Srila Prabhupada and Moon Landings 2

 

By Nitai Candra dasa - 4.3 2017

Reply to HG Sitalatma’s

Srila Prabhupada and Moon Landings

Sitalatma Prabhu gave us a concept of a misty universe introduced with “Perhaps”.

He wrote:

»> 3D universe studied by modern science is …. a product of our illusion and we create it as we observe it – clay Moon, clay Earth, round Earth, flat Earth, planets, stars, etc.

Our comment:

The round Earth is the gross dimension.

The flat Earth is the subtle dimension.

Then he wrote:

“..figuring out how our perceptions of space, distances, sizes, traveling etc are formed, and how much connection these perceptions have with the reality as it’s described in Srimad Bhagavatam.”

Our comment:

Here is some point. We mortals of today see only gross. The Bhagavatam, written 5000 years ago, states the subtle worlds. At that time the inhabitants of the Earth planet had also access to these realms.

HG Sadaputa writes: “with the advent of the Kali-yuga, the earth (or at least the portion of the earth known to us) was placed under celestial quarantine, and access to higher planets was largely cut off (SB 2.6.29p).”

What is in the subtle dimension of the subtle bhumandala, (in Bhagavatam translated as Earth) is islands or land regions in the form of rings with, in-between each ring, ring-shaped oceans of salt water (lavanoda), sugar cane juice (iksura), strong drinks (suroda), ghi (ghrtoda), milk (ksiroda), yoghurt (dadhyoda) and very tasty sweet water (svadudaka). All these oceans have the same fluidity as water.

At the centre is Jambudvipa (dvipa means: island). It is divided in nine varsas (planets, provinces) and one of them is bharata-varsa. The gross earth planet is in the gross dimension of this subtle bharata-varsa, which is at the same location but in the subtle dimension, as our gross and subtle bodies are more or less at the same location, but in different dimensions.

The gross bharata-varsa is the (only) planet where the bharata (light) of the Veda can and does sometimes fully shine.

The other varsas and dvipas of the bhu-mandala are called bhauma-svarga or paradisiacal areas in the bhumandala. There is too much hedonism to take complete shelter of Krishna consciousness. The description of these heavens and life there is in S.B. 5.16.12-25 and S.B. 5.20. The inhabitants of these varsas are at least part-time devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhauma-svarga and the oceans in-between are not visible with gross senses; they are higher dimensional. However, these dimensions are connected with each other, just as our subtle body is connected to our gross body, controlling and enjoying it.

The perigee (the point situated nearest the earth in the orbit of a celestial body around the earth) of the orbit of Venus (the gross planet out there) coincides with the outer coast of the ocean of ghee (clarified butter). The perigee of Mars is the inner coast of the ocean of milk. The perigee of Mercury is the outer coast of the ocean of milk. The perigee of Venus is the inner coast of the ocean of sweet water. The apogee (the point of the orbit of the moon, or a planet or a satellite that lies the farthest of the earth) of the planet Mars is the outer coast of the ocean of sweet water. The apogee of Mercury is Manasottara. The perigee of Jupiter is the inner edge of Kancana Bhumi (the golden land SB 5.20.35). The apogee of Saturn is the adrsya drsyaka giri, the Lokaloka-parvata (drsya means visible and loka inhabited; parvata or giri means mountain).

If the ring-shaped oceans and lands would be gross matter, Venus Mars Mercury Jupiter Saturn would crash into it. Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn move in the gross level of this Bhu– and adjacent mandalas, as we have our gross and subtle body at the same location but at differing reality levels.

The moon has also a gross and subtle region.

HG Sadaputa comments: “The clothes, food, dwellings, airplanes, and other paraphernalia of the demigods must be just as invisible to us as the demigods themselves. (Imagine what it would be like to see a suit of clothes being worn by an invisible demigod!) In other words, the demigods live in a complete world that is invisible to us but perfectly visible to them. They can travel to our world since they are endowed with suitable mystic powers, and advanced yogîs can travel to their world. However, humans with ordinary senses cannot perceive the demigods or their gardens and cities. This sums up what we mean by a higher-dimensional world.” (Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy 8)

That acarya’s, or anyone other than the Lord can theoretically have occasional mistaken notions is admissible, see:

Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tirtha SB 5.16.7:

“But how can the description that one lakh (100,000) yojanas is the extent of the island and the same is the height of Meru be clear in the light of the statement of Parâsara that Meru is 84,000 yojanas tall? The reply is, “That cannot be known as “it is thus,” since it cannot be described in words, nor inferred or debated. Even highly learned people, although seeing it, do not know the nature and form of Meru.” This sums up the difficulty and also it is plausible that Parâsara could have been mistaken. The mention that Indra saw it as circular while Brhaspati saw it as pentagonal also means that deities like Indra etc. also could be mistaken. It may well be questioned that, “Is it not preposterous to suppose that sages who see past, present and future can mistake things? How could Parâsara having attained divine knowledge by the grace of the Lord, say untrue things?”

But since it is established in the light of other authorities, the fact that anyone other than the Lord can theoretically have occasional mistaken notions is Admissible.”

And when this happens, then this is Krishna’s lila as we have explained quoting asura moha bhakti toshan “to bewilder the demons and to protect bhakti.” From 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..)

This is a well known feature, as is also explained in the Nectar of Devotion: BRS 2.5.130

Just as one very carefully protects a great treasure from thieves, the devotees protect bhakti-rasa from the withered mîmâmsakas, since they are totally unqualified for relishing bhakti.

Jîva Gosvâmî’s Commentary

Since all the mîmâmsakas are particularly devoid of tasting bhakti (indicated by the word iti), Krishna-bhakti-rasa is especially hidden from them. The verse also means that, to varying degrees, bhakti- rasa is also hidden by the devotees from the false renunciates, the dried up jnânîs and logicians. These persons are compared to thieves in order to indicate that they are excluded from bhakti- rasa just as one avoids thieves, and not to indicate that they have greed for stealing bhakti-rasa. Instead of caurâd iva (from thieves) sometimes vahner iva (from fire) is seen.

Or in the Sri Sarasvati Sanlapa of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

Kumâra: But why are there differences of opinion among various spiritual texts?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: One sees conflict when one views these apparently opposing opinions with one’s material vision, but in the spiritual or enlightened understanding, perfect harmony and resolution is found to all such conflicts. In order to bewilder the demons and to protect the confidential treasury from unauthorized people, a contradictory picture is painted from the outside. This only reflects the author’s intention to maintain the confidential nature of scripture. Krishnadâsa Kavirâja Gosvâmî writes in Srî Caitanya-caritâmrta (Âdi 4.236):

“For fear of them I do not wish to speak, but if they do not understand, then what can be happier in all the three worlds?”

other translation:

“If those whom I fear are themselves unable to comprehend these topics, then what could be a greater source of happiness in all the three worlds? Therefore, after offering obeisances to the devotees, I am revealing this subject without any hesitation.”

Or in Jaiva dharma– Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

“The name of Sri Radha and the names of all the gopis are secretly written in Srimad-Bhagavatam. If you carefully read the verses of the Tenth Canto, you will see them all. To keep unqualified persons far away, Srila Sukadeva Goswami described all these things very secretly. O baba Vijaya-kumara, what will happen if you give japa beads to a person who will wear them only as an ornament around his neck. The more the reader is exalted in devotional service, the more he will understand the secrets hidden in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Here the skill of Srila Sukadeva Goswami was shown in his power to explain very confidential truths in a way the people in general could not understand. Only a reader qualified to understand these secrets properly has the power to understand them all.” (Chapter Thirty-two, Madhura-rasa, Madhura-rasa-vicara)

Here some of the Bhagavatam 5th canto descriptions clearly stating that its verses are of the subtle reality: (we will sometimes add our commentary).

5.16.13-14 On these four mountains are four huge lakes, filled with milk, honey, sugarcane juice, and pure water respectively. The celestial beings such as the Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Gandharvas who use those waters naturally possess perfections of mystic yoga. There are also four celestial gardens named Nandana, Caitraratha, Vaibhrājaka and Sarvatobhadra.

Another translation. Between these four mountains are four huge lakes. The water of the first tastes just like milk; the water of the second, like honey; and that of the third, like sugarcane juice. The fourth lake is filled with pure water. The celestial beings such as the Siddhas, Câranas and Gandharvas, who are also known as demigods, enjoy the facilities of those four lakes. Consequently they have the natural perfections of mystic yoga, such as the power to become smaller than the smallest or greater than the greatest. There are also four celestial gardens named Nandana, Caitraratha, Yaibhrâjaka and Sarvatobhadra.

Our comment. The demigods enjoy heavenly sense objects, not the lower matter of our earth planet, as we don’t enjoy e.g. the food of the cats dogs hogs. According to the Taittiriya Upanisad 2.8.1 the happiness on Indra-loka is 10^14 better then the highest happiness on Earth. Thus Indra and his places of living and enjoying are not the gross, inferior matter of the earth planet.

5.16.15 The best of the demigods, along with their wives, who are like ornaments of heavenly beauty, meet together and enjoy within those gardens, while their glories are sung by lesser demigods known as Gandharvas.

Our comment. Not just some upadevas come here, but the best of the devatas.

5.16.16 Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasadacarya : ‘Wherein’ indicates “in which divine gardens” great demigods, along with the best of divine damsels, enjoy themselves while their praises are sung by groups of subordinates.

5.16.18 From drinking the water of the River Aruṇodā, the bodies of maidservants of Śiva’s wife, who are the wives of Yakṣas, become fragrant, and the wind, fragrant from touching their bodies, perfumes the entire atmosphere for ten yojanas around.

Another translation. The pious wives of the Yaksas act as personal maidservants to assist Bhavâni, the wife of Lord Siva. Because they drink the water of the River Arunodâ, their bodies become fragrant, and as the air carries away that fragrance, it perfumes the entire atmosphere for eighty miles around.

Commentary by Vîrarâghava: Describes the river Arunodâ-by consuming whose juice, the wives of Pârvati’s attendants emit fragrance from their body (limbs). The wind carries this fragrance up to ten yojanas [80 miles] all around.

5.16.20-21 The mud on both banks of the River Jambū-nadī, being moistened by the flowing juice, by a reaction with the air and the sunshine, produces huge quantities of gold called jambū-nada, which the devatās use for ornaments. All the devatās and their youthful wives wear this gold in the form of golden crowns, bangles and belts.

Another translation: The mud on both banks of the River Jambū-nadi, being moistened by the flowing juice and then dried by the air and the sunshine, produces huge quantities of gold called Jâmbū-nada. The denizens of heaven use this gold for various kinds of ornaments. Therefore all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets and their youthful wives are fully decorated with golden helmets, bangles and belts, and thus they enjoy life.

Commentary by Vîrarâghava: Unto where it flows over Ilâvrta, the mud on both banks of it, being mixed with the juice becomes the gold named Jâmbūnada, due to the contact of wind and sun. This gold is always used for making the ornaments for divinities. This gold is worn in the form of crowns etc. by demigods along with their divine damsels.

Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasâdâcârya: …. Unto where it flows in Ilâvrta, up to that; the soil on both banks, mixed with the juice of the river, becomes the famed gold called as Jâmbūnada, due to the effect of wind and sun, which is always used for making the ornaments of demigods. U, ha, vâ, va—well-known as “invaluable.” Which—Jâmbūnada, used by demigods, etc. with their wives, make into jewelry like crowns, etc. and wear, indeed.

Our comment: The gold of the Bhauma-svarga is of the same quality as Siva, Parvati and the demigods wearing the gold; subtle and invisible.

Therefore Indra preached to Krishna and Satyabhama in Harivamsa that this parijata (desire) tree is not for the earthly mortals. ”If the mortals are able to enjoy the benefits of the celestial pArijAta tree on earth, there will be no impetus for them to lead a pious life in the hopes of attaining a heavenly abode…humans will be considered equal to the demigods, and the earth will be considered as good as heaven.”

We don’t see Indra’s world with our telescopes. (SB 8.5.12-22) Nor in SB 5.26 we read directly how the hells are subtle, but we do read in SB 3.30.20 : yAtanA-deha Avrtya “The yamadhutas put him in a body suitable for punishment, bind him with ropes by the neck, forcibly take him away.” We don’t see this with our gross eyes.

Sukadeva Gosvami speaks from another dimension, not always specifying about which dimension he speaks. We read e.g. in the 10th canto: “I have heard from authoritative sources that the Yadu family employed 38,800,000 teachers just to educate their children. Who can count all the great Yadavas, when among them King Ugrasena alone was accompanied by an entourage of thirty trillion attendants?”

Commentary by Viśvanâtha Cakravartî : “This great number is being spoken of by Sukadeva Goswami, 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.”

5.16.22 Five rivers of honey, each about five vyāmas wide, which flow from the hollows of the tree called Mahākadamba growing on Supārśva Mountain fall from the top of Supārśva Mountain in the western direction and gives pleasure to itself and the whole of Ilāvṛta-varṣa.

Commentary by Viśvanâtha Cakravartî: Āyāma means a vyāma. A vyāma is the space produced by extending the two arms and the fingers. The width of each river is five vyāmas. Another version has panca-vyāma-pariṇāhāḥ. It feels pleasure itself by hearing the praises of the people.

5.16.23 The air carrying the scent from the mouths of those who drink that honey perfumes the land for a hundred yojanas around.

5.16.24 Similarly, on Kumuda Mountain there is a great banyan tree, which is called Śatavalśa. Flowing down from its branches are many rivers fulfilling all desires such as milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, molasses, food, clothing bedding, seats and ornaments. These rivers, flowing down from the top of the mountain to the northern side of Ilāvṛta-varṣa, give happiness to Ilāvrṭa.

5.16.25 The residents of the material world who enjoy the products of these flowing rivers have no suffering such as wrinkles, grey hair, fatigue, foul smelling perspiration, old age, disease, untimely death, cold, heat, loss of luster, or troubles. They all live their whole life with unlimited happiness.

Commentary by Virarâghava for texts 24-25: Similarly, the banyan tree named Śatavalsa, grown on Kumuda mountain, has, emerging from its trunks, milk, curd, honey, ghee, brown sugar, food items, clothes, beds, seats, and jewels. These rivers (nadîs), are falling from the summit of Kumuda, to the north of Ilâvrta, making the residents of that region healthy and happy. This is elaborated as such: “Consuming the offerings of these nadis, people don’t undergo any diseases such as skin diseases, graying of hair, tiredness, infirmities, and mental states like light-headedness, sorrow, desire, hatred, fear, haughtiness, mistake, lunacy, grief, ignorance, greed, pride, avarice, envy. The consumers remain fit life-long.”

Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla: Downward flowing, streaming with milk etc., all these rivers (nadas), granting all the wishes, descend from the peak of Kumuda mountain, to the north of Ilâvrta.

Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasâdâcârya Thus, emerging downwards from the branches of the great Banyan tree, grown on the Kumuda mountain, known as Satavalśa, are boon-granting rivers (nadas) descend from the peak of Kumuda, streaming milk, curd, honey, ghee, jaggery, rice, etc. and various types of clothes, beds, seats, jewels etc. flow to the north of Ilâvrta.

5.16.28 In the middle of the summit of Meru is the township of Lord Brahmā. Each of its four sides is calculated to extend for many thousands of yojanas. It is made entirely of gold, and therefore learned scholars and sages call it Śātakaumbhī.

Another translation. In the middle of the summit of Meru is the township of Lord Brahmâ.

Each of its four sides is calculated to extend for ten million yojanas [eighty million miles]. It is made entirely of gold, and therefore learned scholars and sages call it Śâtakaumbhi.

5.16.29 Surrounding Brahmapurî in all directions are the residences of the eight principal governors of the planetary systems, beginning with King Indra. These abodes are similar to Brahmapurî but are one fourth the size.

Our comment. The devas on Meru parvata are invisible for us, just as Meru is also.

5.17.1 ….Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean entered this universe as the Ganges River. Having washed the lotus feet of the Lord, which are covered with reddish powder, the water of the Ganges acquired a very beautiful pink color….

Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tîrtha:…Though naturally pure white, the water becomes blossom reddish by washing the red lotus-like feet of Lord Hari, combined with the saffron dust of His lotus-feet…

Commentary by Viśvanâtha Cakravartî: At the time of Vāmana avatāra (tatra), by stepping over the earth with his right foot (vikramataḥ) and from throwing his left foot in the air, he cause all places up to the top of the universe to tremble, up to the layer of prakṛti (where the guṇas are pacified), as related by Brahmā: trisāmyasadanād urukampayānam. (SB 2.7.4) Thus the spiritual steam of water of the Kāraṇa Ocean, outside of the eight layers of the universe, descended to Dhruva-loka (divaḥ mūrdhani).

Our comment. The ganges has 3 aspects– adhi daivika (the devi Ganga), adhyatmika, adhibhutika.

The gross form we see, comes from the Himalayas, which is ice water. The Ganges water described here in Bhagavatam is the invisible-for us– river which joins the ice water Ganges at its (ice) source and purifies us. The description in these pages of Bhagavatam, is the demigods vision of the planets and bhu-mandala, the Ganges descends through; we don’t see the very beautiful pink/saffron color of the Ganges.

5.17.4 After purifying the seven planets near Dhruva-loka, the Gangā’s water, carried on the path through the heavens, where are also throngs of celestial airplanes, inundates the moon and finally reaches Lord Brahmā’s abode atop Mount Meru.

Commentary by Śridhara Svâmi: Then descending through the heavenly (aerial) route, bustling with the traffic of many hundreds and thousands of aircraft, drenching the moon’s disc, the river falls onto the abode of Brahmâ atop Mount Meru. The traffic of planes (denoting the path of performers of rituals) is below the station of the seven sages as indicated by describing the bustle after them.

Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla: The traffic jam of planes of those performing rituals and reaching their destination is below those of the seven sages.

Visvanatha bhasya: Deva-yānena means the path in the sky. Below the seven sages, the places are filled with those who perform karma-yoga. Thus tataḥ indicates “below, lower down” and sankula (crowd) indicates the many karma-yogīs. Flooding the moon planet, the Gangā descends to the abode of Brahmā situated on the top of Meru.

Our comment: We don’t see the aircrafts of these karma-yogis along with the subtle Ganges.

5.17.11 Among the nine varṣas, the tract of land known as Bhārata-varṣa is understood to be the field of karma and the other eight varṣas are known as “heaven on earth,” places to enjoy the remainder of pious acts after leaving Svarga.

There are three types of Svarga: heavenly, earthly and subterranean. These eight varṣas are the places of earthly heaven. (Visvanatha bhasya)

5.17.12 In these eight varṣas, human beings like devatās live ten thousand years according to earthly calculations. They have the bodily strength of ten thousand elephants. They have wives who conceive once in the last year of their lives, after sexual enjoyment of the couples, excited by thunderbolt bodies possessing strength, youth and fragrance. There the happiness is like that of Treta-yuga.

5.17.13 There, the chiefs of devatās, their glances and minds attracted by the playful glances and smiles of beautiful women because of their desire, amuse themselves freely with ingredients supplied by their followers in pastimes such as water sports in clear lakes resounding with the sounds of various groups of bees, swans, water hens, cranes and kāraṇdavas excited by the fragrance of a variety of blooming lotuses growing in valleys between the mountains, which have hermitages and pleasant gardens splendid with trees and creepers whose branches are bent down by the abundance of fruits and flowers of all seasons.

Another translation: In each of those tracts of land, there are many gardens filled with flowers and fruits according to the season, and there are beautifully decorated hermitages as well. Between the great mountains demarcating the borders of those lands lie enormous lakes of clear water filled with newly grown lotus flowers. Aquatic birds such as swans, ducks, water chickens, and cranes become greatly excited by the fragrance of lotus flowers, and the charming sound of bumblebees fills the air. The inhabitants of those lands are important leaders among the demigods. Always attended by their respective servants, they enjoy life in gardens alongside the lakes. In this pleasing situation, the wives of the demigods smile playfully at their husbands and look upon them with lusty desires. All the demigods and their wives are constantly supplied with sandalwood pulp and flower garlands by their servants. In this way, all the residents of the eight heavenly varsas enjoy, attracted by the activities of the opposite sex.

Commentary by Śridhara Svâmi: Yatra ha – in which varsas; leading deities along with their main groups of servants = being served well, enjoy at will. In which places? In all continents amid breathtaking valleys, forests and gardens with dwellings beautified by flowers, trees and creepers. There, stimulating romance, pure water lakes various types of lotus flowers blossom and spread their fragrance, royal swans swim, honeybees hum and divine damsels cavort and attract the mind.

Commentary by Viraraghava: The masters of the demigods, being served well by the leaders of groups of their respective servants, enjoy at will in this varsa.

Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tîrtha: Where = in which varsas, lords of demigods sport at will. In which places? Where trees have bent-down branches and creepers due to a wealth of flowers, fruits, sprouts, etc. born in all seasons. These trees are very distinct from those in Bhârata-khanda and make lustrous, beautiful hermitage dwellings, rain-causing hill-valleys, (both sides being tall and the middle being low). In pure water sources like ponds, with fragrant, blossomed, various forest lotuses, pleasing royal swans, delightful humming black bees (this is adjective of pond), their minds and eyes are attracted by the amorous dalliances of sensuous, divine nymphs.

Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla: There on eight continents, even the masters among the demigods such as Indra are served well by garlands, sandal paste and servants while they enjoy water-sporting with beautiful damsels.

Our comment: ‘The masters of the demigods’ come here, since it is as their realm.

5.17.15 In the tract of land known as Ilāvṛta-varṣa, the only male person is Lord Śiva. No other male exists there. One who knows about Durgā’s curse does not enter there. If any foolish man dares to do so, he turns into a woman. I shall explain this later.

Another translation: In the tract of land known as Ilâvrta-varsa, the only male person is Lord Śiva, the most powerful demigod. Goddess Durgâ, the wife of Lord Śiva, does not like any man to enter that land. If any foolish man dares to do so, she immediately turns him into a woman. I shall explain this later [in the Ninth Canto of Śrîmad-Bhâgavatam]

Commentary by Virarâghava: Lord Rudra is the only male person living (no other male member lives) there. This is because Bhavânî, his wife, cursed that any man entering there, even unknowingly, would become transformed into a woman.

Our comment: Siva and His abode are invisible.

5.17.21 (Visvanatha bhasya) He does not know the universe which is situated somewhere on one of his hoods. Because he is situated below bhū-mandala measuring 493,400,000 yojanas, his hoods are not wide enough to hold it. However persons situated there can see that by his inconceivable energy, his hoods become unlimited in dimension, and thus Bhū-maṇdala appears like a mustard seed. That is actual, not an illusion. This is an example of his astonishing unlimited nature just mentioned.

Our comment: ‘persons situated there can see,’ we don’t see.

5.20.2 As a moat around a fort is sometimes surrounded by gardenlike forest, the saltwater ocean surrounding Jambūdvīpa is itself surrounded by Plakṣadvīpa, whose breadth is twice that of the saltwater ocean (200,000 yojanas). On Plakṣadvīpa there is a plakṣa tree as tall as the jambū tree on Jambūdvīpa, after which the island gets its name. There is a blazing, upward fire with seven flames. (This seems to be the pippala tree. The dimensions of the Jambhū tree are mentioned in SB 5.16.12 as 1100 yojanas high and 100 yojanas wide.)

5.20.8 On Śalmalīdvīpa there is a śālmalī (silk-cotton) tree, from which the island takes its name. That tree is as broad and tall as the plakṣa tree—100 yojanas broad and 1,100 yojanas tall. Learned scholars say that this gigantic tree is the residence of Garuda, the king of all birds, who chants prayers.

5.20.24 In Śākadvīpa there is a big śāka (teak) tree, from which the island takes its name. Its fragrance scents the entire island.

5.20.29-30 On Puṣkaradvīpa there is a great lotus flower with 100,000,000 pure golden petals, as effulgent as the flames of a fire. That lotus flower is considered the sitting place of Lord Brahmā.

The lotus has 100,000,000 of gold shining with blazing flames. In the middle of that island is a great mountain named Mānasottara, which forms the boundary between the inner side and the outer side of the island. Its breadth and height are 10,000 yojanas.

5.20.34 Beyond the ocean of sweet water and fully surrounding it, is a mountain named Lokāloka, which divides the countries that are full of sunlight from those not lit by the sun.

Another translation. Beyond the fresh water ocean (tataḥ) is the Lokāloka Mountain, circular in shape (paritaḥ), is between (antarale) the places with light from the sun and other luminaries, and the places without light. It separates the two areas.

5.20.37 That mountain has been created by the Lord in all eight directions extending up to the end of the three worlds in height. The rays of the sun, of other planets up to Dhruvaloka, and of the stars spread throughout the three worlds, but cannot spread beyond the mountain. That is the height of the mountain.

The mountain extends up to the end of bhūr, bhuva and svaḥ in eight directions. How high and wide is it? From the obstruction it creates (yasmāt), the rays of the sun and other planets up to Dhruvaloka spread light everywhere, but cannot go beyond the mountain. That is its height and breadth. Because it extends as high as Dhruvaloka, it defines the limit of the three worlds. (footnote: Dhruvaloka is 3,900,000 yojanas above the earth. It is above Svarga and below Maharloka. Maharloka is 13,900,000 yojanas above the earth. The breath or width is said to be the same in the commentary by using the dual case. However from the commentary of the next verse and verse 42 say that the width of Lokāloka is 82,200,000 yojanas. Perhaps there is a mistake and the meaning is” the extent of the height is up to Dhruvaloka.”) The distance between Sumeru and the end of Lokāloka is one fourth of the diameter of the universe, or 41,100,000 yojanas.

Our comment: We don’t see the sunlight being blocked somewhere. This is the sun the demigods see. That also explains that the diameters of sun and moon given in SB 5.24.2 don’t match with the figures of our human calculations. The sun has two aspects– subtle and gross – at the same location, as we have a subtle and a gross body at the same location, one – the gross – visible, the subtle one invisible.

5.22.15 Commentary by Śrî Giridhara Lâla: “Saturn’s chariot is also described, “Shani moves slowly in his chariot drawn by horses born from the akasha [the sky] of variegated color.”

Then how Jambudvipa, which has nine varsas, was ruled by the Pandavas. Persons with great powers empowered by the Lord could/can rule the whole area.

How they traverse from the gross egg of clay round earth planet to the subtle flat planes of Jambudvipa, it is not a continuum? And one is round, the other is flat, one is gross , the other subtle, then they change that gross body earth form to subtle to be visible in these flat planes and relate with these subtle beings.

Then going back to the earth planet they again shift back from subtle to gross and move through space?

They have such powers that it is possible.

We also read how Arjuna went to Indraloka.

And the vertical dimensions are also invisible:

Vedanta Sutra 2.1.25

devâdivaditi loke

deva-adi-vat – like devas and the rest; iti – thus; loke – in the world.

[God, though invisible, is the creator of the world,] just as the devas, [although invisible,] are seen to work in the world.

Commentary (Govinda bhasya– Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana): Devas like Indra and the rest are invisible, yet we see their activities, such as the production of rain, etc. in the world. Similarly, though God is not perceptible in the world, He is the unseen creator of it.

Another translation: (The Lord though invisible, is the creator of the world,) just as the gods too (though invisible, are seen to work) in the world. (i.e. to produce rain and so on)

Sri Madhvacarya’s anubhasya on this verse 25: Like the gods and other (beings, i.e., spirits) and also as observed in the world, (Para-Brahman may act unperceived). (That He is) not given in our perception is not an argument against the existence of the Lord who is the real doer and the cause of the soul’s activity. For like the gods, etc., He is possessed of powers by which He does everything unperceived. Even in the world, similar powers of being invisible, etc., have been observed to be possessed by spirits too. Then it is no matter for wonder that the Supreme Lord possesses such powers. The Brihat Samhita says, “Scriptural statements should never be rejected by a course of reasoning. All reasoning is truly such, only when it is helpful in reconciling the conflicting statements. Otherwise it is no reasoning at all. Hence no difficulty arises as to the belief in God who is invisible.

Sri Ramanujacarya’s sribhasya 25: And as in the case of the gods and so on, in (their) world.

As the gods and similar exalted beings create, each in his own world, whatever they require by their mere volition, so the Supreme Person creates by his mere volition the entire world. That the gods about whose powers we know from the Veda only (not through perception) are here quoted as supplying a proving instance, is done in order to facilitate the comprehension of the creative power of Brahman, which is also known through the Veda.

Vedanta-Sutra. 2.4.16, Vedanta-kaustubha – Nimbarka sampradaya:

The gods abide in the highest Lordship, and not in what is wretched, in accordance with the scriptural text: ‘Evil, verily, does not approach the gods’ (Brhad Aranyaka Upanisad. 1.5.201).

Madhvacarya in his anubhasya on vedanta-sutra 2.4.23 quotes Brihat Samhita thus: “Earthly bodies consist of earth by half; in the other half three parts are of water, and the remaining one part only is of fire; and let it be understood that this is the proportion in general. Further there is difference of proportion in every individual. In the body of the celestials one-half consists of fire.”

Our comment: One will not be able to see their form and abodes due to their effulgence, besides their being subtle and invisible for earthly eyes. The qualities – guna’s – of the material elements on the demigod level are on the average 100’s of times or at least 100 times better then the qualities of gross matter on the earth planet. This we know from the anandavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad (2.8): “One endowed with human bliss, an emperor with the entire world under his domination, being eligible for the fruits of learning he becomes known as the controller. He may be said to be a young one, energized by Vishnu. The enjoyment of the heavenly beings (gandharva’s) is hundred-fold more. Hundred-fold of these super human (manusya-gandharva) bliss would be the divine (divya) gandharva bliss. Hundred-fold bliss of the divya-gandharva bliss would be the bliss of the ancestors – pitrs – in their long enduring worlds. Hundred-fold bliss of the ancestors in their long enduring worlds would be the bliss of those who are born as gods – ajanata-devatas -. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of those who are born as gods would be the bliss of those who are born as gods by performing actions – karma-devatas -. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of those who are born as gods by performing actions, would be the bliss of the administrative gods. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of these controlling gods would be the bliss of their headman, Indra. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Indra, would be the bliss of Brihaspati. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Brihaspati would be the bliss of Prajapati (Brahma). Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Prajapati, would be the bliss of Brahman.” (this is as a drop of the ocean of Krishna bliss, then the bliss of Para-Brahman is unlimited.)

In Vishnu Samhitâ, Chapter 19 we read:

(19) The Devas, are invisible deities and the Brâhmanas are visible deities.

(20) The Brâhmanas uphold the world.

(21) By the favour of the Brâhmanas, Devatâs reside in the Div (celestial region).

From the Bhaktivedanta vedabase:

SB 1.16.3

devā yatrākṣi-gocarāḥ

devāḥ—the demigods; yatra—wherein; akṣi—eyes; gocarāḥ—within the purview.

Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after having selected Kṛpācārya for guidance as his spiritual master, performed three horse sacrifices on the banks of the Ganges. These were executed with sufficient rewards for the attendants. And at these sacrifices, even the common man could see demigods.

Purport: It appears from this verse that interplanetary travel by the denizens of higher planets is easy. In many statements in Bhâgavatam, we have observed that the demigods from heaven used to visit this earth to attend sacrifices performed by influential kings and emperors. Herein also we find that during the time of the horse sacrifice ceremony of Mahârâja Parîksit, the demigods from other planets were visible even to the common man, due to the sacrificial ceremony. The demigods are not generally visible to common men, as the Lord is not visible. But as the Lord, by His causeless mercy, descends to be visible to the common man, similarly the demigods also become visible to the common man by their own grace. Although celestial beings are not visible to the naked eyes of the inhabitants of this earth, it was due to the influence of Mahârâja Parîksit that the demigods also agreed to be visible.”

Thus the Bhagavatam’s 5th canto slokas are of a subtle world, inaccessible for humans. No need to resort to esoteric, semantic theosophism, as Sitalatma tries to introduce, to explain the 5th canto.

Then he writes:

» Appearance of empirically perceptible objects is a facility provided on Bhu-mandala, they don’t objectively exist.

Our comment. HG Sitalatma is not a mayavadi, but why introduce nirvisesa sunyavada and their off-shoots in explaining the 5th canto. The growing TOVP building “doesn’t objectively exist”? It is “a product of our illusion”?

Then he writes:

» empirically perceptible objects are like fruits of this tree, they are not the tree itself.

Our comment: This is again a Sankara twist, now to Bhagavad-Gita chapter 15, where this last metaphor is used.

Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana comments there: “This asvattha tree of samsara has its branches down and root upwards. Upwards, in Satya-loka at the top of the universe, lies the root of the tree, in the form of four-headed Brahma composed of mahat tattva (visible original matter; the modes of nature are active), which is the first sprout coming from the seed of pradhana (invisible original matter). The tree has branches, so-called because of spreading out in all directions, going downwards below Satya-loka, in svar, bhuvar and bhü-lokas, in the form of devas, gandharvas, kinnaras, asuras, yakshas, raksasas, men, animals, birds, insects, fish and trees.”

….“That which lasts until tomorrow is known as svattha, so asvattha is that which will not last until tomorrow (a= not, svah = tomorrow). It is temporary so be detached, and prepare for leaving it to go to the eternal world.”…. “It is avyayam or indestructible because it is like a continuous stream although ever changing it never stops.” (The material world, the prison house of the spiritual world, will keep coming and going)

No hint in this and the other commentators on Bhagavad Gita that the “gandharvas, kinnaras, asuras, yakshas, raksasas, men, animals, birds, insects, fish and trees” are “not sat and not asat”, see sariraka bhasya 3.2.3 “unsubstantial, undefinable mithya” and that the tree of the universe metaphor is a semantic tree.

Then he writes:

» we should learn how exactly “gross” is different from “subtle”, how it is produced from “subtle”, and whether we can retrace the process and figure out “subtle” from “gross”, ultimately leading to the root, which is Krishna.

Our comment.

This is abcd in sankhya– kindergarten.

Sadaputa relates this in his book “Vedic cosmography and astronomy”: “In the process of creation, the material elements are generated in the following order: mahat-tattva, false ego, mind, intelligence, sound, ether, touch, air, form, fire, taste, water, odor, and earth (SB 3.26.23-44).

Here the term mahat-tattva refers to the manifest form of Kṛṣṇa’s total material energy, which is produced from pradhāna, the unmanifest or undifferentiated form of that energy (SB 3.26.10 and 17-20). The mahat-tattva is the source of the false ego, a material energy that serves to cover the true self-awareness of the conditioned living beings. The false ego operates in three modes, called goodness, passion, and ignorance, and thereby generates mind, intelligence, and subtle sound. Here, sound (śabda-tanmātra) refers not to a vibration within gross matter but to a subtle energy that generates the gross material elements and vibrates within the element of false ego in ignorance. Ether, the first element produced from this energy, is the source of the subsequent elements in our list.

When the Vedic ether is mentioned, the objection will often be raised that the idea of an ether was banished from physics by Einstein’s theory of relativity. This objection refers to the classical “luminiferous ether,” which was shown by the Michelson-Morley experiment to be stationary with respect to the earth (see Section 6.a). This conception of the ether was indeed rejected by Einstein, but he simply replaced it with another conception. In fact, Einstein said, “According to the general theory of relativity, space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there would not only be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time” (CH, pp. 53-54).

According to the Third Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, ether is the basic fabric of material space. Since air, fire, water, and earth are produced from ether, these gross material elements can be regarded as transformations of space. It is interesting to note that such ideas have been recently contemplated by modern physicists. For example, the theory of geometrodynamics created by the physicist John Wheeler is an attempt to define all matter in terms of perturbations in the fabric of space. Also, the scientists working on quantum mechanical versions of general relativity are all trying, in effect, to show how the fabric of space can be derived from some kind of wave motion (or quantum wave function). This can be compared with the Vedic idea that ether is generated from subtle sound.

It is also interesting to note that in the Vedic process of creation, the sequential unfolding of the elements from ether involves an alternation of gross material substances and modes of sense perception (tanmātras). Thus, according to the Vedic conception, the properties of matter are intimately tied together with the processes of sense perception occurring in conscious living entities. This aspect of matter is completely disregarded in modern physics, although there is some recognition by quantum theorists such as Eugene Wigner that a complete theory of matter must take into account the existence of a conscious observer (WG).

Since our theme in this book is the structure of the universe, we will not discuss the process of creation of the elements in more detail. For us the key feature of this process is as follows: In the first step, “a part of the material nature, after being initiated by the Lord, is known as the mahat-tattva” (SB 2.2.28p). The generation of false ego occurs within a restricted part of the mahat-tattva. Within part of this region, subtle sound becomes manifest, and then ether becomes manifest within part of the region of subtle sound. In general, each successive element becomes manifest within a small portion of the region in which the preceding element is present. This is described by Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, who is cited by Śrīla Prabhupāda in this connection in SB 2.2.28p.

The result is that the material energy becomes filled with innumerable spherical regions of mahat-tattva and false ego. Each of these regions constitutes a particular universe, or brahmāṇda, and contains concentric spherical regions in which the successive material elements are manifest. Within the center of each of these systems of concentric globes is a hollow region containing the inhabited planetary systems of that universe.”

HG Sitalatma:

» ultimately leading to the root, which is Krishna.

Our comment.

That is already researched. No need of a new theory or book.

In this same section on the tree of the universe in the beginning of chapter 15 Bhagavad Gita, in BG 15.3 Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments: “One should look for the treasure situated at the base of the root (of the tree of samsara)… I worship (prapadye) that original person from whom the long standing (purani) action of samsara (pravrttih) has spread out: one should search by the process of bhakti or devotional service.”

Sitalatma wrote:

» We can see the Moon now because it’s part of a Sisumara system which delivers us our karma and so it interacts with us. Planets that don’t interact with us, like Tapoloka, Maharloka etc, remain completely undetected and therefore they are not a part of the “visible universe”.

Our comment. “Sisumara system which delivers us our karma and so it interacts with us”??

Which world view is this.

The gods deliver the karma, not planet systems.

“Interacts”? there is in perception of these realms a one way; our sense objects get information from the sense object.

I never read such wordings in any Veda, sruti or smrti, and I read them all.

For all this vAk-cAturyam, word jugglery, we have a comment of Sri Ramanujacarya in his Sribhasya (1.1.1): “Those who are guided by the accepted criteria of truth do not highly value that opinion according to which that manner of apprehending the relation between words and their meanings, which is known all the world over, is discarded, so as to give rise to the belief that words have the power of producing the knowledge of only such significations as are not commonly current in the world.”

Why such contrivances, when there is a simple theory; this is the subtle region which we can see and where we can go and live when we develop the required qualities in our subtle body.

Someone else wrote:

» we will have to wait until 2020 when the Chinese or the Indians land on the moon.

We don’t have to wait till the year 2020, India was already on the moon:

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 (Sanskrit: चंद्रयान-१, lit: moon-traveller, or moon vehicle) was India’s first unmanned lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. India launched the spacecraft by a modified version of the PSLV, PSLV C11[2][5] on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north of Chennai, at 06:22 IST (00:52 UTC).[6] The mission was a major boost to India’s space program,[7] as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon.[8] The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008.[9]

On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 20:06 and struck the south pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to place its flag on the Moon.[10] The probe impacted near Shackleton Crater at 20:31 ejecting underground soil that could be analysed for the presence of lunar waterice.[11]

The estimated cost for the project was Rs. 386 crore (US$ 90 million).[12]

To conclude: men can go with a rocket to the gross moon.

Here is a scientific evidence:

Apollo astronauts left something behind on the Moon that we can see from Earth — small mirrors called “corner cube retroreflector arrays.” The first retroreflector was positioned on the Moon in 1969 by the Apollo 11 astronauts so that it would point toward Earth and be able to reflect pulses of laser light fired from our planet. Because the retroreflectors require no power, they are still operating normally more than 47 years after Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. Scientists from around the world regularly bounce laser pulses from these distant reflectors to learn more about tides, the Moon’s rotation, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and much more. Even amateurs can send laser pulses from their backyard. The Soviet Union and France also deposited a retroreflector on the Moon using an unmanned spacecraft, Lunakhod 2. That device was not placed on the lunar surface as carefully as the Apollo astronauts were able to situate their retroreflectors. As a result, the Lunakhod 2 mirror produces a weaker laser echo than the smaller Apollo reflectors.

Hare Krishna.