By His Holiness Danavir Goswami

(Vaiñëava Society Vol. 9)

 

Four interesting scriptural discoveries have come to light recently regarding our ongoing quest to understand Vedic cosmology as delineated in the Fifth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to construct “The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium” in Mayapur based on this knowledge.

Circumference of the Universe

First, a researcher showed me the following quote from a paper by David Pingree:

 “….18,712,069,200,000,000 yojanas, which is the number given in the Paitamaha for the circumference of the outermost sphere.”

Pingree says that the Paitamaha Siddhanta is found in the Visnudharmottarapurana, one of the upapuranas.

This finding is most significant because it confirms the proposal which we made in our book Vedic Cosmology that the figure of 18 quadrillion yojanas quoted in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta refers to the circumference of the entire universe with the seven coverings included.

Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura, one of the greatest astrologers of his time, gives information from the Siddhänta-çiromaëi that this universe measures 18,712,069,200,000,000 x 8 miles. This is the circumference of this universe. According to some, this is only half the circumference. (CC Madhya 21.84 Purport)

Other commentators had previously opined that the 18 quadrillion yojana circumference was meant to measure the inside of the universe—specifically the visible portion which includes the Garbhodaka Ocean, space and planets. If this were the case, they reasoned, then the diameter of the universe must be significantly greater than the 4 billion miles figure which is stated in Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic scriptures. Based on this assumption, other commentators imagined several non-literal interpretations to explain the structure of the universe.

These non-literal interpretations play havoc with the system of understanding Vedic knowledge as we have been taught by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda.

Confirmation of Subterranean Planetary Systems

The next discoveries are from the Garga Samhita by Srila Gargamuni, the priest of the Yadu dynasty. This work was translated by my Godbrother, His Grace Kusakratha Prabhu.

The story begins telling how Kamsa defeated all the powerful warriors of the universe—specifically when he challenged Banasura, Prahlada Maharaja’s grandson to a fight. (Sri Garga Samhita: Canto 1, Chapter 7, Texts 8-11) The relevance is to the seven lower planetary systems which are situated below the earth.

bäëäsuras tat-pratijïäà

çrütvä kruddho hy abhüd bhåçam

tatäòa lattäà bhü-madhye

jagarja ghanavad balé

bäëäsuras—Bäëäsura; tat-pratijïäà—his offer; çrütvä—hearing; kruddho—angry; hi—certainly; abhüd—became; bhåçam—very; tatäòa—struck; lattäm—a kick; bhü-madhye—on the ground; jagarja—roared; ghanavad—like thunder; balé—powerful.

When he heard Kaàsa’s offer, powerful Bäëäsura became very angry. He kicked the ground and roared like thunder.

 

ä-jänu-bhümi-gaà lattäà

pätäläntam upägatam

kåtvä tam äha bäëas tu

pürvaà cainaà samuddhara

ä-jänu—to his knees; bhümi—to the ground; gaà—gone; lattäà—kick; pätäläntam—to Patala; upägatam—gone; kåtvä—having done; tam—to him; äha—spoke; bäëas—Bäëa; tu—indeed; pürvaà—before; ca—and; enaà—this; samuddhara—lift.

That kick pushed his leg through the ground up to his knee as his foot reached Pätälaloka. Then Bäëäsura said, “Please pull me up as I was before.”

 

çrütvä vacaù karäbhyäà taà

ujjahära madotkaöaù

pracaëòa-vikramaù kaàsaù

khara-daëòaà gajo yathä

çrütvä—hearing; vacaù—the words; karäbhyäà—with both hands; taà—him; ujjahära—lifted;  mada-utkataù—full of pride; pracaëòa-vikramaù—powerful; kaàsaù—Kaàsa; khara-daëòam—a

lotus; gajo—an elephant; yathä—as.

Hearing these words, with both hands proud and powerful Kaàsa pulled him up as an elephant pulls up a lotus.

 

tayä coddhåtayotkhätä

lokäù sapta-talä dåòhäù

nipetur girayo ‘nekä

vicelur dåòha-dig-gajäù

tayä—by this; ca—also; uddhåtayä—lifted; utkhätäs—devastated; lokäù—the worlds; sapta-talä—seven tala planets; dåòhäù—solid; nipetur—fell; girayo—mountains; anekäs—many; vicelur—stumbled; dåòha—sturdy; dik—of the directions; gajäù—the elephants.

By this pulling the seven Tala planets were devastated, many great mountains fell, and the sturdy elephants holding the directions stumbled.

The Origination of the Seven Oceans of Bhu-mandala

The third cosmological reference explains the advent of the seven oceans of the Bhu mandala. (Sri Garga Samhita Texts 12-25)  Some scientists think these seven oceans to be imaginary and replace them with non-literal interpretations imagining the oceans to be orbits for local solar system planets but this scriptural evidence reassures that the Srimad Bhagavatam description is valid.

 

rädhä-bhayäc ca virajä

nadé bhütvävahat tadä

koöi-yojana-mäyäyaà

goloke sahasä nadé

rädhä-bhayätot of fear of Rädhä; caand; virajä—Viarajä; nadé—a river; bhütvä—becoming; avahat—flowed; tadä—then; koöi-yojana-mäyäyam—eighty-million miles; goloke—in Goloka; sahasä—at once; nadé—river.

Out of fear of Rädhä, Virajä transformed herself into a river that flowed for eighty-million miles around Gokula.

 

sahasä kuëòalé-kåtvä

çuçubhe ‘bdhir ivävanim

ratna-puñpair viciträìgä

yathoñëiì-mudritä tathä

sahasä—at once; kuëòalé-kåtvä—encircling; çuçubhe—shone; abdhiù—an ocean; iva—like; avanim—the earth; ratna-puñpaiù—with jewel flowers; viciträìgä—wonderful form; yathoñëiì-mudritä—as if crowned; tathä—then.

 She then encircled Goloka as an ocean encircles a continent. She was glorious as if she were decorated with flowers and jewels and decorated with a crown.

 

harià gataà taà vijïäya

nadé-bhütaà ca taà tathä

älokya tan-nikuïjaà ca

sva-kuïjaà rädhikä yayau

harim—Kåñëa; gatam—gone; tam—Him; vijäya—knowing; nadé-bhütam—become a river; ca—and; tam—Him; tathä—so; älokya—seeing; tan-nikuïjam—that forest; ca—and; sva-kujam—own forest; rädhikä—Rädhä; yayau—went.

     Looking at the forest there and the river (that Viarajä had become), and thinking that Lord Kåñëa had gone, Çré Rädhä went to Her own forest grove.

 

atha kåñëo nadé-bhütaà

virajäà virajämbaräm

sa-vigrahaà cakäräçu

sva-vareëa nåpeçvara

atha—then; kåñëaù—Kåñëa; nadé-bhütam—become a river; virajäm—to Viurajä; virajämbaräm—dressed in splendid garments; sa-vigraham—with form; cakära—did; äçu—at once; sva-vareëa—by His blessing; nåpeçvara—O king of kings.

O king of kings, then Lord Kåñëa transformed Virajä from being a river to being a girl dressed in glittering garments.

 

punar virajayä särdhaà

virajä-téraje vane

nikuïja-våndakäraëye

cakre räsaà hariù svayam

punaùagain; virajayä—Virajä; särdhamwith; virajä-téraje—born on the Viraja’s shore; vane——in the forest; nikuïja-våndakäraëye—in Våndävana; cakre—did; räsam—rasa dance; hariù—Kåñëa; svayam—personally.

Then Lord Kåñëa again enjoyed a räsa dance with Virajä in the forest by the Virajä river.

 

virajäyäà sapta sutä

babhüvuù kåñëa-tejasä

nikuïjaà te hy alaïcakruù

çiçavo bäla-lélayä

virajäyäm—in Viaraj; sapta—seven; sutä—sons; babhüvuù—were; kåñëa-tejasä—by Lord Kåñëa’s power; nikuïjam—the forest; te—they; hy—indeed; alaïcakruù—ornamented; çiçavaù—boys; bäla-lélayä—with childhood games.

By Lord’s Kåñëa’s power seven sons were born to Virajä. With their childhood games they decorated the forest there.

 

ekadä taiù kalir abhül

laghur jyeñöhaiç ca täòitaù

paläyamäno bhaya-bhån

mätuù kroòe jagäma ha

ekadä—one day; taiù—by them; kaliù— a quarrel; abhül—was; laghuù—younger; jyeñöhaiù—elder; ca—and; täòitaù—hit; paläyamänaù—fleeing; bhaya-bhån—frightened; mätuù—of his mother; kroòe—on the lap; jagäma—went; ha—indeed.

One day they quarreled. Hit by his elders, the youngest boy fled to his mother’s lap.

 

tal-lälanaà samärebhe

samäçväsya sutaà saté

tadä vai bhagavän säkñät

tatraiväntaradhéyata

tal-lälanam—caressing; samärebhe—began; samäçväsya—comforting; sutam—son; saté—pious lady; tadä—then; vai—indeed; bhagavän—the Lord; säkñät—directly; tatra—there; eva—indeed; antaradhéyata—disappeared.

As the pious lady hugged and consoled her son, Lord Kåñëa suddenly disappeared.

 

ruñä sutaà çaçäpeyaà

çré-kåñëa-virahäturä

tvaà jalaà bhava durbuddhe

kåñëa-viccheda-kärakaù

ruñä—with anger; sutam—to her son; çaçäpa—cursed; iyam—she; çré-kåñëa-viraha—with separation form Çré Kåñëa; äturä—upset; tvam—you; jalam—water; bhava—become; durbuddhe—fool; kåñëa-viccheda-kärakaù—that separated me from Kåñëa.

Grieving over her separation from Kåñëa, she cursed her son, “Fool that separated me from Kåñëa, become water!”

 

kadäpi taj-jalaà martyä

na pibantu kadäcana

jyeñöhän chaçäpa vrajata

medinéà kali-kärakäù

kadäpiever; taj-jalamthatwater; martyä—human beings; na—not; pibantu—drink; kadäcana—ever; jyeñöhän—elder; çaçäpa—cursed; vrajata—go; mediném—to the earth; kali-kärakäù—making a quarrel.

“The people will never drink your water.” The older sons she cursed with the words, “Quarrelsome children, go to the earth!

 

jala-rüpäù påthag-yänä

na sametä bhaviñyatha

naimittikaà ca bhavatäà

melanaà syät sadä laye

jala-rüpäù—the form of water; påthag-yänä—going; na—not; sametä—met; bhaviñyatha—will be; naimittikam—regular; ca—and; bhavatäm—will be; melanam—meeting; syät—is; sadä—always; laye—in devastation.

“You will become bodies of water, each in his own place. You will not meet. Only at the time of cosmic devastation will you meet.”

 

çré-närada uväca

itthaà te mätå-çäpena

dharaëéà vai samägataù

priyavrata-rathäìgänäà

parikhäsu samästhitäù

çré-närada uväca—Çré Närada said; ittham—thus; te—thus; mätå-çäpena—by their mother’s curse; dharaëém—to the earth; vai—indeed; samägataù—went; priyavrata-rathäìgänäm—of the chariot wheels of King Priyavrata; parikhäsu—in the ruts; samästhitäù—situated.

Çré Närada said: In this way, by their mother’s curse, they went to the earth. They lived in the ruts left by the wheels of King Priyavrata’s chariot.

 

lavaëekñu-surä-sarpir-

dadhi-dugdha-jalärëaväù

babhüvuù sapta te räjann

akñobhyäç ca duratyayäù

lavaëa—salt; ikñu—sugar cane juice; surä—liquor; sarpiù—ghee; dadhi—yogurt; dugdha—milk; jala—and fresh-water; arëaväù—oceans; babhüvuù—became; sapta—seven; te—they; räjann—O king; akñobhyäù—undisturbed; ca—and; duratyayäù—difficult to cross.

The seven boys became seven peaceful and impaasable oceans of salt-water, sugarcane juice, liquor, ghee, yogurt, milk, and fresh-water.

 

durvigahyäç ca gambhérä

äyämaà lakña-yojanät

dvi-guëaà dvi-guëaà jätaà

dvépe dvépe påthak påthak

durvigahyäù—impassable; ca—and; gambhérä—deep; äyämam—extent; lakña-yojanät—eight-hundred-thousand miles; dvi-guëam—doubled; dvi-guëam—doubled; jätam—manifest; dvépe—island; dvépe—after island; påthak—one; påtha—after the other.

They were deep and impassable. The first ocean was a eight-hundred-thousand miles across, the next one was double that size, and each succeeding one was double the size of the one before.

Ananta Çeña Holds Bhu-mandala

Fourthly, we learn how it came to pass that Ananta Sesa accepted the task of holdin up of Bhu mandala. (Sri Garga Samhita; Canto 2: Chapter 13: Text 22-34) This explains why Srila Prabhupada remarked that, “scientists say gravitation and we say Saìkarñaëa.” Saìkarñaëa is a manifestation of Ananta.

ekadä çré-hariù säkñäd

bhagavän prakåteù paraù

çeñaà präha prasannätmä

megha-gambhérayä girä

 ekadä—one day; çré-hariù—Kåñëa; säkñät—directly; bhagavän—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prakåteù—matter; paraù—beyond; çeñam—to çeña; präha—said; prasanna—pleased; ätmä—at heart; megha—cloud; gambhérayä—deep; girä—with words.

One day Lord Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the world of matter and is always happy at heart, with words like the rumbling of clouds, spoke to Ananta Çeña.

 

çré-bhagavän uväca

bhü-maëòalaà samädhätuà

sämarthyaà kasyacin na hi

tasmäd enaà mahé-golaà

mürdhni tvaà hi samuddhara

çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead  said; bhü-maëòalam—the earth; samädhätum—to hold  up; sämarthyam—ability; kasyacit—of someone;  na—not; hi—indeed; tasmät—from that;  enam—this; mahé-golam—the earth; mürdhni—on the head; tvam—You; hi—indeed; samuddhara—please  hold.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: No one else has the power to hold up the planets of Bhü-maëòala. You please carry  these planets on Your head.

 

ananta-vikramas tvaà vai

yato ‘nanta iti småtaù

idaà käryaà prakartavyaà

jana-kalyäëa-hetave

ananta—limitless; vikramaù—power; tvam—You; vai—indeed; yataù—therefore; ananta—limitless; iti—thus; småtaù—known; idam—this; käryam—duty; prakartavyam—should be done; jana—of the people; kalyäëa-hetave—for the welfare.

Your power is endless, and therefore You are known as Ananta (the endless). Please accept this duty for the welfare of the people.

 

çré-çeña uväca

avadhià kuru yävat tvaà

dharoddharasya me prabho

bhü-bhäraà dhärayiñyämi

tävat te vacanäd iha

çré-çeñaù uväca—Çré Çeña said; avadhim—limit; kuru—please do; yävat—as; tvam—You; dharä-uddharasya—of holding up the planets; me—of Me; prabhaù—O Lord; bhü-bhäram—the burden of thre worlds; dhärayiñyämi—I will hold; tävat—so; te—of You; vacanät—from the words; iha—here.

Çré Çeña said: O Lord, please put some limit on how long I must hold the world. Then, according Your word, I will hold up Bhü-maëòala.

 

çré-bhagavän uväca

nityaà sahasra-vadanair

uccäraà ca påthak påthak

mad-guëa-sphuratäà nämnäà

kuru sarpendra sarvataù

çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; nityam—always; sahasra-vadanaiù—with a thousand heads; uccäram—holding up; ca—and; påthak påthak—specific natures; mad-guëa-sphuratäm—the manifestation of My qualities; nämnäm—of names; kuru—do; sarpendra—O king of snakes; sarvataù—in all respects.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O king of snakes, with Your thousand mouths always chant My names, names that reveal My transcendental qualities.

 

man-nämäni ca divyäni

yadä yänty avasänatäm

tadä bhü-bhäram uttärya

phaëis tvaà su-sukhé bhava

 man-nämäniMy names; caand; divyänitranscendental; yadä—when; yanty—go; avasänatäm—to the end; tadä—then; bhü-bhäram—burden; uttärya—lifting; phaëiù—snake; tvam—You; su-sukhé—very happy; bhava—become.

When You come to the end of all My transcendental names You can put down the burden of Bhü-maëòala and relax.

 

çré-çeña uväca

ädhäro ‘yaà bhaviñyämi

mad-ädhäraç ca ko bhavet

nirädhäraù kathaà toye

tiñöhämi kathaya prabho

 çré-çeñaù uväca—Çré Çeña said; ädhäraù—holding up; ayam—that; bhaviñyämi—I will become; mad-ädhäraù—holding up Me; ca—and; kaù—who?; bhavet—will be; nirädhäraù—without someone to hold Me up; katham—how?; toye—in the water; tiñöhämi—I will stand; kathaya—please tell; prabhaù—O Lord.

Çré Çeña said: I will hold up Bhü-maëòala. But who will hold Me up? Without support how can I stand in the water? O Lord, please tell Me.

 

çré-bhagavän uväca

ahaà ca kamaöho bhütvä

dhärayiñyämi te tanum

mahä-bhära-mayéà dérghaà

mä çocaà kuru mat-sakhe

çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; aham—I; ca—and; kamaöhaù—a turtle;  bhütvä—having become; dhärayiñyämi—I will hold up; te—of You; tanum—the form; mahä-bhära-mayém—holding a great burden; dérgham—long; mä—don’t; çocam—lament; kuru—do; mat—My; sakhe—friend.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: I will become a turtle and then I will hold You up. O My friend, don’t be unhappy to hold such a great burden for such a long time.

 

çré-närada uväca

tadä çeñaù samutthäya

natvä çré-garuòa-dhvajam

jagäma nåpa pätäläd

adho vai lakña-yojanam

çré-näradaù uväca—Çré Närada said; tadä—then; çeñaù—Çeña; samutthäya—rising; natvä—bowing; çré-garuòa-dhvajam—the flag of Garuòa; jagäma—went; nåpa—O king; pätälät—from Patalaloka; adhaù—below; vai—indeed; lakña-yojanam—eight hundred thousand miles.

Çré Närada said: O king, then Lord Çeña rose, bowed down before Lord Kåñëa who holds the flag of Garuòa, and went eight hundred thousand miles below Pätälaloka 

 

gåhétvä sva-kareëedaà

gariñöhaà bhümi-maëòalam

dadhära sva-paëe çeño

‘py ekasmiàç caëòa-vikramaù

gåhétvä—holding; sva-kareëa—with His own hand; idam—this; gariñöham—great; bhümi-maëòalam—earth; dadhära—held; sva-paëe—in His hand; çeñaù—Lord Çeña; api—also; ekasmiàç—in one; caëòa-vikramaù—very powerful.

Then very powerful Ananta Çeña picked up Bhü-maëòala and held it in one hand.

 

saìkarñane ‘tha pätäle

gate ‘nante parät pare

anye phaëéndras tam anu

viviçur brahmaëoditäù

saìkarñane—when Lord Saìkarñaëa; atha—then; pätäle—to palataloa; gate—went; anante—Lord Ananta; parät—than the greatest; pare—greater; anye—other; phaëéndraù—great snakes; tam—him; anu viviçuù—followed; brahmaëä—of Brahmä; uditäù—ordered.

When Saìkarñaëa Ananta went to Pätälaloka, by Brahmä’s order the other great snakes followed Him.

 

atale vitale kecit

sutale ca mahätale

talätale tathä kecit

sampräptäs te rasätale

ataleAtale; vitaleVitala; kecitsome; sutale—Sutala; ca—and; mahätale—Mahatala; talätale—Talatala; tathä—so; kecit—some; sampräptäù—attained; te—indeed; rasätale—Rasatala.

Some went to Atalaloka and others to Sutalaloka, Mahätalaloka, Talätalaloka, and Rasätalaloka.

 

tebhyas tu brahmaëä dattaà

dvépaà ramaëakaà bhuvi

käliya-pramukhäs tasmin

avasan sukha-samvåtäù

tebhyaùto them; tuindeed; brahmaëä—by Brahmä; dattam—given; dvépaà ramaëakam—Ramaëaka-dvépa; bhuvi—in the world; käliya-pramukhäù—headed by Kaliya; tasmin—in that place; avasan—lived; sukha-samvåtäù—happy.

Many snakes headed by Käliya happily lived in Ramaëaka-dvépa, the home Brahmä gave to them.

https://i2.wp.com/danavirgoswami.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cosmology_2.jpg?fit=500%2C250https://i2.wp.com/danavirgoswami.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cosmology_2.jpg?resize=150%2C150Robert LessengerArticlesCosmologyDanavir GoswamiBy His Holiness Danavir Goswami (Vaiñëava Society Vol. 9)   Four interesting scriptural discoveries have come to light recently regarding our ongoing quest to understand Vedic cosmology as delineated in the Fifth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to construct “The Temple of the Vedic...