Vedic Cosmology Seminar 2
The second lecture of the Vedic cosmology series examines the structural details of Bhu-mandala. Whereas modern astronomy seeks confirmation through testable empirical models, Thompson suggests that the sages described in the Srimad Bhagavatam rather regarded the totality of the universe as inconceivable, and thus cannot be restricted to so-called natural methodology. This suggests they recognized that a meaningful cosmic analysis, out of necessity, would exceed the standard limitations of human empiricism.
TRANSCRIPT: Vedic Cosmology Seminar 2. Philadelphia ISKCON - July 1, 1986 / (062)
I was giving some preliminary information, what we see in the sky, I pointed that what is called the Jyotisa-sastra, including works such as the Sūrya-siddhānta, provide a numerical description of what we actually see going on in the sky in terms of the motion of the sun, the moon, the planets, and so forth. So this Jyotisa-sastra describes the universe as we see it with our ordinary sense perception.
So now today what I will do is describe how the universe is presented in the Fifth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Now here we are going to be going beyond the limits of our normal senses. So just to give an indication of that, I should point out that this is quite explicitly indicated in the Srimad Bhagavatam itself. So the beginning of the description of the universe in Srimad Bhagavatam starts with the following statement by Sukadeva Goswami. Actually Maharaja Pariksit has just asked Sukadeva Goswami to describe the universe. So Sukadeva Goswami said:
“My dear king, there is no limit to the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. This material world is a transformation of the material qualities sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna, yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahma. No one in the material world is perfect and an imperfect person could not describe this material universe accurately even after continued speculation. O King, I shall nevertheless try to explain to you the principal regions such as Bhuloka with their names, forms, measurements and various symptoms.” (SB 5.16.4)
So Sukadeva Goswami begins by making the point that it's not possible to give a complete description of the material universe. Actually the objective of modern scientific research in the area of cosmology is at least in one sense is to give a complete description. Of course the scientists do not imagine that they are going to be able to describe exactly what each atom in the universe is doing. That would obviously be impossible. But their idea is to formulate a complete model in which all of the basic elements that appear in the universe have a representation. And their idea is that whatever is in the universe will be there in their model represented in mathematical form. So they have a full understanding of the different categories of phenomena that are going on. This is the goal in modern cosmology.
So one can take it, though, from this statement by Sukadeva Goswami, or at least one way to look at it is, that it would be very difficult for us to do that. So we can expect that there might actually be aspects of the material universe which we could not hope to properly describe or define using a model that we can visualise within our mind. So we should always be open to that possibility.
So, with that in mind, what I will do is briefly summarise the description of the universe given by Sukadeva Goswami. This description begins naturally with a discussion of what is called Bhu-mandala. Now I mentioned yesterday that when the Srimad Bhagavatam refers to the earth it is referring to this Bhu-mandala. And Bhu-mandala can be essentially imagined as a disc about four billion miles in diameter. So the description given by Sukadeva Goswami begins with the discussion of this Bhu-mandala. Now the first thing to notice about Bhu-mandala is that the scale of Bhu-mandala essentially corresponds to the scale of the solar system. That is, in terms of order of magnitude or rough ballpark figures the size of Bhu-mandala is about the size of the solar system. A radius of two billion miles takes you out to about twice the orbit of Saturn, just to give an idea of the size of this.
So Bhu-mandala however is described as a variegated world with various geographical features. There are mountains, oceans, different kinds of plant and animal life, human beings and so on, various kinds of inhabitants. All of these features are there. However when you read the description of Bhu-mandala the first thing that becomes apparent is that the scale of size of all the different geographical features is very large. The different, just as Bhu-mandala itself is very large being about four billion miles across, so also the mountains and oceans and so on on the surface of Bhu-mandala have a corresponding size. So I have referred to this as celestial geography because it is not like the geography we are acquainted with here on the earth.
So to give an idea of what is involved with Bhu-mandala I’ll start by describing what is known as Jambudvipa. Bhu-mandala is essentially structured in the form of a series of expanding rings which are concentric with one another and in the center of this series of rings, which you can roughly visualise as being like a bull’s eye used in archery practice, so in the center of this series of rings there is a circular region called the Bhu-mandala, called Jambudvipa. So Jambudvipa is also a disc or a circle and it's been described that Jambudvipa is a 100,000 yojanas in diameter.
So maybe I should stop briefly here to say something about a yojana because that term is always used in the Bhagavatam. You can find various definitions of the yojana which will clarify the nature of this unit of distance. Srila Prabhupada uses 8 miles to the yojana. Well there are different definitions. One definition of the yojana is that ‘a yojana is 4 krosas and a krosa means a shout’. What this literally means is a krosa is the distance that a person with good hearing can hear the shout of a person with good lung power. So that is one krosa. I presume that means under appropriate weather conditions, that is person doesn't have to shout against a head wind, or something like that. So that’s the definition of a krosa. So there are 4 krosas in a yojana. So this is a sort of rough and ready measure.
It's also described that there are eight hundred nr in a yojana and a nr is the height of a man. So that’s another definition. The Bhagavatam commentator Vamsidhara pointed out that the units of distance which are commonly used are measured on the basis of the body of the yajnamana. Yajnamana means a person authorising a sacrifice. So the idea was that on the basis of the size of that person’s body the various units that might be appropriate in the sacrifice were determined. So it was recognised that these units were variable. So depending on the size of the person, the yojana could be large or small. However you can see that there is only a limited range of variation because people only have a limited range of sizes.
So the yojana was a variable measure. However in astronomy it's not really adequate to have a measure that can vary so freely. So different astronomers would fix the yojana in a specific way. But there are different standards of size. It turns out though that you can calibrate the yojana in terms of miles by looking at statements concerning the diameter of the earth. For example in the writings of Aryabhatta the diameter of the earth is given as 1050 yojanas. And if you compare that with the present figure for the diameter of the earth you can find that there are about 7.55 yojanas per mile, miles per yojana. And in the Surya-siddhanta and the Siddhanta-siromani the figure for the diameter of the earth is more like 1600 yojanas. So there the yojana comes out to about 5 miles. So there are different standards which are used. So the, Jambudvipa is 100,000 yojanas across and it’s circular in form. So . . .
Answer: That is a view of Jambudvipa looking down from above. Jambudvipa is intersected by different mountain ranges. So these lines that I have drawn represent ranges of mountains. Yeah, that could help. So you’ll notice that there are three parallel lines down below and then another set of three lines up above. So these six are six mountain ranges. Then the two vertical lines that I have drawn there are additional mountain ranges. So these mountain ranges divide Jambudvipa into a series of regions called varsas. Actually the word varsa means valley, between two mountains. So there are, as you can see, nine varsas in Jambudvipa. Now in the very center I have drawn a smaller circle and that represents the location of Mount Meru. So these mountains are quite large. Just to give an idea, these six horizontal mountain ranges shown here are each 10,000 yojanas high. So that would come out to 80,000 miles; we’ll just use the 8 mile yojana.
So this of course immediately indicates something. If the earth of our experience, that is this earth we can travel around on, is 25,000 miles around the equator, then you can’t place on this earth a mountain 80,000 miles high because it is bigger than the earth. In fact the diameter of the earth is 8000 miles. So a mountain 80,000 miles high is about ten times as big as the earth. So these mountains have a height about 10 times the diameter of the earth. Actually even the smallest mountains described in Jambudvipa have a height about twice the diameter of the earth. So this gives an idea of the scale of size of Jambudvipa.
Now even though these different geographical features of Jambudvipa are on a much larger scale from the geography that we know of, there is a correspondence between Jambudvipa and the regions that we experience on this earth planet. And that will be a subject that maybe I will get into more detail tomorrow, but for now I will mainly give a description just of Jambudvipa as it's presented in the Bhagavatam.
So these different varsas all have different names The southern most varsa is called Bharata-varsa, which gives an indication of the connection between Jambudvipa and this world of our experience because here…..
A: Yeah, if I had a pointer actually that would be good but…
A: Yeah, that semicircle down there at the bottom is Bharata-varsa. So, then there are various names for the different varsas: Ketumala-varsa, Bhadrasva- varsa, Ilavrta-varsa and so on. . They all have different names.
A: That's one. Right, those are the nine varsas. So then in the very north its Uttara-kuru-varsa, and so on. So this is Jambudvipa as seen from above. (Ok, good, a pointer.) So the Bhagavatam gives a description of the inhabitants of Jambudvipa. This description is quite significant. In all of the eight varsas other than Bharata-varsa the conditions are celestial. That is these are heavenly regions. In fact it's described in the Bhagavatam that the human beings in Bharata-varsa can acquire karma through their actions whereas the human beings in other varsas are not acquiring karma but they are merely exhausting the results of pious activities. It is described that if you perform various pious activities within this life it is possible to be elevated to what is called Svaragaloka. Now Svaragaloka is completely beyond this Bhu-mandala region. And I’ll be saying something about what Svargaloka is later on also.
Svargaloka is the realm of the demigods proper, beings such as Indra and so forth. So when one is elevated to this Svargaloka one can have exceedingly long life span of many millions of years. But, and typically, a person in that Svargaloka will tend to engage in material activities and enjoy the results of the good karma that they have accumulated. So what happens is after a certain period of time, which will be very long by our standards, a person in the Svargaloka will have exhausted the karmic credits which entitle them to live within that realm and so then they are forced to transmigrate down to the earthly realm of existence. However the earth in question is this Bhu-mandala. And in particular, souls that fall down from Svargaloka can take birth in the eight varsas of Jambudvipa other than Bharata-varsa. And there they again have bodies similar to those of demigods. However their lifespan is shorter. It amounts to thousands of years instead of millions of years. So they are in the process of descending in terms of karmic merit. So, however they are not building up more karma. They are just exhausting the results of their previous pious activities.
So there are many descriptions in the Bhagavatam of what life is like in these other varsas of Jambudvipa. It is described that first of all even the ordinary inhabitants live for thousands of years and they enjoy very utopian circumstances. They have very opulent lives and so forth. They don't suffer from disease and old age and so on. Also the various demigods frequently visit these different parts of Bharata-varsa. So in the stories in the Mahabharata and Bhagavatam you will always find references to Lord Siva and Indra and so on engaging in activities in these different varsas. So these are definitely celestial regions. So this is significant because in terms of dimensions you can, just by a simple calculation, conclude that most of Bharata-varsa is many thousands of miles away from the earth that we know, I mean most of our Jambudvipa, simply because of the size. If it is 800,000 miles across then most of it is, let's say, more than 10,000 miles away from us. So most of it is located then in what we would regard as outer space. So that’s the first conclusion that one can come to simply by considering the dimensions.
So this is the Bharata-varsa. I will give you an idea of the vertical relief in Bharata-varsa also. [inaudible] Here what I did was, here we are looking at Jambudvipa from an angle now. So the circular disc of Jambudvipa now becomes an ellipse which is foreshortened, that's what the drawing is supposed to represent. And you see this inverted cone extending up to a height which is nearly equal to the diameter of Jambudvipa itself. Now this is what is known as Mount Meru, which is the most prominent feature of Jambudvipa. So Mount Meru is described as being 84,000 yojanas high. So the diameter of Jambudvipa is 100,000 yojanas. So you can see it's nearly as high as Jambudivpa is wide. So that description is given. It is also said that at the top Mount Meru is 32,000 yojanas across and at the base it is 16,000 yojanas across. So it gets wider as you go the top. That's the description.
A: Yeah, the top is twice as wide as the base.
A: Yes, it’s flat on the top and it is described that on the top there is the a city of Lord Brahma. This is not Satyaloka. That's a different place. But Brahma has a residence on top of this Mount Meru. And also the eight principal demigods called dik-palas have residences upon the top of the mountain. So, yeah, this is Mount Meru going up. So, somewhat crude drawing. Actually you can take a look later but I have some computer generated drawings of Jambudvipa here. Actually, I don't know if anyone can see this very clearly. But this you can look at later, gives a clear idea. Also this plane of Jambudvipa here is exceedingly mountainous. As I was saying, the mountains there are about 80,000 miles high. But that makes them about a tenth as high as the total height of Mount Meru which is 84,000 thousand yojanas. So that gives you an idea of the scale of Jambudvipa.
So Jambudvipa is the central hub of this Bhu-mandala. And compared with Bhu-mandala as a whole this Jambudvipa is actually very small. So I’ll make another drawing to indicate what the rest of Bhu-mandala looks like. [Inaudible] I’ll explain this obscure looking diagram. What I have done there, a very small inner circle there represents Jambudvipa. So surrounding Jambudvipa there is a ring shaped ocean and the width of that ocean is equal to the diameter of Jambudvipa itself and then surrounding that ocean there is a ring shaped island called Plaksadvipa and its width is also equal to the width of the ocean which is equal to the width of Jambudvipa. Surrounding that there is another ring shaped ocean but its width is twice the width of Plaksadvipa. And then going still further there is a ring shaped island surrounding that which is of equal width. And then another ring shaped ocean which is twice the width of that island and another ring shaped island which is twice the, which is equal to the , width of that ocean, and so on.
So in total counting Jambudvipa as the center there are seven islands and seven oceans. And these form a series of concentric expanding rings on the surface of this Bhu-mandala. So that’s what the geographical layout of Bhu-mandala is like. Now the seventh of these islands going out is called Puskaradvipa. And it is described that in the center of Puskaradvipa going out there is a ring shaped mountain that goes all the way around in a circle. And that's called Manasottara Mountain. So also various other mountains, rivers, and other geographical features of these islands are described. There is quite a detailed description. So, this is a basic idea of the, of what Jambudvipa looks like as described in the Bhagavatam.
So let’s see here, looking for something. Ok. Excuse me.
A: Well what you have, is going out there is a series of alternating oceans and ring shaped islands.
A: Yeah, it’s all part of one plate, as it were, or disc. This is the basic description that is given. So this is the description.
Now naturally one would like to ask what does this correspond to in terms of experience, or in the reality that we can perceive with our senses. Well, it turns out that one can get some insight into that. And to do that we have to consider the relation between the sun and this disc called Bhu-mandala. So that's the next topic to discuss. So as I was saying when you go out to this seventh island there is this ring shaped mountain. Now this mountain essentially is the track of the sun’s orbit. That is described in the Bhagavatam. So just to give an indication of this in this verse in the Fifth Canto we read that:
“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. On that mountain, in the four directions, are the residential quarters of demigods such as Indra. In the chariot of the sun-god, the sun travels on the top of the mountain in an orbit called the Saṁvatsara, encircling Mount Meru. The sun’s path on the northern side is called uttarāyaṇa, and its path on the southern side is called dakṣiṇāyana. One side represents a day for the demigods, and the other represents their night.” (SB 5.20.30)
So this description is given. So what’s being described here is, one can imagine in this outermost ring shaped island, a mountain which essentially is like a circular track. It goes all the way around. It has a radius which, if you calculate on the basis of the dimensions given here, turns out to be about a 126 million miles. Now that's using 8 miles per yojana. So the idea is that the sun is travelling and it's described that the sun is travelling on a chariot on top of this ring shaped mountain and it's going around in circles. And, as we read here, in the center is Jambudvipa with Mount Meru. So therefore the sun is going around Mount Meru, and it is stated here that on the northern side of Mount Meru, and what we do is we have directions - North, South, East and West - so on the northern side of Mount Meru, that is called the uttarāyaṇa path of the sun, and on the southern side it is called the dakṣiṇāyana path.
So what this indicates is that the sun will go around in a time period of one year on this track, spending one year to the north, one half of the year to the north, and one half to the south. And this represents the day and night of the demigods. It’s described in the Bhagavatam the day and night of the demigods corresponds to a full year by human calculation. So that’s the basic description.
Now as I said, it's described that the sun travels on top of Mount Meru, on top of Mount Manasottara, in a chariot. Here is a description of that chariot. It says here,
“The chariot of the sun-god has only one wheel, which is known as Saṁvatsara. The twelve months are calculated to be its twelve spokes, the six seasons are the sections of its rim, and the three cātur-māsya periods are its three-sectioned hub. One side of the axle carrying the wheel rests upon the summit of Mount Sumeru, and the other rests upon Mānasottara Mountain. Affixed to the outer end of the axle, the wheel continuously rotates on Mānasottara Mountain like the wheel of an oil-pressing machine.”(SB 5.21.13)
So there is a simple imagery being given here to describe the motion of the sun. I take it that, by an oil pressing machine, what is meant here is you have a heavy wheel which is hooked to an axle that goes to a central post and then an oxen would pull this wheel around in a circle and you could put things underneath the wheel and they would crush it as they moved over it to extract oil or something like that. So that’s the basic description.
So it’s described then that the sun is moving around this mountain, on top of this mountain. Now the height of the mountain is given as 10,000 yojanas, or 80,000 miles. And in fact elsewhere you can find an indication that the height of the sun above the surface of Bhu-mandala is a 100,000 yojanas. That’s the figure which is given. So what this description means then is that the sun is moving in a circular path around the surface of Bhu-mandala and its height above Bhu-mandala is 100,000 yojanas. Now the radius of the circle is a 126 million miles. So if the height above Bhu-mandala is 800,000 miles and the radius is 126 million miles, what that means is that the radius is quite a bit larger than the height above the surface.
And this is a very significant thing to consider, because imagine that you are standing on a flat plane and at a distance from you, say 126 yards, there is a light moving on a wheeled vehicle of some kind, maybe a chariot, which is held 8 yards above the plane. But it's 126 yards out from you and it's going around in a circle. So in that case what will you see? Well, what you would see is that the light would be practically horizontal from your point of view and it will be moving around in a circle, going around and coming back and so on. So that is the, what that indicates then is that if you visualise this Bhu-mandala as a plane, and imagine yourself standing in the center of the plane at a point on this Jambudvipa then, and imagine that the plane provides your own horizon, that is you are standing perpendicular to that plane, then the motion of the sun that you would perceive would be that the sun is going around horizontally, moving around in a circle continuously. So that’s how it would look according to this description. So that is the description given in the Bhagavatam of the motion of the sun.
Now as I indicated previously, yesterday, the sun has two types of motion. There is the rightward motion which takes one day to complete and the leftward motion which takes one year to complete. I have already suggested that the motion of the sun on Bhu-mandala can be thought of as taking one year. But there is also the rightward motion that takes one day and we have to consider that also.
So at this point one can ask, well all right, how does this description relate to experience. An immediate impression that some people might get, I am reading this, is that “the Bhagavatam is presenting a very naive flat earth model of the universe.” So one can consider that idea. However if that is so you then run into a problem. The idea behind a, what you can call a, naive flat earth interpretation of this description is that the plane of Bhu-mandala represents the plane of our local horizon. That is, the earth looks flat to us locally, especially if we are in a flat area like the Plains States, or something like that. And we can imagine it extending in all directions as a plane. Now if you look at, imagine the earth as a globe, the plane of the local horizon is a plane tangent to the globe at the point where we are standing. So interpreting this as a naive flat earth model you have the idea that, well, the earth isn't really a globe. The plane of our local horizon really is the plane of the earth and it extends out in all directions for very long distance. However, given the description of the motion of the sun in the Bhagavatam, one would have to conclude then that we should see the sun always clinging to the horizon and never going above it.
Now in fact on earth there are places in which you can see something like that. If you go north of the Arctic Circle at right time of year you will in fact see the sun skimming around the horizon forming a complete circle once per day. So there are places where you an experience that. But in latitudes below the Arctic Circle of course, that is, cannot be experienced and it certainly cannot be experienced in India. Actually there is one person named Tilak who used this argument, this idea, to argue that the original Vedic Aryans must have lived in the Arctic region. He thought that they must have lived up in the area of the Laplanders in northern Scandinavia and then migrated down and then finally moved into India. And actually Hitler took advantage of this idea by suggesting that the Germanic people simply hadn’t gone that far from their original Arctic region in the northern part of Scandinavia.
So anyway, these are speculative theories. So what I was indicating yesterday, though, about the Jyotisa-sastra, which strongly suggests that the Bhagavatam could not be presenting a naive flat earth model, because in fact the Jyotisa-sastra describes the earth as a globe. And it provides very sophisticated description of latitude and longitude. There are methods for calculating, for example, your latitude and longitude by making observations of the planets and the moon and so forth. So the idea of the earth as a globe was definitely well known according to the Vedic tradition.
So how then can one understand this description of the Bhu-mandala. Well, one way to try to understand that is to look at the description of the motion of the sun and assume that the Bhagavatam is actually making sense in terms of what we see. So if that is true, then the sun must always be close to Bhu-mandala because the sun is moving on a chariot around Bhu-mandala, and it is very close to Bhu-mandala compared to how far it is from us. So that means if you look at where the sun is in the sky that will tell you where Bhu-mandala is. So this indicates then that Bhu-mandala corresponds to a plane tilted in the sky with respect to our local horizon, simply because the sun moves up in the sky with respect to our local horizon. So if the sun is always close to the Bhu-mandala and the sun is moving up in the sky that means that must be where Bhu-mandala is, if you try and interpret the statement in the Bhagavatam as making sense in terms of what we can observe.
So in fact there are many different verses in the Bhagavatam which confirm the basic idea that Bhu-mandala does correspond to a plane associated with the motion of the sun in the sky. Now I am not going to try to go through all the reasoning in detail. I’ll just sum up what as far as I can see, is the basic conclusion that one arrives at.
Yesterday I was describing the, what I call the, circle of the ecliptic which corresponds to the motion, the yearly motion, of the sun through the celestial sphere. So as I was saying there are two motions of the sun. One motion is due to what in Sanskrit is called the kala-cakra; this corresponds to the rotation of the celestial sphere as a whole. So this rotation occurs along the axis going through the polestar, and as I said, the whole sphere can be thought of as rotating in a clockwise direction and all the stars are moving around, but the stars don’t move relative to one another; it’s as though they are painted on the surface of the sphere and the whole sphere is rotating. So then the sun also is being carried around by this daily rotation. So you can imagine the sun is sitting on this sphere also, but in addition, the sun has a leftward motion which follows this track called the ecliptic. And this track, as I indicated yesterday, is tilted at a 23-degree angle roughly to the celestial equator, which represents the direction of motion of rotation of this celestial sphere.
So that’s a brief description of what I was indicating yesterday about the motion of the sun. Well, the description of the Bhu-mandala and the motion of the sun can be consistently understood if one takes Bhu-mandala to correspond to the plane of the ecliptic. So if one takes it in that way then one can think of this plane of Bhu-mandala as being, as passing through space along what to us is the path of the ecliptic. So everyday this whole plane rotates, the sun is situated on that plane and so there is a daily rotation of the sun. But the sun is moving in its chariot on its track on the Manasottara mountain taking one year to go around; and as it goes around that corresponds to the yearly motion of the sun through the ecliptic in a complete circle.
A: Yeah, the track also has to rotate.
A: Yeah, so the sun has two motions. One due to the rotation of the whole thing and the other due to its motion in this plane. So this particular interpretation is, as I was seeing recently, is borne out by this Bhagavatam commentator Vamsidhara who identifies this plane of Bhu-mandala with the what he calls naksatra-kaksa. Briefly naksatra-kaksa is the Sanskrit term for the ecliptic. The meaning here, kaksa means a circular orbit or anything circular basically. There are 27 naksatras in Vedic astronomy. These are, well there are two different things. A naksatra on one hand is the constellation of stars and on the other hand it’s a corresponding division of the ecliptic. So there are 27 equal divisions of the ecliptic each of which is 13 1/3 degrees going around. So the circle of the naksatras are the naksatra-kaksa.
Bhu-mandala, the idea is then that, in addition to this earth globe of our experience in which we have small geographical features, there is this larger earth which extends for billions of miles out into space, essentially in what corresponds in modern thinking in the plane of the solar system. And on this earth plane the sun is moving in its orbit. So of course when you look out in the sky at night you don’t see any such thing. That is, we don’t see any arrangement of gigantic mountains and so forth out in the sky in that region. However the indication then in the Bhagavatam is that there are many things that we don't see. Now tomorrow I will go into more of a description of how it can be that things are there that we don't see and so forth. That’s a whole subject to go into.
But here I am just trying to give an outline of the basic cosmological description in the Bhagavatam. So the basic point then here is that in addition to this world that we know, of the earth, there is a celestial domain which is extending out into space. And the direction in which that domain is located corresponds to the path of the sun.
So at this point I guess I will go to one further topic and then we can stop and consider different questions and so forth. So that is the question of the motion of the planets. Oh, actually, before I get to that, there are a couple of verses in the Bhagavatam that shed some more light on this. I have described how the sun has two types of motion. So Maharaja Pariksit also found this to be a little bit bewildering, it would seem, and so he asked Sukadeva Goswami about this. So there is a verse here in which,
“King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: My dear lord, you have already affirmed the truth that the supremely powerful sun-god travels around Dhruvaloka with both Dhruvaloka and Mount Sumeru on his right. Yet at the same time the sun-god faces the signs of the zodiac and keeps Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on his left. How can we reasonably accept that the sun-god proceeds with Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on both his left and right simultaneously?” (SB 5.22.1)
So Pariksit asks this question. So the reason for the question is that in the previous verses here the rightward daily motion of the sun has been described around Mount Meru. By the way, in this verse Dhruvaloka is mentioned. Dhruvaloka is the polestar. So you can imagine the axis of rotation of the kala-cakra as being defined by Mount Meru at one end and the polestar at the other. And you can imagine an axis going between those two.
So the daily motion goes around to the right and the yearly motion goes around to the left. So Maharaja Pariksit is saying well how can the sun go to the right and the left at the same time? So Sri Sukadeva Goswami answered:
“When a potter’s wheel is moving and small ants located on that big wheel are moving with it, one can see that their motion is different from that of the wheel because they appear sometimes on one part of the wheel and sometimes on another. Similarly, the signs and constellations, with Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on their right, move with the wheel of time, and the ant-like sun and other planets move with them. The sun and planets, however, are seen in different signs and constellations at different times. This indicates that their motion is different from that of the zodiac and the wheel of time itself.” (SB 5.22.2)
So the idea is we have here a description of the relative motion. The sun is moving on this disc which is described by an analogy here as a potter’s wheel. And that wheel itself is rotating. So we see the sum total of those two motions to be the motion of the sun. But the sun has its motion with respect to the wheel and then because of the rotation of the wheel it has a motion in the opposite direction. So the rotation of the wheel corresponds to the daily motion of the sun and the yearly motion corresponds to the motion on the wheel.
So, okay, the next topic to come to is the description of the planets. So in the Srimad Bhagavatam the distances of the planets are described using Bhu-mandala as a reference. So it’s described that the different planets have different heights above Bhu-mandala. Now this can be a cause of a certain amount of confusion. The planets are being described in terms of how far away, how far away they are from this plane of Bhu-mandala. They are not being, their distances from the earth, or from the observers standing on the earth, are not being mentioned. So you can think of two kinds of distance.
A: From Jambudvipa or Bharata-varsa or wherever we are, the basic idea is that we are in the center, we are located in the center of this whole system. So when the distances are mentioned in the Bhagavatam it’s natural to think that what is meant is distance along the line of sight from the position of the observer. However the actual description is that the distance is measured perpendicular to the plane of Bhu-mandala.
So if this is the case then to understand these differences one has to have some idea where Bhu-mandala is. So if Bhu-mandala is the plane of the ecliptic then that means the distances given for the sun, the moon and so forth in the Bhagavatam then represent distance of these planets from the plane of the ecliptic. Now in fact this idea brings the description in the Bhagavatam of the distances of the planets into pretty good qualitative agreement with the distances of the planets as given in modern astronomy, just an interesting point to consider.
Of course in the case of the sun we have two types of distance described in the Bhagavatam, namely the radial distance going out from Jambudivipa to this ring shaped Manasottara mountain, and then the distance perpendicular to the plane of Bhu-mandala going up to the sun. So as I said before the distance going out to the orbit of the sun is 126 million miles, if you express that in miles. That is, interestingly enough, of the same order of magnitude roughly as the distance to the sun according the modern astronomy, which is given as 93 million miles. And in fact if you consider, this is assuming 8 miles yojana but the yojana can be fairly flexibly defined. So one can say that the Bhagavatam agrees quite nicely with modern astronomy concerning the distance of the sun.
Now in modern astronomy the distance of the sun from the ecliptic is by definition zero, because the ecliptic is the path of the sun. And in the Bhagavatam the distance of the sun from the ecliptic is 800,000 miles. So this would indicate that the, if you try to make sense out of this, that the ecliptic corresponds approximately with Bhu-mandala, you have a 800,000 mile difference there which is small compared to a 126 million miles. Now the position of the moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn and so on are also given in the Bhagavatam. However only their distances from Bhu-mandala are given. Their radial distances as measured going out from Jambudvipa are not mentioned in the Bhagavatam. However in terms of orders of magnitude, the distances given for the moon, Mars, etc, etc, from the plane of Bhu-mandala are the same as the distances, the maximum distances, that the different planets move from the ecliptic according to modern astronomy. So that basic agreement is there. So this is all more or less consistent with the idea that Bhu-mandala corresponds to the, the location of Bhu-mandala corresponds to the plane of the ecliptic.
So, to sum up what I have been saying here, the Bhagavatam in describing the universe is describing things in terms of a celestial realm. Actually the word, one other word in Sanskrit which is used for this, is bhauma-svarga. As I mentioned there is the heavenly planets proper and that’s called Svargaloka. But Srila Prabhupada points out that everything in Bhu-mandala, apart from Bharata-varsa, can be called bhauma-svarga, that means earthly heaven literally speaking. So the idea is that there is a celestial or heavenly realm extending out from the vicinity of the earth that we know, through the plane of the solar system; and that is described in terms of celestial geography in which there are descriptions of enormous oceans, mountains, different kinds of inhabitants and so on and all these different inhabitants are on a level of demigods or at least what are called upadevas or semi-demigods. Then there are, that word is used.
So that’s the description, and whereas one might tend to immediately think that this must be something mythological that corresponds to a very naive picture of the earth, there are indications that that’s not really true at all, but this Bhu-mandala has a location in space which makes sense in terms of what we observe. So that means then that the description in the Bhagavatam is essentially on a qualitative level consistent with our sense experience. It doesn't contradict anything that we can see. However it does introduce a whole realm of existence that we do not perceive. In other words, what the Bhagavatam is saying about the location of the sun, and the planets and so on relative to one another does not really contradict our sensory experience. Of course the description in the Bhagavatam is not a precise mathematical description. And I would propose it is not intended to be a precise mathematical description. However, as a qualitative description it more or less corresponds with what we see, with the addition of this entire realm of celestial geography which of course we don't see.
So the radical statement that the Bhagavatam is really making is that there is a vast world which is inhabited by different kinds of beings and which essentially extends through the plane of the solar system but which is not detectable by our present senses.
So ok, it’s about ten after seven. There are many further topics to discuss. This is also just the briefest of introductions. So I’ll discuss more tomorrow and you can ask questions. Yeah?
A: Yeah, well, obviously there is a difference between those planets and the structure of Bhu-mandala because we see the planets and we don't see the Bhu-mandala.
A: They don’t correspond with the dvipas. They are above Bhu-mandala. So, and the description is given of the ordinary planets that we know: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn plus the sun and the moon, plus two other planets Rahu and Ketu. Actually the Bhagavatam doesn't mention Ketu as far as I am aware. Other Vedic literatures do. But the Bhagavatam discusses Rahu. But those are definitely the planets that we know. Their years are described and they correspond to the modern idea of what the years are. For example it takes Jupiter, which is Brhaspati, twelve years to go around that’s the, we are in agreement with current astronomical ideas and so forth. So these planets in Sanskrit are called grahas. The word graha is used and as far as I am aware nothing else in Vedic cosmology is referred to as a graha.
Srila Prabhupada when he uses the word “planet” what he is normally doing is translating the Sanskrit word loka. He typically translates loka as planet. But the, what we call the planets Mars, Mercury, Venus and so on are called grahas. And in Sanskrit actually graha means to grasp or seize something. And so what this refers to is the idea that the planets have an astrological influence on the affairs of human beings. So the idea is they grab hold of you in some sense and exert some kind of influence. So they are somehow special in nature.
So I can briefly indicate, by the way, that this plane of Bhu-mandala that I have been describing is one of the fourteen different planes that are described in the Vedic description of the universe. This is called the middle planetary system, you might say, or you could call it middle earth for Tolkien fans. So, but there are seven planetary systems below and six above. No, yeah, right, making it a total of fourteen. So these are also planes or discs. Essentially you can think of them as parallel, like phonograph records on a spindle. Yeah?
A: Yeah, that’s correct. Tomorrow I will discuss in more detail what the relation must be between the earth that we experience as a globe and this Bhu-mandala structure. Now obviously in describing Bhu-mandala I began by making a diagram of Jambudvipa. Part of Jambudvipa is Bharata-varsa. Now of course we know Bharata-varsa, that is India. And certainly within this Bharata-varsa there is a place called Aryavarta, for example, and that's in India and so on. So obviously there is a link up between Jambudvipa and the earth that we know. And what I will do tomorrow, I won’t go into this right now, is indicate essentially the earth that we know must correspond to part of Bharata-varsa. So how that can be, I will discuss tomorrow.
A: Oh, all the various ideas about UFO’s? Well that of course is a very controverted topic, and convoluted also. Yeah, that’s, it's a whole subject. Of course people see all kinds of strange things flying about in the sky from time to time, and there are different categories of observations. Probably there are some entities flying around that may correspond to craft piloted by intelligent beings. At least it’s not unreasonable to think that that might be true! It’s hard to get any definite knowledge on this subject though.
A: Well they don’t. In this write up I have here there is a whole section on space travel because that’s naturally a topic that we would want to discuss when considering the Vedic model of the universe. I’ll see if I’ll have a chance to get to that tomorrow. Actually it’s quite interesting; Srila Prabhupada makes quite a number of comments about space travel. It’s indeed true that the demigods don’t come in Kali-yuga. This earth is placed under quarantine in Kali-yuga. Quite explicitly so. It’s a definite policy on the part of the universal government. But there are other kinds of beings that can go flying around. Many different forms of living beings are described in the Vedic literature.
Well, yeah, there are for example, let's see what is it, 100 yojanas up above the plane of Bhu-mandala there is the region of the Yaksas, Raksasas, Pisacas and so forth. So it’s described there is an inhabited region which is in what looks to us like outer space and which is inhabited by different kinds of being which are essentially demoniac and have very great mystical powers. So that is described. All of these things are of course quite mind blowing by the standard of the modern scientific education. Other questions? Yeah?
A: Well it's a fact that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not mentioned as far as I am aware. Of course Sukadeva Goswami pointed out in the Bhagavatam, and I cited that verse in the beginning, that it will be impossible to describe everything within the universe. So he was giving just some salient features. So if certain things are left out that doesn't necessarily mean that they are declared to be non-existent in the Vedic literatures. So I don’t know why they are left out but in fact they are not mentioned.
A: Well I don’t know how astrologers arrive at ideas concerning what their influences are. I know astrologers assign influences to these planets but how do they know? For example in the time since Pluto has been discovered it hasn't made a complete orbit yet. So how do they know what its influences are in the different signs of the zodiac. Anyway that’s another topic.
A: No, it doesn't as far as I am aware. Yeah?
A: But I haven't seen that report. I recently saw a report that some Russian cosmonaut saw angels up there. Of course one of the first Russian cosmonauts made a point of saying that he went up in outer space and he didn't see God. So perhaps this cosmonaut was trying to adjust the balance there. I don’t know. Of course it is hard to know how much validity there is in all of these different statements but, yeah?
A: No, the Bhagavatam doesn't mention the planet Pluto.
A: Well, ok, I should point out to you then. I know that purport. Srila Prabhupada is not referring to the planet Pluto. He is referring to Greek mythology. You see Pluto is the Lord of Death in Greek mythology. He is referring to the nether world. Yamaraja corresponds to Pluto in terms of his function as a demigod. In Greek mythology Pluto is the judge of the dead and so forth, just as Yamaraja is. So when you speak of the Plutonic realm it's not a reference to the planet Pluto. So, yeah?
A: According to the interpretation I am giving here, the gross movement is mainly due to the kala-cakra in which everything is sweeping around due to the total rotation of the whole system. However the stars will be gaining slightly on the sun because the sun is moving the other way with respect to the stars. So, and that means if you took a flash photo, or a photo at the same time each day of the sun, then you can see it moving to the east. And that would be due to the motion of the sun’s chariot around Manasottara according to the idea I am presenting. Yeah?
A: It’s not quite perpendicular but it comes fairly close to it. Because we do see the sun going way up in the sky and coming down. So that means the plane of Bhu-mandala doesn't correspond to our local horizon. Of course if the earth is like a globe and it did correspond to our local horizon in one place then if you went south or north then it wouldn't correspond to the local horizon. In fact at a certain point up north it will correspond indeed, because it is tilted. In fact it corresponds along the Arctic Circle to be exact, because that’s 23 1/2 degrees and the tilt is 23 1/2 degrees. Yeah?
A: As far as I am aware. Basically in the Bhagavatam the descriptions of the daily and yearly motion of the sun are both given relative to Mount Meru and to the Bhu-mandala. However in order to make a consistent picture of everything, if one takes the wheel described by Sukadeva Goswami as corresponding to Bhu-mandala and the rotation of the wheel as being due to the rotation of the cakra, that is the daily rotation, and then the movement of the sun around the wheel as corresponding to the movement of the ant in his analogy, then you do find that everything makes sense in terms of what we see. And as I said, in fact we see this Bhagavatam commentator Vamsidhara is referring to Bhu-mandala as corresponding to naksatra-kaksa.
A: Well, of course there is no rigid axle. I mean you just have space. But the idea is that the axis of the universe runs from Mount Meru through the polestar.
A: Oh, well, there the idea is that just like in the oil press, at least from what I understand, I have never seen one of these things, but the idea is you have a wheel and an axle that goes to a central post, and as the wheel goes around that axle is rotating around and it’s hinged to the central post. So it just keeps going all the way around.
A: Yeah you do, that means that axle is going to go around once a day and it's going to be shifting up and down as it goes around, if you think about what’s happening. Actually it’s described that in addition to the axle that goes from the wheel of the chariot to Mount Meru, there is an additional axle that goes in the direction of the polestar partway. And then, it says, that axle is connected to the polestar by a rope of wind. And it's described that in the course of a year that rope of wind shortens and elongates. It spends one half of the year shortening and one half of the year elongating. And if you consider that the sun is moving on a plane tilted at a 23 degree angle and is moving in a circle on that plane, some of the time it is getting closer. Say the polestar is way up here on the axis; it’s going this way on the plane in the direction of the tilt towards the polestar, the distance to the polestar will be shrinking until it reaches the highest point, which is the summer solstice. And then as it keeps going on the plane that axis will be, distance from the polestar will be increasing until it goes down and reaches the lower point which is the winter solstice and so forth.
A: Yeah, that describes the shortening and lengthening of the rope of wind connecting the chariot to the polestar. So that also works consistently according to that idea. Yeah?
A: Well of course when I described the stars as being attached to the celestial sphere that's imaginary. That’s just an image to help convey the idea of the rotation of all the stars in unison. It’s as though they were attached to a sphere. Now the Vedic description of the motion of the stars is that by the power of the kala-cakra there is wind, which is called the pravaha wind, which is rotating clockwise and everything within the universe is swept around by this wind in unison. So, of course one might initially think that that is a very naive description of things. But a few points can be made to clarify it. The first point is that this wind is not a wind of ordinary air because it is also described in the Bhagavatam that less than a hundred miles up you come to the end of ordinary air, less than a hundred yojanas up I mean. So the idea that the atmosphere has a highest limit is there in the Bhagavatam. It’s described that there is an upper limit to the clouds and to the region in which the birds can fly. And beyond that you come to what is called Antariksa. And there is no more air, that is breathable air, of the kind we have here on the earth. So in fact that corresponds to the modern conception of the atmosphere. So beyond that there is no more air of the kind that we can breathe. However there is air according to the Bhagavatam. It's a different kind of air. In fact that also agrees with the modern scientific conception, because according to modern scientific ideas the atmosphere of the sun actually extends well beyond the orbit of the earth, and there is something called the solar wind. So there is air out there, but it is not breathable and it is in the form of what is called a plasma, very thin plasma.
Well I am not, I don’t want to argue that the Bhagavatam is describing exactly what the scientists are describing. That’s not my point. But the point is that according to the Bhagavatam there is air out there which is different from the air that we can breathe and there is a wind within that volume of air which is sweeping around in a rotary motion around the axis from Mount Meru to the polestar. So the way to imagine that is this entire mass of air is rotating around that axis. Now what that means is that there is no relative motion between the different parts of that air. So that means that if you are moving with the air you wouldn't feel anything. It’s just like you might have experienced sometimes if there is a fairly light wind, you can walk at the same speed as the wind if you walk in the same direction and then you don't feel anything. The air feels perfectly still. But if you turn around and walk in the opposite direction then you feel the wind.
And likewise Srila Prabhupada has used this as an illustration of how maya can affect a person. His example is that when a cloud is moving in the sky under the influence of a strong wind, when you are on the ground you feel the wind and you see the cloud moving overhead, so you may have the impression really there is a lot of wind there pushing that cloud along. But from the perspective of the cloud the air is still, the cloud doesn't feel anything because it's moving at the same speed as the air. So from the cloud’s point of view it’s in still air. So similarly a person who has fallen into maya doesn't realise that he is being carried along by the current of maya. He feels he is in perfectly normal equilibrium. But actually under the current of maya he is being swept along. So that example is given.
So just to finish this, the idea then is that the planets, the stars and so on, in fact everything that is out there, is sitting in this surrounding volume of air and they don’t feel anything because they are just moving along with it; they are in equilibrium but the whole thing is rotating. So that’s the description which is given and as for the nature of the stars I will go into that tomorrow. That’s also in tomorrow’s lecture. Yeah?
A: Well as a matter of fact, from a strictly scientific point of view you can say that, you can take anything as fixed if you like and consider everything else as moving relative to it. Now there are a few points I could make about that concerning physics. This gets kind of interesting. Galileo introduced the principle of relative motion into physics and he did this for rectilinear motion, that is motion in a straight line. And his example, actually it is similar to this cloud example too, his example is, if you are in the hold of a ship and the ship is moving along in a uniform rate on perfectly smooth water, then a person inside the ship won’t be able to tell that the ship is moving. It will seem as though everything is perfectly still for him. So the idea then is that from a physical point of view you can't tell that you are moving due to any intrinsic thing that is happening to you due to the motion. You can only tell that you are moving relative to something else by seeing that something else move past. Or you can say that you are standing still and something else is moving from the point of view of physics.
So that was introduced by Galileo, but the idea that people had, though, was that accelerated motion is different because in accelerated motion there is something you can detect within yourself which varies depending on how fast you’re accelerating. That is, in a car, when we accelerate we feel ourself thrust back against the seat. Or in the case of rotary motion, if you take a bucket of water you can ask, is this bucket rotating or not. Well, if it is rotating then the water will begin to move up the sides of the bucket, at least if it is rotating fairly fast that becomes measurable. So you can say, well, if the water is moving up the sides of the bucket it’s rotating, and otherwise it isn’t. So the result was, if you were standing on a merry go round and in the center there was a bucket sitting there, you would be able to say that you were rotating and the bucket wasn't, because the water in the bucket was flat but you felt a pull pulling you outward. So you would say I am rotating and so is the merry go round, that's definitely happening, and the bucket is definitely not rotating.
So a physicist named Ernst Mach, however, made another proposal. He suggested that actually you can have relative, you can apply the principle of relativity to rotary motion in the following way. He said the way you can look at it is, that you can say, say I have a rotating bucket here, that the bucket is standing still and the entire universe is rotating around it and because of the motion of all that matter it induces forces in the water to pull it out. So in fact in modern physics there is the idea of what is called a gauge field theory in which it's just like that. The idea is that an accelerated motion of a large mass will induce forces in a small mass which correspond to the idea of the forces of acceleration, if the small mass was moving and the large mass was standing still.
Now okay, why am I going into all of this? The purpose for doing so very simply is the following: One may say it is very naive and light of modern science to think that the earth is a stationary platform and the entire mass of the cosmos is rotating around it, because that's what the Bhagavatam is saying. However actually from the point of view of physics you can adopt that viewpoint if you want. At least there are ideas in physics, such as the ideas developed by Ernst Mach, which allow for that.
And then the next point is, this description of the universe given in the Bhagavatam implies that there is a lot that we don’t know about physics. That is one implication that is immediately there. If what the Bhagavatam is saying is true then there is an invisible world out there which extends for billions of miles, but we don’t see it. So from the point of view of physics as we know it today, that's not possible. If there really is an earth out there extending for so many millions of miles then for one thing it should exert gravitational forces. You could calculate that if you have a disc of certain thickness, say it’s many thousands of miles thick and it extends in a plate for four billion miles, the gravity that would produce would be tremendous and one should be able to measure such forces and so on, and we don't detect anything like that.
So one can say, well, it must not exist. But the point then is that this description implies there must be something more to physics than what we presently know. So the Bhagavatam very much challenges conventional views. But the basic point I was making today was, it doesn't make nonsense out of our ordinary perception of what we see in the sky, which one might assume it does on a first cursory inspection.
A: Yeah, from a physical point of view, if you like, you can have the earth standing still and the universe rotating around it. You can take the Foucault pendulum experiment. I don’t know if anyone is familiar with that. In that experiment you set a pendulum swinging and you have it attached to a swivel which is free to rotate with very little resistance. And you see that in the course of a day the plane of rotation of the pendulum goes around. So said well, this is an indication of the rotation of the earth. But according to Mach’s ideas you could say that the universe is rotating around and that induces forces that drag the pendulum around in its plane of rotation. So all kind of things are possible. Yeah?
A: Well I just made a comment there that it's not milk as we know it because it hasn't curdled.
A: Well in that case it's different. In other words, the meaning of that comment was that people will tend to take the description of an ocean of milk as being a very naive thing. However there is no need to look at it in that way. The conditions there can be different. It can be a different kind of milk, or if you like, it can be milk in a different kind of condition.
A: Yes when the milk ocean was churned it produced various things such as elephants that live for millions of years and many different amazing things. Well, first it produced poison, a very deadly kind of poison, which was drunk by Lord Siva, and so on. So obviously what is happening out there is different from what happens with ordinary milk.
A: Yeah, the Bhagavatam is using ordinary language to describe these things. But obviously it’s describing things that to us are extraordinary. So if Vyasadeva is going to convey these things to us he has to use words that we can understand. What else can he do if he is going to communicate with us? So naturally he uses words that are familiar to ordinary human beings. However, one can realise that what is being described is not exactly ordinary. It follows different laws, different principles and so forth. Yeah?
A: Starting point of the zodiac as being either aries or the vernal equinox are all relative to the sphere of stars. Now that whole sphere is rotating once per day. But in thinking about the zodiac one normally assumes that that sphere is fixed. In other words, one forgets about the daily rotation. You just imagine that it is fixed or that you are rotating with it, in other words. And then what you think about is the movement of the sun going around through the different signs of the zodiac. So that’s the description. Yeah?
A: Well Srila Prabhupada answered that in various purports. Svetadvipa being indestructible, it's not destroyed, it’s still there. It’s a Vaikuntha planet, doesn't go anywhere; it continues to exist in Vaikuntha because it's always in Vaikuntha being a Vaikuntha planet.
A: So He has His eternal Vaikuntha planets and they continue to exist. The universe disintegrates around them. I don’t exactly how the geometry of that works out, but that’s the basic idea, that certain things continue to exist. Ok, yeah?
A: Well it's described that the powerhouse for that apparently is Dhruvaloka. That's the description Srila Prabhupada gives. But anyway it’s described as being due to the kala-cakra or the wheel of time. Ultimately the power source is Visnu, Krsna. That's the idea. Yeah?
A: Well once again this is just like the example of milk. When the Vedic literatures refer to sound they are not referring to the ordinary kind of sound that we are familiar with. The sound that we are accustomed to is sound, is Vedic sound, but is only one species of Vedic sound. Now the Vedic understanding of sound is, that sound precedes the manifestation of gross matter. Actually sound even precedes the manifestation of ether. Sound comes before ether. So sound is a kind of vibration, if you were, that can exist without a gross material substrate for its propagation; and not only that, it produces the gross material substrate.
So in modern physics again there is another illustration of this idea which fits relatively nicely and that is the idea of the quantum wave function. According to modern physics gross matter is made of what you can call quantum waves. Now a quantum wave is a completely abstract sort of thing. It’s not made of anything. So you can say, if you like, that it has no material substrate. But quantum waves, by interacting with one another and so to speak turning in on themselves, manifest atoms according to modern physics. And atoms are the building blocks of gross matter. So in modern physics you have the idea of a kind of wave that is not a vibration in matter, but it actually creates matter. Well, that’s the Vedic idea of sound creating ether and then subsequently all of the other elements. So the Vedic sound is different from our ordinary idea of sound. Yeah?
A: As far as I am aware, electromagnetic radiation fits into the description of the fire element. So there are four, the gross elements in the Vedic description are ether, air, fire, water and earth. Okay. So electromagnetic phenomena occur on the level of fire which also translates as effulgence, radiance and so on, and is associated with sense of vision, and is also associated with electricity and magnetism. Srila Prabhupada states that in different purports actually. Electricity and electrical type phenomena are connected with fire element.
A: Well if you have a radio, otherwise you can’t hear radio waves. You have to have a transducer that translates from a radio waves to the kind of sound we can hear, and that’s a radio. But otherwise you can’t perceive the radio waves.
So let’s see, yes it’s definitely getting late. Guess we can stop here. Thank you very much! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!