Feb 172017

By Nitai Candra das

Reply to Sitalatma’s

Srila Prabhupada and Moon Landings


To understand Vedic cosmology and whether men can go to the moon Srila Prabhupada appointed the Bhaktivedanta Institute.

“Regarding the scientists, we have entrusted our own three scientists namely Svarupa Damodara, Sadaputa, and Madhva and we leave the matter to them, we do not say anything ourselves, but are leaving it to them.” (Letter to: Dr. W.H. Wolf-Rottkay, Chandigarh, 14 October, 1976)

We will give here the simple and true solution to the questions of Sitalatma Prabhu, by summarizing and elaborating on Sadaputa’s works on this.

Men can go to the gross moon but not to the subtle, heavenly dimension described in the Veda. The Srimad Bhagavatam describes the subtle dimensions of the universe, even when describing the Earth (or Bhu-mandala). That dimension will be shown in the TOVP- Temple of Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur. The TOVP will not show anything of the gross realm- visible by the gross eyes and telescopes, although the gross and subtle dimensions are related.

The Srimad Bhagavatam canto 5 speaks of the Bhu-mandala. That is not our small mother earth planet, egg of clay, we are familiar with. Bhu-mandala is a terrestrial sphere, like a thick disc, the top resembling the whorl of a lotus flower. It stretches from one side of the Brahmanda (=universe) to the other side, and is thus horizontally nearly 500 million yojanas.

The Srimad Bhagavatam is not small earth centered. A small earth of 5000 yojanas circumference is not even once mentioned in the Bhagavatam. Other lower modes puranas mention it.

Vayu Purana 53.46:

“The sun’s ray called susumna develops the declining moon. It is said to be exerting power (to the moon) laterally and from above.”

Linga Purana 57.73:

“The sun’s position is above. The moon is lower.”

Narada purana 2.54.154:

“In a solar eclipse the moon obscures the sun. In a lunar eclipse the shadow of the earth obscures the moon.”

Along with this, Rahu appears, remaining invisible, according to

Visnudharmottara Purana 42.40-41:

“The lord Hari-Vishnu said to me (Rahu) : ‘O Demon you will be a planet and will be worshiped. At the time of periodic change of the moon, you will cover the moon and the sun. You will be the idol of darkness and invisible and move in the opposite direction. O Demon, the moon will be covered by the shadow of the earth and the sun will be covered with the moon. When you will rise, O best of the Demon, you will always get a share in the good deeds of bathing, chanting and performing sacrifice, donation, shraddha ceremony, and the worship of gods at the time of eclipse.”

Visnudharmottara Purana 106.20-23:

“20. The pole, the son of Uttanapada is stated to be Vishnu, attached to which the crowd of the heavenly winds and lights are made to twin round. 21. The orbit of the seven rishis (the great Bear) is stated to be always below that…

22-23. Below that is the ‘Bha” circle and below is Saturn. Below that is the Sun and below him is stated to be Venus. Below that Mercury, while below him is the moon.”

Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita Chapter 4 – On the moon’s transit.

“By the sun’s rays one half of the moon that is always beneath the sun is illuminated, while the other half becomes dark by her own shadow just as one half of the pot exposed to the sun is.”

Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita Chapter 5 – On Rahu’s course.

“At the lunar eclipse the moon enters the shadow of the earth, and at the solar eclipse she enters in front of the the sun’s disc. The moon situated below and moving from the west obstructs the solar disc like the cloud.”

Surya Siddhanta

“The sun is 108 sun diameters from the earth and the moon is 108 moon diameters from the earth.”

The distance bhu-mandala to sun is 100.000 yojanas, and to the sun is 200.000 yojanas. Thus what is this Bhu-mandala and this egg of Earth.

The complete picture or understanding is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam 5.20.38 commentaries. Srila Prabhupada quotes the Sanskrit of the commentary of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, but he does not give the English translation. Here it is.

“Lokaloka’s distance from Meru is one quarter of the measurement of Meru to the universal shell (bhu-golasya). Since the earth like the sun is (approximately) situated in the center of the upper and lower halves of the universe, like the heavens (or the diameter of the moon and the sun plane to the edge of the universe), the earth plane also is 500,000,000 yojanas in diameter to the edges of the universe. A quarter of that is 125,000,000 yojanas. That is the extent (radius) of the raised mountainous area of Lokaloka. (The exact distance is different.)

However, the earth surface is 493,400,000 yojanas across (according to the dimensions given in this chapter). From the middle of Meru to the middle of Manasottara is 15,750,000 yojanas. From the middle of Manasottara to the other shore of the fresh water ocean is 9,600,000 yojanas. The golden land measures 15,750,000 yojanas. The total measurement from the middle of Meru to the Lokaloka Mountain is then 41,100,000 yojanas. The distance from one side of the Lokaloka to the end or other side of the Lokaloka mountain i.o.w the broadness of the ring mountain is 82,200,000 yojanas. This dimension is mentioned in verse 42 with the words yo ‘ntar-vistarah and yad bahir lokalokacalat. (Total is 123,300,000 yojanas from Meru to end of Lokaloka. That is the meaning of the verse.) The distance outside of Lokaloka is the same. And the distance is the same on the other side of Meru as well. Thus it is said that 125,000,000 yojanas (approximately) is the measurement from Meru to the end of Lokaloka.

Thus bhuloka is 493,400,000 (note1) yojanas with the oceans, islands and mountains. There is thus a space of 1,700,000 yojanas from the bhumandala till the universal shell all around. Because of this Sesa holds up the earth and the elephants of the directions steady it. (note 2) To explain the dimensions in any other way would make the descriptions mentioned here useless, since it has been mentioned that the diameter to the shell of the universe is 500,000,000 yojanas. It would also be impossible for Varaha to lift up the earth (bhu-mandala) which has sunk in the Garbodhaka Ocean during Caksusa Manvantara, if bhu-mandala was 500,000,000 yojanas in diameter.”

(Notes (translator HH Bhanu Swami):

1. 493,200,000 according to my calculation.

2. If the mandala touched the edges of the shell of the universe, it would not move downwards at all.)

Then another commentator Sri Vamsidhara takes this from the commentary of Visvanatha on this verse and further writes, quoting the book ‘goladarsa’, that there is a small earth, the egg of clay and the big earth, bhu-mandala, the terrestrial sphere or area of planets shaped like a huge thick disc going from one side of the universal egg to the other side.

The bhu-mandala has the earth planet in the gross dimension. And other seas, lands or planets as its subtle or heavenly dimension, bhu-svarga.

The top of the bhu-mandala is shaped like the whorl of a lotus or an upside down bowl.

The Srimad Bhagavatam (or paramahamsa samhita) is a scripture for paramahamsas (nirmatsaranam satam 1.1.2) demigods and sages. They live in spiritual, devata and muni/risi – lokas or planets. See SB 3.2.6.

They speak about the 14 planetary systems and not maybe specifically about this clay egg, a very small part of one of these 14 planetary systems, namely the bhu-mandala. Mandala means round disk.

The sun is 100.000 yojanas above the Bhu-mandala. That does not mean that the distance from the/our earth planet to the sun is 100.000 yojanas because in SB 5.21.7 Sukadeva Goswami says that the sun travels in a circle whose length is 95.100.000 yojanas. And the center of this circle– Meru- is close to this earth planet.

The sun and moon are circling around Mountain Meru, the central pole of the universe. The sun and moon are part of the svarga mandala, a plane vertically above the bhu-mandala plane. There are 14 such mandala regions, together occupying all the space in the universe from the top to the middle of the universe. The lower part of the universe is the Garbhodaka ocean.

The distances between the moon, sun and earth in these planes are given in the Puranas, I quoted above. These are approximately the same as modern science gives them. The distances of the *planes* are given in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Srimad Bhagavatam doesn’t give the distances of our familiar earth globe to sun and moon.

The distances between bhu-mandala and moon and sun, and earth and moon and sun are very different because the earth and the moon are circling around Meru close to this Meru, while the sun circles at about 1/4th of the radius Meru-wall of the universe.

The moon is therefore closer to the earth then the sun. But the moon circles around Meru on a higher level vertically-taking bhu-mandala as the horizontal plane-then the sun in this svarga-mandala and is therefore vertically higher and above the sun counting vertically from the bhu-mandala plane.

Therefore His Grace Sadaputa prabhu writes in Vedic Cosmography And Astronomy: “it hardly seems impossible to hurl a gross material object over a few thousand miles of space, or even several million”. And: “the astronauts have gone to the three-dimensional location of the moon without making the higher-dimensional journey needed to actually reach the kingdom of Candra. This would be comparable to visiting Vrndavana on the earth without being able to perceive the spiritual world that is also there.”– at the same place, but in another dimension.

The Sun and moon also have their demigod realm which is subtle or another dimension on the same location. Just as we have our gross and subtle body at the same place.

The bodies of the devatas are not of only gross matter visible for us.

“Although celestial beings are not visible to the naked eyes of the inhabitants of this earth, it was due to the influence of Maharaja Pariksit that the demigods also agreed to be visible.” (SB 1.16.3 purport)

They are of ether, air, fire, manah, buddhih, ahankarah. The gross material elements are present but in very small portions.

“The moon attained an invisible form which sustains gods and man and these sixteen deities, as also the trees and plants. His visible form Rudra bore on His head.” (Varaha Purana chapter 35.12-13)

And this subtle region Srila Prabhapada described as icy (SPL 14-10-76) “The moon is covered with ice, to explain why the moonshine is so pleasant. Moon-rays are very soothing, and we find in many places describing the pleasing effect of the moon, nitai-pada-kamala, koti candra-susitala, ye chayaya jagat judaya. This is because the moon must be covered with ice.” Thus, in Garga Samhita canto 2, chapter 5 text 13 we read: “With his ice-weapon Soma (the moon-god) struck Bakasura. Tormented by the cold, the demon fainted, but then again he stood up.”

Continuing “vedic astronomy and astrology”

HG Sadaputa writes: But “there is evidence suggesting that some cheating has taken place”.

Maybe some cheating happened in the moon traveling, but do we still have to believe 50 years later that no one went to the moon. Recently India, and China put their flag also there.

Sadaputa: “The cosmology of the Fifth Canto was controversial during the period of the 1600’s, when Vamsidhara was active.”

In other words, it is a difficult subject. Vamsidhara is one of the commentators on the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote extensively on the cosmology of the Srimad Bhagavatam. And he solved the puzzles.

From the commentaries on this fifth canto Srimad Bhagavatam we see there were various statements and figures in the Puranas and the books specifically on astronomy.

Vamsidhara tries to solve it by making the plane of Bhu-mandala a reflection and refraction by the fire sphere, anala-gola of the earth planet. Supposed to start 1 yojana around and above the round earth planet and a water-sphere. By the water and fire spheres the earth mirrored in the golden land (SB 5.20.35) becomes the bhu-mandala.

He is in the Advaita-Vedanta school so he extrapolates their bimba-pratibimba-vada.

Then do our acaryas make mistakes?

We read in the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.15 purport Jiva Goswami correcting Sridhar Swami, also on cosmology

“According to Sripada Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, there is not always a devastation after the change of every Manu. And yet this inundation after the period of Cakshusha Manu took place in order to show some wonders to Satyavrata. But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs from authoritative scriptures (like Vishnu-dharmottara, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, etc.) that there is always a devastation after the end of each and every Manu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported Srila Jiva Gosvami, and he (Sri Cakravarti) has also quoted from Bhagavatamrita about this inundation after each Manu.”

Acarya’s differing in cosmological details can be yogamaya: asura moha bhakti toshan “to bewilder the demons and to protect bhakti.” (See the commentary of Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura on SB canto 10.29.10-11 .. not to disturb the false opinions of atheists and so as to protect the confidentiality of devotional service.. Sometimes however, Krishna wishes to proclaim the excellence of bhakti-yoga)

Alternatively, Srila Prabhupada answered on this:

‘Jayadvaita: …they know everything and they’re perfect in everything. But sometimes, from our material viewpoint, we see some discrepancies. Just like we think that…

Prabhupada: Because material viewpoint. The viewpoint is wrong; therefore you find discrepancies.

Jayadvaita: So we should think that we have the defect.

Prabhupada: Yes. Acarya is explained, bhakti-samsanah: “One who’s preaching the cult of devotional service, he’s acarya.” Then why should you find any discrepancy?

Jayadvaita: Because we see… For instance, sometimes the acarya may seem to forget something or not to know something, so from our point of view, if someone has forgotten, that is…

Prabhupada: No, no, no. Then…

Jayadvaita: …an imperfection.

Prabhupada: That is not the… Then you do not understand. Acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God. His business is to preach bhakti cult. That is acarya.

Jayadvaita: And that is the perfection.

Prabhupada: That is the perfection. Hare Krishna.

Jayadvaita: So we have a misunderstanding about what perfection is?

Prabhupada: Yes. Perfection is here, how he is preaching bhakti cult. That’s all.” (Morning Walk, April 8, 1975, Mayapur)

They are expert in spiritual science. The material world is limited but the spiritual world is unlimited. The knowledge of something in the always changing material world is useless or too trivial. To know the spiritual world is their real glory and significance.

Therefore Srila Prabhupada wrote in 1976 to delegate the moon matter to the Bhaktivedanta institute.

“Regarding the scientists, we have entrusted our own three scientists namely Svarupa Damodara, Sadaputa, and Madhva and we leave the matter to them, we do not say anything ourselves, but are leaving it to them.” (Letter to: Dr. W.H. Wolf-Rottkay, Chandigarh, 14 October, 1976)

He says this is material knowledge

“This is also material education, the movement of the sun.” (Morning Walk, February 4, 1976, Mayapur)

And answers he doesn’t know details.


– Devotee: How is it that we see the moon moving?

Prabhupada: Moon, that is… Of course, I do not remember, but [laughs] the whole planetary system is moving.

– devotee : “Why is it sometimes there’s only quarter moon, no moon, half moon, full moon

Prabhupada: The same explanation. On the whole, we have to accept that something wonderful is going on. And that is Krishna’s arrangement.”

– And let’s himself be explained how moon is reflecting light Devotee: The back side of the moon. That’s what we’re seeing now. The sun’s here, hitting…

Prabhupada: I can understand now. That means moon…, moon is… A portion is bright.

– 15-4-76 mw “I was never a scientist”

– 16-4-76 mw “I am not a scientist.” This he states 20 times, while talking on cosmology.

So why take his “I am a layman” on these cosmology and moon matters as absolute– he didn’t want or claim that.

He says in the following few quotes 10 times that he is a layman.

But he never said that he was layman on spiritual matters. He is a saktyavesa-avatara from Goloka Vrndavana, meaning the realm of Go, cows-gopi’s, gopa’s. Should they know everything on worldly matters? Again, bhakti toshan asura mohan– to delude the demons and to protect bhakti. If devotees are only always healthy, wealthy etc having all the worldly opulence, the atheists will flock the temples for mundane goods. And this material world is their appointed playground to be independent, so there is sometimes purposefully covering of Krishna’s opulence.

Prabhupada: Fool. Simply childish. Balaka. What are they gaining? For the last, how many years they are trying? For going to the moon planet?

Svarupa Damodara: Russia started in 1957. First sputnik where Gagarin was there…

Prabhupada: Twenty-five years. So they could not get anything, not a single farthing even. Still, they are doing. Just see, obstinacy. Punah punas carvita. This is called chewing the chewed. Punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30]. They will never be successful. So I am a layman. When I wrote that Easy Journey? In 1950, 67. How many years?

Karandhara: Six years.

Prabhupada: No, no. Not 67, 57. Sixteen years before. They are all childish. I am a layman. It will never be successful. It is already written there in my Easy Journey to Other Planets. Here also, that, some press reporter asked me in San Francisco, when I landed, “What is your position about this moon planet?” “It is simply a waste of time and energy. That’s all. You cannot go there.” (Morning Walk, At Cheviot Hills Golf Course, May 17, 1973, Los Angeles)

uttama-sloka-gunanuvarnanam. This is success. With your talent, you simply come to the conclusion that Krishna is the Supreme. That’s all. So our business is, because we are neither scientist nor musician, nothing of the sort, layman, we have simply said, “Krishna Supreme.” That’s all. Never mind what I am (Morning Walk, December 15, 1973, Los Angeles)

Prabhupada: My point is: If the moon is going round the earth, beginning from here to there, similarly, the sun is also going around earth, because we see the similar way, it is rising and going that way. So how you can say one is fixed, one is standing? The process, we find the same. How you can say that this is fixed and this is going around? Why is…? If the process is the same, then the result will be the same. [break] Hari-sauri: …accepted the sun was moving, then they wouldn’t be able to prove that…

Prabhupada: And the… And the moon is not seen also for fifteen days in the month[?]. As a layman, we should say that as the moon is rising from this side and going to this side, the sun is also rising from this side. So if the moon is moving, the sun is moving.

Pancadravida: If that’s true, then how does… What about the changes in the moon’s face? Sometimes…

Prabhupada: True or nontrue, I am layman. I am saying that if the moon is rising from this side and going to this side, so sun is also rising from this side and going to this side. So if the moon is moving, the sun is moving.

Tamala Krishna: Common sense.

Prabhupada: Huh? Yes, I am a layman. Actually sun is moving, but they say fixed up. [break] Pancadravida: …moving the same, though, the sun…, the moon would always appear full, and it goes through changes, or phases.

Prabhupada: Yes. Why it, the moon, is…? [break] Jayapataka: They say that everything is moving. Both the earth is moving, sun is moving and the moon is moving, but everything has got its own time. Moon is moving once around in twenty-eight days, and our earth is moving around in 365 days, and sun is also moving in its own time.

Prabhupada: But they say sun, fixed up.

Jayapataka: No, they don’t say fixed up.

Pancadravida: They say there’s a point called the galactic center of the universe, and everything is moving around that point.

Trivikrama: They say like that.

Prabhupada: So what is that center?

Jayapataka: That they can’t find out.

Balavanta: Somewhere near the sun. They’ve just imagined it. It’s close to the sun, but not exactly the sun. It’s the center, they say.

Prabhupada: So our Bhagavata says the whole planetary system is moving like this…

Pushta Krishna: Yes.

Prabhupada: …centering the polestar.

Jayapataka: They admit that there’s some center of the universe. Everything is going around that, including the sun. But they don’t know exactly where it is.

Prabhupada: That is polestar.

Pushta Krishna: No, that’s admitted, that the polestar, the stars are revolving around, everything. They take photographs.

Pancadravida: What?

Pushta Krishna: Of the… Everything revolving around the polestar, the constellations.

Gurudasa: Are the moon’s phases due to the planet Rahu, Srila Prabhupada?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Gurudasa: Are the moon’s phases due to the planet Rahu?

Prabhupada: Space?

Pushta Krishna: The phases of the moon—quarter moon, half moon, full moon.

Gurudasa: Waxing and the waning of the moon.

Prabhupada: No.

Pancadravida: What’s it due to, then?

Prabhupada: That I should not exactly immediately say.

Gurudasa: We don’t accept.

Pushta Krishna: No. Prabhupada just said, “Not right now.”

Prabhupada: But moon is far away from the sun. That is from Bhagavatam.

Tamala Krishna: Further away. Prabhupada, there’s another question I have. I remember on a walk… I have read in your books that the moon’s glowing is due to reflecting the sun. Then I remember on a walk in Vrindavana you said that the moon is fiery just like the sun, but there’s a cooling atmosphere around it. So is it actually fiery glow, or is it simply a reflecting glow?

Prabhupada: That is stated in Bhagavatam.

Gurudasa: It says reflection in the Bhagavata.

Prabhupada: No, it is also a fiery place. But it is because it is far away from the sun, it is not so glowing.

Tamala Krishna: So it’s not a question of reflection only.

Prabhupada: The reflection theory is the modern theory.

Tamala Krishna: Because sometimes in the books it’s stated…

Prabhupada: Yes. Sometimes I have said or taken this modern theory.

Tamala Krishna: Just so that people will understand an example. I see.

Pushta Krishna: Another question is, “How do the different seasons come about—winter, summer, spring?”

Prabhupada: That is due to the movement of the sun.

Pushta Krishna: The…?

Prabhupada: Movement of the sun.

Pushta Krishna: Movement of the sun.

Prabhupada: But they say sun is fixed up.

Pushta Krishna: Yes, they say the earth is tilting back and forth like this.

Prabhupada: That is always doing, but it takes little time. But the movement of the sun, uttara and dakshina, what is their explanation?

Pushta Krishna: They say that the earth is tilting like this. The sun is fixed. When the earth tilts like this in the northern hemisphere there is summer, and when it tilts like this, the southern hemisphere, there’s summer. It’s tilting back and forth as it revolves around the sun.

Prabhupada: Tilting?

Pushta Krishna: Yes.

Prabhupada: But they say it is…

Pancadravida: Well, they say the earth is on a tilted axis.

Trivikrama: Twenty-three degrees from the north pole.

Pancadravida: So, as it revolves around the sun…

Pushta Krishna: That’s another theory too.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Pushta Krishna: There’s two different theories.

Hamsaduta: It’s simultaneously going around the sun, and also, in itself, it is turning. And then it’s sometimes tilting on a particular axis. It’s simultaneously moving around the so-called central sun…

Prabhupada: But for six months that, it tilts?

Hamsaduta: And then it also spins—the globe spins—and then it also…

Prabhupada: Eh?

Hamsaduta: It has different tilts. It takes different degrees.

Tamala Krishna: The tilt is always the same.

Hamsaduta: And when the sun’s rays hit the earth at a particular angle, it becomes cooler or hotter. This is their sum and substance.

Tamala Krishna: While it’s spinning, it’s not just spinning straight up and down; it’s on an axis. So it’s spinning like this.

Lokanatha: Yes. It’s going around like a ball.

Tamala Krishna: Not like this. Like this.

Pancadravida: It’s on an angle.

Hamsaduta: Yeah. And then it is tilting.

Pushta Krishna: But how does that explain summer and winter?

Tamala Krishna: Because it’s close to the sun in…

Pancadravida: Because it’s close to the sun and… No, it’s not closer.

Pushta Krishna: It spins. Every twenty-four hours it’s turning. Why should that matter?

Pancadravida: No, but the orbit around the sun is…

Pushta Krishna: Elliptical.

Pancadravida: Yes. Elliptical.

Hamsaduta: Yeah, for instance, in Sweden, they have a certain part of the year when it is always dark. So they say this is because the earth’s axis has shifted, so that… Yeah.

… Pushta Krishna: Is the earth also spinning?

Prabhupada: No.

Pushta Krishna: Or is it simply the sun’s movement that causes the day and night, everything?

Prabhupada: No planet is fixed except the sun. All are fixed up. But the whole thing is moving. That is Bhagavatam. And that you can see at night.

Gurudasa: What’d he say?

Pancadravida: No planet is fixed. The earth and sun, they’re all moving.

Gurudasa: The sun is fixed.

Tamala Krishna: Yeah, but they’re all moving.

Hari-sauri: But they’re all moving.

Prabhupada: It is like a tree, just like this. This is moving, and the sun is moving, and all other planets, they are fixed.

Hari-sauri: How is it we see the moon coming in every day, then?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Hari-sauri: How is it that we see the moon moving?

Prabhupada: Moon, that is… Of course, I do not remember, but [laughs] the whole planetary system is moving. (Morning Walk, March 18, 1976, Mayapur)

Prabhupada: …moon is hot, they say, because the shade of the earth is obstructing.

Pancadravida: Yes.

Prabhupada: Is it not?

Devotees: Yes.

Trivikrama: They say that the sun is hitting like that.

Prabhupada: Eh? The sun is there, and the earth is there. How it becomes…?

Pushta Krishna: The earth is bet… The earth is between the sun and the moon. Therefore there’s some…

Prabhupada: That’s all right, in between.

Hamsaduta: No, no. They say that the sun’s rays are striking it, only half. The other half is in shadow.

Prabhupada: What is that shadow?

Devotee (1): Night. Like nighttime on the earth.

Hamsaduta: Shadow. Like a ball. If I have a ball and shine a light on it, then…

Prabhupada: No. No, no. Shadow.

Hamsaduta: …this side will be in shadow.

Prabhupada: Shadow… “Shadow” means earthly shadow? No.

Hamsaduta: No, no, no. Its own shadow. If this is a ball, and the light is coming from here, see, this portion will be in darkness or shadow, and the other portion will reflect light.

Pushta Krishna: That’s not the modern theory.

Devotees: Yes, yes.

Prabhupada: Is that all right? Explanation?

Devotee (1): Sounds all right.

Hamsaduta: That’s what they say.

Prabhupada: “They say.” What you say?

Hamsaduta: We don’t know anything. After meeting you, we wonder if we know anything, because we thought the moon was going around the earth.

Pushta Krishna: What shadow is that? The moon casts its own shadow.

Hamsaduta: That’s what they say.

Prabhupada: They, their explanation is…

Pushta Krishna: Half the moon is in darkness.

Trivikrama: Yeah, the back side.

Prabhupada: The back side.

Trivikrama: The back side of the moon. That’s what we’re seeing now. The sun’s here, hitting…

Prabhupada: I can understand now. That means moon…, moon is… A portion is bright.

Devotees: Yes.

Pushta Krishna: Half of it is always bright.

Devotee: Yes. The part that’s facing the sun.

Prithu-putra: But this is less than half.

Prabhupada: And when they go to the moon planet, they go to the dark side. Is it not?

Hamsaduta: No.

Pancadravida: No, they say they go to the light side, too.

Hamsaduta: No, they say the dark side is so cold that no one can… Because there’s no sunlight, it is so cold.

Prabhupada: That means they have no experience of all the sides of the moon.

Hamsaduta: No, they don’t. They only have one side, experiencing.

Prabhupada: So, so what is the cause of the brightness?

Pancadravida: The sun.

Prabhupada: They have brought some dust, but this is not bright.

Trivikrama: They say it’s reflected light.

Prabhupada: That’s all right. What is the material that makes it so bright so that whole universe is illuminated?

Hamsaduta: There’s no comment on that point.

Prithu-putra: They don’t know that.

Prabhupada: They have brought some dust, but that is not bright. They have said… The other scientists, they said, “This kind of dust can be available here.” Just see. Now, how it is bright?

Pancadravida: Well, they say that from space the earth would be bright also, Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhupada: The nonsense may say anything. But our common sense, that if the…, there is some ingredient in this moon which makes it bright, so they have brought the dust, but other scientists say that this dust can be available here.

Pancadravida: So it may be cheating.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Pancadravida: Actually, they have not proved anything.

Prabhupada: That is my contention.

Trivikrama: They say the moon is bright, just like if a cloud is in the sky, it appears very white and bright because the sun is hitting it. But the same cloud, if you bring it into the room, it’s just mist.

Prabhupada: But cloud is not always existing. But this brightness is always existing. Cloud is sometimes appearing, sometimes disappearing. The moon brightness is regular. How you can compare with cloud? When you compare, there must be consistency. Analogy. Analogy means similar position. Otherwise, analogy has no meaning…. How we see the sun is fixed up? The sun is moving, we see, so quickly. And the moon is moving, but it does not move. It is fixed up. Mean regarding the time, you can see practically, the sun is moving. And they say it is fixed up. The fixed-up article is moving quickly, and the moving article is fixed up. Why?

Pancadravida: When a train is in the station, when the train pulls out of the station, when you’re in the train, it looks like that the station is moving and you’re standing still.

Prabhupada: Train has got different movement. But that means it has got different movement? Your analogy is imperfect.

Pancadravida: No, but if we…

Prabhupada: You cannot compare with train because train has got different movement. But they haven’t got different movement.

Pancadravida: But if this was moving at the same speed as the earth, it would appear to be fixed up. If the moon and the earth were both moving at the same speed, it would appear to be fixed up.

Prabhupada: No. We see practically. Now we are standing. We see the sun is moving. It comes. And the moon is moving, but it is fixed up. Why it is? The moving matter is stand still, and the fixed-up matter is moving.

Pancadravida: Actually, it’s we who are moving. The sun is…

Prabhupada: But my speed is the same.

Pancadravida: Pardon me?

Prabhupada: My, this earthly moving, that speed is the same. Why you find different position? Just consider with brain.

Pushta Krishna: If the moon is closer than the sun, according to the scientists’ philosophy…

Prabhupada: Philosophy… But we see, I mean, a distant matter is moving. We can see. And nearer, we cannot see. It is fixed up. What is this?

Pushta Krishna: If you take a bicycle wheel, a spoke…

Prabhupada: A bicycle you cannot concern. Bicycle or train, they have got different speed. You cannot compare. That analogy will not stand.

Pushta Krishna: Say you take one spoke, one…

Prabhupada: No, no, we, cannot… You cannot bring bicycles in discussion first of all. You can talk all this to the fools. Analogy cannot be accepted unless they are similar.

Pancadravida: The moon is locked up. The moon is in the same…

Prabhupada: That means you are suggesting simply. You have no clear idea. Actually the sun is moving. That is my point. Such a huge, gigantic matter, and we see, so quickly… From the sunrise, now, it is not even fifteen minutes. Just imagine how big speed is there is.

Jayapataka: But it is not so fast at midday.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Jayapataka: It is not so fast at midday.

Prabhupada: No. Eh? No…

Jayapataka: At midday, it is not so…

Prabhupada: Faster, fast…, it is fast also. But because on the head. The speed is the same. You cannot say…

Pushta Krishna: One point is there, though, Srila Prabhupada. If the moon is illuminating—it gives off its own light—then why can we only see half of the moon now?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Pushta Krishna: If the moon is illuminating, why can we only see half of the moon?

Prabhupada: They say there is half of the illuminating.

Pushta Krishna: Yes, because it’s reflected from the sun.

Prabhupada: The shadow. Then there is shadow. It is being shadowed.

Pushta Krishna: If it’s reflection.

Prabhupada: No, reflection we do not accept.

Pushta Krishna: It’s illuminating.

Prabhupada: It is illuminating.

Pushta Krishna: Giving off light.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Pushta Krishna: So then why is it that we can only see half of the moon, then?

Pancadravida: Half moon.

Prabhupada: About these movements, my position is different. My position is… There is two movements, a sun movement and the whole planetary system movement. So according to the movement… That is explained in the Bhagavatam.

Pancadravida: Why is it sometimes there’s only quarter moon, no moon, half moon, full moon?

Prabhupada: The same explanation. On the whole, we have to accept that something wonderful is going on. And that is Krishna’s arrangement. (Morning Walk, March 21, 1976, Mayapur)

Prabhupada: Yes. From the… That question I was discussing the other day. In the common sense, question, that all over the world, they accept Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in this way Saturday last. So why these arrangement, Sunday first and Monday second? And nobody could reply it. But as a layman I can conclude that sun planet is first and the moon planet is next. So if you cannot go to the sun planet, which is ninety-three million miles away, how you can go to the moon planet within four days? Nobody could answer me. Can you answer? (Room Conversation, with Reporter, June 4, 1976, Los Angeles)

Answer is that sunday is the last day of the week. It is from Genesis– old testament. God created for 6 days, and the last day, sunday, He rested. Thus Monday is the first day of the week. According to this logic the moon is the first, closest planet.

These people are going to the moon planet and… Actually whether they have gone or not, that is a doubtful thing. But the thing is, why they are coming down again? That is our challenge. If you have gone to the moon planet, then colonize there. But why you have come down again and do not talk anything about? What do you think?

Brahmatirtha: Well, I couldn’t say. They’ve been there, they say.

Prabhupada: They say; you believe. But we are common man, layman, we say that if you have gone there, why you do not live there?

Brahmatirtha: Yes, they just bring back rocks to show us, “We have rocks here.”

Prabhupada: If there is rock, if there is sand, then why don’t you colonize there? What is their answer? If there is same sand, same rock there, then why not… [break] …some money and can bring some sand and bluff people that “We have gone to moon planet.” And people are satisfied. They’re paying for another excursion, to the Mars. This is going on. If you have gone there, there is land. If you fly in the sky and if you get a land, then you can stay there. And because you cannot stay there, you come back again (Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan’s Journal, Questions 8 true 9, June 30, 1976, New Vrindavan)

So why not there? In the water there is life, within the sand there is life, in the air there is life—everywhere there is life. Why it should be vacant? Hmm? What is the opinion of the scientists? How…? We are layman, talking like layman, but why there should not be life? And in the sastra we get there is life. Not only moon; every planet is full of living entities. (Room Conversation, July 7, 1976, Baltimore)

Prabhupada: …the moon planet, there is no rainfall?

Karandhara: No, according to scientists there is no (indistinct) of rainfall on the moon.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Bhagavan: It’s very hot and very cold.

Yogesvara: Have they made another mistake?

Prabhupada: And there is no water also.

Karandhara: No.

Bhagavan: No, water.

Yogesvara: They say that the moon is covered by a very thick layer of dust.

Prabhupada: But according to our sastra, moon is one of the heavenly planets. [break] …is moon in any way? Because there is no water?

Karandhara: They say that if they want to set up some houses there, they have to, everything has to be brought there. There’s nothing there to use.

Prabhupada: How the house will be brought there?

Karandhara: Well, they plan on in the future building stations and…

Prabhupada: The water has to be taken from the station?

Karandhara: Yes. Air, water, everything has to be taken.

Prabhupada: Oh. And still they must go there. And we are proposing another planet, Vaikuntha planet. They are not willing to go there.

Prabhupada: So how you can say there is no water in the moon planet?

Karandhara: Well, they can take samples in the desert and find out if there is certain degree of moisture in the soil. They have taken the same samples on the moon and say that there is no moisture.

Prabhupada: So why the moon planet is bereft of? Material, anything material, it is combination of earth, water, fire, air, ether. Anything material. It is a combination.

Karandhara: Well, there are probably very minute quantities of moisture on the moon. But they say nothing significant, nothing suitable for agriculture.

Yogesvara: There are no plants growing on the moon. In the desert we find some plants, but they have not found any vegetation on the moon.

Prabhupada: That means they have not gone thoroughly. One portion of it.

Karandhara: Well, they have scanners on these satellites which pick up vegetation or life. From hundreds miles away, it will show up on a screen. And they sent it all around the moon, and it hasn’t shown any indication of any organic matter or life. They can send this satellite up around the earth planet and they can locate fields of corn, fields of wheat, from hundreds of miles away, just by the way it shows up on these different electronic devices. [break] (Morning Walk, June 3, 1974, Geneva)

Some more lila:

Reporter: … about traveling to the moon.

Prabhupada: You are particularly interested with that subject matter?

.. So far the movement is concerned, it has nothing to do with the moon planetary journey, it has nothing to do. (Interview with LA Times Reporter, About Moon Trip, December 26, 1968, Los Angeles)

Nilakantha: Some people are very, the public, they’re very satisfied: “Oh, I am an American, and we have done this. We have gone to the moon. We are so good.”

Prabhupada: Why don’t you say: “We have gone to Krishna-loka, Vrindavana, which you have no information”? (Morning Walk, April 28, 1973, Los Angeles)

HG Sadaputa Prabhu commented in chapter 8 of his ‘Vedic Cosmography-Astronomy’ that ‘if you put together the Bhagavatam and modern astronomy you get a contradictory picture.’

And On the first comment, he says: ’..he (Srila Prabhupada) was not interested in personally delving into astronomical arguments in detail.’

The acarya is not omniscient as God, see the 64 qualities of Krishna, Bhakti-rasAmrta-sindhu 2.1.38

sarva-jna – omniscience, is quality 52, not part of the 50 qualities of the jiva.

Srila Prabhupada also said this:

“Jayadvaita: …they know everything and they’re perfect in everything. But sometimes, from our material viewpoint, we see some discrepancies. Just like we think that…

Prabhupada: Because material viewpoint. The viewpoint is wrong; therefore you find discrepancies.

Jayadvaita: So we should think that we have the defect.

Prabhupada: Yes. Acarya is explained, bhakti-samsanah: “One who’s preaching the cult of devotional service, he’s acarya.” Then why should you find any discrepancy?

Jayadvaita: Because we see… For instance, sometimes the acarya may seem to forget something or not to know something, so from our point of view, if someone has forgotten, that is…

Prabhupada: No, no, no. Then…

Jayadvaita: …an imperfection.

Prabhupada: That is not the… Then you do not understand. Acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God. His business is to preach bhakti cult. That is acarya.

Jayadvaita: And that is the perfection.

Prabhupada: That is the perfection. Hare Krishna.” (Morning Walk, April 8, 1975, Mayapur)

To summarize, for the public or neophytes, yes, men went to the moon, but not to the heaven, which is also there, but at another dimension.

If they counter: “but I read…Or this…said…….”

Then we relate the scientific facts of this article, e.g. about the subtle regions of the universe.

Humans can’t go to the heavenly subtle regions of the moon. As we, souls, have a subtle – and spiritual body, which is not visible by the gross senses. If you visit someone sleeping, did you meet him/her? You can go to the ball of clay– moon– but be asleep to the material paradise at the same place. Then explain we are not the body, but souls, we have to go back to Godhead…… chant Hare Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada writes in Easy Journey to Other Planets chapter 2: “In these days, when men are trying to go to the moon, people should not think that Krishna consciousness is concerned with something old-fashioned. When the world is progressing to reach the moon, we are chanting Hare Krishna. But people should not misunderstand and assume that we are lagging behind modern scientific advancement. We have already passed all scientific advancement. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that man’s attempt to reach higher planets is not new. Newspaper headlines read, “Man’s First Steps on the Moon,” but the reporters do not know that millions and millions of men went there and came back. This is not the first time. This is an ancient practice. In Bhagavad-gita (8.16) it is clearly stated, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna: “My dear Arjuna, even if you go to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka, you will have to come back.” Therefore, interplanetary travel is not new. It is known to the Krishna conscious devotees.”

“They spend billions to gather some dry dust, why not the same to go to the beautiful luxurious planet of Krishna”

“these moon exploiters go and they have brought some stone, and some sand. But if you go to Krishnaloka you can bring some touchstone and make the whole Tata iron factory gold.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.2

Bombay, December 14, 1974)

If they keep arguing the same, then we say: This brings us to a realm of most confidential knowledge, called the lila or pastimes of Krishna/God, which we usually don’t discuss in public.

Why you are interested in this mundane knowledge, Why you want to go to the moon, we are not the body, we are souls we are to go back to the Spiritual World etc.. God exists, He is called Krishna….. chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

………not Rohini Candra Rohini Candra Candra Candra Rohini Rohini …….

We want to go to Radha Krishna.

For insiders, advanced devotees we can discuss the pastimes of the Lord. Devotees making mistakes is yoga-maya, not maha-maya. We quote SB 10.29.10 p. Visvanatha “..so as not to disturb the false opinions of atheists and so as to protect the confidentiality of devotional service, the Supreme Lord usually has His mystical energy exhibit….” so that devotees are not all-knowing, all-opulent, all-powerful, exhibiting mystic siddhis, healthy, wealthy, worldly-wise, faultless.

But spiritually they are All-attractive, All-opulent, All-powerful, All-qaulified, All-beautiful, All-knowing.

And they have the spiritual siddhi or perfection of love of Radha Krishna.

The issue is the interpretation on what scripture state; eg the moon is 100.000 yojanas above Bhu-mandala, the sun 200.000 yojanas above. But bhu-mandala is the plain of the ecliptic. Not the egg of clay.

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.15 purport Jiva Goswami correcting Sridhar Swami, also on cosmology:

“According to Sripada Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, there is not always a devastation after the change of every Manu. And yet this inundation after the period of Cakshusha Manu took place in order to show some wonders to Satyavrata. But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs from authoritative scriptures (like Vishnu-dharmottara, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, etc.) that there is always a devastation after the end of each and every Manu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported Srila Jiva Gosvami, and he (Sri Cakravarti) has also quoted from Bhagavatamrita about this inundation after each Manu.”

Sripada Sridhara Svami says no inundation… But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs….. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported….. there is always a devastation.

One question came: “Who, since Srila Prabhupada, is on a level equal to Srila Prabhupada such that they can question his statements on what the scriptures say regarding material universe!”

This is rtvik. Is our parampara (literally, one after the other) dead. Nothing like what Jiva and Visvanatha did can happen again. Are you the judge on who is on what level. You know on whose authority we write. Are you Srila Prabhupada’s personal secretary to say what he meant, and what His Divine Grace would say now on these issues. And also, can we-I- say?

Again, it is the interpretation of scripture. On Bhagavad-Gita 10.21 nakshatranam aham sasi, and then conclude that these ‘night-goers’ the moon and the stars reflect sun-light; the Mahabharata describes differently; in Arjuna’s journey to Indraloka to seek celestial weapons. On the way there, he passes through the region of the stars:

“And on this sunlike, divine, wonder-working chariot the wise scion of Kuru flew joyously upward. While becoming invisible to the mortals who walk on earth, he saw wondrous airborne chariots by the thousands. No sun shone there, or moon, or fire, but they shone with a light of their own acquired by their merits. Those lights that are seen as the stars look tiny like oil flames because of the distance, but they are very large. The Pandava saw them bright and beautiful, burning on their own hearths with a fire of their own. There are the perfected royal seers, the heroes cut down in war, who, having won heaven with their austerities, gather in hundreds of groups. So do thousands of Gandharvas with a glow like the sun’s or the fire’s, and of Guhyakas and seers and the hosts of Apsaras.

“Beholding those self-luminous worlds, Phalguna [Arjuna], astonished, questioned Matali in a friendly manner, and the other said to him, ‘Those are men of saintly deeds, ablaze on their own hearths, whom you saw there, my lord, looking like stars from earth below.’ Then he saw standing at the gateway the victorious white elephant, four-tusked Airavata, towering like peaked Kailasa. Driving on the roadway of the Siddhas, that most excellent Kuru Pandava shone forth as of old the great king Mandhatar. The lotus-eyed prince passed by the worlds of the kings, then looked upon Amaravati, the city of Indra (Mahabharata -van Buitenen, 1975, p. 308).”

His Grace Sadaputa Prabhu comments: “the stars are far away – so far that, if we traveled to the stars, we could not see the sun or the moon due to their great distance…Arjuna passed through the region of the stars, and he saw the stars as large, self-luminous spheres, unaccompanied by the sun or the moon…Arjuna entered a region of stars where there was no light from the sun, the moon, or fire. This is what we would expect to find if we did travel among the stars… the stars are very large, but they seem small due to distance when seen from the earth. This also agrees with modern ideas. Arjuna saw that the stars were inhabited by various kinds of beings; they were hearths of Gandharvas, Guyakas, and others, including “men of saintly deeds” who had been promoted to heaven. The stars themselves are spoken of as persons, and this refers to the predominating persons living on them.”

Also, we read in SB 11.16.16

somam nakshatraushadhinam

somam-the moon; nakshatra-oshadhinam—among the stars and herbs

My dear Uddhava, among the stars and herbs I am their lord, Candra (the moon).

Here also nothing on reflecting sun-light in any commentary.

Another question: “We believe the Vedic Scriptures descriptions of some unseen spiritual universe but doubt its descriptions of the material universe…equally we believe in purports regarding what the scriptures say about the spiritual world but they are fallible about the material world.”

Oh no, surprise(?), also there is this lila or yoga-maya– Krishna’s doing, in the spiritual realm.

See how in the Krsna book, Kamsa Is killed; through, Srila Prabhupada says punching, beating by Krishna. But Bhagavatam, and bhasyas, say: ”The Bhoja king, seeing that his best wrestlers had all been killed or had fled, stopped the musical performance originally meant for his pleasure and spoke the following words.

[Kamsa said:] Drive the two wicked sons of Vasudeva out of the city! Confiscate the cowherds’ property and arrest that fool Nanda! Kill that most evil fool Vasudeva! And also kill my father, Ugrasena, along with his followers, who have all sided with our enemies!

As Kamsa thus raved so audaciously, the infallible Lord Krishna, intensely angry, quickly and easily jumped up onto the high royal dais, Kamsa’s throne. Seeing Lord Krishna approaching like death personified, the quick-witted Kamsa instantly rose from his seat and took up his sword and shield. Kamsa was wheeling his sword and moved quickly from side to side like a hawk in the sky.

But Lord Krishna, whose fearsome strength is irresistible, powerfully seized the demon just as the son of Tarkshya might capture a snake. Knocking off his crown and grabbing Kamsa by the hair, Krishna threw him contemptuously off the elevated dais onto the wrestling mat.

Then the independent omnipotent Lord, the support of the entire universe on the lotus from his navel, threw Himself upon the fallen body of the King, so that his own body would not be injured by hitting the ground. And also, Krishna, wanting to kill Kamsa, at that moment thought of Himself– atma-tantrah– as the shelter of the universe-visvasraya– which was burdened by Kamsa, and thus crushed Kamsa, who then gave up his life. Tit for tat. The burden of the universe got the carrier of the burden of the universe on him.

As a lion drags a dead elephant, the Lord then dragged Kamsa’s dead body along the ground in full view of everyone present. Many people in the audience thought Kamsa had simply been knocked unconscious after being disdainfully thrown from the lofty dais, and being jumped upon by Krishna. Therefore Lord Krishna dragged his corpse so everyone would realize that the evil King was indeed dead.”

Krishna was dictating Srila Prabhupada, thinking: ”I would have done it differently now, such a rascal, this Kamsa, I’ll jump on him, and beat the hell out of him.”

Or, alternatively, Krishna was thinking : “In the universe, where I presently do my bhauma-lila, I kill this demon by also knocking him out; it is a bigger universe, he did more violence; give the readers the latest news.”

Or, alternatively, Srila Prabhupada saw the present Bhauma-lila extended to the rest of the spiritual dimension, as Visvanatha comments on King Ugrasena alone, being accompanied by an entourage of thirty trillion attendants. “This great number is being spoken of by Sukadeva Gosvami, the speaker of Bhagavatam, from the remembrance of the continuous ongoing nitya-lila of the Lord in Goloka Vrindavan, and not from the pastimes that happened on earth.”

Another question: “Disagreement was not in regard to a foundational cosmological structure, it was in regard to the frequency of a cyclic event.”

1. It started with the sun being 100.000 yojanas, behind the moon, according to Bhagavatam.

2. As we already explained, this leaves some 0,000000000…….1% space for those wanting to play Godhead, intellectually– I know the best– or grossly. As Sadaputa explains in Alien Identities Chapter 11 called “UFO’s and religion” in the sub chapter called ‘the role of maya’.

“This Law of Confusion is worth thinking about. The basic idea is that in order to preserve the free will of human beings, it is necessary to withhold information from them, and even bewilder them with false information. This concept is interesting, if we consider not only the bewildering character of UFO communications, but also the illusive nature of UFO evidence in general. Often this evidence is strong enough to be impressive, but it is never so overwhelming that a skeptic would be denied his own free will in deciding whether or not to accept it. One can conceive of scenarios, such as a mass landing of UFOs in Washington, D.C., which would be so convincing as to rule out this exercise of free will. Vedic ideas can throw a great deal of light on the nature of the Law of Confusion. According to the Vedas, the material world is fashioned out of an energy called maya. Maya means, illusion, magic, and the power that creates illusion. The basic Vedic idea is that the universe is created as a playground for souls who seek to enjoy life separately from the Supreme Being. If these souls were in full knowledge of reality, then they would know the position of the Supreme, and they would know that such separate enjoyment is impossible. The universe is therefore created as a place of illusion, or maya, in which these souls can pursue their separate interests.

Another aspect of the Vedic worldview is that the Supreme Being wants the materially illusioned souls within the universe to return to Him. But for this to be meaningful, it must be voluntary. The real essence of the soul is to act freely out of love. Thus if the soul is forced to act by superior power, then this essence cannot be realized. For this reason, the Supreme Being tries to give the soul the knowledge of how to return to the Supreme in a delicate way that does not overpower the soul’s free will.

I compared the universe to a virtual reality manifested within a computer by a master programmer. In a virtual reality, people actually exist outside of the false, computer generated world, but they experience the illusion that they are within that world. If they forget their actual existence, then the illusion becomes complete, and they identify themselves fully with their computer generated, virtual bodies. According to the Vedas, this is the position of conditioned souls within the material universe.

Within the overall illusion of maya, there are many sub-illusions. The overall illusion causes one to forget the omnipotence of the Supreme, and the subillusions cause one to forget the cosmic managerial hierarchy set up by the Supreme within the material universe. All of these illusions allow the individual soul to act by free will, even though he is actually under higher control.

At the same time, the illusions are not so strong that an individual who wants to seek out the truth is unable to do so. If maya were so strong as to stop any effort to find the truth, then this too would block people’s free will. According to the Vedic system, the Supreme Being arranges for teachers to descend into the material world to give transcendental knowledge to the conditioned souls. By the arrangement of maya, people will always have plentiful excuses for rejecting these teachers if they so desire. But if they desire higher knowledge, they will also be provided with adequate evidence to distinguish that knowledge from illusion.”

It cannot be accepted that a saktyavesa-avatara from Goloka Vrndavana, the spiritual world, makes mistakes. In his humility he may say he is not to be omniscient, which is a simple answer, good on the level of PR.

Also see Visvanatha’s SB.11.30.5 commentary.

“Internally the Lord thought as follows. “Among all the persons who came to meet me from various places during the trip to Kurukshetra, Kali came unnoticed by others and spoke to me. “O master! When will I take charge of the earth?” I said, “You can take charge only when my pastimes are over.” After I disappear, with the right given by me, Kali will pervade the earth. However, during my present appearance, dharma has increased to four legs, even greater than in Satya-yuga. If dharma is so strong, how can Kali rule? The rule is that Kali will rule when there is only one leg of dharma remaining. One should not say that when I disappear then the four legs of dharma will also disappear, on the logic of nimittapaye naimittikasyapy apayah: when the cause disappears, the effects disappear, since the devatas of great fame, purifiers of the whole world, remain alert. Moreover I have destroyed the unfavorable among the population of favorable, unfavorable and neutral parties. Now, if I ascend to Vaikuntha with all the inhabitants of my abode, in sight of all persons, as Rama did, the favorable devotees will double in number. Those who are already intensely favorable will increase their prema a hundredfold out of great longing in prema and those who are neutral will become devotees on seeing this extraordinary event. Dharma will thus increase. How will even a little influence of Kali be possible? By what method will I increase adharma in order to restrict dharma?

Here is the method. I will remain as I do now in Dvaraka with the Yadus who are my associates in pastimes, but will become invisible to the eyes of all material people. The devatas who are vibhutis, such as Cupid and Kartikeya, have entered into my eternal associates like Pradyumna and others. By my power of yoga I will withdraw them from those bodies, without others noticing. Making some fake forms for the eyes of ordinary people, which appear to be Pradyumna and others, I will have them go to Prabhasa, with the other inhabitants of Dvaraka, and have them drink wine after meditating and giving charity, and send them to Svarga according to their individual qualification as devotees. I (in another form) will depart for Vaikuntha with the other inhabitants of Dvaraka, as Rama did. (The root forms of Krishna and his associates remained in Dvaraka invisibly.) But I will let the common people see the influence of maya. They will think that the Yadus left Dvaraka, went to Prabhasa with all the Yadu dynasty, and under the control of the brahmanas’ curse, drank wine and gave up their bodies after killing each other. They will think the Lord along with Balarama, giving up a human body, ascended to the spiritual abode. Thus they will say that my body was temporary, made of matter. Thinking I have a material body is a great offense. I have said avajananti mam mudha manushim tanum asritam: the fools deride me, thinking I have a material human form. (BG 9.11) I have describd the result:

moghasa mogha-karmano mogha-jnana vicetasah

rakshasim asurim caiva prakritim mohinim sritah

Among those who cannot distinguish this truth, those who are devotees do not gain salokya, those who are karmis do not attain their material fruits, and those who are jnanis do not attain liberation. They assume the nature of Rakshasas and asuras. BG 9.12

If the devotees think in this way, their desire to attain me will be futile. If the karmis think in this way, they cannot attain Svarga. If the jnanis think in this way, they cannot attain liberation. They become Rakshasas. Some will think that Supreme Lord has a temporary body because of seeing that all others have temporary bodies. Some bodies live a long time and others a short time. Others will claim that just as Kurus all died, Krishna died with his family at Prabhasa. By people’s hearing, speaking and praising such preaching of wrong ideas by idiots who think they are learned, immediately one leg of dharma only will remain.

Just as eyes afflicted with jaundice see a shining white conch to be yellow, people whose minds and eyes are afflicted by maya will see my departure pastimes, which are actually eternity, knowledge and bliss, to be afflicted by material misfortune. They will see and conclude that I gave up my body along with all asociates like Pradyumna and that the queens like Rukmini were burned in the funeral fire. Not only the materialists will see this. Even persons like Arjuna will see this by my divine will. Sages like Vaisampayana and Parasara will describe this in their works. And Siva, my devotee, taking birth in Kali-yuga, will preach this in a commentary of the Vedanta-sutras in order to spread Kali’s influence. Persons with no intelligence, repeatedly studying the sutras, will explain the meaning according that commentary. Sukshmo yah karanopadhir mayakhye ’neka-saktiman sa eva bhagavad-dehah: the body of the Lord, possessing unlimited powers, is a subtle covering of maya on Brahman.”

We already explained this principle of bewildering the demons and shielding bhakti and bhaktas. The demons feel God or guru has been defeated. So they are plunged further into atheism. This is also done under the direction of the Supreme.

As we read in Caitanya Bhagavata Adi-khanda 2.35 purport:

“The words vaishnavera ‘avatara’ indicate that the Vaishnavas belong to Goloka. They do not possess gross or subtle designations. These residents of Goloka appear in this material world for the benefit of the living entities. The Vaishnavas accept gross and subtle bodies to bewilder the demons and accomplish some task; those bodies are not their constitutional forms. If fruitive workers consider a Vaishnava low-class because of his external appearance, this improper vision makes them offenders. Everyone within eight hundred thousand miles from where a Vaishnava appears or incarnates in this world is freed from all material conceptions. They then become relieved from the misunderstandings of considering the Vaishnavas as born in a particular caste, as belonging to a particular creed or asrama, as being simply ordinary scholars, or as being objects of mundane enjoyment. The real sadhus who worship Sri Hari and give proper respect to the demigods and brahmanas never fall under the clutches of demonic vehement karmis by disrespecting the Vaishnavas and thereby cleansing and widening their path to hell.”

And see Visvanatha’s SB 11.30.37 commentary on the Yadus killing each other. “As the sun was setting, with consciousness distorted by intoxication of liquor, they destroyed each other, just as bamboos by mutual friction start a fire and destroy the whole forest.

Seeing this action of his maya, Krishna, sipping the water of the Sarasvati River, sat down under a tree.

According to the Third Canto, when the sun was setting and the Yadus had killed each other in battle, the Lord sat down on the bank of the Sarasvati River. Then the hunter approached to kill a deer. But this is not possible. If 560,000,000 Yadus were suddenly killed in battle at that place, there would be a river of blood and great confusion of noise. How would it be possible for the hunter to arrive there to kill a deer? How would a deer, fearful in nature, remain in that place? Therefore this killing of the Yadus was actually false. However, the Lord made Arjuna and others believe it, in order to increase the prema in karuna-rasa of his devotees like Yudhishthira and to make them give up this world. And for others, he did this to increase the wrong philosophy so that dharma would be stifled. Actually, after the devatas had drunk wine and disappeared, the hunter came to that place which was without sound and people. (The battle was an illusion.).”

And, in the conclusion to his work Mahabharata-tatparya-nirnaya, Sri Madhvacarya-pada has written the following purport to the maushala-lila. “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in order to bewilder the demons and ensure that the word of His own devotees and of the brahmanas be maintained, created a body of material energy into which the arrow was shot. But the Lord’s actual four-armed form was never touched by the arrow of Jara, who is actually the Lord’s devotee Bhrigu Rishi. In a previous age Bhrigu Muni had placed his foot on the chest of Lord Vishnu. In order to counteract the offense of improperly placing his foot on the Lord’s chest, Bhrigu had to take birth as a degraded hunter. But even though a great devotee willingly accepts such a low birth, the Personality of Godhead cannot tolerate seeing His devotee in such a fallen condition. Thus the Personality of Godhead arranged that at the end of Dvapara-yuga, when the Lord was winding up His manifest pastimes, His devotee Bhrigu, in the form of the hunter Jara, would cast the arrow into a material body created by the Lord’s illusory energy. Thus the hunter would become remorseful, gain release from his degraded birth and go back to Vaikuntha-loka.

Therefore, to please His devotee Bhrigu and to confuse the demons, the Supreme Lord manifested His maushala-lila at Prabhasa, but it should be understood that this is an illusory pastime. The Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, from His very appearance on the earth, did not manifest any of the material qualities of ordinary human beings. The Lord did not appear from the womb of His mother. Rather, by His inconceivable power He descended into the maternity room. At the time of His giving up this mortal world, He similarly manifested an illusory situation for the sake of bewildering the demons. To bewilder the nondevotees, the Lord created an illusory body out of His material energy while simultaneously remaining personally in His own sac-cid-ananda body, and thus He manifested the downfall of an illusory, material form. This pretense effectively bewilders foolish demons, but Lord Sri Krishna’s actual transcendental, eternal body of bliss never experiences death.” (Quoted in SB 11.6.35 purport.)

To conclude with his own words on this a letter April 8, 1968:

“You may inform all devotees that Maya cannot touch a pure devotee. When you find a devotee is supposedly in difficulty it is not the work of Maya, but it is the work of the Lord by His personal, internal energy. The Pandava’s tribulations in so many ways; Lord Ramachandra’s departure to the forest; His wife, the Goddess of Fortune, being kidnapped by Lord Ravana; Lord Krishna’s death being caused by the arrow of a hunter; Thakura Haridas’s being caned in twenty-two markets; or Lord Jesus Christ’s being crucified—all were acts of the Lord personally.

We cannot always understand the intricacies of such incidences. Sometimes they are enacted to bewilder persons who are demons. .. It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita that anyone who is cent percent engaged in the service of the Lord is transcendentally situated, and the influence of Maya has no more action on such a person. The Lord and His pure devotees are always beyond the range of Maya’s action. Even though tribulations pure devotees suffer appear like the actions of Maya, we should understand such actions to be of Yogamaya, or the internal potency of the Lord.

My blessings for you all. I am feeling all right.

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Hare Krishna.

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