SAILING TO JAMBŪDVĪPA
Mistakes in the Models for the Temple of Vedic Planetarium, Part Two
BY: MAYESVARA DASA
Apr 05, 2017 — IRELAND (SUN) — Part One of this paper can be found here.
As I began to work on these papers, the realization quickly began to dawn that the Srimad Bhagavatam's fifth canto cosmology and its correct depiction within the Mayapur Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), is not just about an exhibition of some extremely vague and hugely irrelevant topic from an ancient book on cosmology. This is about a war for your consciousness, and particularly your Krishna consciousness. The correct depiction, understanding, and explanation of the Earth in Srimad Bhagavatam is a crucial factor in the change of consciousness throughout the world.
Although the Bhu-mandala (great Earth circle) concept will be displayed in the main dome of the TOVP, it is apparent that those responsible in the TOVP don't actually understand and believe Sukadeva Goswami's description of the Earth. As we shall see below, the present models for the Bhu-mandala do not in any way represent the reality of Bhu-mandala as a continual Earth plane, of which our own tiny area of continents and oceans form just a small part. The main theme of this paper is a critique of the Earth models for the TOVP. This will come in the second half of the essay. My apologies to the reader for a certain repetition of themes in the first part of this paper: I write these papers with the assumption that not everyone is familiar with the different arguments already explored in previous papers. I had limited time to write these papers and tried to put down as much as could. My apologies to the reader for an exhausting, but hopefully rewarding read.
"Our earth planet is a global round sphere do not be deceived by Mayesvara dasa and his silly delusions." (Facebook: Vedic Cosmology and the Srimad Bhagavatam's 5th Canto at Vrindavan dham, December 15 at 2:13pm)
If I happen to 'see' the Earth, not as a globe in space, but as a vast circular plane, does that make me delusional? If so, then we need only point to the main dome exhibition in the planetarium, to show that Srimad Bhagavatams's Earth circle (Bhu-mandala) will be displayed at the TOVP. The only difference is that we do not depart from the original description by superimposing the conception of the Earth globe in order to make it reconcilable with modern science. My conception of the Earth is certainly not heretical. If I am mad for believing in it, that's another thing, but at least I profess my faith. If I am mad for thinking that the Earth is a great circular landscape, then so is Sukadeva Goswami, and so why rake in so much money to build a temple and make an exhibition based on the ravings of a madman? The Earth of Srimad Bhagavatam is either true, or its not! If the Bhu-mandala is true, then the globe is false; if the globe is true, then the Bhu-mandala is false. The futile attempts to reconcile these two completely conflicting conceptions of the Earth are full of holes and do not work. The result will be an attitude of ignorance and arrogance for those who have invested the false ego in defending a false conception of reality, and who don't have the humility to accept that they are wrong. This can only lead to a lack of transcendental intelligence, love, peace, gentleness, and grace.
If I disbelieve in the globe does that make me 'delusional' as some Vaishnavas believe. Am I delusional for believing in the very same Earth that is described in Srimad Bhagavatam and which will be exhibited in the main dome of the planetarium? If I am wrong in my understanding of the Earth as a continual circular plane, then Srimad Bhagavatam itself is wrong, and the exhibition of the Bhu-mandala in the main dome of the TOVP is also wrong. One's issue, therefore, is with Srimad Bhagavatam, not with myself. But a doubter won't admit that, and instead looks for a scapegoat to cover one's own lack of faith. Lack of faith in the Bhu-mandala is one's prerogative, but at least one should honestly and openly admit that one does not believe in it.
If one does claim to believe in Bhu-mandala whilst simultaneously maintaining a belief in the globe, then please explain where the rest of Bhu-mandala is in relation to the so-called Earth globe that is reputedly photographed floating alone in dark empty space? There is a lot more Earth described in Srimad Bhagavatam; where is it?
When we don't see any sight of Jambudwipa and the rest of Bhu-mandala in the images and videos of Earth from so-called outer space, the TOVP cosmologists, rather than questioning and investigating the authenticity of the obviously fake Earth globe images, prefer to assume that Jambudwipa must be in another dimension, and that the Earth really is as NASA presents it to us - a small globe in dark lonely lifeless space. Bhu-mandala, however, is not described as some subtle energy that exists in another dimension; Bhu-mandala is the Earth. Earth is the grossest of the material elements, not the most subtle. The rest of Bhu-mandala is as real and solid as our own part of the Earth area. We have disputed this false idea that Bhu-mandala is in another dimension in a previous paper which can be found here.
In any case, simply saying that Bhu-mandala is in another dimension does not make the Earth a small round planet in space. Why would our Earth area necessarily take the form of a ball simply because the rest of the Earth is somehow in another dimension? It doesn't follow! One only thinks this to be a logical inference because of the initial faulty premise that the Earth is a globe. One just takes it for granted that science proves the Earth is a globe, and must necessarily be a globe, because it can't be anything else - like a great circular disc for example. That would be a primitive idea, right! This is actually the issue for all our so-called scientists in ISKCON – they don't actually believe what the Srimad Bhagavatam is saying in its description of the Earth as a great circular plane. Instead the false ego likes to exhibit its intellectual brilliance by presenting and defending the ideas of speculators like Eratosthenes and Newton to prove things like the so-called circumference of the Earth, and the theory of gravity (a theory that Srila Prabhupada always questioned). Ironically, these towering devotee intellectuals end up arguing against the version of the Srimad Bhagavatam itself.
It should be known that there is no globe in space described anywhere in Srimad Bhagavatam's 18,000 verses or in any of Mahabharata's 100,000 verses, or in any of the original four Vedas, or in the Ramayana, or in any of the other Puranas. The Bhu-mandala is consistently described through-out the Vedic literature as a great circle, not a globe in space, and certainly there is no conception that part of the great Earth circle manifests as a globe in space whilst the rest is in another dimension. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, it's not that Bharata-varsha (where we live on the Earth plane) just ends and outer space begins. Whether devotees believe in a flat-Earth model or a globe model, the Srimad Bhagavatam does not describe our Earth area as being surrounded by space; it describes it as being surrounded by more land and more oceans. Srimad Bhagavatam describes space as an area vertically above the Earth plane, not around and below it as the globe model depicts.
To repeat the essential point made in the previous paper, Bharata-varsha (where we are situated) is part of the central island of Bhu-mandala called Jambudwipa. Jambudwipa is 800,000 miles in length and breadth, and surrounded by an ocean of similar size. Since the shastra (Srimad Bhagavatam) says that Bharta-varsha is on the southern side of the 800,000 mile island of Jambudwipa (not an isolated globe floating in space) then followers of Srimad Bhagavatam should see it like that. As we have argued in part one of this paper, a photograph of the Earth from the moon would look like this:
The Earth seen from the surface of the moon does not look like this:
The iconic image above known as Earth-rise is one of the earliest and most famous images of the so-called Earth globe taken in the late 1960's. Unfortunately, this Earth-rise photograph that ranks as one of the most influential images of all time was faked at NASA's mock moon studios at Langley Base in the USA, as can be seen in the following video posted on Youtube. My apologies for repeating the same point from the previous paper but it's important to grasp where the faking of the Earth globe videos began:
Earth Rise Hoax explained under 4 min Moon Flat Earth
Without exception, every other photo of the so-called Earth globe has been a continuation of the same deception. It is the duty of those responsible at the TOVP to investigate the various photos and videos of the so-called Earth globe and expose them to the world as a false construction of reality. Srimad Bhagavatam reveals the true reality and nature of things.
Unfortunately, we have a situation at the TOVP where those responsible for researching, designing, and creating the models for Bhu-mandala do so with the pre-set idea that our Earth is a globe in space. This obviously affects one's faith in the Srimad Bhagavatam's version of reality. As it stands, the TOVP representatives just deny the obvious conclusion, that if Bharata-varsha is at the southern end of Jambudwipa, then the rest of the 800,000 mile diameter Jambudwipa must obviously be to the north of our known Earth area. The description of Bharata-varsha's location to Jambudwipa requires accepting the obvious conclusion that our Earth continues along a horizontal plane into a greater Earth area. If the description of Bharata-varsha's connection to Jambudwipa is not part of a 'real world,' why did Sukadeva Goswami describe it as such? As children in school we learn about the different continents and major cities of the world, and their respective size and distances from each other.
The distance from London in England to Sydney in Australia, for example, is some 10,500 miles in the southern direction. We are informed of sizes, distances, and directions because they correspond to places in the real physical world. Similarly, when we are informed by Srimad Bhagavatam that Bharata-varsha (where the continents of our Earth are situated) is in the southern direction of an 800,000 mile island called Jambudwipa, we should expect to find the rest of this real world beyond the borders of our known Earth area. That is the logical conclusion which calls into question the present conception of the Earth as an isolated globe in dark lonely space. Otherwise, why would Sukadeva Goswami bother to give us the names, measurements, and directions, to places that surround our own Earth area? Why would Sukadeva Goswami give us directions and measurements to somewhere that is in another dimension? The suggestion is absurd. Sukadeva Goswami may as well have given us a map to the Wizard of Oz. Obviously, Sukadeva Goswami's intention is to inform us that the world just happens to be much, much bigger than the small area of Earth we are familiar with. What then does Srimad Bhagavatam's description of a greater Earth plane mean for us in the so-called 'real world' of the Earth globe? Please consider the possibility that Sukadeva Goswami's description of Bhu-mandala means that the Earth globe we thought was real, is not the real Earth, and that Krishna through the medium of Srimad Bhagavatam is actually trying to wake us up out of our ignorance and illusion regarding who we are, and where we are in the vast creation.
"This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana." (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3)
Some may take the view that the things being described by Sukadeva Goswami are simply make-believe (as the atheists think). But for theists who accept the Srimad Bhagavatam as authoritative knowledge spoken originally by Krishna, Srimad Bhagavatam is not to be regarded as make-believe. Rather it is the depiction of the Earth by quasi-scientists and bogus space agencies that require to be exposed by ISKCON as make-believe. If anything is make-believe, it is the idea that Earth is a globe floating around in space. We appreciate that the idea of a great Earth circle is a difficult concept to grasp, but the difficulty arises mainly on account of trying to break through the massive indoctrination that we live on a small globular planet floating in space, not because there is any overwhelming evidence to support such an idea. This may come as a surprise to the average reader who may assume that all the arguments for the globe concept have been won. On the contrary, such arguments are presently being contended by tens and thousands of courageous souls who are engaged in a massive and spontaneous on-line Internet revolution against the false globe construct of reality. Crucial to this revolution is the amazing expose of the false photos and videos produced by various space agencies to convince the innocent public that man has conquered space. I personally see the anti-globe movement as operating under the direct inspiration of Krishna to prepare the way for the Bhu-mandala concept. Rather than the TOVP preparing for some wishy-washy exhibition that attempts to reconcile the globe model with the Bhu-mandala, preparations should be made instead by the Hare Krishna society for all-out spiritual war against the false construct of a globe reality. When the globe deception falls, every other deception follows. By convincing the world of the completely irrational and absurd idea that people on opposite sides of a globe can both stand upright, the sinister movement was able to convince the people of the world of every other absurdity, namely, the idea that everything came from nothing, that chemicals exploded out of the nothing to form planets such as ours, that we evolved from the same chemicals into human life, that we have no soul, that there is no God, and that those with the power and money are the controllers of the prison planet to whom we must submit. By returning the power of rational and critical thinking to the people, the absurd but bewitching science that supports the globe construct of reality will quickly collapse. A lot of the scientific information defeating the globe model is already out there, and only has to be gathered and assembled. It is the duty of the TOVP to propagate this knowledge widely to the people of the world. Srila Prabhupada wanted the bogus claims of modern secular science and so-called space adventure to be exposed in the Vedic Planetarium. This would obviously include an exhibition to expose the fake moon-landings. Rather than tremble and cower at the prospect, the devotees in ISKCON should follow Srila Prabhupada's fearless and revolutionary spirit to expose the fake claims of secular science:
Jayapataka: ...exhibit the farce of modern science. Prabhupada: Hm?
Jayapataka: Farce of modern science, and every philosophy and science group, where they are just cheating the public. Then exhibit how Krishna consciousness is showing the real way.
Prabhupada: Yes. So do that in this planetarium...If we can expose that they never went to the moon planet, their life will be finished." (Morning Walk June 4 1976, Los Angeles)
Prabhupada: If they simply follow strictly this moon expedition and they admit they have not gone, then the whole civilization will change. All wrong conclusion. But they will have to admit now. Now they are serious, and they will have to say that they've never gone to the moon. And they will have to continue this. Otherwise they will be farce before the world. They will have to continue it. Now they are in such a position.
(Morning Walk, May 16 1975, Perth)
Interestingly, Srila Prabhupada mentions here how exposure of the false moon landing will change the civilization. So great was the lie that Srila Prabhupada mentions how the American government would have to continue (with the lie) otherwise they would be farce before the world. This was spoken in 1975. Take it for granted that the modern special effects images of astro-NOTS in space are just a continuation of the same lie, and requires to be exposed at the TOVP:
Prabhupada: Why if one is settled up that he's a rascal, we should not hear anything. And why not? He has not gone to the moon. They are insisting, "Yes, we have gone," by false propaganda. Why the one who makes false propaganda and one who says nonsense, we have to believe? Immediately, whatever he says, reject. There's no argument. You have proved yourself rascal so we don't accept any statement. (Conversation about Bhu-mandala, July 5, 1977, Vrindavana)
THE TOVP EXHIBITIONS WILL PRESENT TWO CONTRADICTORY VERSIONS OF THE EARTH WITH THE HOPE THAT NOBODY WILL NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE
Since the TOVP is meant to be a presentation of the Srimad Bhagavatam's cosmology, a model of the Bhu-mandala will obviously need to be displayed in the planetarium itself. This exhibit will appear in the main dome of the TOVP. Thus the TOVP will be seen to have done their duty in presenting the Bhu-mandala. However, despite depicting the Bhu-mandala in the main dome exhibition of the TOVP, a secondary exhibition will display and explain the Earth as a globe in space. This will result in virtually nullifying the import of what Srimad Bhagavatam is teaching in regard to the Bhu-mandala concept. Srimad Bhagavatam's Bhu-mandala concept informs us that our Earth physically continues into a greater Earth area, and is not, in fact, a globe in space. The Earth circle is a vast plane that spans the center of the universe. By introducing the globe concept into the TOVP, the actual teaching to the people will be that our Earth is indeed a globe, thus hiding the fact that the Earth of Srimad Bhagavatam continues in all directions along a vast circular plane that stretches to the shell of the universe. The greater Earth plane will remain obscured by the teaching that it is in another dimension and out of our sight. However, the rest of the Earth plane is out of our sight, not because it is in another dimension; it is out of our sight because we are constrained by force from exploring outside of a certain jurisdiction. Again we have disputed this idea that the rest of Bhu-mandala is in another dimension in a previous paper which can be found in the link provided at the beginning.
Sukadeva Goswami informs us that we are part of a greater Earth circle. Is he lying? If not, then our duty is to present and explain the Earth as he has described it, not that we present and explain the Earth as we want to describe it. If one doesn't believe in Sukadeva Goswami's explanation of reality, then what is one doing in the TOVP getting paid to design exhibitions of an Earth globe that Sukadeva Goswami himself has never mentioned, and which actually cancels out his own description? How does the presentation of the Earth as a globe cancel out Sukadeva Goswami's description? The presentation of the Earth as a globe in the TOVP, means that any presentation of the physical reality of Bhu-mandala has to disappear. The two concepts cannot exist simultaneously. If the Bhu-mandala does not have to physically disappear, then how will the TOVP hope to explain the absence of the Bhu-mandala in the so-called photos of Earth from outer space such as the one below? Indeed, where will you even find an actual photo of India from outer space? A search on-line for an image of India from outer space will only yield a series of computer generated images (CGI) such as this:
This is not a real photo of the Earth. It is part of what is called a 'realistic animation' of Earth's rotation showing day and night in India. The link can be found here.
The reason why one will only find computer generated images and video of the so-called Earth globe from outer space is because there are no satellites in outer space that can take images of the real Earth. The idea that we live on a globe in space is a false construct of reality based on fake images and false information.
The TOVP's plan to display Bharata-varsha as an Earth globe provokes the obvious question that we raised earlier: since Bharata-varsha is described in Srimad Bhagavatam as being part of the 800,000 mile island of Jambudwipa, then where is the rest of Jambudwipa in the so-called satellite images of the Earth globe? Is Srimad Bhagavatam's description of Earth mythological after all? Or is it that the globe is just a modern day myth? How do the representatives of the Mayapur Vedic Planetarium who are presenting the Earth as a globe in space propose to answer this question: since Bharata-varsha is at the southern end of Jambudwipa, then the rest of Jambudwipa is obviously at the northern end of Bharata-varsha; so if we live on a globe, where is the rest of the 800,000 mile Jambudwipa in the northern regions of the so-called globe? Where is the 800,000 mile island of Jambudwipa in these pictures? Where are Mount Meru, and the 800,000 mile salt-water ocean that surrounds Jambudwipa? All we see is empty space here. But Sukadeva Goswami does not describe that empty space surrounds Bharata-varsha. Bharata-varsha is surrounded by inconceivably vast areas of land and ocean, not space:
"Similarly, south of Ilavrta-varṣa and extending from east to west are three great mountains named (from north to south) Nishadha, Hemakuta and Himalaya. Each of them is 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] high. They mark the boundaries of the three varshas named Hari-varsha, Kimpurusha-varsha and Bharata-varsha [India]." (SB 5.16.9)
This verse describes the location of Bharata-varsha to the rest of Jambudwipa. Ilavrta-varsha is in the center of Jambudwipa and is the varsha where Mount Meru is situated:
The description reads that going south of Ilavrta-varsha one eventually comes to Bharata-varsha. The translation by Srila Prabhupada reads that Bharata-varsha is India, but as we have shown in our previous papers, Bharata-varsha is an inconceivable huge area covering hundreds of thousands of miles. In any case, if Bharata-varsha is in the south of Jambudwipa, then the rest of Jambudwipa is to the north of Bharata-varsha. This is the obvious conclusion. If Italy is south of Germany, then Germany is obviously to the north of Italy. If Bharata-varsha is at the south of Jambudwipa, then Jambudwipa is obviously to the north of Bharata-varsha. This means that going in a northern direction (following the North Star), one would come to other lands outside of our known Earth area. That is what Bhagavatam is clearly describing as confirmed in the historical accounts of Yudhisthira Maharaja and Pariksit Maharaja who ruled this greater Earth area.
The description continues to explain that to the north of Bharata-varsha is the rest of Jambudwipa which is 800,000 miles in diameter, and surrounding Jambudwipa is the great 800,000 mile salt-water ocean:
"As Sumeru Mountain is surrounded by Jambudvipa, Jambudvipa is also surrounded by an ocean of salt water. The breadth of Jambudvipa is 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles], and the breadth of the saltwater ocean is the same. As a moat around a fort is sometimes surrounded by gardenlike forest, the saltwater ocean surrounding Jambudvipa is itself surrounded by Plakshadvipa." (SB 5.20.2)
In this way, starting with Jambudwipa, Sukadeva Goswami describes one after the other, the seven islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala measuring 202,800,000 miles. Since Jambudwipa (which includes Bharata-varsha) is described as being surrounded by an 800,000 mile salt-water ocean, we are obviously talking about a continual landscape and not a globe in space. A description of an 800,000 mile island surrounded by an 800,000 mile ocean of water is not a description of a small globe surrounded by space! Why have the TOVP departed from Sukadeva Goswami's straightforward description of the Earth circle by introducing a foreign concept of an Earth globe? The result will mean having to convince everyone that computer generated images of an Earth globe floating in space should be accepted as the reality, when Sukadeva Goswami himself describes a very different reality. Sukadeva Goswami describes that the plane of our own Earth continues into the greater Earth circle. These two conceptions of Earth create powerful and dramatic differences in our understanding of who we are, where we are, and how we relate to the rest of the universe. Sukadeva Goswami's description tells us that the rest of the universe is a lot closer than we thought. In fact, our closest neighbours in the universe are only a few thousand miles away, and these new areas open up to a four billion mile Earth circle with many other lands, and teeming with other life. Is that news? This is a revolutionary and life-changing concept, and thus the issue of the Earth is not a minor detail.
Any presentation of 'Vedic cosmology' that counteracts the Srimad Bhagavatam's description is un-acceptable, and that goes without saying for the various attempts to argue that Sukadeva Goswami's description of Bharata-varsha's place on the Bhu-mandala is the same thing as India's place on the so-called Earth globe. Yes, India is part of Bharata-varsha, but Bharata-varsha is described as being part of a vast circular plane, not part of a small round planet. The thing that Bharata-varsha is part of is an 800,000 mile island, not a 24,900 mile globe. That is the description.
Regarding the image of India on the computer animated globes above, I challenge anyone to present a real photographic image of India's position on the full globe-shaped Earth taken from outer space. The most you will find are models like this that are passed off as real images:
It's only when one begins to look closely at the so-called images of the Earth globe, that one begins to realize that every last one of them is either a painting, model, or CGI. Another category of fake photographs are those taken from high altitude balloons or airplanes. The use of a fish-eye camera lens is a simple and disingenuous way to create a curvature effect to the Earth when no such curvature actually exists. This is a photo of a small island that uses a fish-eye camera lens to create a curvature effect:
A similar technique is used when photographing the flat landscape of Earth from a high altitude airplane or balloon. The fisheye lens creates an artificial curved effect. The Photoshop of part of a so-called space ship again adds to the impression that someone is in outer-space looking down on the globe Earth:
These types of images and videos are no more than special effects that are made to fool the innocent public. The videos range from very sophisticated arrangements with huge under-water mock-ups of the International Space Station, to something as simple as this:
VIDEO NO LONGER WORKING
In this way people are cheated with fake images that practically put one into a state of global hypnosis. The endless propaganda convinces everyone that we live on a ball in space, when in actual fact we live on a continual flat plane. This can be demonstrated by cameras that use normal lens and show a flat horizon from as high as 120,000 feet:
The inability to observe or measure any curvature on the Earth's surface tells us the same thing – that the Earth is a continual horizontal plane, not a globe. There is no real image of an Earth globe from outer space from any space agency because no so-called space agency has ever made it into outer space. The only images of the globe from outer space are paintings, computer generated images, or photographs of fake Earth globes made in film studios. Where then will the TOVP get their images of the Earth globe for display in the Planetarium? Will the TOVP use models, paintings, computer generated images or so-called real photos from NASA? Practically every year, NASA produces a different animated globe, with continents either smaller or larger than the previous one. In the official NASA image of 2012, North American has practically taken over the entire world:
The uninformed citizens of the world simply take these CGI's as real photos of the Earth from outer-space. In any ISKCON publication on this topic, the same fake computer generated images of the Earth are used. No one can present a real image of the assumed Earth globe.
Since Srimad Bhagavatam describes the location of Bharata-varsha at the southern side of Jambudwipa, why are the TOVP management not making bold declarations that our Earth area is surrounded by a greater Earth area? Why are they in denial about this concept, and instead promoting faith in fake images of an Earth globe floating in dark space? Why vehemently deny the possibility that the Earth continues into other parts of the greater Earth plane? It is really quite astonishing, that in spite of Srimad Bhagavatam's clear description of Bharata-varsha's position on a continual Earth plane, the TOVP management (who are supposed to be presenting Srimad Bhagavatam as a factual description of the universe), flatly refuse to acknowledge even the possibility that this may be a true account of our Earth. There are powerful ramifications to Srimad Bhagavatam's description of Bharata-varsha's location to Jambudwipa that the TOVP simply do not want to deduce: if the Earth of Srimad Bhagavatam continues, then it is not a globe, and our life on Earth must be a very different one from this day on.
THE AGE OF FIGHTING AND HYPOCRISY
The above picture shows the front cover of the January-February 2017 edition of Back to Godhead Magazine. The top left-hand side inset shows a picture of the circular island of Jambudwipa with Mount Meru in the center. Since Bharata-varsha is part of Jambudwipa (an 800,000 mile circular island) what does this mean for the idea that Bharata-varsha is India and part of a globe? Is anyone in the Hare Krishna movement thinking about this? The picture above shows the center of the Earth plane as Krishna created it and as described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Does anyone in the Hare Krishna leadership believe it? If not, why do you have it on the cover of the Hare Krishna magazine? Is it not hypocrisy to present one thing and believe in another? Is this just part of a duplicitous presentation to the world? Will anyone speak against this double-dealing presentation? Either Bharata-varsha is part of Jambudwipa or it is not!
If the TOVP representatives truly accepted the literal description of Bhu-mandala by Sukadeva Goswami (as will be exhibited anyway, within the main dome exhibition of the Planetarium) , they cannot at the same time, contradict themselves by vehemently denying that a flat Earth continues on a horizontal plane into a greater Earth area. The result is self-contradiction. The image below, for example, taken from the official TOVP animation for the Vedic Planetarium depicts the 800,000 mile circular island called Jambudwipa which is the central island on Bhu-mandala. The image is very vague and won't mean much to anyone unfamiliar with the concept, but basically it's meant to represent the central area of the Earth circle showing the island of Jambudwipa with the golden Mount Meru in the center:
In the commentary to this video we hear the narrator (Antardwipa dasa of the TOVP) inform us that: "Here we can see Jambudwipa the central island of Bhu-mandala, and Bharata-varsha is situated on the southern side of that." In other words Bharata-varsha (of which our Earth is one section) is situated on the same horizontal plane as the rest of Jambudwipa. You won't see a globe-shaped Earth depicted here for the simple reason that Srimad Bhagavatam does not describe Bharata-varsha as a globe in space. Antardwipa dasa (a staunch defender of the globe concept) obviously doesn't believe his own words. Bharata-varsha can't be two things at one time - a vast area of land situated at the southern side of Jambudwipa that somehow simultaneously manifests as a small Earth globe floating in space.
Since Sukadeva Goswami describes Bharata-varsha's immense coastal area as touching part of an 800,000 mile ocean of salt water, then where is the rest of the 800,000 mile salt-water ocean on a globe that supposedly measures only 24,900 miles in circumference? The straightforward description is that Jambudwipa is surrounded by a salt-water ocean, not space. The assumed Earth globe is surrounded by space, not a salt-water ocean. The descriptions do not match. For some people that description is evidently not important, and they continue trying to assert that the Bharata-varsha of Srimad Bhagavatam is part of a globe despite the self-evident description to the contrary.
As mentioned above, in order to explain this, the TOVP representatives argue that the rest of the flat Earth cannot be seen because it is in another dimension. However, the idea that a part of the flat plane of Bhu-mandala somehow miraculously manifests as a globe floating in space, and that the rest of the flat Earth cannot be seen (because it is in another dimension) is a complete deviation from what the text is actually describing. The introduction of this speculative idea is completely unwarranted; it has no basis in shastra, nor is there any philosophical elaboration on such a concept by any of the acharyas, including Srila Prabhupada. Such a fundamental concept as a flat plane partially manifesting as a round globe would obviously have a basis in shastra, as well as further elaboration by the acharyas. The fact is, there is no philosophical discourse anywhere that expounds the idea of Bhu-mandala partially manifesting as a globe, whilst the rest of Bhu-mandala is hidden away in another dimension.
How can ISKCON's spiritual leadership allow the TOVP representatives to speculate that Bharata-varsha manifests as a small round globular planet floating around in space when there is absolutely no scriptural basis for this concoction. The globe concept is running simply on the assumption that it must be so. The argument has no scriptural ground to support it, nor scientific evidence to defend it. The cartoon character Wile E Coyote is famous for enthusiastically but blindly running off the edge of a cliff whilst thinking he has still ground below his feet. The truth will likewise eventually dawn, that running with the globe concept has been a big mistake:
THE DISAPPEARING EARTH SHOW
Sukadeva Goswami gave us a physical description of Bhu-mandala with measurements, directions, descriptions of the landscape and people, etc. The physicality of Bhu-mandala can't just be made to vanish into thin air because the TOVP insists that our part of the Earth manifests as a globe in space. But that's exactly what the TOVP will do – they will make the Bhu-mandala vanish and leave us the pilgrims stranded back on the fake Earth globe construct of reality. Watch how it happens…
...When the pilgrims enter the TOVP building, they will see the great Earth circle featured in the main dome as the Bhu-mandala, but as the pilgrims proceed into the secondary exhibition which will feature Earth as a globe, the rest of (Bhu-mandala originally featured in the main dome exhibition) will have vanished like a magicians disappearing act. It's that simple!
Why must Jambudwipa suddenly vanish, and where will it go to? Why not explain it as it is – a continual flat Earth plane! If the flat-Earth of Bhu-mandala is an actual reality as exhibited in the main dome according to Sukadeva Goswami's description, why depart from the original description and bring in something foreign born of the speculations of Western scientists such as Copernicus and Galileo. Why not give an explanation of our Earth that is consistent with the original description provided by Sukadeva Goswami? A consistent explanation is to declare that the mainland of Jambudwipa must be only a few thousand miles away in the northern direction, which would be past our Arctic region. By the way, try doing a Google image search of satellite images of Arctic and Antarctica. Again you'll find nothing more than computer generated images, and further proof that the globe Earth is a complete fake.
One may not believe in the description of Bhu-mandala, but one has to at least acknowledge the straightforward meaning of what is being described. The straightforward meaning is that we are part of a much greater Earth area than we have been told, and that there must be more land than we have hitherto discovered (or been told about). The straightforward meaning is that Bharata-varsha is part of a vast Earth plane, not part of a small Earth planet. And that is exactly the conception of Earth (Bhu-mandala) that will be displayed in the main dome of the Planetarium. I just happen to believe it.
A lack of faith and adherence to the original description means that one just ends up in misconception, self-contradiction, and perpetration of something that is completely other than what the TOVP is meant to be presenting. One pays lip service to the Srimad Bhagavatam, but meanwhile presents something else as the reality. The reality that Sukadeva Goswami is presenting is that our own Earth area is just part of a greater Earth area, and that our world continues into other lands with other people. This version of reality will be blatantly omitted by presenting the idea that we are on a globe and therefore can't possibly have any next door neighbours on an Earth plane.
"Mayesvara: But I thought you just said that we were at the southern end of Jambudwipa?
TOVP Cosmologist: Yes, we are at the southern end of Jambudwipa; but essentially, we are on a globe and that's it! I don't want to hear anymore about it! The other varshas of Jambudwipa are not to be found surrounding our Earth because the Earth is an isolated globe in space, not a continual Earth plane. Jambudwipa is somewhere else, and we really don't care where that might be. Jambudwipa is in another dimension, and it's whereabouts shouldn't concern anyone here on the globe. If you don't believe in the globe in space then you are delusional because the scientists say so.
Is it not double-dealing on the part of the TOVP to present the Earth as a gigantic circular plane in the main dome exhibition, and then deny the reality of the thing by presenting the Earth as a globe in a secondary exhibition? Although lip-service is given to a larger flat-Earth plane, try arguing with the TOVP representatives that our Earth is actually just part of the same flat Earth reality! Any talk of the flat-Earth bit is considered anathema:
1a: One that is cursed by ecclesiastical authority
1b: someone or something intensely disliked or loathed
2a: a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication
2b: the vigorous denunciation of something as accursed
Synonyms: curse, ban, excommunicate, damnation, proscription, debarment, denunciation, malediction, execration, imprecation
I think you get the point! So although the Earth according to the TOVP is simultaneously a flat round globe (???), only the round globe part is deemed acceptable. The flat-Earth bit is an abominable heresy and delusion of the senses that must be quelled at any cost.
Why do the representatives of the TOVP not convey any faith in this description from Srimad Bhagavatam of a greater area surrounding our own? Why are the TOVP management not making bold declarations that according to Srimad Bhagavatam, our Earth area is surrounded by a greater Earth area? Why are they in denial about this concept, and instead, trying to ridicule or protest against anyone who presents it? It is really quite astonishing, that in spite of Srimad Bhagavatam's clear description of Bharata-varsha's position on a continual Earth plane, the TOVP management (who are supposed to be presenting Srimad Bhagavatam as a factual description of the universe), flatly refuse to acknowledge even the possibility that this may be a true account of our Earth. The question remains: Where did the rest of the Earth go? There are powerful ramifications to Srimad Bhagavatam's description of Bharata-varsha's location on the great Earth circle that the TOVP simply do not want to deduce: if the Earth of Srimad Bhagavatam continues, then it is not a globe, and our life on Earth must be a very different one from this day on.
Although the TOVP representatives are quick to point out that Bhu-mandala will be presented in the main dome of the Vedic planetarium, the reality of the Bhu-mandala will be missed by the teaching that whilst our part of Bhu-mandala manifests to human sensory perception as a globe, the rest of Bhu-mandala is (unfortunately) invisible to our perception. The importance and relevance of the Bhu-mandala exhibition in the main dome will amount to nothing more than a spectacle. If the TOVP teaches that Earth is the same as NASA presents it - a globe in space - of what relevance is the information from Srimad Bhagavatam that our own Earth area is actually part of an 800,000 mile circular island that conveniently 'just happens to be in another dimension.' The TOVP may as well depict a map of C.S Lewis's Narnia, or Tolkien's Middle Earth - nice to look at, but not to be taken seriously! For all practical purposes Bhu-mandala may as well not exist, remaining safely in the realm of 'other dimensions,' 'mythology,' 'symbolism,' 'fantasy' or 'faith,' as you please. But if we accept Sukadeva Goswami's literal description that our Earth area is not a globe in space, but just part of a landscape that continues into other areas of the greater Earth, then obviously this will have revolutionary consequences for the whole world. It means ISKCON has the responsibility to demolish the false construct of an Earth-globe reality which was built upon nothing more than quasi-science and fake space programs. Thus, rather than trying to make the Srimad Bhagavatam fit in with the globe conception, the TOVP should be assembling a world famous scientific presentation to demolish the globe conception. It is the globe that has to be consigned into the realms of mythology, not the Bhu-mandala.
In any case, one must judge a thing by its result. The TOVP may have their globe, but at the cost of sacrificing the Srimad Bhagavatam's actual description of Bharata-varsha's location at the southern side of Jambudwipa. The placement of a globe in the TOVP may please the scientists of the worlds, but not the Personality of Srimad Bhagavatam, or the guru parampara whose understanding on the subject is expressed in the commentaries by The Acharyas. Does one honestly think that Srimad Bhagavatam reveals the Absolute truth, but neglects to mention that we are on a globe? I don't think so! Srimad Bhagavatam tells us exactly where we are; the truth is the representatives of the TOVP just don't believe it. If the TOVP management insists that Earth will be presented as a globe, then Jambudwipa has to physically disappear as already explained. If you present Earth as a globe, then there is no sign of Bhu-mandala surrounding any so-called photo of the Earth globe; if you present Bhu-mandala, then there is no sign of an Earth globe floating around in the description given in Srimad Bhagavatam. If the Earth is depicted as a globe, then consequentially, Jambudwipa has to 'get lost.' Either the Earth continues on a plane, or it doesn't. If Bharata-varsha is connected to Jambudwipa, then there is no globe. If Bharata-varsha is part of the globe, then there is no Jambudwipa. The TOVP can't have their cake and eat it. It's one or the other! Ironically, the placement of a globe within the TOVP will mean that the Srimad Bhagavatam's version of reality will be kicked out of a planetarium which is meant to be representing Srimad Bhagavatam. Jambudwipa and the Bhu-mandala will have no practical relevance to anyone's life. Life on the fake globe will go on as before, and the people will remain victims of a materialistic ideology that keeps them in darkness for the purpose of exploitation:
Prabhupada: ...to keep their service in order. This is going on, all cheating. To keep people in darkness and exploit them. The so-called swamis exploiting, yogis exploiting, politician exploiting, scientists exploiting, philosophers exploiting. What is the position of the world? And this is the opportunity, human life, to know everything, to solve all the problems. They are not given the opportunity, they are kept in darkness. The demons. "There is no God, science is everything, life is produced from chemicals, and there is no living entities on other planets." They are simply show. This planet is full of..., it is all scientists, and they are vacant. And we have to believe that. Perhaps for the first time I am raising protest against all this nonsense. (Morning Walk, July 10, 1976, New York)
MISTAKES IN THE MODELS FOR THE TOVP MAIN DOME EXHIBITION
As it stands there are many misconceptions about Bhu-mandala that have led to inaccurate depictions of Bhu-mandala in the proposed models for the main dome exhibition. A lack of faith in the Bhu-mandala as a factual description of the Earth has led to its depiction in a manner that is more 'symbolic' than suggestive of a real tangible landscape. Let us now look at what is wrong in the TOVP's depiction of the Bhu-mandala.
Bewilderment about the nature of Earth has resulted in the following mistakes in the TOVP's depiction of the seven islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala. The image below again shows Jambudwipa with Mount Meru in the center, surrounded by wire-like rings that are meant to represent the other islands and oceans along the Bhu-mandala plane:
The picture below shows Jambudwipa from a further distance again with the same web-like or wire-like structures, surrounding this central island of Bhu-mandala:
Unbelievably, this web-like formation is supposed to represent the vast Earth landscape with mountains, oceans, rivers, and forests measuring an area of 202,800,000 miles where billions of other living beings live. The impression given here is that there is no land and ocean. All we see here is space. The flat-Earth landscape of Srimad Bhagavatam is a four billion mile diameter circle upon which everything else rests (think of a round, solid, kitchen table which supports all the other kitchen paraphernalia). The Earth is a continual landscape that crosses the universe and divides it into upper and lower divisions. Let's compare the above images to the earlier image by Danavir Goswami that illustrates the salt-water ocean surrounding Jambudwipa as described By Sukadeva Goswami:
Here we get the correct impression of an actual island surrounded by an ocean. So let's just think about the TOVP's depiction of the ocean as a wire-like thing circling Jambudwipa. Why would they do that? Where did the salt-water ocean surrounding Jambudwipa go to? If you hear a description that America is surrounded by a salt-water ocean, don't you expect to see a depiction of the ocean looking like an ocean, and not empty space:
So why has the salt-water ocean surrounding Jambudwipa been replaced by a wire-like ring that has only space between it? Why has the next island of Plakshadwip similarly been represented as a wire-like ring? Plakshadwipa is a continual landscape made of Earth that is 1,600,000 miles wide and home to billions of other living entities whose situation is described in in Srimad Bhagavatam canto 5, chapter 20, verses 1-8. How will anyone get the understanding that these wire-like rings are meant to represent a solid landscape like our own Earth foundation that supports oceans and varieties of landscape. Why are the seven islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala depicted in such a formless impersonal way? Why can the exhibit not clearly display a solid continual landscape? The reason is obvious: the TOVP cosmological representatives don't want to present our own Earth as part of one vast continual landscape (which is how it is described by Sukadeva Goswami and clearly acknowledged by the acharyas in their commentaries). Since the TOVP cosmologists teach that Jambudwipa is in another dimension, the solidity of the seven islands and oceans on the Earth plane is not taken seriously in their representative form as wire-like circles. The description of the Earth plane by Sukadeva Goswami has been turned into impersonal rings in outer space because this is the easiest way to justify the globe conception of the Earth. On a globe, the oceans just curve around the surface of the ball and are held there by the supposed magical power of gravity. In this conception of Earth, one just sails or flies around the globe and comes back to the same point. There is no greater Earth area in the globe model. In the globe conception we are surrounded by dark empty space only. But this is not how Srimad Bhagavatam describes the Earth. Sukadeva Goswami's description informs us that the oceans of our Earth continue into the oceans of the greater Earth area. Thus we are surrounded not by space but by vast areas of other land and ocean along the continual Earth plane. Since the TOVP want to depict the Earth as a small round planet in space, not part of a vast circular plane, it is obviously necessary to practically dissolve the concept of a continual plane, whilst somehow remaining true to the original description. This is achieved by presenting the islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala in the representative form of a circle, which suggests an idea, but without any committal to what the idea actually represents in real terms.
To understand the folly of this practically formless depiction of the seven islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala, please read chapters 16-20 of the fifth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, and particularly chapter 20 which describes some details of the physical landscape of these islands as well as the spiritual culture of the people who live on them. This is a real place. People eat, sleep, mate, and defend, just as they do here. The sapta-dwipa are not circular orbits in the emptiness of outer-space as depicted in the TOVP exhibitions. They are part of the continual landscape of Earth that crosses the center of the universe. The images below of the proposed models for sapta-dwipa (seven islands) are hopelessly wrong. Again, no disrespect to the artists, but this is an inaccurate and inadequate depiction of Bhu-mandala's islands and oceans. These wire-like circles do not in any way represent the description of Bhu-mandala's seven islands and oceans. An island is made of land (earth), and is surrounded by ocean (water). Earth and water are not space as the models below depict. This scene shows the view from a balcony on the TOVP looking down on the Bhu-mandala. Notice that the Bhu-mandala is not exhibited as a continual solid Earth plane, but as a series of circles with space between them:
The outer circular mountains of Manasottara and Lokaloka appear to be just floating in space without a supporting base. The supporting base to all of this is actually the earthy structure of the Bhu-mandala. The entire Bhu-mandala is held like a round table on the hoods of Ananta. The oceans and islands are not separate features surrounded by space; they are just one continual landscape. Again in the model below we see the same misconception:
The important mistake here in the depiction of the islands and oceans of Jambudwipa as wire rings in space, is that it gives the impression that the central area of the universe is filled mostly with empty space. This is not the case. The whole central part of the universe is occupied by the Bhu-mandala itself which is one solid earthy structure. The Bhu-mandala crosses the entire center of the universe and blocks out the sunlight from going to the lower part of the universe. There is no space between the islands and oceans because they all rest on one solid structure – the Earth itself. It is just one continual landscape where one ocean continues to the next island and so on. Within the Earth are the subterranean realms which do not receive light, and below the Earth is the Garbodaksaya ocean. Thus if one is standing on the balcony of the TOVP and looking down on the exhibition, one should not see through it onto the floor below. If one was standing on the floor and looking up, one should not be able to see anything above the surface of Bhu-mandala. The image below shows the plane of Bhu-mandala with it's seven islands and oceans expanding out in a unique feature of concentric circles. If one looks down on the Earth (such as the residents of earth or those in the luminaries, one cannot see below the surface. If one is below the surface of the Earth circle (such as the nagas and asuras in the subterranean worlds) one cannot see the luminaries in the sky. The surface area of Bhu-mandala would block the vision:
"Since there is no sunshine in those subterranean planets, time is not divided into days and nights, and consequently fear produced by time does not exist." (SB 5.24.11)
"The sunshine does not reach these planets, but they are illuminated by jewels fixed upon the hoods of snakes. Because of these shining gems there is practically no darkness." (from Srila Prabhupada's introduction to canto five, chapter 24)
PLANETS AS GLOBES IN SPACE BY SADAPUTA DASA
Where does this idea that the Bhu-mandala is a series of globes in space come from? The suggestion, it seems, come from Srila Prabhupada himself, and was later worked into a theory by Srila Prabhupada's disciple Sadaputa das. The argument is presented in the following extract from a book by Sadaputa dasa:
"We have argued that the earth was understood to be a sphere in Vedic times, and that it was also understood to be part of Bhu-mandala. It is therefore natural to ask whether or not the other parts of Bhu-mandala also correspond to spheres in some sense. In fact, Srila Prabhupada frequently refers to the idea of planets as globes floating in space. Since this point is quite important, we shall quote a number of his statements at length:
(1) "The earth floats in space among many millions of other planets, all of them bearing huge mountains and oceans. It floats because Krishna enters into it, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (gam avishya), just as He enters the atom" (TQK, p. 122).
(2) "Seated on His chariot with Arjuna, Krishna began to proceed north, crossing over many planetary systems. These are described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as Saptadvipa. Dvipa means 'island.' These planets are sometimes described in the Vedic literature as dvépas. The planet on which we are living is called Jambudvipa. 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. In each and every planet there are oceans also. In some of the planets the oceans are of salt water, and in some of them there are oceans of milk. In others there are oceans of liquor, and in others there are oceans of ghee or oil" (KB, pp. 855-56). Similar remarks are made in KB p. 12.
(3) "The planets are called dvipas. Outer space is like an ocean of air. Just as there are islands in the watery ocean, these planets in the ocean of space are called dvipas, or islands in outer space" (CC ML 20.218p). This purport begins with a quotation of the Sanskrit verses from Siddhanta-Siromani describing the seven dvipas of Bhu-mandala, and thus Srila Prabhupada clearly does not limit the dvipas to the Southern Hemisphere.
(4) "Sometimes the planets in outer space are called islands. We have experience of various types of islands in the ocean, and similarly the various planets, divided into fourteen lokas, are islands in the ocean of space. As Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, he created seven different types of oceans and planetary systems, which altogether are known as Bhu-mandala, or Bhuloka" (SB 5.1.31p).
(5) "According to Vedic understanding, the entire universe is regarded as an ocean of space. In that ocean there are innumerable planets, and each planet is called a dvipa, or island" (SB 8.19.19p).
(6) "Only under certain conditions do the planets float as weightless balls in the air, and as soon as these conditions are disturbed, the planets may fall down into the Garbhodaka Ocean, which covers half the universe. The other half is the spherical dome within which the innumerable planetary systems exist. The floating of the planets in the weightless air is due to the inner constitution of the globes" (SB 2.7.1p).
(7) In SB 2.7.13p, 1.3.41p, and 3.15.2p it is indicated that the universe contains millions of planets, and that many are not visible to the naked eye.
Sadaputa dasa comments on this:
"In these passages Srila Prabhupada refers to the seven dvipas of Bhu-mandala as a planetary system consisting of many globes floating in space. He compares outer space to an ocean of air and interprets the word dvipa to mean an island hovering in that airy ocean. Since the Bhagavatam does not specifically refer to the dvipas as separated globes, this naturally gives rise to the question, Is the Bhagavatam giving a metaphorical description of the universe, and if so, then how far can we go in giving indirect interpretations to its statements? We note that passage (4) refers to a verse in which it is said that Maharaja Priyavrata created the seven dvipas and oceans of Bha-mandala with the rims of his chariot wheels. We can easily see how a very large chariot could produce circular ruts that would become oceans and islands, but it is not so easy to see how it could produce systems of spherical planets."
Although Sadaputa dasa correctly points out that the creation of spherical planets in space by Priyavrata's chariot is highly unlikely, he raises the possibility of taking a metaphorical meaning. However, there is no need to take a metaphorical meaning here. If we simply follow the description in Srimad Bhagavatam, it is obvious that Priyavrata is just creating circular formations on the surface of the Earth with his amazing chariot. These circles form the wonderful concentric shape that forms the seven islands and oceans on the surface of the flat Earth plane. If we take it as it is, the whole description is certainly stupendous, but nonetheless straightforward in its presentation of the Earth as a great circular disc. There is more Earth surrounding our known Earth area. Lets look at the original text and commentary:
"When Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, the rims of his chariot wheels created impressions that later became seven oceans, dividing the planetary system known as Bhu-mandala into seven islands. (SB 5.1.31)
Sometimes the planets in outer space are called islands. We have experience of various types of islands in the ocean, and similarly the various planets, divided into fourteen lokas, are islands in the ocean of space. As Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, he created seven different types of oceans and planetary systems, which altogether are known as Bhu-mandala, or Bhuloka."
In the above purport Srila Prabhupada again says that the sapta-dwipa are islands in the ocean of space created by Priyavrata Maharaja. However, this is not a view supported by the previous acharyas who confirm that Priyavrata created the islands from the already existing plane of Bhu-mandala. The acharyas all consistently agree to this point. The following are the commentaries to SB 5.16.2:
"My dear Lord, the rolling wheels of Maharaja Priyavrata's chariot created seven ditches, in which the seven oceans came into existence. Because of these seven oceans, Bhu-mandala is divided into seven islands. You have given a very general description of their measurement, names and characteristics. Now I wish to know of them in detail. Kindly fulfill my desire." (SB 5.16.2)
Comment by Vijayadhvaja Tirtha: The words "yata etat" recall the divisions created by Priyavrata in the Earth-circle. The purport is: the seven seas were formed by the mud scooped (dug) out by the sharp wheels of Priyavrata's chariot. The mud which was scooped out settled solidly as boundaries and became the seven islands (land-fills)
Comment by Srivamsidhara: "There also"- i.e. in the middle of the world also. "By the depression of the chariot's wheels on earth" – i.e. due to the sharpness of the wheels periphery, the earth gets excavated/upturned, i.e, pits are formed like craters and eventually they become large troughs and eventually seas.
Comment by Giridhari Lala: "There also you said that Priyavrata was circumambulating Mount Meru behind the sun and His chariots wheels dug up all around the earth (mud), forming the seven seas, the Earth's general division into seven islands was indicated by you.
Comment by Bhagavatprasadacharya: "There" = on Earth also; the seven seas are formed by the seven big craters caused by the wheels of Priyavrata's chariot excavating mud. This Earth's seven islands, Jambu and so on, along with their divisions and subdivisions were indicated by you, O learned one! This was briefly stated as, "The seven seas were created by the wheels upturning Earth which formed the seven islands of earth," was it not? I am desirous of knowing the earth's description entirely by magnitude, characteristic, and by name.
Here it is clear that the seven islands were formed upon, and from, the substance of the already existing Earth sphere. There is otherwise no landscape in outer space from which the islands and oceans could have been formed. So Bhu-mandala has substance. It is the 'Earthy' platform of 4 billion miles diameter upon which rest the inhabitants of Earth on their respective islands and surrounding oceans. As Neolithic people formed great circular monuments from the Earth upon which they stood, so Priyavrata created the colossal circular islands and oceans upon the greater Earth plane. The Earth is thus one vast solid landscape that crosses the center of the universe, and there is no concept of outer space in-between each feature. Hence, my reason for pointing out earlier, the vague formless impersonal nature of the presentations and animation depicting the seven islands of Bhu-mandala. They are a landscape like our own. In fact, our Earth area is just a small part of that awesome landscape.
Srila Prabhupada gives a similar purport in his commentary to Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twenty, verse 218, wherein he again mentions the sapta-dwipa or seven islands of Bhu-mandala as islands in space, again suggesting individual planets, rather than one continual Earth plane. However, if the dwipas were islands in the ocean of air, there would be a description of the space between them. For example, the distance in outer space between the grahas (planets) is stated in chapter 22 of the Fifth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. This is not the case for the dwipas and oceans on Bhu-mandala which are described as forming one continuous plane. Unlike the planets such as the sun and moon, which are separated by an ocean of space, these seven islands and oceans are described as resting on the Bhu-mandala plane, not floating in space, or separated from one another by empty space. They simply form a continual land and seascape across the great central plane of the universe. Thus the description reads that after crossing Jambudwipa's 800,000 mile salt water ocean, one comes to Plakshadwipa which is 1,600,000 miles in breadth. Then after crossing the Iksha ocean which is a further 1,600,000 miles wide, one eventually comes to Shalmalidwipa which is 3,200,000 miles wide. In this way, one after the other, the seven islands and oceans form one continual plane with no mention of space between them.
For comparison, think of crossing our own continents and oceans: from American one crosses the Atlantic ocean and comes to Europe; after crossing Europe and South East Asia, one crosses the Indian Ocean and comes to Australia. These are all on the same plane with no 'outer-space' in-between them. If we had sufficient karmic accessibility, we could theoretically continue on our known Earth plane across the Arctic and Antarctica into the other areas of the greater Earth plane. As with our own continents and oceans forming a continual plane without space between them, the seven islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala form a continual plane, although their measurement is colossal by our relative standard. In any case, they are not described as islands floating in space. They are described as the features and varieties of the Bhu-mandala plane.
It must be remembered that Bhu-mandala is the 'earthy substance' upon which this whole landscape is resting. Bhu-mandala is not some nebulous feature in outer space. In other places, Sadaputa dasa has also conjectured that the Bhu-mandala is the solar system. This cannot be supported because of the clear descriptions of Bhu-mandala as literally the solid 'Earthy' realm. It has substance, weight, etc. Ananta Sesa holds the entire "Bhu-mandala" on His head. Lokaloka Mountain is a great circular mountain that is 1 billion miles in height and width. What is supporting the mountain? Is it just floating in space as the present TOVP models depict? This seems to be the suggestion from the TOVP's animation. A great circular mountain floating in space? This is not the fact. The Lokaloka Mountain is resting on Bhu-mandala which is supported by Ananta. Bhu-mandala is one huge, massive area spanning 4 billion miles with an interior core of hundreds of thousands of miles containing seven subterranean realms wherein the great serpents and demons live. Just as a round table supporting household objects has form and solidity, similarly, the great Earth circle has form and solidity covering vast areas both along and below its surface. The sun, for example, does not penetrate through this dense Earth structure to provide light to the seven subterranean realms that continue for at least 560,000 miles below the surface of the Great Earth plane. It was from the substance of this earthy plane that Priyavrata Maharaja made the seven islands and oceans.
The idea presented by Sadaputa dasa that Bhu-mandala represents our solar system, and that the dwipas are planets in space is simply wrong because Bhu-mandala is a solid plane made of solid Earth. Srimad Bhagavatam describes that the dwipas lie along the horizontal plane of Bhu-mandala, whereas the planets or grahas are stacked vertically above the Earth plane. The dwipas and grahas are in fact two distinct categories, and it is simply a misconception to say that the dwipas are the same thing as the solar system. Upon the Earth the seven islands and oceans were formed. This is clear and apparent. Sukadeva Goswami and the acharyas describe the plane of Bhu-mandala beginning with the central island of Jambudwipa, then gradually moving out across the vast expanse of land. They are describing land (Bhu/Earth), not space. And certainly not describing NASA's space ball. Although the Vaishnava acharyas right up to the 18th and 19th century continued to faithfully follow the description provided by Sukadeva Goswami, everyone else lost sight of the Vedic Earth concept because by this time, the words Bhu-mandala and Bhu-gola were being mistakenly translated by Christian translators as Earth globe, and in one stroke, the real Earth was disappeared.
Sadaputa dasa continues:
"In answer to the above question, we suggest that the statements of the Bhagavatam can sometimes be given indirect interpretations, but this should be done very carefully in accordance with the overall meaning of the text and the tradition of parampara. According to the Vedic literature, the universe is very difficult to understand, and a complete element-by-element description in the modern Western style is not possible. Any description can depict only a limited aspect of the total reality, and to do this the description must make use of familiar concepts and images. Thus to some extent any description of the universe must be indirect and metaphorical. "
Here we must immediately disagree; the description of Bhu-mandala is neither indirect or metaphorical. It is blatantly obvious what is being described. The Earth is simply one great circular landscape that just keeps going to near the shell of the universe. The inhabited area consists of seven extraordinary islands and surrounding oceans measuring 202,800,000 miles. We have debated the point with Rajasekhara dasa in the paper, "The Earth Is Not a Globe, Part Three".
Sadaputa dasa continues:
"Thus far we have been presenting a picture of Vedic cosmology based on the observation that the Vedic literature is using familiar three-dimensional imagery to describe an inherently non-three-dimensional material and spiritual reality. According to this interpretation, the simple image of the disc of Bhu-mandala has been used to describe a higher-dimensional situation in which the earth can be seen in a variety of ways at different levels of sensory perception. The simple image of travel in outer space has likewise been used to describe modes of yogic travel that defy understanding in three-dimensional terms.
If we proceed with this interpretation of the Vedic world view, then one way to understand the idea of the dvipas as islands in space is as follows: As the earth, which is part of Bhu-mandala, appears to be a small globe to our ordinary senses, so various parts of Bhu-mandala (and other regions of the universe) may also be experienced as globes floating in space by beings with certain levels of sensory development. On the basis of logic alone, we would offer this idea only as a tentative conjecture. However, since Srla Prabhupada is writing in accordance with the paramparä tradition, we suggest that this idea of Bhu-mandala as a system of floating planetary globes must be in accord with the Vedic literature as a whole. It simply represents the appearance of Bhu-mandala at one sensory level." (Sadaputa Dasa, Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy, 3C Planets As Globes in Space)
In this statement Sadaputa das argues that "the simple image of the disc of Bhu-mandala has been used to describe a higher-dimensional situation in which the earth can be seen in a variety of ways at different levels of sensory perception." Herein lies the whole problem with interpretation. Srila Prabhupada instructed to take Vedic literature as it is, i.e. literally. When the Vedic sages wish to speak in a metaphorical way, they tell us so (as in the story of King Puranjana spoken by Narada Muni to King Pracinabarhi). Otherwise what is being described in Vedic literature should be taken in the straightforward and literal sense. Thus the 'simple image' of Bhu-mandala should be taken as it is, and not extrapolated upon to produce a concept of a 'higher dimensional' reality. Why introduce a concept 'a higher dimensional situation' when no such concept is mentioned in the text itself, or in the commentaries? This is simply the superimposition of a foreign concept which then paves the way for introducing the erroneous idea that Earth manifests as a globe to our perception, and as a great circular plane to those in a higher dimensional situation. This is a wrong understanding to take from what is otherwise a straightforward description of the Bhu-mandala. The mis-understanding arises because one simply assumes that the Earth is a globe, and that the globe concept must be made to fit in with the Srimad Bhagavatam's original description. But what if the Earth is not a globe? Is anyone researching the counter-arguments to the globe concept?
Sadaputa dasa argues that since Srila Prabhupada refers to the idea of globes in space then this must be in accordance with the parampara system. However there is no mention of globes in space in any of the acharyas commentaries coming in parampara. We have argued previously that Srila Prabhupada spoke of 'Earthly planets' because at the time of writing, the Bhagavatam's cosmology had not been adequately understood. Srila Prabhupada had delegated some of his disciples to research the fifth canto, but it was only in the last few months of Srila Prabhupada's manifest lila that any of this research began to manifest. When the details about Bhu-mandala were being discussed during the Bhu-mandala discussions of June/July, a very different picture of the Earth began to surface. Unfortunately, Srila Prabhupada entered samadhi in 1977, without a resolution to any of the questions raised at that time. Although Srila Prabhupada himself states that the Sanskrit word Bhu-gola (round Earth) refers to the assumed Earth globe, the statement has no reference in Srimad Bhagavatam which otherwise describes the measurement of Bhu-gola at 4 billion miles diameter. Gola (round) is in the circular sense like a roundabout, not a globe. We have presented our argument for why Srila Prabhupada may have spoke of the Earth as a globe when Srimad Bhagavatam describes something very different. The paper can be found here.
There are a number of fundamental assumptions in the above presentation by Sadaputa dasa that brings about an erroneous conclusion. Sadaputa Prabhu says that "we have argued that the earth was understood to be a sphere in Vedic times, and that it was also understood to be part of Bhu-mandala." This is an argument presented by Sadaputa das, but it is not a true statement. We know what the Aryans were thinking about the Earth in Vedic times because we have the Vedic literature as a record. The Earth is consistently described in the Vedic literature as Bhu-mandala a four billion mile disc with a central inhabited region of seven islands and oceans covering an area of 202,800,000 miles. There is no mention anywhere that part of Bhu-mandala manifests as a globe in space. The idea that the Earth was understood as a spherical globe in Vedic times is pure concoction and a super-imposition of a very modern and non-Vedic concept onto the original Vedic idea of a great Earth circle. Sadaputa dasa was a ground-breaking pioneer in the field of Vedic cosmology and helped to make sense of a seemingly incomprehensible description of Vedic cosmology. There is no question that his work began a process that will eventually lead to a full acceptance of the Bhu-mandala as it is described. We offer our deepest respects and thanks to the enormous contribution of Sadaputa dasa in the field of spiritual science.
THE UNIVERSAL SHELL
Continuing with the mistakes in the models for the TOVP exhibitions:
The Srimad Bhagavatam describes how all of the features of the universe are contained within a round, or egg-shaped shell (brahmanda) measuring four billion miles in diameter.
In the model below there is nothing to suggest to the viewer that this is the case. I am not a designer, artist, or construction engineer, but surely it cannot be so difficult to construct something around the main features to create the idea of the universal globe. Cross sections of this universal globe or shell could then be removed to reveal the Bhu-mandala and other features of the cosmos within it. The idea needs to be impressed that we are confined within a measurable area of the spiritual sky. If this is what the pilgrims are meant to see when they enter the TOVP building, they will not get the right impression of the universe from this exhibit. Images construct a certain perception of reality. The globe image has created a false construct of reality. We do not want to create another false construct of reality by presenting erroneous or incomplete images:
The absence of a round shell-like structure means that there is no indication of the Garbodakashayi Ocean. Although the Garbo ocean takes up half the space in the universe, it is not even represented here. The Garbo ocean needs to be depicted along with Sesha holding up the Bhu-mandala. Or is it now that gravity is holding the whole thing up? These things can all be nicely represented if the right information is given to the artists and construction team. What in God's name (Hare Krishna) is going on here! A multi-million dollar planetarium that can't even follow the basic and simple description of a book that is it meant to be presenting to the world?
Further mistakes in the models are that the scales are completely wrong. Lolaloka Mountain, for example is described as being 1 billion miles high. This is not accurately depicted in either the models or the animated film presented by the TOVP. The models show the sun and the moon above the height of the Lokaloka Mountain when they are in fact almost a billion miles below the top of Lokaloka. Someone can work out the exact figure, but Lokaloka Mountain is described as being as high as Druvaloka.
"By the supreme will of Krishna, the mountain known as Lokaloka has been installed as the outer border of the three worlds—Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka and Svarloka—to control the rays of the sun throughout the universe. All the luminaries, from the sun up to Dhruvaloka, distribute their rays throughout the three worlds, but only within the boundary formed by this mountain. Because it is extremely high, extending even higher than Dhruvaloka, it blocks the rays of the luminaries, which therefore can never extend beyond it." (SB 5.20.37)
Visvanatha Chakravarti in his commentary says that Lokaloka Mountain is 1 billion miles in height and breadth. The commentaries of the acharyas sometimes differ in their measurements, so someone needs to come to a general consensus for the different measurements described. Most of the acharyas, however, agree that the height and width of Lokaloka Is 1 billion miles. Viraraghava says:
"To facilitate the knowledge of the height and width of the mountain, the dimensions of the Earth is first mentioned here. The learned say that the Earth is 500,000,000 yojanas [4 billion miles]. Earth is to be taken here as brahmanda [the universe]. The height of Lokaloka is a fourth of the dimension, i.e., 125,000,000 yojanas [1 billion miles]. It has a proportionate width." (Commentary to SB 5.20.38)
"The height and width of the mountain is to be stated. However, to know them we should know the magnitude of the Earth which is reminded here. The extent of the entire Earth is known to be 500,000 yojanas [4 billion miles] by great people. A fourth of it will be 125,000,000 yojanas [1 billion miles]. This is the height of Lokaloka Mountain [distance from Meru to Lokaloka]. The thickness [distance from Meru to Lokaloka Mountain to the coverings of the universe is also the same."
The simple but superb picture below by Irish artist Emily Dawson, depicts the round universal shell. Half of the universal shell is filled with water depicted here in blue colour. Crossing the center of the universe is the Great Earth circle or Bhu-mandala. Rising up from the Bhu-mandala is the massive mountain called Lokaloka Mountain. This mountain is shaped in a circular fashion within which we find the inhabited area of Bhu-mandala comprising the seven islands and oceans (sapta-dwipa) and the golden land:
It is very difficult to depict all of this in a painting but the artist has created a unique perspective to show the main features described in Srimad Bhagavatam. The outside of Lokaloka mountain and the remaining area called aloka-varsha are coloured black because no sun shines outside the high walls of Lokaloka mountain. The sun, moon, and other planets and luminaries, as well as the stars and other lokas above the Earth plane are not depicted here. The sun and moon however rotate around the inner part of Lokaloka above the plane of Bhu-mandala. In the image below we see a section of Lokaloka Mountain to reveal the circular formation of Bhu-mandala's seven islands and oceans which are surrounded by the golden land. This area covers hundreds of millions of miles. Bharata-varsha (where we are) is in the very central island of Bhu-mandala called Jambudwipa.
Tamala Krishna: In other words, Srila Prabhupada, Priyavrata had seven children on seven islands, and each one of them had seven children. So each son of Priyavrata divided his island in seven parts, and it was given to one of the grandsons of Priyavrata. We could not show that because it's so small. This is drawn exactly to scale. In order to include all of the Bhu-mandala we had to make everything up very small because, as you'll see, most of Bhu-mandala is made of Loka-varsha and Lokaloka mountain. Everything else is very small compared to those two. (Bhu-mandala Discussions, July 2 1977, Vrindavana)
Yashoda-nandana: Past this golden land, until here, is the Lokaloka Mountain, which is the border between this Aloka-varsha, or the uninhabited land, and the inhabited place. This Aloka-varsha is constituted by a protective mountain that stops the rays of the sun to go beyond this portion. And it goes very, very high, it is described. It goes higher than Dhruvaloka. So the whole planetary system of Bhu-mandala is like a big lotus flower with very high, high petals. It is very wonderful.
Tamala Krishna: Which is that Lokaloka?
Yashoda-nandana: This is the Lokaloka mountain.
Tamala Krishna: Just see how much it is, Srila Prabhupada. It's like the whole Bhu-mandala is protected by a huge mountain.
Tamala Krishna: Yeah. And only in the very center are the inhabited lands of Bhü-mandala.
Prabhupada: The sun is above them?
Tamala Krishna: Not above Lokaloka. Inside, within.
Yashoda-nandana: If this would be on the floor, that means Mount Meru would be 84,000 yojanas. Then, above Mount Meru, 16,000 yojanas above, is the sun. But then, so that the rays of the would not penetrate in that land all around, this great mountain, Lokaloka, extends all the way up to Svarga. So it is like a big, big cup, in which the middle of the cup, or the bottom, there is all of these planets, all of this Bhu-mandala. And past this Lokaloka range of mountains is this Aloka-varsha, which is described that there is no living being which can go to there. The only occasion where anyone went through there is when Krishna and Arjuna went to see the Maha-Vishnu in the spiritual sky. So Krishna with His cakra penetrated through all of these regions, and then He went through all of the coverings of the universe who were there. That was the only occasion where anyone went to this land. So this is a general picture of Bhu-mandala. (Bhu-mandala Discussions, July 2 1977, Vrindavana)
Tamala Krishna: It will be very interesting. They can use this for teaching.
Prabhupada: Yes. Explain there in bold and this picture.
Tamala Krishna: Yeah, explanation can be... This book is the explanation.
Tamala Krishna: It's amazing how Krishna has made each universe. It's just like all the fruits. When you get a fruit, it's protected by a skin. This universe is very much protected, first by uninhabited land, then by huge mountain, then by golden land. And then only in the center of these dvipas there are all the inhabitants and all the activities are going on, very much protected. (Bhu-mandala Discussions, July 2 1977, Vrindavana)
Tamala Krishna Goswami's appreciation and understanding of the Lord's Bhu-mandala is sweet to hear in comparison to the doubts, ignorance, and out-right sophistry that we've had the mis-fortunate to hear from other sources within the TOVP. It is a beautifully sweet vision to see how the guru (Srila Prabhupada) would listen in delight as the disciple (Tamala Krishna Goswami) explained the different features of the Lord's great Earth circle. Let those with understanding and discernment take the point. Srila Prabhupada spoke of the Earth as a globe planet only because the glory of the Bhu-mandala had yet to be revealed. Only a few months before his departure from our mortal vision, His Divine Grace heard about the glories of the Lord's creation from His own disciples. This appears as the Lord's inconceivable lila to cheat the atheists at heart.
For some reason, in both the model presented below, as well as the official TOVP animation presented by Antardwipa dasa, the Bhu-mandala appears to stop at Lokaloka Mountain. Why is that? According to the Srimad Bhagavatams description, after the sapta-dwipa (seven islands and oceans which is the inhabited area of Bhu-mandala), and after Lokaloka mountain which divides the light side of the universe from the dark, the Earth continues into this dark area called aloka-varsha which then continues to the shell of the universe. All of this is depicted in the above images (see images 23 and 24). These areas are all described by the acharyas. In the images below there is no depiction of aloka-varsha. Where is aloka-varsha? And why are the sun and moon above Lokaloka Mountain when according to the description, Lokaloka Mountain towers almost 1 billion miles above them:
The fault in this image is that there is no indication of the universal shell, the Garbo ocean, or Ananta Sesha. Lokaloka Mountain is hopelessly small, and aloka-varsha is completely missing. Where is aloka–varsha? Instead of pilgrims looking at the above model which is highly misleading, we suggest going back to the drawing board and designing a construction that allows the pilgrim to first see the universal globe-shape. Cross sections taken from this globe would then reveal the Garbo Ocean which takes up the bottom half of the universe. Ananta, Sesha could then be depicted holding up the Bhu-mandala. The massive Lokaloka mountain would be the most prominent feature. A cross section of Lokaloka Mountain could then be removed to reveal the seven islands and oceans as well as the golden land, and planets like the sun and moon rotating above the plane of Bhu-mandala. Surely all this is not so difficult for a construction designer. The present designs do not by any means present an authentic depiction of the Bhagavatam's description. Someway or other, when the pilgrim enters the TOVP they should have an accurate idea of the complete universal form as depicted in the images above by Emily Dawson (images 23 and 24). We may not know exactly how the thing looks but the gist of the idea can be taken.
Harikesha: I become very fascinated when I read these descriptions in Srimad-Bhagavatam about the creation and the universal...
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. That's gist idea of the universal position. That is sufficient. (Morning Walk, June 10, 1975, Honolulu)
THE CHARIOTS OF THE PLANETS
One interesting thing to note here in the above image is the depiction of the planets as chariots. At least the TOVP have got this mush right. Have no doubt that this is the case. The situation is as it is described by Srimad Bhagavatam, and is not to be taken as metaphorical. But here is one more indication that the Earth is not a planet like the other grahas described in Srimad Bhagavatam and other Puranas. In the following description of the chariots of the nine planets, the Earth is not described as having a chariot moving like the others for the obvious reason that it is simply one vast stationary circular plane that is held in place by Ananta. The Earth as we have many times mentioned is the largest feature in the Vedic cosmos.
"Parasara said: The chariot of the moon has three wheels, and is drawn by ten horses, of the whiteness of the Jasmine, five on the right half (of the yoke), five on the left. It moves along the asterisms, divided into ranges, as before described; and, in like manner as the sun, is upheld by Dhruva; the cords that fasten it being tightened or relaxed in the same way, as it proceeds on its course...
The chariot of the son of Chandra, Budha or Mercury, is composed of the elementary substances air and fire, and is drawn by eight bay horses of the speed of the wind. The vast car of Shukra (Venus) is drawn by earth-born horses, is equipped with a protecting fender and a floor, armed with arrows, and decorated by a banner. The splendid car of Bhauma (Mars) is of gold, of an octagonal shape, drawn by eight horses, of a ruby red, sprung from fire. Vrihaspati (Jupiter), in a golden car drawn by eight pale-coloured horses, travels from sign to sign in the period of a year: and the tardy-paced Shani (Saturn) moves slowly along in a car drawn by piebald steeds. Eight black horses draw the dusky chariot of Ráhu, and once harnessed are attached to it for ever. On the Parvas (the nodes, or lunar and solar eclipses), Rahu directs his course from the sun to the moon, and back again from the moon to the sun. The eight horses of the chariot of Ketu are of the dusky red colour of Lac, or of the smoke of burning straw.
I have thus described to you, Maitreya, the chariots of the nine planets, all which are fastened to Dhruva by aerial cords. The orbs of all the planets, asterisms, and stars are attached to Dhruva, and travel accordingly in their proper orbits, being kept in their places by their respective bands of air. As many as are the stars, so many are the chains of air that secure them to Dhruva; and as they turn round, they cause the pole-star also to revolve. In the same manner as the oil-man himself, going round, causes the spindle to revolve, so the planets travel round, suspended by cords of air, which are circling round a (whirling) centre. The air, which is called Pravaha, is so termed because it bears along the planets, which turn round, like a disc of fire, driven by the aerial wheel. (Vishnu Purana, Book II, Chapter VIII)
THE SUBTERRANEAN WORLDS
There are other details involving scale and depiction of landmarks that need to be reviewed including the subterranean realms. The subterranean realms are surprising small in comparison to the overall scale of Bhu-mandala. Srila Prabhupada spoke of the subterranean worlds as 'the lower planetary systems.' This may create the impression in a persons mind of a serious of globe like planets below the assumed earth globe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bhu-mandala is the great disc that crosses the universe. The grahas or planets are above, not below the surface of the earth. There are no luminaries below the Earth. What are the subterranean realms? Think of going down into our Earth to underground stations or bases. The Earth, however, is not a globe with a few thousand mile diameter. The core of the great Earth circle goes down for hundreds of thousands of miles. The subterranean realms are like underground bases where the nagas and asuras. They have seven levels.
The acharyas in their commentaries include the seven subterranean worlds as part of the bhu-mandala. This is because they are within the core of the Earth like underground bases. They are within the core of the Earth, and do not taper down as depicted in the TOVP models.
There seems to be some mis-translation in Danavir Goswami's translation. The lokas are described as 10,000 yojanas each (80,000 miles) but the translation reads that they are 800,000 miles. This measurement needs to be confirmed by some scholars. For the present, we will take as normal that a yojana is 8 miles making 10,000 yojanas equal to 80,000 miles, not 800,000. But we leave this for the correction of a scholar:
Acharya Sridhara Swami says the realms are all of equal width and height:
"Each one is 10,000 yojanas (80,000 miles high and wide. That is the expanse of the nether-worlds." (Commentary to SB 5.24.7)
Acharya Viraraghava says:
"The earth (entire Bhu-mandala) has been described above very elaborately. Now the author proceeds to explain the status of the lokas below the Earth. Below the earth are seven holes. Each of the lokas is 10,000 yojanas (80,000) miles high and equally broad and are placed one below the other." (Commentary to SB 5.24.7)
It must be remembered that the part of Mount Meru is below the surface of the earth
"Sumeru Mountain is like the pericarp of the lotuslike Bhū-maṇḍala planetary system. The mountain's height is the same as the width of Jambūdvīpa — or, in other words, 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles]. Of that, 16,000 yojanas [128,000 miles] are within the earth, and therefore the mountain's height above the earth is 84,000 yojanas [672,000 miles]." (SB 5.16.7)
The acharya's explain that the subterranean realms begin after this point. In other words Meru goes down into the core of the Earth for 128,000 miles. At that point the subterranean worlds begin. Each realm is 80,000 miles in height an breadth. Altogether this amounts to 560,000 miles (7 realms x 80,000 each).
To this we have to add another 240,000 miles before we come to the Garbo ocean:
"Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said to Maharaja Pariksit: My dear King, approximately 240,000 miles beneath the planet Patala lives another incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the expansion of Lord Vishnu known as Lord Ananta or Lord Sankarshana." (SB 5.25.1)
Since Lord Ananta is holding the Bhu-mandala on his hoods, the distance between the Garbo ocean and the Bhu-mandala is relatively not a great one. The exhibitions should strictly follow the measurements as described and depict the thing accurately. Including the subterranean area of Mount Meru (128,000 miles), the seven subterranean realms (560,000 miles), and the distance for Ananta Sesha (240,000 miles), the distance between the Bhu-mandala and the Garbo ocean is relatively small. All figures, however (including my own) should be checked and counter-checked for complete accuracy. The acharyas must be the guide. Whoever is responsible for building these exhibitions must scrupulously follow the description of Srimad Bhagavatam and the commentaries of the acharyas. It is shocking and disgraceful that such negligence of the actual description has got this far already. Again, I mean no disrespect to all the devotees involved for their hard work and creativity in preparing these exhibits. But all should insist that the universal form is presented and explained as it is described. Why give measurements if we are not going to follow them? Imagine the scenario of a building constructor throwing away the measurements for a building and then proceeding to build something at his own whim.
Again, scrupulous attention to measurements and characteristics of Bhu-mandala as provided by Sukadeva Goswami should be the order of the day. Sukadeva Goswami begins his epic discourse on cosmology with the following words: bhu-golaka-visenam nama-rupa-mana-laksanato vyakhyasyamah: "O King, I shall nevertheless try to explain to you the principal regions, such as Bhu-goloka [Bhuloka], with their names, forms, measurements and various symptoms." (SB 5.16.4). The models for the Planetarium should accurately depict the measurements of the universal form.
We should faithfully accept that Sukadeva Goswami is providing the real measurements and characteristic features of the Earth (Bhu-gola). If Krishna is real, the Earth of Srimad Bhagavatam is real, which would make the globe a falsehood. If the globe goes, the whole rotten system goes with it. Therefore, rather than foolishly making an exhibition within the TOVP to glorify this false concept of the Earth, a world famous exhibition should be prepared in order to point out exactly how space agencies are duping the innocent public with their so-called space exploration programs, and particularly their bogus images of the Earth.
THE BATTLE FOR THE EARTH. WE ARE IN A SPIRITUAL WAR
"The fight between the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the demon is compared to a fight between bulls for the sake of a cow. The earth planet is also called go, or cow. As bulls fight between themselves to ascertain who will have union with a cow, there is always a constant fight between the demons and the Supreme Lord or His representative for supremacy over the earth." (SB 3.18. 21)
"When God comes or His representative comes, His servant comes, or His son comes, there is necessity. Because it is God's kingdom, as soon as there is too much violation of the laws of God, there will be appearance of God. So in the present age, this hari-nama, Krishna... Krishna has descended at the present moment in the incarnation of His holy name. Kali-kale nama-rupe...We should take it seriously, that this movement, Krishna consciousness movement, is also incarnation of God in the simple form, holy name, and people may take advantage simply by chanting." (Bhagavad-gita 4.7-10 Los Angeles, Jan 6, 1969)
This battle for the Earth is not a war that Krishna is going to lose; but it may be one that we are going to loose if we don't know what is going on. Krishna is the absolute controller in all respects and destroys everyone through His time factor including the greatest of demons. The choice for us is whether to fight on Krishna's side like Arjuna, or whether to be lured by the false and empty promises of the opposite party. I have to summarize this quickly so please forgive the lack of elaboration.
We mentioned earlier how the nagas and asuras are described as living within the core of the Earth circle. The core of the Earth is not a few thousands miles deep as in the globe model; the core of the Earth is some hundreds of thousands of miles deeps. Various demons live on different levels. Sometimes the asuras come to the surface of the Earth with the intention of gaining control of the Earth. Such an event took place 5,000 years ago and precipitated the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead along with His eternal associates (the Pandavas) to annihilate the demoniac upstarts who had become a burden on the Earth. The foolish and ignorant no more believe in the Bhagavatam's description of asuras (demons), than they do in the Bhagavatam's fantastic description of the Earth itself. But control of the Earth by the asuras in effect is happening right now:
"Once when mother earth was overburdened by hundreds of thousands of military phalanxes of various conceited demons dressed like kings, she approached Lord Brahma for relief. (SB 10.1.17)
Purport: When the world is overburdened by unnecessary military arrangements and when various demoniac kings are the executive heads of state, this burden causes the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (4.7):
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I appear Myself."
When the residents of this earth become atheistic and godless, they descend to the status of animals like dogs and hogs, and thus their only business is to bark among themselves. This is dharmasya glani, deviation from the goal of life. Human life is meant for attaining the highest perfection of Krishna consciousness, but when people are godless and the presidents or kings are unnecessarily puffed up with military power, their business is to fight and increase the military strength of their different states. Nowadays, therefore, it appears that every state is busy manufacturing atomic weapons to prepare for a third world war...rogues and thieves in the guise of protectors arrange for a voting system, and in the name of democracy they come to power by hook or crook and exploit the citizens. Even long, long ago, asuras, persons devoid of God consciousness, became the heads of state, and now this is happening again. The various states of the world are preoccupied with arranging for military strength. Sometimes they spend sixty-five percent of the government's revenue for this purpose. But why should people's hard-earned money be spent in this way? Because of the present world situation, Krishna has descended in the form of the Krishna consciousness movement. This is quite natural, for without the Krishna consciousness movement the world cannot be peaceful and happy." (SB 10.1.17 and purport)
"So Krishna comes here, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, paritranaya sadhunam vinashaya ca duskrtam [Bg. 4.8]. So Krishna appeared to kill so many demons. At that time... Whenever there will be demons, Krishna will come. At the present moment, now, the world is full of demons. Therefore Krishna has come in the form of Hare Krishna.
Devotees: Hare Krishna.
Prabhupada: That is Krishna avatara. Kali-yuge nama-rupe avatara. So don't think that Krishna, this vibration Krishna, is different from that Krishna. The same Krishna. The same Krishna. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.23 Los Angeles, July 13, 1974)
Who and where are these demons? This is a vast subject that, unfortunately, we do not have time to go into right now, but take it for granted that in where-ever there is a sphere of power and influence over others, one will find that the satanic or demoniac presence is operating. This obviously includes major institutions such as the worlds religions and governments, finance and banking, military, education, and of course the media and so-called entertainment industry:
"At the present, especially on this planet earth, the influence of Lord Brahma has decreased considerably, and the representatives of Hiranyakashipu—the Rakshasas and demons—have taken charge. Therefore there is no protection of brahminical culture and cows, which are the basic prerequisites for all kinds of good fortune. This age is very dangerous because society is being managed by demons and Rakshasas." (SB 7.3.13)
"You can know this world is now managed by the rakshasas. Rakshasa. They don't mind what is happening. They are prepared to sacrifice everything for fulfilling their whimsical nonsense." (Bhagavad-gita 9.11-14, New York, November 27, 1966)
"So when there is satanic influence over the kingdom of God, or the devotees, or the appointed demigods, they are disturbed by satanic influence, then Krishna comes… That is stated, confirmed, in Bhagavad-gita. yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham [Bg. 4.7] Whenever there is discrepancies in the discharge of natural laws of God, then God incarnates. Either He incarnates Himself, or He sends His bona fide representative, or He sends His powerful representative, like that. So whenever there is incarnation of God, it is to be understood that there is discrepancies in the matter of discharging the laws made by God." (Chaitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.154-157, December 7 1966 New York)
"There are two classes of men always. One is called devatä, godly, and the other is called demon, asura. Or satanic. Whatever you call, the two classes. So those who are God conscious, they are godly. And those who have no God consciousness, they are demonic, or satanic. So these two classes of men are always there. But at the present moment, the number of demonic or satanic consciousness, they have increased. Yes. So the symptoms of the demonic people are described in the Bhagavad-gita." (Room Conversation, July 23 1973, London)
There are thousands of similar statements by Srila Prabhupada to confirm the point. Hear, those of you who can hear: chant Hare Krishna with faith and love. Take shelter of the great general Srila Prabhupada and the lotus feet of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai:
Prabhupada: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Preach as much as possible. By sankirtana, big sankirtana. Big sankirtana is book distribution and small sankirtana is with mrdanga. Big sankirtana is going on all over the world. Small saìkirtana locally. Overflood the demons' Godless civilization. Our declaration of war against this Godless civilization. (Room Conversation, December 31 1976, Bombay)
Prabhupada: They are now feeling the pressure of the opposite party. So fight is fight. When there is fight, my Guru Maharaja used to say, "Some of our soldiers will die. It doesn't matter." You don't expect that not a single soldier of your party will not die. No, some of them will die. Still fight must go on. Fight cannot be stopped. So fight like brave soldiers, Krishna will help you. Don't make any compromise. No truce with these demons. Fight must be. Our fighting weapon is Hare Krishna movement. That's all. Sangopangastra-parshadam. Astra [weapon]. That astra is yajnaih sankirtana, this sankirtana, this astra weapon. They're now afraid of this astra more than atomic weapon. Is it not? (Room Conversation, February 3, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)
It will require devotees of pinnacle intelligence and purity to fight this war. Be assured that the Holy Name is accompanied by His eternal associates. For ourselves, let us pray for the sincerity to recognize them:
"But if we remain sincere, even we are feeble, new-born, nobody can kill us. That is a fact. Just like Krishna when He was three months old, attempt was made by Putana to kill Him, but the Putana was killed. (Room Conversation, May 3 1976 Honolulu)
Prabhupada: (laughs) And that's a fact. (laughter) Well, let us see. (laughter) It is a fight between Krishna and demon. Let us do our duty and chant Hare Krishna. Everything will be all right. There are so many demons. Prahlada Maharaja was five-years-old boy, and his father, such a big demon... The fight was at home. Still, Prahlada Maharaja gained victory. Similarly, you are all Prahlada Maharaja, (laughs) and your fathers are great demons. The fight is there. Chant Hare Krishna. Depend on Krishna. You'll come out victorious. Nrisinghadeva will come. (Evening Darshan, February 15, 1977, Mayapur)
The demons are to be killed with transcendental sound vibration. It is not a physical fight:
"The whole world is disturbed only for the existence of the demons, asuri. At the present moment also, the world is full of demons. The devotees, their number is very, very small. Just like our Krishna consciousness movement. We can count within the finger how many we have got, Krishna conscious; but demons, non-Krishna conscious, nondevotees, there is no limit. Innumerable. So when demons are too much prominent, then Krishna comes. So in the Kali-yuga He has appeared... Just like previously He appeared in the form of hog, similarly, Krishna has appeared in this Kali-yuga in the form of His name. There is no difference between the form and name of God. God is absolute. Nama-rupe, in the form of name. So those who are disturbed by the demons may take shelter of this form of God, Hare Krishna. Then you'll be saved…You have to chant Hare Krishna mantra against the demons." (SB 1.3.7 Los Angeles, September 13, 1972)
"The demon cannot stand the presence of Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead. The demons are always busy in trying to vanquish the Personality of Godhead, but factually as soon as the Personality of Godhead appears, by either His transcendental name, form, attributes, pastimes, paraphernalia or variegatedness, the demon is at once vanquished. It is said that a ghost cannot remain as soon as the holy name of the Lord is chanted. The great saints and devotees of the Lord are in the list of His paraphernalia, and thus as soon as a saintly devotee is present, the ghostly sins are at once vanquished. That is the verdict of all Vedic literatures. One is recommended, therefore, to associate only with saintly devotees so that worldly demons and ghosts cannot exert their sinister influence." (SB 1.9.34)
"But Caitanya Mahaprabhu has shown us the way, that we kill the demons in a different way. We kill the demons in this way: By chanting Hare Krishna mantra, we purify him so that his demonic activities are stopped. That is also another way of killing. He stops his demonic activities. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy, that He did not kill Jagai-Madhai. Although He wanted to kill them because they insulted Vaishnava, but still, Nityananda Prabhu reminded Him that "In this incarnation, You promised that You'll not kill. So have mercy upon them." So their demonic activities were killed. That is also killing." (SB 1.8.41, Mayapur, October 21, 1974)
"Simply by the noise of kirtana the demons actually go away." (Letter to Madhavananda, 16 September 1974, Vrindavana)
Prabhupada: So this will give impetus to Krishna consciousness movement. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati [Bg. 4.7]. Don't be disappointed. Krishna will act through His movement and kill them, these demons. How it will be done, that you cannot know now, but it will be done. (Evening Darshan, February 15, 1977, Mayapur)
Take it for certain the Earth globe construct of reality is of Non-Vedic origin, and was introduced by the asuras to create illusion for the purpose of mental and spiritual control over the bewildered Kali-yuga citizens. Srila Prabhupada spoke of the Earth in conventional terms as a globe because the Bhagavatam's glory had yet to be unveiled. The history is explained in the paper, "Spiritual Science Applied to the Question of the Earth's Shape and Location, Part 3".
I take this as the Lord's inconceivable lila to bewilder the doubters. Srila Prabhupada's final instruction on the Earth issue was to present the version of Srimad Bhagavatam. The sinister movement at all costs will try and prevent the correct understanding of Srimad Bhagavatam from being preached at Sri Dhama Mayapur's Temple of Vedic Planetarium. I appeal to all responsible and sincere devotees of Krishna within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to insist that Bhu-mandala is presented as it is without the introduction of the globe model.
"Regarding the poisonous effect in our Society, it is a fact and I know where from this poison tree has sprung up and how it affected practically the whole Society in a very dangerous form. But it does not matter. Prahlada Maharaja was administered poison, but it did not act. Similarly Lord Krishna and the Pandavas were administered poison and it did not act. I think in the same parampara system that the poison administered to our Society will not act if some of our students are as good as Prahlada Maharaja…It is a fact however that the great sinister movement is within our Society." (Letter to Hamsaduta, Calcutta, September 2, 1970)
Although in the above letter Srila Prabhupada was referring to a particular incident, he was under no illusion about the influence of the sinister movement.
David Lawrence: A very great deal of what one could call demonology if you like. Now, I confess this raises problems for me. When a book like that...
Prabhupada: Bhagavata was written five thousand years ago.
David Lawrence: Yes, very, very ancient. Is it to be taken, the references say to Putana, is this to be taken...
Prabhupada: It is also fact.
David Lawrence: ...physically or spiritually as a demonic power or what?
Prabhupada: No, no, which one?
David Lawrence: Where, is it the demoness Putana takes Krishna and Krishna sucks her breast?
Syamasundara: Should it be taken literally or allegorically?
Prabhupada: No, literally, literally.
David Lawrence: Yeah, literally as a physical fact.
Prabhupada: Oh yes, oh yes.
David Lawrence: Now, having said that then, if one goes on logically...
Prabhupada: You'll find so many demons like Putana even at the present moment.
(Morning Walk, August 30 1973)
Yes there are real-life beautiful Putana's in high places sucking the blood of children in satanic sacrifices throughout the world; but Putana also means false guru. Don't be misled by the mockers: "Demons! Ha-ha! The Earth is not a globe! Ha-ha!"
Prabhupada: Take the version of Bhagavatam…
…We are not lying to you.
(Discussion on Bhu-mandala, July 5, 1977, Vrindavana)
Srila Prabhupada promoted absolute faith in Srimad Bhagavatam, and I would encourage his followers not to be misled into thinking that Sukadeva Goswami was limited in his conception of geography and cosmology due to not being able to see the 'real' Earth through the lens of a modern technologically advanced satellite from deep in outer space. If the Earth manifested as a globe, Sukadeva Goswami would have informed us. Instead he informs us that our Earth area is just a small part of the vast plane of Bhu-mandala. There is no room for speculation here. Rather than gullibly accepting that the Earth is a globe, we should be prepared to at least question and investigate the authenticity of the globe concept based on the premise that Sukadeva Goswami's description is providing the actual scientific description of the Earth. Sukadeva Goswami's description of the Earth is coming via the chain of disciplic succession from the creator of the Earth Himself. At the beginning of his discourse on cosmology and creation Maitreya Rishi told Mahatma Vidura:
"Let me now begin speaking on the Bhagavata Purana, which was directly spoken to the great sages by the Personality of Godhead for the benefit of those who are entangled in extreme miseries for the sake of very little pleasure." (SB 3.8.2)
In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes:
"The sage Maitreya proposed to speak on Srimad-Bhagavatam because it was especially compiled, and traditionally comes down in the disciplic succession, for the solution of all the problems of human society."
Again this echoes the opening verses of Srimad Bhagavatam which declares:
"This Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries." (SB 1.1.2)
The 12 cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam with its varied topics, form a transcendental literature that will certainly bring about the spiritual purification and enlightenment of human society, but how does the Bhagavata Purana's description of cosmology specifically 'distinguish reality from illusion for the benefit of all.' Of what benefit is Sukadeva Goswami's description of the names, measurements, and characteristics of the Bhu-mandala? As the fascination with a magicians trick is broken by someone who reveals the means by which the illusion was created, so the fascination with the false teachings of the atheists regarding life and the universe is broken by hearing the truth of the universe, and one's place and purpose upon it, from a great sage like Sukadeva Goswami. By breaking the spell of illusion, the living entities will come to realize the truth of their eternal relationship with Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (SB 5.26.38-39).
In fulfilment of Srila Prabhupada's desire, let us all together try and honour Krishna by accurately depicting the virat-rupa as He is described in Srimad Bhagavatam, without addition, omission, speculation, or concoction:
Prabhupada: Now you all together make this Vedic planetarium very nice, so that people will come and see. From the description of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you prepare this Vedic planetarium. (Room Conversation, June 16, 1976, Detroit)
Srila Prabhupada urges here that the devotees work together to establish the TOVP. I wish to respect that instruction, and do not consider myself a one-man show. I certainly don't have all the answers. I believe that Krishna will soon empower various devotees to bring about this revolution in consciousness whereby the Earth globe paradigm is changed to the Bhu-mandala paradigm. This will require the great task of defeating the present quasi-science that began with Copernicus in support of a globular model of the Earth, as well as exposing the fake space program that has fooled the world since the late 1960's
As the Hare Krishna mantra rises in the world dispersing the darkness of untruths, deceptions, and illusions, the real truth of the world and one's place within it will eventually be revealed. If one accepts Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one should accept the real feature of Krishna's creation as it is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Shocking as it sounds, the Earth created by Krishna is not a globe, but rather a vast plane that spans the universe. Help the people out of darkness:
"…We don't want to exploit anyone—Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. The people in general, human being, they have got this opportunity of being out of the clutches of maya and they are kept in darkness. What is this? Is that civilization? This is our mission. Here is opportunity for his getting out of the clutches of maya, daivi hy esha gunamayi mama maya [Bg. 7.14], and they are being misled, the so-called science and nasty philosophy and economics and making them, training them as demons and rakshasas. What is this civilization? So our movement is against this demonic civilization." (Room Conversation, February 3, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)
A prediction by Tamala Krishna Goswami?
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, are the planets shaped liked balls or more like plates? Because it's, it's hard to understand, 'cause they're called dvipas, "islands." Their roundness is the roundness of a plate or like a ball?
Prabhupada: Which one?
Satsvarupa: The earth planet?
Prabhupada: If it is like a tree, then these things can be as dvipa, island.
Tamala Krishna: Wow. You know...
Tamala Krishna: The scientists are getting smashed to bits by your statements, Srila Prabhupada. This destroys their whole theory. Orbs, round spheres. I think that this Mayapura building, we must build a big planetarium in it.
Prabhupada: Yes. That, that I am going to do, Vedic planetarium.
Tamala Krishna: Oh, boy. You're going to bring a lot of.... A lot of scientists will come here just to dispute this.
Pusta Krishna: Wonderful attraction.
Prabhupada: World people will come to see the way the planetary systems...
Tamala Krishna: We should advertise it very widely that this is the actual, factual explanation of the universe.
Prabhupada: This will be automatically advertised. As soon as the temple is finished, people will come like anything.
Hari-shauri: They're going to need somebody to...
Prabhupada: The thing is, on principle, we shall only go against them.
Prabhupada: On principle. Whatever they say "Yes," we say "No." (laughter)
(Morning Walk, March 18, 1976, Mayapur)