Is Vedic geography and Cosmology limited to India alone?

Do the Vedic texts only refer to India? Is the Vedic view that the earth is flat? What is the truth here?

Manoj Tripathi, 19 May 2016

Hare Krishna dear devotees.

Please accept my humble obeisances.

I was reading the Mahabharata translation by Krsna Dharma prabhu, wherein there are references to several places on this earth. The most interesting ones are mentioned in the portions describing the Rajasuya and Ashwamedha yagyas which Maharaja Yudhishthira performed.

All the places mentioned in these parts of the text seem to be in or around India. Also, it is never mentioned that they crossed the ocean to go to some other place like present Australia or the USA. 

The questions that arise are following:

a. Were there no powerful kingdoms in other parts of the world; or were the capitals of all the kingdoms located in and around India?

b. Are many of the routes and places which were accessible to people in those times not visible to us now?

I reconcile the present and past with these two arguments. Is there anything else that should be understood while reading about the past?

Sorry if I have posted something irrelevant.

Thank you.

Manoj

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19 May 2016

Dear Manoj,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yes, Krishna Dharma Prabhu is in disciplic succession from Srila Prabhupada and his translation is relied upon by many devotees within ISKCON.

What is missing in that edition of the Mahabharata is purports as found in Srila Prabhupada’s books to give us full context of the verses (our context is very different today)… but then the work would become really massive because with Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam purports, with 18,000 verses it comes to 18 volumes of books… the Mahabharata has 100,000 verses! 🙂 How many of us have read even Srila Prabhupada’s books thoroughly?

On this topic of reconciling things as they appear today vs. Vedic history, a great reference is Devamrita Swami Maharaja’s “Searching for Vedic India“.

The main point is that human civilization is a devolution from Vedic civilization, things were not more primitive 5000 years as claimed by modern historians and scientists ago but actually more advanced. This cannot be accepted by a person who is proud.

In one lecture by Srila Prabhupada, on the verse BG 1.5, Srila Prabhupada says this:

“Practically in the Battle of Kuruksetra great personalities, warriors, from all parts of the world they came and joined. Some of them joined with this party and others joined with the other party. So far we have studied… just like Saibya, he belonged to Sibya. So all these personalities, we did not get their full description, it would enhance the pages. But these big personalities, we have got their information. There is a book, The Personalities of Mahabharata. Bhagavad-gita is part of Mahabharata. Mahabharata means greater India. Maha means greater, and bharata means India. So this whole planet was Bharata-varsa. There was only one flag. The whole planet was being ruled by one king. That is the king of this Hastinapura. The fight is that, that who would be the king, Maharaja Yudhisthira or Duryodhana. But a king… It is not a democratic; it is monarchy. So Krsna is deciding, “No, Duryodhana is unfit. Maharaja Yudhisthira is fit.” This is Krsna’s desire. Therefore this fight is there. Kuruksetra. Krsna wanted to wipe out all unwanted demons from the face of the world and enthrone Maharaja Yudhisthira because he is the exact representative of Krsna.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, “Everything (Even Dictatorship) Can Be Utilized for Krishna” 73/07/10 London, Bhagavad-gita 1.4-5)

So, the situation was that there were kings all over the world, but there were greater kings and lesser kings. And this was a war of the advanced Kshatriya races, the tribals, low-class humans, and animal-like-humans were not involved in it. In the Ashwamedha yajna, or declaration of supremacy, it was only necessary to get allegiance from the greater kings, the subordinates were naturally bound to follow suit. And of course, less advanced humans didn’t even figure in the equation.

Even in more modern times, it was like that with the Greek or Roman empire, if someone destroyed Athens or Rome, then the entire empire was practically gone.

Also, travel was not necessarily done as it is done today – for example, in the Mahabharata it is mentioned that Arjuna travelled to the heavenly planets. Where is the transportation means today that can take someone to the heavenly planets? So yes, the means of transportation as it existed then is not known today.

The secret is mantra yoga, by proper chanting of a mantra, one can achieve any desired success, whether material or spiritual, it is not necessary to make a tunnel to go through a mountain, it is not necessary to construct a floating ship to go over water, and it is not necessary to construct a metal tube with Bernoulli’s principle to fly in the air. The mantra is very powerful.

However, in the Krishna consciousness movement, we are not interested in discovering processes of material accomplishments, we simply want to chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra

and become pure servants of the servants of the devotees of Krishna.

So therefore, we don’t always focus so much on the exact reconciliation of modern understanding with what is mentioned in the Vedic literature, we are going for the highest success, we don’t care to fly in a celestial flying craft or manufacture gold from chanting mantras etc.

Does this make sense?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagvat das

Manoj Tripathi, 19 May 2016

Thank you Mahabhagvata Prabhu for such a lucid answer.

These kinds of questions automatically come to mind, however upon thinking a little more I realize that there is no end to such inquiries.

Thank you so much for bringing me back.

Hare Krishna!

Sincerely,

Manoj

Kaspars, 02 June 2016

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Is the planet Earth considered circular or flat in Vedic literature? One local devotee answered to me like this. Advanced people see more dimensions, not our three… It is length, width, height. So we cannot even imagine how Earth looks in other dimensions. Still I am curious whether the Earth was considered flat by ancient people. And how then we get the circular globe.

Kaspars

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 2 June 2016

Dear Kaspars,

Hare Krishna!

The 5th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam gives a good idea of the structure of the Universe. See https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/5/, especially SB 5.16 onwards.

The Vedic cosmology goes beyond our insignificant planet. The “earth” is actually a large collection of “earthly” planets (islands) that are arranged to form something that looks like a disc. So yes, the “earth” is flat, but only when you consider that “earth” means “earthly planetary system with many many planets such as ours”.

Also, this is a video especially for you, this is a simulation of the  chandelier that will be inside the TOVP dome, it gives a good idea of Vedic cosmology according to Srimad Bhagavatam 5th Canto… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdX5lffC2IQ

All these things are difficult to fully understand, imagine an ant trying to understand the plan of a big city, it is practically impossible.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

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Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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