The Sun, The Moon, Distances, and The Universal Arrangement

How is it that the statements of the Vedic Scriptures in the matter of dimensions of the sun, moon, and the distances between them don’t match with the modern scientific theories?

Partha Das, 28 October 2019

Hare Krsna, Dandavats,

Could you throw some light on the shloka from the 5th canto of Bhagavatam 5.25.2.

The sun globe, which is a source of heat, extends for 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. The moon extends for 20,000 yojanas [160,000 miles], and Rāhu extends for 30,000 yojanas [240,000 miles].

Thanks

Partha Das

Subodh, 29 October 2019

Cosmic and materials knowledge can only affirmed the belief of Krishna’s expansion but can’t get rid of from birth and death cycles, without yug mantras given by mahaprabhu, hence chant hare krishna simply be happy, 

Subodh

Partha Das, 29 October 2019

Very true Prabhuji. But a foundation made of solid knowledge will make us very good devotees of the Lord

Partha Das

Manoj Tripathi, 29th October 2019

Hare Krishna Partha Prabhu.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada,

All glories to Guru Maharaja.

The verse number is 5.24.2

Here, Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī is talking about the sizes of Sun, Moon, and Rahu. Before this verse, he talked about the distance of Rahu from the Sun. 

To adherents of modern science, it may all sound very confusing, or even laughable. However, it should be noted that the Jyotisha Shastras deal with planetary orbits and sizes, and they have been predicting eclipses, seasons etc. very well [1]. Modern measurements on size of the planets and distances (including Sun and moon!) match well with the data given in Surya Siddhanta [2]. Bhagavatam’s picture of the universe may seem to contradict Jyotisha Shastras at some points; however, a detailed study would reveal that everything is in order. And Srila Prabhupada wanted his PhDs to go through these details and construct a model of the universe presented in Bhagavatam and display it in Mayapur [3].   

[1] http://richardlthompson.com/book/vedic-cosmography-and-astronomy

[2] https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/adi/3/8/

[3] https://vanisource.org/w/index.php?title=760427_-_Letter_to_Svarupa_Damodara_written_from_Auckland&t=hl#terms=Ph.D

Manoj Tripathi

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 30 October 2019

Dear Sriman Partha,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All gratitude to all the group members for participating in this worldwide group…

Srimad Bhagavatam is Amala Purana, the spotless Purana, is the literary incarnation of Krishna Himself. Everything mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam is the Supreme Absolute Truth, even if we may struggle to understand how. Verses and purports that I read in the Bhagavatam say ten years ago sometimes make sense to me now, after all the additional context, or in a class, or somehow by Guru’s and Krishna’s mercy.

What is your actual concern with SB 5.25.2?

ŚB 5.25.2

yasyedaṁ kṣiti-maṇḍalaṁ bhagavato ’nanta-mūrteḥ sahasra-śirasa ekasminn eva śīrṣaṇi dhriyamāṇaṁ siddhārtha iva lakṣyate.

yasyedaṁ kṣiti-maṇḍalaṁ bhagavato ’nanta-mūrteḥ sahasra-śirasa ekasminn eva śīrṣaṇi dhriyamāṇaṁ siddhārtha iva lakṣyate.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: This great universe, situated on one of Lord Anantadeva’s thousands of hoods, appears just like a white mustard seed. It is infinitesimal compared to the hood of Lord Ananta.

There is no purport.

Did you mean some other statement?

Mahabhagavat Das

Partha Das, 31 October 2019

Hare Krsna, Dandavats,

Apologies for mentioning the wrong shloka number.

The correct shloka is 5.24.2

The sun globe, which is a source of heat, extends for 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. The moon extends for 20,000 yojanas [160,000 miles], and Rāhu extends for 30,000 yojanas [240,000 miles].

your Servant

Partha Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 12 November 2019

Dear Sriman Partha,

Hare Krishna!

Yes, as I stated before, the Srimad Bhagavatam is spotless, faultless. Everything mentioned in the Bhagavatam is the Supreme Absolute Truth. We may not be able to understand it, just as sometimes ordinary people cannot understand the words of a great genius…That being known, what exactly is your question?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Partha Das, 12 November 2019

Hare Krsna,

My question is that the shloka is not clear wrt what we learned in school about the sizes of these planets and the distance between them.

Dandavats

Partha Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 13 November 2019

Dear Sriman Partha,

Hare Krishna!

Yes, there are 2 ways of receiving knowledge – one is called the “arohapanthi” or the “ascending process”. The other is called “avarohapanthi” or “descending process”. The material scientists follow the ascending process (base one fact upon another that is proven), we follow the descending process. Our process is that there is the Creator and we get all our information from Him. In theory, both processes should reach the same conclusions, but in the ascending process, there are a lot of pitfalls, mistakes, etc., and the ascending process cannot discover information that is spiritual in nature.

It is important not to position the scripture and material science as competitors… Chaitanya Charan Prabhu makes that clear that both deal with different subject matters and have totally different perspectives, and he goes on to show how both are correct.

Here is an example from Chaitanya Charan Prabhu… if you mix charcoal powder with white chalk powder, you get a grey substance. Everyone can see that it is a grey substance. But when you look at the powder under the microscope there is no grey substance to be found, it is either white particles or black particles, no grey. The person looking with the naked eye says grey, the person with the microscope says black and white, and both argue – but both are right. He has numerous examples where the scripture and material science say different things but both are correct…

There is also a BBT book called “The Scientific Basis of Krishna Consciousness” by Bhakti Swarup Damodar Maharaja who was also a scientist before he took Sannyas and even after that he founded the Bhaktivedanta Institute. That book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in these sorts of subjects.

The structure of the Universe is vast, but still material, and yes, the ascending process could possibly discover the entire material truth, but it may take a long time, if at all.

Our mundane material textbooks are presently based on a big fat lie – that this Universe came from nothing. The Big Bang theory is just a theory with no conclusive evidence to support it, it is a fairy tale. Something cannot come from nothing, not even one little electron, or one nanometer of space can be created from nothing. So, the fact that we learned that in our textbooks means that the knowledge we studied there is imperfect.

When I was in school and university, I saw that with Maths and Physics, one little mistake in a proof or derivation can lead us to the wrong conclusion… in those cases, my mistakes were caught by my more expert classmates, seniors, or teachers. But in the realm of theoretical physics, as the field gets more and more specialized and sub-specialized, the reviewer pool gets very very small, to the extent that on a certain topic maybe 3 people in the world understand enough to be able to review the papers. Then, what those three people do is, collude and write papers that they each other review and approve – thus getting tenures and grants from various agencies. No one else can possibly know that they are making a mistake – the fields are too arcane. This was revealed to Srila Gurudeva when he was spreading Krishna consciousness in a small University town in America by a Post-doc researcher who was coming to the temple. I have also met many researchers who said the same thing… basically it is a closed club where nepotism and corruption exists. Sometimes the researcher does research and publishes it knowing it to be wrong, and then the following year, they just publish another paper saying they were wrong.

Our mundane material textbooks are consequently revised many times… this is true of medical texts, and many other fields of material knowledge.

But the Vedic scriptures are coming from Krishna, perfect, constant, not revised, no additions or subtractions, no errata, no addenda.

With regard to astronomy and so on, one of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, Sadaputa Dasa (Richard Thompson) (who passed away recently) has written many books that help to understand the Vedic astronomy better. And also, the Temple of the Vedic Planetariaum being built in Mayapur will help with that. Also, books and writings by Drutakarma Prabhu (Michael Cremo) are helpful.

For example, Sadaputa Prabhu said that the “islands of earth” mentioned in the Bhagavatam are different planet in the earthly system of planets… and that the “flatness of the earth” describes “planetary rings”… To be honest the writings are so intricate that I didn’t invest my time and effort into understanding them.

Until then, we say what we need to say to pass exams, get jobs, etc., and it is also possible we don’t fully understand how the Bhagavatam could be correct. But, after reflecting on all these types of questions which I also had many of, I can decide how important this is to our spiritual progress to know the distance of the sun and moon etc.

Does this help?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Sundar Gopal Das, 13 November 2019

Dear Bhakta Partha,

In addition to the wonderful reflection by HG Mahabhagavat Prabhuji, you can hear the answer from HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhuji by clicking the following link:

With regards,

Sundar Gopal Das 

Partha Das, 13 November 2019

Yes Prabhuji. I guess Krsna will keep on revealing more things to us, as we progress in Krsna consciousness.

Thanks

Partha Das

Jayakrishna, 25 November 2019

Hare Krishna!

I think The following conversation is really addressing this question

“Dr. Singh. Because the scientists haven’t detected any water on the surface of the moon, they’ve concluded that no life could survive there.

Śrīla Prabhupāda. They haven’t seen the whole surface of the moon. Suppose someone were to come here from another planet, drop into the Arabian Desert and then return home. Could he come to a complete conclusion about the nature of the whole earth? His knowledge would not be complete”

(The First Morning Walk: April 18, 1973)

It is only recently the science  proved the presence of water in moon surface!! 

With humble obeisances,

Jayakrishna Ramanuja dasa

Partha Das, 26 November 2019

Yes. It seems scientists keep changing their statements too often. Difficult to believe their theories like big bang , Darwin theory etc.

Partha Das

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Spiritualists, speak up and be heard

When going about your spiritual practices, hearing and chanting about God, don’t do it quietly, do it loudly. Why? Can spiritual sound vibration benefit others?

Many spiritualists are very quiet. Certain spiritual practices are quiet in nature. However, for maximum benefit to ourselves and others, it is important to vibrate the spiritual sound vibrations openly, and not keep them quiet. Why is this, you may ask.

As I write this, my father lives in India and is 80 years of age and my son lives with us in Toronto and is 7 years of age. They have a beautiful practice where each reads out aloud to the other. My father first reads from the Krishna Book, and then his grandson reads from the Children’s version of the same book. Sometimes they read several chapters to each other.

Several days ago, I was in the kitchen, cooking, and also thinking about an upcoming talk I was giving to young men, all smart and well-educated, but also interested in spiritual life. The goal of any such talk is to inspire. But in order to inspire, I need to be inspired myself, correct? There were many topics suggested, and I had run through many myself, but none seemed to resonate with the mood of the present times, which is filled with uncertainty and difficulty.

Many of these young men have lost their jobs due to the Pandemic-related economic fallout. Some have lost relatives to COVID-19. Some are stuck in some online version of their educational program, a poor substitute for the real thing. Some are in financial hardships. Some have challenges resulting from isolation and loneliness. But all these young men were interested in spiritual life, and were looking for spiritual answers to their problems. I had to give them something worthy, not just words but genuine spiritual inspiration.

Suddenly, I heard my father’s voice on the speakerphone, as he recited from the 56th Chapter of the book, in which Krishna is falsely accused by Satrajit of stealing a precious jewel and killing the bearer, Prasena. In order to clear up His good name, Krishna went looking, with some citizens accompanying him. Krishna soon found out that a lion had killed Prasena, and a great bear named Jambavan had killed the lion. Jambavan had then taken away the jewel and given it to his young son as a toy.

Krishna followed the trail to a deep dark cave, decided to go in. The citizens were too afraid to accompany Krishna into the cave. He then found the little child, cared for by a nurse, playing with the jewel. The nurse raised an alarm when she saw this stranger entering, and Jambavan came out in a very angry mood to find the intruder in his home.

Jambavan is in the form of a bear but a great great devotee of Krishna, in His incarnation as Lord Rama. Still, due to his anger, Jambavan didn’t recognize His Lord. Krishna and Jambavan fought for 28 days and 28 nights, first with weapons, stones, trees, and finally with their fists. Even though he was practically the strongest living entity on the planet at that time, Jambavan felt very very tired, his body hurt greatly. Note that this is the same Krishna who pounded the tyrant Kamsa (who had the strength of 10,000 elephants) to death in a short time – this was 28 days and 28 nights of pounding Jambavan had endured! Krishna was very pleased with the fighting pastime, it is hard for Krishna to find someone who can fight at His level! Jambavan finally recognized that his opponent was none other than his own very dear Lord. He surrendered and offered beautiful prayers. Jambavan said:

[Jāmbavān said:] I know now that You are the life air and the sensory, mental and bodily strength of all living beings. You are Lord Viṣṇu, the original person, the supreme, all-powerful controller. You are the ultimate creator of all creators of the universe, and of everything created You are the underlying substance. You are the subduer of all subduers, the Supreme Lord and Supreme Soul of all souls. You are He who impelled the ocean to give way when His sidelong glances, slightly manifesting His anger, disturbed the crocodiles and timiṅgila fish within the watery depths. You are He who built a great bridge to establish His fame, who burned down the city of Laṅkā, and whose arrows severed the heads of Rāvaṇa, which then fell to the ground.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/56/26/, https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/56/27/, https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/56/28/

All this greatly inspired me, because I realized something important – that when the difficulty is insurmountable, this is Krishna, appearing in the form of the difficulty! This realization had a profound impact on me. The hairs on my body stood up as I stood in the kitchen listening to my father read out Srila Prabhupada’s words on speakerphone, all the way from India! It was as if an electric current flowed through my body. This was it! This was Krishna’s answer to my prayers for inspiration!

I was then able to prepare a talk going from the attitude of the overconfident materialist who always is defeated by the material nature or the plans of God, all the way through to a consummate spiritualist who does their best while depending on God. I will write about that another time.

Here, I want to bring out how the spiritual sound vibration, when given manifest form by someone’s sincere voice, touches souls. The Sankirtan was going on between by son and my father, but the collateral benefit was to me, standing in the kitchen.

The greatest example of this was a great soul, Haridas Thakur, born in a Muslim family, rejected both by the Muslims and the Hindus, but the highest calibre of saint, elevated to the status of “Namacharya” the great preceptor of the Holy Name, by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He quoted “Anyone who chants Your name purifies all who hear His chanting, as well as Himself.” – SB 10.34.17

Because I was inspired by hearing, I could inspire over 25 young men in their spiritual life with a talk called”When the going gets tough”. And all this started from Srila Prabhupada’s Kirtan, which was inspired by his spiritual master’s Kirtan, which was inspired by his own spiritual master’s Kirtan.

None of this would have happened if any of the great saints in our line had remained silent, and had not inspired others with their spiritual sound vibrations.

When we loudly recite spiritual knowledge, the Lord’s names, and activities, we benefit other living entities even unknowingly. We benefit the trees, the insects, and the animals around us, we benefit the germs living in our body, and we purify the atmosphere all around. Just like that little living entity standing in the kitchen who was fortunate to hear the sound vibration that was originating from India and coming across the Internet all the way to Canada for the benefit of my little boy.

Next time you are remembering God, and following in the footsteps of great souls, don’t do it quietly, even if there is apparently no one around you.

Someone, somewhere will be inspired, and you will surely be counted as one of the saviours of this world.

Please let me know if I may serve you on your spiritual journey.

Misery begins when we endeavor for happiness… How?

Rao, 31st August 2015

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees!

Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to your devotional service!

Please help me to understand this quote with examples: “misery begins when we endeavor for happiness” .

your servant,
Rao

nuria.k, 31st August 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Do you mean material happiness?
aruni

Shreyas, 03 September 2015

Hare Krishna revered K.V Rao ji,
Please accept my humble obeisances and consider the below answer,
All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

I am sharing what I recently heard while hearing a lecture from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, delivered on 9th Oct ’76, Aligarh, India (SB 1.2.5):

Solution:
When mind is engaged at the lotus feet of the Lord… As it is stated in the Śrīmad-Bha…, sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor (SB 9.4.18). When the mind is fixed up in the lotus feet of the Lord, then the words are used, the vibration of the tongue used… Vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane. Then the words are utilized for describing about the spiritual world. (coughs) The spiritual world is called Vaikuṇṭha. There is no kuṇṭha, anxiety. That is spiritual world. When you become spiritualized, brahma-bhutaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54), there is no more kuṇṭha. This is the sign of becoming brahma-bhūtaḥ. At the present moment we are jīva-bhūtaḥ. Manaḥ saṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati (BG 15.7). Therefore our struggle for existence is with the mind and the six senses. But when your existence is spiritualized, then brahma-bhūtaḥ, you have no more anxieties. That is the sign. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na… Prasannātmā means na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54).

Problem (here’s the answer):
We have got two diseases in the material world. One is śocati and the other is kāṅkṣati. The things which we haven’t got, we desire to possess, kāṅkṣati. And the things which we possess, it will be spoiled, it will be lost. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says that everything in this material world is temporary: smaro nityam anityatam. So when we engage our mind in these temporary things, that is śocana and akāṅkṣa. And when we are elevated to the spiritual platform, then there is no more śocana and akāṅkṣa. This is the symptom. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu (BG 18.54). At that time it is possible to re-establish samatā. We are very much anxious to re-establish our universal brotherhood, but from the material platform it is not possible. Unless we come to the platform of brahma-bhūtaḥ, we cannot expect samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ (BG 5.18). These things are there in the Bhagavad-gītā.

So there’s no harm to endeavour for happiness, as long as the source and sink is Krishna Himself. Devotional Service is satisfying upto the degree it is selfless and uninterrupted. So if my happiness is based on something other than Krishna (selfish), then that means I am putting myself in the position of “I am the enjoyer”. This naturally isolates me from Krishna whereas the natural state is we are all parts and parcels of Krishna (mamaivamso jiva loke jiva bhutah sanatanah). Misery enters here and as my spiritual master states the word misery comes from the word miser. Examples are common. My phone gets lost or cracked I feel depressed and next day I blame Krishna for it and then I feel disinclined towards chanting my 16 rounds or instead of dancing with devotees in a kirtan or arati I remain spaced out. Or maybe skip the program too. This is because my happiness was based on that phone/car/person/job/glorification, etc. and whenever I wanted to feel happy, I depended on them.

And if Krishna is my source of happiness then I would have thanked that at least my bhakti is not lost or stolen.

Of course, it’s a matter of practice as we are daily doing but as we keep getting attached to derive happiness from Krishna, misery is reduced to that degree because we are being servants not misers. It’s all about channelizing our endeavours. We can rather hanker/lament for pushing forward the movement of Srila Prabhupada than for getting promoted in a job or getting a better salary, car or material circumstances.

However, the topmost state is when our only desire is to please guru, vaishnava and Krishna. Then our only misery is how can I please them and this misery is rather source of happiness at the same time, strengthening our Krishna Consciousness.

The Thought of the day at www.backtohome.com from Sept 1 2015, stating –

“If you are not tasting unlimited bliss at every moment, you are doing something wrong because to be constantly relishing unlimited nectar is your natural constitutional position”

helps a lot as a barometer.

Other thoughts at http://www.backtohome.com from Aug 28, Aug 22 2015 and other days are also good on misery/anxiety.

your servant
Bhakta Shreyas

Bhakta Sunil, 03 September 2015

Great answer Shreyas Prabhu

 

Shivani Saxena, 05th September, 2015

Very delightful representation Shreyas Prabhu.

Shivani

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 10th September 2015

Dear Bhakta Rao,

Hare Krishna!

Thank you for your really insightful questions. In addition to the delightful answer by Shreyas, here is something from Srimad Bhagavatam, part of several verses from Prahlada Maharaja, speaking directly to Sri Narasihmadeva, along with translation and very apt purport by Srila Prabhupada…

(BTW, that entire chapter, SB 7.9 is highly nectarean, among my favorite sections from the Bhagavatam)

SB 7.9.20: “O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with pleasing and displeasing circumstances and because of separation from them, one is placed in a most regrettable position, within heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning in a fire of lamentation. Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only remedy is to engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in such service. ”

SB 7.9.24 “My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahmā down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant. ”

SB 7.9.25

kutrāśiṣaḥ śruti-sukhā mṛgatṛṣṇi-rūpāḥ
kvedaṁ kalevaram aśeṣa-rujāṁ virohaḥ
nirvidyate na tu jano yad apīti vidvān
kāmānalaṁ madhu-lavaiḥ śamayan durāpaiḥ

Translation:
In this material world, every living entity desires some future happiness, which is exactly like a mirage in the desert. Where is water in the desert, or, in other words, where is happiness in this material world? As for this body, what is its value? It is merely a source of various diseases. The so-called philosophers, scientists and politicians know this very well, but nonetheless they aspire for temporary happiness. Happiness is very difficult to obtain, but because they are unable to control their senses, they run after the so-called happiness of the material world and never come to the right conclusion.
Purport:
There is a song in the Bengali language which states, “I constructed this home for happiness, but unfortunately there was a fire, and everything has now been burnt to ashes.” This illustrates the nature of material happiness. Everyone knows it, but nonetheless one plans to hear or think something very pleasing. Unfortunately, all of one’s plans are annihilated in due course of time. There were many politicians who planned empires, supremacy and control of the world, but in due time all their plans and empires — and even the politicians themselves — were vanquished. Everyone should take lessons from Prahlāda Mahārāja about how we are engaged in so-called temporary happiness through bodily exercises for sense enjoyment. All of us repeatedly make plans, which are all repeatedly frustrated. Therefore one should stop such planmaking.

As one cannot stop a blazing fire by constantly pouring ghee upon it, one cannot satisfy oneself by increasing plans for sense enjoyment. The blazing fire is bhava-mahā-dāvāgni, the forest fire of material existence. This forest fire occurs automatically, without endeavor. We want to be happy in the material world, but this will never be possible; we shall simply increase the blazing fire of desires. Our desires cannot be satisfied by illusory thoughts and plans; rather, we have to follow the instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. Then we shall be happy. Otherwise, in the name of happiness, we shall continue to suffer miserable conditions.

I hope this helps!

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

 

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com

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