“UFO’s and the Vedic World View” (SB 3.13.39)
Thompson describes how the exotic worldview identified with Vedic literature portrays a multi-dimensional cosmos difficult to accommodate within the four dimensions attributed to classic physics and ordinary sense perception. He then discusses how exotic descriptions found within a variety of traditional ancient cultures, along with contemporary reports of unidentified flying objects, offer parallels to many of the unfamiliar accounts found in the Vedas.
TRANSCRIPT: Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 13, Text 39. “UFO’s and the Vedic World View.” San Diego – 1991 / (020)
O Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and are worshipable by universal prayers, Vedic hymns and sacrificial ingredients. We offer our obeisances unto You. You can be realized by the pure mind freed from all visible and invisible material contamination. We offer our respectful obeisances to You as the supreme spiritual master of knowledge in devotional service.
The qualification of bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord, is that the devotee should be free from all material contaminations and desires. This freedom is called vairāgya, or renouncement of material desires. One who engages in devotional service to the Lord according to regulative principles is automatically freed from material desires, and in that pure state of mind one can realize the Personality of Godhead. The Personality of Godhead, being situated in everyone’s heart, instructs the devotee regarding pure devotional service so that he may ultimately achieve the association of the Lord. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10) as follows:
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
“To one who constantly engages in the devotional service of the Lord with faith and love, the Lord certainly gives the intelligence to achieve Him at the ultimate end.”
One has to conquer the mind, and one may do it by following the Vedic rituals and by performing different types of sacrifice. The ultimate end of all those performances is to attain bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord. Without bhakti one cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The original Personality of Godhead or His innumerable expansions of Viṣṇu are the only objects of worship by all the Vedic rituals and sacrificial performances.
So, it's described here, and Srila Prabhupada also emphasizes in the purport that the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be realized by the pure mind freed from all visible and invisible material contamination. So Srila Prabhupada points out that the process of sadhana-bhakti will enable one to come to that stage. By performing devotional service according to the regulative principles, one can become freed from material desires and contamination. And when one's mind becomes purified in this way, then it's possible actually to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Apart from that, this would not be possible. Merely by manipulating the material mind, that is to say on a material platform, as scholars and jnanis and so forth may do, you cannot realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead – God remains an abstract idea or a mere theoretical principle. But you won't actually know God simply by remaining on the material platform.
So, the question is whether or not a person will engage in this process of vaidhi-bhakti; so a person has to have motivation for doing that. Initially one doesn't have this God realization. So, without that realization, one must be motivated to pursue this process of bhakti according to regulative principles, so that ultimately one will be able to attain realized knowledge. So, some initial faith is required. So of course, the purpose of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is to establish that faith in the aspiring devotees and so the Srimad-Bhagavatam gives an elaborate description of the nature of the universe. It starts with what one can directly experience within the material world, and links that up with transcendental information concerning the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, the main idea there is to enable us to understand the relationship between Krsna and the material world. If we can understand that, then we can understand Krsna’s position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That makes it reasonable to dedicate one's life to the worship of Krsna, which is this process of bhakti-yoga.
So the Srimad-Bhagavatam is intended to establish that faith in the individual. So Srila Prabhupada has pointed out on various occasions that the Bhagavatam begins with, well, the first nine Cantos, which describe in various ways the relationship between Krsna and the material energy; and then it culminates in the Tenth Canto, which directly describes the intimate pastimes of Krsna on a completely transcendental platform. So, here we're reading this passage on the appearance of Lord Varaha. So, what I thought I would do today is, just for the fun of it, go through some material showing how one can relate this to what people see in the universe. So, the Bhagavatam is relating the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the material universe, but its perspective on the material universe is somewhat unusual from the point of view of what people are accustomed to in the Western countries. However, by studying what is said in the Bhagavatam and other sastras, one can get some interesting insights on this. So I thought I would just go through some of it. One interesting thing to note is that in the next two verses there's a description of... a sort of poetic description of what it looked like for Lord Varaha to lift the earth on His tusks. So I thought I would read that – it's kind of interesting. Of course this will be gone over tomorrow. But it's:
O lifter of the earth, the earth with its mountains, which You have lifted with Your tusks, is situated as beautifully as a lotus flower with leaves sustained by an infuriated elephant just coming out of the water. O Lord, as the peaks of great mountains become beautiful when decorated with clouds, Your transcendental body has become beautiful because of Your lifting the earth on the edge of Your tusks.
So, it's an interesting poetic description; you can imagine a mountain in the distance with a horizontal strata of clouds, clustered around the peak of the mountain. So, this comparison is made in describing how the earth looked when Lord Varaha lifted it up.
So, one point to make about the description of the universe in the Vedic literature is that this is a multi-dimensional or multi-level description. We're accustomed to thinking of everything as situated in three-dimensional space; this is of course natural because that's our ordinary experience. And in scientific studies, this is reinforced by descriptions of 3-dimensional coordinate systems and so forth. So, it seems that everything is situated within three dimensions. However, if you directly examine the descriptions given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you can see that the universe is not really described that way. And so according to the Bhagavatam the universe is not something that you can accommodate simply within 3-dimensional space. That would be true in this case. In the class I gave the other day, I pointed out that the earth lifted by Lord Varaha is the entire Bhu-mandala planetary system, and that goes out to the coverings of the universe.
So, that means, that there's really no room to maneuver around that within the universe. The description that was given by Visvanatha Cakravarthi Thakura that I read indicated that, in fact, there's a small gap between the edge of Bhu-mandala and the shell of the universe so that Lord Varaha can move it up and down. So, also it gives Sesa Naga something to do in lifting the earth, because if it was rigidly bolted on to the outer covering there'd be no need for that. So, you can see, though, that that wouldn't give Lord Varaha very much room to maneuver to lift the earth, but yet it's described that he is doing so and here we have this poetic description of what it would look like. So, the descriptions in the Bhagavatam, refer to a universe that can be seen from many different aspects.
There's one interesting analogy to help explain this and that is the idea of virtual reality. I made that video “Simulated Worlds” to indicate what this to some extent. But virtual realities are very big business these days and probably they'll become much more prominent as time goes on. You can project a person into a computer-generated world through a suitable sensory interface. So, the analogy I made in that “Simulated Worlds” video was that the actual universe is very much like that, in the sense that the spirit soul is projected into an unreal universe. In the very beginning of the Bhagavatam it’s stated that this universe seems to be real even to the great sages and demigods, but actually it's not.
So, what does it mean to say that the universe is unreal? Does that mean – it's not there? Obviously, it's there; you can't get away from it. But the meaning is that this is an artificial construct in which the conditioned souls are placed so that they can undergo certain experiences. It is created by Maha Visnu by manipulating the material energy, it exists for some time, and then at a certain point Maha Visnu again absorbs it into His body. All the elements are annihilated and the universe ceases to exist. Then again, He'll create other universes and so forth. So, the spirit soul is projected into this illusory arrangement and this is an analogy as to the person being projected into an illusion created by the computer. The illusion also exists in the sense that the person in the illusion experiences it if he's projected into the computer-generated world. And also, there's a computer there which is real, and there's a programmer that would correspond to Maha Visnu and his energy. That is, Maha Visnu corresponds to the programmer and the computer corresponds to His energy in that metaphor. But the universe as an actual structure is not the ultimate thing – it's merely an appearance created by the computer program.
So, that's the analogy. Another interesting aspect of this is that virtual realities can have many different levels. You can easily see how you can do this with a computer program, because you're not just limited to objects within 3-dimensional space. You can create an illusion of 3-dimensional space or you could create other illusions. You could arrange for the person within a given illusory 3-dimensional space to go through a transition and enter into a different illusory 3-dimensional space. All this could be done within the computer in a virtual reality. And we can expect that shortly this will become commercially available so that people can experience this. In fact, it'll be the successor to the video arcade type games, where you look down at a little screen and see Pacman zipping around on a on a flat plate. The successor to this will be a situation where you go into a world and experience it and you meet Pacman in 3D who comes to try and gobble you up. And then you have to somehow defeat him. So, in one sense, that's the kind of world that we're in, but it's created by the ultimate video games programmer, which would be Maha Vishnu.
So, that's a preface. I wanted to just indicate some things about what is in the universe according to Vedic literature. There's a description of how Krsna and Arjuna went to meet Maha Visnu, which is quite interesting. Just in the Bhagavatam it's... what is stated here is fairly brief. The translation here is:
Having thus advised Arjuna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead had Arjuna join Him on His divine chariot, and together they set off toward the west. The Lord’s chariot passed over the seven islands of the middle universe, each with its ocean and its seven principal mountains. Then it crossed the Lokāloka boundary and entered the vast region of total darkness. In that darkness the chariot’s horses – Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa and Balāhaka – lost their way. Seeing them in this condition, O best of the Bhāratas, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme master of all masters of yoga, sent His Sudarśana disc before the chariot. That disc shone like thousands of suns.
So that's the description that is given here of Arjuna and Krsna traveling in a chariot drawn by horses through outer space. Some people might not like the idea of a horse-drawn chariot going through outer space, but we can say a few things about that. Let's see, first of all Srila Prabhupada made some interesting statements here in the Krsna Book referring to this same section. He says,
Seated on His chariot with Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa proceeded north, crossing over many planetary systems. These are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as sapta-dvīpa. Dvīpa means “island.” These planets are sometimes described in the Vedic literature as dvīpas. The planet on which we are living is called Jambūdvīpa. Outer space is taken as a great ocean of air, and within that great ocean of air there are many islands, which are the different planets. On each and every planet there are oceans also. On some of the planets the oceans are of salt water, and on some of them there are oceans of milk. On others there are oceans of liquor, and on others there are oceans of ghee or oil. There are different kinds of mountains also. Each and every planet has a different type of atmosphere. Kṛṣṇa passed over all these planets and reached the covering of the universe. This covering is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as great darkness.
...and so on.
So, the description we have in the Bhagavatam here, describes Krsna and Arjuna passing over Saptadvipa, which is described in the Fifth Canto. Srila Prabhupada describes the dvipas as islands floating in the ocean of air. So, he's describing a scene in which you have essentially planets floating in outer space with different kinds of oceans on them. So that is the description that Srila Prabhupada gives.
Now, the Bhagavatam describes Bhu-mandala as a disc with ring-shaped oceans and islands on it, and that's the disc that Lord Varaha was lifting. So, the point is there are different ways of seeing it. What I'm proposing is that there are one... there's one multi-dimensional reality. And you can see that from different angles of vision depending on your particular vision. Now, I wanted to go to another description that fits in more with the one from Krsna Book, that I was reading by Srila Prabhupada. In this one, Arjuna is travelling into outer space on a chariot. This is also an interesting description. As you may know Arjuna, of course, was the son of Indra. He was born of a human mother down on the earth, Queen Kunti, but his father was actually Indra. And so he had an opportunity to go up to the heavenly planets, where he wanted to acquire celestial weapons in order to deal with things down on the earth.
So, let's see, this is fairly long. So, Indra’s… let’s see,”On hearing his word Indra’s charioteer, Matali, quickly mounted the chariot and steadied the horses with the reins. Arjuna bathed in the Ganges, and purified and in happy spirits, he muttered his prayers as was proper.” By the way, this was translated by a fellow named van Buitenen and this is the Mahabharata. So, he's translating japa as ‘mutter.’ One has to realize these little points. But:
Arjuna, slayer of enemy heroes, having said farewell to the mountain [he was up in the Himalayas somewhere] ascended the divine chariot, brilliant like the sun, and on this sun-like 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 the 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 Pandavas saw them bright and beautiful burning on their own hearths with a fire of their own. They 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 Guyakas and seers and the hosts of Apsaras.
Beholding those self luminous worlds, Phalguna, 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 the earth below.”
So it's an interesting description. As I say, this is from the Mahabharata. So Arjuna goes flying up into the sky on a chariot. This is the chariot of Indra; Matali’s Indra’s charioteer. So he goes up into this region of stars and the descriptions are interesting from the point of view of modern ideas concerning stars, and also the Vedic ideas. So, and you can relate this to what Srila Prabhupada said of Arjuna and Krsna looking at these planets, which are islands in the ocean of air. In any case, he went into a region, it’s says: “No sun shown there or moon or fire.” So, wherever he is, you can't see the sun or the moon. “These stars shine with the light of their own,” but it doesn't say that it's done by hydrogen fusion in the center of the stars, but it's acquired by the merits of the inhabitants. These inhabitants are of different types. It's described here some of them are perfected royal seers, I suspect that that's the translation of rajarsi – a royal seer is probably a raja rsi. “Cut down in war, who have won heaven.” So that's one way you can go to the heavenly planets, by being killed in battle. Also, there are Gandharvas and so forth. These are glowing places are called hearths, they glow with a fire of their own. Let's see, they're referred to as self-luminous worlds, and they look like stars from the earth below. It says that they're very large but from the earth they look like oil flames because of the distance. So, it's an interesting description.
You may, of course, know that as far as modern science is concerned, these stars are very far away and they're very large and self-luminous and they look small because of the distance. And also, if you go out to where the stars are, you won't see the sun and the moon because you're too far away. Just interesting that in the Mahabharata there’s a parallel description to that. But at the same time, these stars are inhabited by these different beings, who are actually responsible for the luminosity. And of course Arjuna is going by in a chariot. So, what I'm referring to here is this idea that the universe has many different aspects; it's a multi-level universe that is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the other Vedic literatures.
Now, let's see, something else happens here after this:
Then he saw standing at the gateway [there's a gate way up there] 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 and then looked upon Amarāvatī, the city of Indra.
So, apparently he went by this region where the worlds of the kings were situated, which was just described. And he was travelling on the road of the Siddhas. And also here this is said it is renowned as the path of the gods. So following this road, he finally comes to the city of Indra. And there he meets Indra and different other pastimes take place. So, the word there in Sanskrit would be deva-yana, so there's something called a deva-yana path.
So, it seems that not only was Arjuna traveling on a chariot with horses in outer space, but he was travelling along some kind of road that went through outer space. So, that makes sense in a way if you're going to travel with horses; the horses have to do something with their hooves. Presumably they have to run on something, so that according to this there was a road. Well, what sort of road would that be? Is there any other information on that? Well, one thing is, we know where the road goes. There's information, for example, in the Visnu Purana, which describes that road. Let's see, there are two roads actually: there's the pitr-yana path or road and the deva-yana road – those are two examples. They're mapped out according to positions of stars. This is an interesting thing, because of course this relates more to the world as we see it with our senses. We don't see these various structures such as Bhu-mandala and so forth. But we do see stars. So, the Visnu Purana explains this. The page I have right in front of me here actually refers to the pitr-yana path. It says, “On the north of Agastya and south of the line of the goat, exterior to the Vaisvanara path lies the road of the pitrs.” It's interesting, it says, “There dwell the great rsi's, the offerors of oblations with fire reverencing the Vedas, after whose injunctions creation commenced, and who are discharging the duties of ministrant priests.” So, there's a description of the activities of the beings down there; this is where Yamaraja is situated.
So, to tell you where that is: Agastya is the star Canopus, which is a prominent star that's very far to the south. And this path of the goat corresponds to Mula, Purvasadha, and Uttarasadha, which are three naksatras; and they're basically situated where Sagittarius and Scorpio... those constellations meet one another. So, you can get out a star map and see where that is in the sky. So, this pitr-yana path starts in that area and it goes to the star Canopus. The deva-yana path is also described. I think it's interesting to know that these are actual things you can map out in the sky. The Vedic literature is referring to identifiable reality here. Here it says the path of the gods lies to the north of the Solar sphere, north of the Nagavithi, and south of the Seven Rishis. That's a description of that particular path. That says, “There dwell the Siddhas of subdued senses, continent and pure, undesirous of progeny, and therefore victorious over death.” Hmm… interesting connection of ideas there.
Nagavithi is in the vicinity of… well, if you look at the sky, if you know the constellation Orion and off to the right of that there's the Pleiades, that's the vicinity of where this Nagavithi is and the Seven Rishis, that's the Big Dipper. So, from there up to the Big Dipper, that's where the path of the gods is. So that's where Arjuna was going on his chariot, so we can identify where he was. So, he was out there among the stars, which he saw to be the luminous worlds of great kings and so forth, who had attained heaven by their austerities or by dying in battle.
So, there's some more information about this path in the Bhagavatam. Mystics also travel on this. There's this verse in the Second Canto chapter 2 text 24, which says,
O King, when such a mystic passes over the Milky Way by the illuminating Suṣumṇā to reach the highest planet, Brahmaloka, he goes first to Vaiśvānara, the planet of the deity of fire, wherein he becomes completely cleansed of all contaminations, and thereafter he still goes higher, to the circle of Śiśumāra, to relate with Lord Hari, the Personality of Godhead.
So, if you look at the description here, you'll see that he's also following this... the mystic here is following this deva-yana path also. And it's mentioned that... Srila Prabhupada mentions that that goes over the Milky Way. So, unfortunately in San Diego, you can't see the Milky Way because of the city lights and pollution and so forth. But if you're out in the country, you'll see this very brilliant band of stars through the sky; that is the... also along this deva-yana path – it follows that that band. It's also known as the akasa Ganga, that's the pathway of the celestial Ganges that is coming down from the point where a Vamanadeva kicked a hole through the covering of the universe.
So also, by the way, there are traditions in all kinds of different places around the world, identifying the Milky Way with some kind of celestial road. For example, the Cherokee Indians said that they the Milky Way was the pathway of the departed souls. So here significantly the mystics travel on that. Also, the Chinese have a description of a celestial river, which goes by certain constellations and if you look at the constellations, you'll see this is also the Milky Way and that fits in with the fact that in the Vedic literature this corresponds to the Ganges in the sky. So, in any case, that's more information about where Arjuna was traveling on the chariot. Now this illuminating Suṣumṇā is interesting. If you look that up in the dictionary, Suṣumṇā, you'll find that that is a solar ray. It is one of different types of rays of the sun. So, this pathway is marked out by a solar beam or ray of some kind, but obviously it's not an ordinary sun beam. There are different types of rays from the sun apparently.
What we have then is, that Arjuna is traveling on the chariot on this road, we know where it is, and it's some kind of illuminated beam or ray of some kind. Now there's information oddly enough in current lore, you might say, referring to the possibility of walking on some kind of beam. Now this gets you into the UFO literature. Well, there's a lot of literature like this. It's interesting though in terms of the kinds of correlations that it has with some of the things in the Vedic literature. So, I'm just going to mention one thing, but one could go on for hours giving examples of this. But here is a person who had an experience of meeting up with a UFO. I'm going to describe the relative part here. This occurred up in... there's a place called Tujunga Canyon, near Los Angeles. So that's the setting of this. Anyway, there's... it's an interview here..
This fellow McCall is saying: “Do you stand near the ship?”
Sara (she's the witness): “No, I'm starting to float. I'm starting to float towards it.”
“What do you mean, you're starting to float toward it?”
“Well, they're walking with me but my feet aren't on the ground.”
“Oh!” Then he's asking: “They were on the ground when you came out of the house, how come they're not on the ground now?”
Sara: “Well, there's a beam of light. I'm like... it's like, now you see a beam of light. I'm on the beam of light. I'm standing on it and it's angled. It's like… it's about the same angle as an escalator would be except that it doesn't have ridges or steps. It's very smooth and solid and you kind of stand on it.”
“Oh, all right, let's go out in the yard again. Now you're standing on this beam of light.”
So, she says a couple other things, let's see, and then, “Oh, yeah, what's happening with your friends?”
“They're all around me.”
“They're on the beam of light also?”
“Yes, but they're kind of... now I'm walking, all of us are walking, but in addition the beam is conveying us, the beam is moving. In addition to that, we're kind of walking on it too. But yet I don't feel anything under me. For example, it doesn't feel solid as if it were ground.”
And so forth. Anyway, this is an example.
There are many examples like this that I could get. Actually, this is a standard theme. The curious thing about it is that people all over the place come up with this kind of story. So, the basic element there is that you have some kind of beam of light and this person is walking on it and other persons are also walking on it. So, there is information of that kind. Now, there's some more relevant information to put all this together. This... we now go back to the chariot that Arjuna was travelling on. This refers to the kind of chariot that would be involved. First of all, this isn't exactly the same chariot that he was on at that time – that was Matali’s chariot from the Kingdom of Indra. But this is a description of the one in which he fought in the battle of Kuruksetra. Anyway, it says,
The chariot had all necessary equipment. It could not be conquered by gods or demons and it radiated light and reverberated with a deep rumbling sound. Its beauty captivated the mind of all who beheld it. Visvakarma, the lord of design and construction, had created it by the power of his austerities. And its form, like that of the sun, could not be precisely discerned.
So, we see that the chariot here is not an ordinary sort of construction. You can't see exactly what its shape is, and it's radiating effulgence. That, by the way, can be related to the UFO accounts. These vehicles that people claim to see, are described in this sort of language also. You can't quite see what the shape is and it's radiating effulgence, but it has structure nonetheless. This is a typical description. Now, there are many different descriptions that I could read you, as I said, of different kinds of beings that walk through space, apparently – perhaps on beams of light – but now we come to horses. So, this is a description of the horses that Arjuna had. “Oh, best of men”... let's see, this is when he got some of these horses. By the way, who did he get them from? He got them from a Gandharva. This is what the... this Gandharva, by the way, was named Citraratha – there's a whole story behind what happened with him.
Actually, there are a lot of stories about Citraratha. Once he was flying in a kind of flying machine called a vimana, I’ll say more about that also, and he flew over the body of a certain sage who had been... who had acquired the Narayana-kavaca armor. There's a whole section in Bhagavatam about the Narayana-kavaca. Kavaca means armor. So, his vimana crashed as soon as he flew over the body of this sage. This was due to the influence of the Narayana-kavaca. That was Citraratha, who was flying that. In any case at this at this point he's speaking to Arjuna and he's offering these horses.
O best of men, I now wish to offer each of you five brothers a hundred horses of the type bred by the Gandharvas. The mounts of the Gods and Gandharva’s exude a celestial fragrance and they move at the speed of the mind. Even when their energy is spent, they do not diminish their speed. These Gandharva horses change color at will and fly at the speed they desire. And simply by your desire, they will appear before you ready to serve. Indeed, these horses will always honor your wish.
That's a description of the kind of horses.
So, this is interesting. Obviously, they aren't ordinary horses either. First of all, well let's see, they can travel at the speed of the mind which is unusual. Also, they appear and disappear, you notice. And not only that, but they respond to telepathy. At least if you own those horses, I guess if you have the right owner's certificate given by Citraratha, then when you desire them to appear before you, they will appear there. So, this is the nature of the horses. They sort of fit in with the chariot.
Now, as I was saying, you can connect this with the... this UFO phenomenon, because there you also have beings – I can't acquaint you with all the literature that exists there but it's voluminous – there you have all kinds of accounts of beings that will appear and disappear. Just to mention one other example, there is a man named Maurice Masse who was a farmer near a town of Valensole in France. This was back in, I think, the 1950’s. And the description is, that he was an ordinary fellow, sort of pragmatic, not given to flights of fancy; he was a regular farmer. So, one day this oval craft came floating down and landed on his field, which was a bit disturbing. Some little men got out of it and they came floating through the air. He said they slid along beams of light. So, he saw this, I won't describe what they looked like, they were rather strange. Then they slid back, went into their craft, the craft flew up a little ways into the air and vanished, just like poof! It was gone. However, it left marks on his field, so, where the plants were disturbed. That's just another of many examples.
So, you can fit this in with the Vedic descriptions. Let's say that basically there's a correlation here. Now there's more that can be said about these beams of light. Of course, in these UFO accounts, these are small localized affairs, whereas we were describing a roadway that Arjuna was following through the stars. Another piece of information that can be given is related to a word vihayasa. This word is used very often in the Bhagavatam and it's translated in different ways. In the verse that I read to you about the mystic traveling over the Milky Way, the word vihayasa is used there, but it's used in other places. Basically, it's translated as a kind of pathway. Srila Prabhupada very often says ‘skyway.’ It's a kind of path.
Yogi's can travel in this fashion, but travel can also be done down here on the earth, so to speak. I'll give you another example of that. There's the story of the abduction of Aniruddha. Basically the story here is that there was this daughter of Banasura named Usa who had a dream about this beautiful young man that she was very attracted to. She happened to know this mystic yogini named Citralekha, who used psychic methods to identify the person in the dream. Basically, she made all kinds of drawings. Citralekha, by the way, means that... ‘beautiful drawing’ is what that means.
So, in any case, are they identified the person who turned out to be Aniruddha, who’s Krsna’s grandson. Now Aniruddha was living in Dvaraka, and Usa was living in, I think it was Sonitapura, which was the capital city of Banasura. So, and they’re, I presume, separated at some distance. So, Citralekha traveled in this vihayasa manner to Aniruddha’s bedroom. He was described that he was sleeping on a very fine bed. And she picked him up without awakening him and took him to Sonitapura, by this same method of travel. And so he found himself in the palace of Usa.
So that's the account there. That's another example of this vihayasa method of travel. So, the idea is that there's some kind of pathway and you can move along it, if you know how to do that. Any questions or comments?
Answer: Yeah, they're called khecaran. Interesting thing about khecaran, Putana was a khecari, that word is used in the Krsna Book. Khe is ether and caran is to fly, apparently. Also, when, Dhruva was asked to recite that mantra – oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya – Narada Muni said that if you chant this perfectly, you will be able to see the perfected human beings flying in the sky. And the term used there was khecaran, in the verse.
Well, I’ll just mention briefly another whole topic I don't have time to go into, but there are two kinds of things you find in Vedic literature. They have self-propelled flying machines, these are called vimanas. Some of them are as big as cities. I have a description I was going to read for you, of a couple flying cities. A really good one is in the Ramayana. It's... the capital city of Ravana was floating. It was a floating city described as looking like a milestone to the sun. So, that was also built by Visvakarma. So, there are two kinds of things: there are horse-drawn vehicles and there are vehicles that look like a hunk of architecture with nothing that moves it; both things are there.
Also, there are small vehicles, just like that one that Citraratha was flying. That was not a horse-drawn thing, that was just a machine. Another example would be another Gandharva, forget his name right-off, was flying near where Devahuti was playing on top of her father's palace. And it said he was so overwhelmed by looking at her that he fell out of his vimana. So, that one sounds like a single-seater, sort of like a Piper Cub type of vimana. So, they come in all sizes. So, you've got both things.
Well, actually there are three things basically: there's travel in the vimanas, that's very commonly mentioned. Oh, then there's travel on chariots and so forth, drawn by horses which are also mystical horses obviously. And then there's just travel on one's own power. Durvasa Muni went all over the universe just on his own power. The same Citraratha offered Arjuna different benedictions. One benediction he offered Arjuna was a universal spy system known as caksusa with which you could see anything going on anywhere. And he said it's with this that the Gandharvas have become nearly as powerful as the gods. So, they had an espionage system of a mystical nature. Arjuna scorned that one, didn't care, but he took the horses. So it's a matter of one's interests.
Well, puspaka vimana, oh yeah that's there also. There are different types of vimanas. Srila Prabhupada describes three types, just to mention another thing. They're mechanical vimanas, then there are akasa vimanas, which work by mind power. And then there are completely spiritual vimanas made of cintamani. So that’s three broad categories.