Sunrise And Sunset In Different Varṣas by Srila Vishnavatha Chakravarti Thakura
What we call “sunrise” means seeing the sun from a great distance, apparently in contact with the earth. This is because of the sun’s rotational movement. Seeing the sun apparently in the middle of the sky is what we call mid day or noon. “Sunset” is not seeing the sun, because it apparently enters the earth. “Midnight” is when the sun in a position very far from the observer. Thus the śruti statement- adbhyā vā eṣa prātar udety apaḥ sāyaṁ praviśati: the sun rises from the ocean in the morning, and enters it in the
evening – is from the perspective of when one is standing on the ocean shore. It is conventional,
The arrangements for the sun’s rising, setting, midday and midnight according to the different varṣas are described: Viṣṇu Purāṇa says yair yatra dṛśyate bhāsvān sa teṣām udayaḥ smṛtaḥ: “wherever the sun is seen by particular persons, they call that the sunrise. First sight of the sun is called sunrise.” The word nimlocati means “sets.” Where the sun rises, simultaneously it sets at a point exactly opposite. When, after a period of thirty ghaṭikās after sunrise, the sun is in the middle of the sky, causing perspiration (syandena), at the opposite point it is midnight (prasvāpayati). Persons who see the sun set and then rise, do not see where he has gone.
That is the meaning of saying that “they sleep.” Amongst the four directions around Meru, wherever the sun is seen to rise, it is noon in the varṣa to the east, midnight to the varṣa in the west, and sunset in the varṣa to the north. And when it is noon, it is sunset in the eastern varṣa, sunrise in the western varṣa and midnight in the northern varṣa. When one sees sunset, it is noon in the western varṣa, midnight in the eastern varṣa and sunrise in the northern varṣa. All the people situated in all the varṣas consider themselves situated to the south of Meru and simply see sunrise, noon and sunset in their own varṣa, and know the phases of the sun in other varṣas by the previously mentioned conception.
In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said:
śakrādīnāṁ pure tiṣṭhan
spṛśaty eṣa pura-trayam
vikarṇau dvau vikarṇa-sthas
trīn koṇān dve pure tathā
Situated in one city, the sun touches three other cities and two intermediate places. Situated at an intercardinal city, the sun touches three intercardinal cities and two cardinal cities. Situated in any of the cardinal cities, the sun touches three cardinal directions and two intercardinal directions. Situated in the eastern varṣa at noon, there is sunrise in the southern varṣa, sunset in the northern varṣa. This is the
meaning of touching three cardinal directions.
And in the southeast varṣa it is the first yāma and in the northeast varṣa it is third yāma of the day. This is the meaning of touching two intercardinal points (dvavikarṇau). If the sun is situated in an intercardinal varṣa then he touches three intercardinal points and two cardinal points. If the sun is situated in the southeast varṣa at noon, it is sunrise in the southwest varṣa and sunset in the northeast varṣa. It is the first yāma in the southern varṣa and the third yāma in the southern varṣa. Thus two cardinal points are touched. The same follows for being situated at any other intercardinal or cardinal point.
—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam » Canto 5: Chapter 21: The Movements of the Sun » Verse:8-9; Sārārtha-darśinī commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.