To find an answer to the natural curiosity about Shakdwip, one can look at the Indian cosmology, where it is described that Shakdwip is one of the seven Dwips that existed during ancient times.
Our earth has seven ‘Mahadwips’ known as continents which are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
Geomorphology of Shakdwip
If you look at the geomorphology of these modern times ‘Mahadwips’, they cover almost 30% of the land areas of the earth. Rest is submerged in water which is oceans.
Time to time earth has been subjected to major changes in its curvatures. There are many instances when the earth has changed substantially as a result of a major volcano, earthquakes and falling large meteors.
During olden times too, our earth had seven ‘Mahadwips’ or continents, but they were named as Jambudvip, Plaksdvip, Salmalidvip. Kushadvip, Krounchadvip, Shakdwip, and Pushkardvip.
This fact has been well documented in our many ancient scriptures.
These Seven Dwips respectively were surrounded by seven oceans, whose water contents looked like Milk, Honey, Saltwater, Wine, Sugarcane juice, Ghee and Curd.
bhūmer ardhaṁ kṣāra-sindhor udak-sthaṁ
jambu-dvīpaṁ prāhur ācārya-varyāḥ
ardhe ’nyasmin dvīpa-ṣaṭkasya yāmye
śākaṁ tataḥ śālmalam atra kauśaṁ
krauñcaṁ ca gomedaka-puṣkare ca
dvayor dvayor antaram ekam ekaṁ
samudrayor dvīpam udāharanti
As described in ‘Matsya Puran’ there were not only Seven Dwips, Seven Maha Sagars but there were Seven Mountains in Shakdwi. These seven mountains were named Meru, Malaya, Jaladhara, Raivata, Syama, Durgasail, and Kesara.
As per the Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.20.3-42), the Island Of Sakadvipa, lays just next to Kraunchadvipa. It is a planet of the Pious people, whose inhabitants practice Pranayama and the mystic Yoga, and when they are in a trance, they worship The Supreme Lord in the form of Vayu.
The term ‘Maga’ and ‘Shakdwipiya‘ has been also found in Vedasint many places. There are enough scriptures on it. Even in the Bible, the term ‘Magi’ is referred to as “gift of Magi”. Magi means the wise man. The Magi priests had blessed Jesus Christ when he was born.
Iranian Evidence of Shakdwip
In Iranian texts from Khotan, one may find the mention of Mundira Swami. Mundira refers to the Iranian Surya or the Sun god, wearing a long coat with a sacred girdle and knee-high boots, which were worshipped by Indian Kings.
In the background of the above mythological stories and the archeological evidence, the question arises here as to where did actually ‘Shakdwip’ reside on its earth curvature.
From the description of Mundira as above, we can go a step further and may analyze the Modhera temple in Gujarat and Munirka village in Delhi. They remind us of the name Mundira.
The Sun God at Konarak, Orissa is famous in his Iranian drapery and boots. The royal priests of this royal Konark temple were said to be of Iranian descent.
Were these priest Sakadvipiya Brahmanas? This annotation points out that Iran was a part of Shakdwip.
Shakdwip has been identified by someone, in modern times to encompass Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, North Turkmenistan, and regions of North and Western Caspian Sea. Its area is estimated to be of 26 lakh yojans.
Some people describe ‘Shakdwip’ to cover modern Eurasia i.e some parts of Europe and some parts of Central Asia.
Since with time, the very geography of the earth has gone through substantial changes, it is very difficult to precisely point out the exact locations of various Dwips, ocean, and mountains of ancient times.
However one can be sure of the fact that Shakdwip definitely existed and so were its inhabitants and their migrants to the different part of the world.
Description in Mahabharata
One can also find a detailed description of Shakdwip and its location from the Bhishma Parva.
The Bhishma Parva typically describes the happenings of the first 10 days of the 18 days of Mahabharata War. Sanjoy recites the descriptions in a narrative form to Dhritarashtra.
In Bhishma Parva, 11 chapter Sanjoy describes to Dhritarashtra about Shakdwip as follows (please forgive me for my bad translation):-
“O Kurunandan, Shakdwip in respect of its area is double of the size of Jambudwip. Its ocean is also very large and surrounds the Shakdwip. The name of the ocean is Chhirsagar where Lord Vishnu resides. The people of Shakdwip are very divine and apologetical. They are free from disease and live a very long life. O Maharaja, I have described Shakdwip in ‘As it is’ form to you.”
On listening to the above, Dhritarashtra asked Sanjoy:-
“O wise Sanjoy, You have summarised Shakdwip, now tell me about it in detail description.”
Sanjoy responded, “Hey Rajan, there are seven mountains with very costly stones and jewels, seven rivers with sweet water and divine coral reefs.” He orated further the names of those mountains and rivers, its color and importance to Dhritarashtra.
Sanjoy further said that ” Hey Nareshwar, there is a ‘Mang’ district where mostly Brahmins reside, who are very sincere to their Karma, in ‘Mashak’ district Chhatriyas reside who are protectors of the people and all living beings and follow the religious orders. The ‘Mandag’ district is the dwelling of mostly Shudras. They are also very religious in nature.”
He kept on saying “O Rajendra, there is no king in Shakdwip. There are neither any offenders in the Dwip nor anyone to punish. Every citizen of that land very knowledgeable person and works as per their Self Dharma. Hey Maharaja, This is all about that reverent Shakdwip.”
Jai Bhaskar !!
Some more relevant materials:
अयोध्या का प्राचीन सूर्य कुंड मंदिर: सूर्य उपासना केंद्र, दर्शननगर, फैजाबाद
शाकद्वीपीय ब्राह्मणों के बारे में कुछ ऐतिहासिक तथ्य
शाकद्वीपीय ब्राह्मणों के गोत्र और पूर की कुछ विशिष्ट जानकारीयाँ
शाकद्वीपीय ब्राह्मण इतिहास : एक संक्षिप्त विवेचना व अध्ययन
Who are Shakdwipiya Brahmins? : A tale of Divya Brahmins in India