who come to bathe in this river are fortunate. It is not very difficult for them to achieve with every step the results of performing great sacrifices like the Rājasūya and Aśvamedha yajñas.
7) SBMP 5.19.9 – ‘bhārate ‘pi varṣe bhagavān nara-nārāyaṇākhya ākalpāntam upacita-dharma-jñāna-vairāgyaiśvaryopaśamoparamātmopalambhanam anugrahāyātmavatām anukampayā tapo ‘vyakta-gatiś carati’
bhārate — in Bhārata; api — also; varṣe — the tract of land; bhagavān — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nara-nārāyaṇa-ākhyaḥ — known as Nara-Nārāyaṇa; ā-kalpa-antam — up to the end of the millennium; upacita — increasing; dharma — religion; jñāna — knowledge; vairāgya — renunciation or nonattachment; aiśvarya — mystic opulences; upaśama — control of the senses; uparama — freedom from false ego; ātma-upalambhanam — self-realization; anugrahāya — to show favor; ātma-vatām — unto persons interested in self-realization; anukampayā — by causeless mercy; tapaḥ — austerities; avyakta-gatiḥ — whose glories are inconceivable; carati — executes.
[Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued:] The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are inconceivable. He has appeared in the form of Nara-Nārāyaṇa in the land of Bhārata-varṣa, at the place known as Badarikāśrama, to favor His devotees by teaching them religion, knowledge, renunciation, spiritual power, sense control and freedom from false ego. He is advanced in the opulence of spiritual assets, and He engages in executing austerity until the end of this millennium. This is the process of self-realization.
8) SBMP 5.7.3 – ‘ajanābhaḿ nāmaitad varṣaḿ bhāratam iti yata ārabhya vyapadiśanti’
ajanābham — Ajanābha; nāma — by the name; etat — this; varṣam — island; bhāratam — Bhārata; iti — thus; yataḥ — from whom; ārabhya — beginning; vyapadiśanti — they celebrate.
Formerly this tract of land was known as Ajanābha-varṣa, but since Mahārāja Bharata’s reign, it has become known as Bhārata-varṣa.
Note – The above verse has been wrongly translated by occidental editors of ISKCON’s BBT. They have translated the term ‘varṣam’ as ‘island’ – which is proper in the word to word synonyms. But, in the actual translation, they have translated it wrongly as ‘…this planet..’. The correct literal meaning of the term ‘varṣam’ is ‘tract of land’.
9) SBMP 5.16.6 – ‘yasmin nava varṣāṇi nava-yojana-sahasrāyāmāny aṣṭabhir maryādā-giribhiḥ suvibhaktāni bhavanti’
yasmin — in that Jambūdvīpa; nava — nine; varṣāṇi — divisions of land; nava-yojana-sahasra — 72,000 miles in length; āyāmāni — measuring; aṣṭabhiḥ — by eight; maryādā — indicating the boundaries; giribhiḥ — by mountains; suvibhaktāni — nicely divided from one another; bhavanti — are.
In Jambūdvīpa there are nine divisions of land, each with a length of 9,000 yojanas [72,000 miles]. There are eight mountains that mark the boundaries of these divisions and separate them nicely.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives the following quotation from the Vāyu Purāṇa, wherein the locations of the various mountains, beginning with the Himalayas, are described.
dhanurvat saḿsthite jñeye dve varṣe dakṣiṇottare; dīrghāṇi tatra catvāri caturasram ilāvṛtam iti dakṣiṇottare bhāratottara-kuru-varṣe catvāri kiḿpuruṣa-harivarṣa-ramyaka-hiraṇmayāni varṣāṇi nīla-niṣadhayos tiraścinībhūya samudra-praviṣṭayoḥ saḿlagnatvam ańgīkṛtya bhadrāśva-ketumālayor api dhanur-ākṛtitvam; atas tayor dairghyata eva madhye sańkucitatvena nava-sahasrāyāmatvam; ilāvṛtasya tu meroḥ sakāśāt catur-dikṣu nava-sahasrāyama-tvaḿ saḿbhavet vastutas tv ilāvṛta-bhadrāśva-ketumālānāḿ catus-triḿśat-sahasrāyāmatvaḿ jñeyam.
Conclusion – So, the terms ‘bharata-khaṇḍa’ and the ‘bhārata-varṣa’ or the ‘ajanābha-varṣa’ mean the same and they indicate the land which is surrounded on North by Himalayas and which is bordered on south by the Indian Ocean. In the east (not including the China or the hūṇa-deśa), it extends up to Malayadeśa (Malaysia) via Brahmadeśa (Burma or Myanmar). In the west, it extends up to the border of Pārasīka (Persia or Iran) and Gāndhāra (Afghanistan).
Saṅkalpa-mantra’s sample – “oṁ tat sat adya śrī-mahābhagavato viṣṇor ājñayā pravarttamānasya brahmaṇo dvitīye parārdhe śrī-śveta-vārāha-kalpe jambu-dvīpe bharata-khaṇḍe āryāvartte viṣṇu-prajāpati-kṣetre….”
(By Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī RKDS ‘ĀV’ Gurupāda – Primeval President & Mentor of BRVF)