Sailing to Jambudwipa
By Mayesvara dasa
The Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, West Bengal, India (presently well under construction as of December 2015), is an attempt to depict the map of the Universe according to the ancient Vedic literature, primarily the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam as translated and presented by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Canto 1, chapter 5, verse 11 of Srimad-Bhagavatam predicts that this literature will bring about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization
(janatagha-viplavo). To this end, the Mayapur Vedic Planetarium, which is based on the Srimad Bhagavatam’s cosmography, is one of Srila Prabhupada’s main projects to counteract the prevailing materialistic world view of life and the cosmos.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam’s depiction of the universe,however, immediately creates a clash of world-views that most people may prefer to avoid, and that includes many of the followers of the Vedas who either don’t understand, or can’t conceptualize the Srimad-Bhagavatam’s depiction of Earth and its relation to the greater universe. We have all grown up with an image of Earth as a rotating ball in space, and we’re pretty happy with that. But how did we get that image and conception of a globe into our heads? Is the globe-shaped Earth an authentic image, and is the Earth truly a round planet rotating in space around the sun? Will it come to be, that one of the most earth-shattering events in our life is the discovery of the real nature of Earth itself? What will the Mayapur Vedic planetarium reveal? To quote from the Book of Revelations, a Christian book of prophecy:
And I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth were passed away (Rev 21.1)
Will the Mayapur Vedic Planetarium reveal a new looking Earth? Or will it look like the one that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) has been presenting ever since the first photographs of Earth taken in 1969, reputedly taken from outer space as the Apollo spacecraft made its way to the moon? This subject can be of interest to all of us; not only because we certainly ought to know the location and shape of the Earth that we live on, but also because the position and shape of the Earth has wider implications in regard to the world views we will adopt, created by either a materialistic or transcendental perspective. We have on our hands a clash of world-views that is truly mind-blowing. *Sailing to Jambudwipa; The Mayapur Vedic Planetarium and the Flat Earth According to Srimad Bhagavatam* can be found in the link below:
(this is a response by Nitai-Chandra dasa on the above article ‘Sailing to Jambudvipa’, a flat earth pasanda.)
Demigods and thus their realms are invisible, so scripture states.
Vedanta Sutra 2.1.25
deva-adi-vat – like devas and the rest; iti – thus; loke – in the world. [God, though invisible, is the creator of the world,] just as the devas, [although invisible,] are seen to work in the world.
COMMENTARY.(Govinda bhasya– Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana)
Devas like Indra and the rest are invisible, yet we see their activities, such as the production of rain, etc. in the world. Similarly, though God is not perceptible in the world, He is the unseen creator of it.
Another translation. (The Lord though invisible, is the creator of the world,) just as the gods too (though invisible, are seen to work) in the world. (i.e. to produce rain and so on)
Sri Madhvacarya’s anubhasya on this verse: 25. Like the gods and other (beings, i.e., spirits) and also as observed in the world, (Para-Brahman may act unperceived). (That He is) not given in our perception is not an argument against the existence of the Lord who is the real doer and the cause of the soul’s activity. For like the gods, etc., He is possessed of powers by which He does everything unperceived. Even in the world, similar powers of being invisible, etc., have been observed to be possessed by spirits too. Then it is no matter for wonder that the Supreme Lord possesses such powers. The Brihat Samhita says, “Scriptural statements should never be rejected by a course of reasoning. All reasoning is truly such, only when it is helpful in reconciling the conflicting statements. Otherwise it is no reasoning at all. Hence no difficulty arises as to the belief in God who is invisible.
Sri Ramanujacarya’s sribhasya: 25. And as in the case of the gods and so on, in (their) world.
As the gods and similar exalted beings create, each in his own world, whatever they require by their mere volition, so the Supreme Person creates by his mere volition the entire world. That the gods about whose powers we know from the Veda only (not through perception) are here quoted as supplying a proving instance, is done in order to facilitate the comprehension of the creative power of Brahman, which is also known through the Veda.
The gods abide in the highest Lordship, and not in what is wretched, in accordance with the scriptural text: ‘Evil, verily, does not approach the gods’ (Brhad Aranyaka Upanisad. 1.5.201).
(Vedanta-Sutra. 2. 4. 16. VEDANTA-KAUSTUBHA)
Thus, bhauma-svarga’s matter is not the matter of our earth planet.
Madhvacarya in his anubhasya on vedanta-sutra 2.4.23 quotes Brihat Samhita thus : ” Earthly bodies consist of earth by half; in the other half three parts are of water, and the remaining one part only is of fire; and let it be understood that this is the proportion in general. Further there is difference of proportion in every individual. In the body of the celestials one-half consists of fire.”
Our comment: One will not be able to see their form and abodes due to their effulgence, besides their being subtle and invisible for earthly eyes. The qualities – guna’s – of the material elements on the demigod level are on the average 100’s of times or at least 100 times better then the qualities of gross matter on the earth planet. This we know from the anandavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad (2.8): “One endowed with human bliss, an emperor with the entire world under his domination, being eligible for the fruits of learning he becomes known as the controller. He may be said to be a young one, energized by Vishnu. The enjoyment of the heavenly beings (gandharva’s) is hundred-fold more. Hundred-fold of these super human (manusya-gandharva) bliss would be the divine (divya) gandharva bliss. Hundred-fold bliss of the divya-gandharva bliss would be the bliss of the ancestors – pitrs – in their long enduring worlds. Hundred-fold bliss of the ancestors in their long enduring worlds would be the bliss of those who are born as gods – ajanata-devatas -. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of those who are born as gods would be the bliss of those who are born as gods by performing actions – karma-devatas -. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of those who are born as gods by performing actions, would be the bliss of the administrative gods. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of these controlling gods would be the bliss of their headman, Indra. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Indra, would be the bliss of Brihaspati. Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Brihaspati would be the bliss of Prajapati (Brahma). Hundred-fold bliss of the bliss of Prajapati, would be the bliss of Brahman.” (this is as a drop of the ocean of Krishna bliss, then the bliss of Para-Brahman is unlimited.)
In Vishnu Samhitâ, Chapter 19 we read:
(19) The Devas, are invisible deities and the Brâhmanas are visible deities.
(20) The Brâhmanas uphold the world.
(21) By the favour of the Brâhmanas, Devatâs reside in the Div (celestial region).
Some more quotes from the Bhaktivedanta vedabase:
devāḥ—the demigods; yatra—wherein; akṣi—eyes; gocarāḥ—within the purview.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after having selected Kṛpācārya for guidance as his spiritual master, performed three horse sacrifices on the banks of the Ganges. These were executed with sufficient rewards for the attendants. And at these sacrifices, even the common man could see demigods.
Purport: It appears from this verse that interplanetary travel by the denizens of higher planets is easy. In many statements in Bhâgavatam, we have observed that the demigods from heaven used to visit this earth to attend sacrifices performed by influential kings and emperors. Herein also we find that during the time of the horse sacrifice ceremony of Mahârâja Parîksit, the demigods from other planets were visible even to the common man, due to the sacrificial ceremony. The demigods are not generally visible to common men, as the Lord is not visible. But as the Lord, by His causeless mercy, descends to be visible to the common man, similarly the demigods also become visible to the common man by their own grace. Although celestial beings are not visible to the naked eyes of the inhabitants of this earth, it was due to the influence of Mahârâja Parîksit that the demigods also agreed to be visible.”
“Prajâpati: In the early days of science, about three, four hundred years ago, Śrîla Prabhupâda, many of the early scientists were persecuted by the Church for their discoveries. So since that time, the scientists have declared war on religion, and they have been doing their best to try to disprove all religious things.
Prabhupâda: What they have discovered? These four hundred years, the scientists said that there is no God?
Prajâpati: No, they were… One scientist, Galileo, he was making all kinds of inquiries into saying that the earth is round and so many things, and the Church of that day, the rascal priests, they put him to death because he was saying things that were not in the scriptures. Since that time, especially the last hundred years, the scientists are…
Prabhupâda: No, the thing is that it is the government’s duty to see that nobody is rascal, either the scientist is rascal or the priest is rascal. There must be real understanding. That is government’s duty. Otherwise, if the priest says, “The scientist speaking against religion; therefore he should be hanged,” so that is not good government. Government must see that whether the scientist is speaking the truth. That sense must be there. Yes, world is round. That is fact. Goloka.
In Vedic literature it is Bhū-gola, jagad-aṇḍa. These words are there. We can see also it is round, jagad-aṇḍa. The universe is round. And Goloka, or Bhū-gola. Bhū-gola, the earth is round. So the Vedic literatures… Therefore their knowledge is also imperfect, because they do not refer to the Vedic literatures. It is already there. Bhū-gola. Bhū means the earth; gola means round. It is already there. And the geography’s called, according to Sanskrit, it is called Bhū-gola. Long, long ago, before Galileo. (Morning Walk, 9 December, 1973 Los Angeles)
“Prabhupâda: There is a control… Just like here, in this planet, when you go up, you see it is ball, but in this ball there are so many controlling deities here also. President Johnson, prime minister of India, this and that and so many things. But when you go up you see just like a ball. So when you come here you find… Similarly, from the distance of ninety millions of miles you can see the sun just like a ball, but it is not ball. It is a, it is a far, far greater than this planet, and there are cities and there men and there are persons and there are everything.” (Lecture Bg 2.12, 1966)
Srila Prabhupada in his translating always speaks of the planets as globes in space. The Bhumandala plane idea is advanced knowledge – it is the model or structure the demigods perceive, and which the TOVP displays – , which he didn’t present often. It is an invisible, non-gross reality. His Grace Sadaputa dasa writes: “The cosmology of the Fifth Canto was controversial during the period of the 1600’s, when Vamsidhara was active.” From the commentaries on the fifth canto Srimad Bhagavatam the Puranas and the books specifically on astronomy we see there were various statements and figures, since the figures of the Bhagavatam are for the model the devas see and the figures of surya siddhanta and siddhanta siromani is for humans. In the other puranas then Bhagavatam the perspectives are mixed.
In other words, it is a difficult subject. Vamsidhara is one of the commentators on the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote extensively on the cosmology of the Srimad Bhagavatam. And he solved the puzzles, as we have written in our vedic-cosmology.blogspot.com.
That acarya’s, or anyone other than the Lord can theoretically have occasional mistaken notions is admissible, see:
Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tirtha SB 5.16.7: But how can the description that one lakh (100,000) yojanas is the extent of the island and the same is the height of Meru be clear in the light of the statement of ParâŚara that Meru is 84,000 yojanas tall? The reply is, “That cannot be known as “it is thus,” since it cannot be described in words, nor inferred or debated. Even highly learned people, although seeing it, do not know the nature and form of Meru.” This sums up the difficulty and also it is plausible that ParâŚara could have been mistaken. The mention that Indra saw it as circular while Brhaspati saw it as pentagonal also means that deities like Indra etc. also could be mistaken. It may well be questioned that, “Is it not preposterous to suppose that sages who see past, present and future can mistake things? How could ParâŚara having attained divine knowledge by the grace of the Lord, say untrue things?” But since it is established in the light of other authorities, the fact that anyone other than the Lord can theoretically have occasional mistaken notions is admissible.
We prefer to state that this is Krishna’s lila as we have explained in http://www.vedic-cosmology.blogspot.nl/2015/04/his-divine-graces-moon-lila.html
Here, for example a sloka where the word globe is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
SB 3.23.43. p.
prekṣayitvā bhuvo golaṃ
patnyai yāvān sva-saṃsthayā
prekṣayitvā—after showing; bhuvaḥ—of the universe; golam—the globe; patnyai—to his wife; yāvān—as much; sva-saṃsthayā—with its arrangements; bahu-āścaryam—full of many wonders; mahā-yogī—the great yogī (Kardama); sva-āśramāya—to his own hermitage; nyavartata—returned.
After showing his wife the globe of the universe and its different arrangements, full of many wonders, the great yogî Kardama Muni returned to his own hermitage.
PURPORT: All the planets are here described as gola, round. Every planet is round, and each planet is a different shelter, just like islands in the great ocean.
Here the Bhagavatam descriptions on the horizontal (taking the sun’s course as the parallel) bhumandala’s bhauma-svarga: (we will
sometimes add our commentary).
On these four mountains are four huge lakes, filled with milk, honey, sugarcane juice, and pure water respectively. The celestial beings such as the Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Gandharvas who use those waters naturally possess perfections of mystic yoga. There are also four celestial gardens named Nandana, Caitraratha, Vaibhrājaka and Sarvatobhadra.
Another translation. Between these four mountains are four huge lakes. The water of the first tastes just like milk; the water of the second, like honey; and that of the third, like sugarcane juice. The fourth lake is filled with pure water. The celestial beings such as the Siddhas, Câranas and Gandharvas, who are also known as demigods, enjoy the facilities of those four lakes. Consequently they have the natural perfections of mystic yoga, such as the power to become smaller than the smallest or greater than the greatest. There are also four celestial gardens named Nandana, Caitraratha, Yaibhrâjaka and Sarvatobhadra.
Our comment. The demigods enjoy heavenly sense objects, not the lower matter of our earth planet, as we don’t enjoy e.g. the food of the cats dogs hogs. According to the Taittiriya Upanisad 2.8.1 the happiness on Indra-loka is 10^14 better then the highest happiness on Earth. Thus Indra and his places of living and enjoying are not the gross, inferior matter of the earth planet.
The best of the demigods, along with their wives, who are like ornaments of heavenly beauty, meet together and enjoy within those gardens, while their glories are sung by lesser demigods known as Gandharvas.
Our comment. Not just some upadevas come here, but the best of the devatas.
5.16.16 Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasadacarya : ‘Wherein’ indicates “in which divine gardens” great demigods, along with the best of divine damsels, enjoy themselves while their praises are sung by groups of subordinates.
5.16.18 From drinking the water of the River Aruṇodā, the bodies of maidservants of Śiva’s wife, who are the wives of Yakṣas, become fragrant, and the wind, fragrant from touching their bodies, perfumes the entire atmosphere for ten yojanas around.
Another translation. The pious wives of the Yaksas act as personal maidservants to assist Bhavâni, the wife of Lord Siva. Because they drink the water of the River Arunodâ, their bodies become fragrant, and as the air carries away that fragrance, it perfumes the entire atmosphere for eighty miles around.
Commentary by Vîrarâghava
Describes the river Arunodâ-by consuming whose juice, the wives of Pârvati’s attendants emit fragrance from their body (limbs). The wind carries this fragrance up to ten yojanas [80 miles] all around.
|| 5.16.20-21 ||
The mud on both banks of the River Jambū-nadī, being moistened by the flowing juice, by a reaction with the air and the sunshine, produces huge quantities of gold called jambū-nada, which the devatās use for ornaments. All the devatās and their youthful wives wear this gold in the form of golden crowns, bangles and belts.
Another translation :The mud on both banks of the River Jambū-nadi, being moistened by the flowing juice and then dried by the air and the sunshine, produces huge quantities of gold called Jâmbū-nada. The denizens of heaven use this gold for various kinds of ornaments. Therefore all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets and their youthful wives are fully decorated with golden helmets, bangles and belts, and thus they enjoy life.
Commentary by Vîrarâghava:
Unto where it flows over Ilâvrta, the mud on both banks of it, being mixed with the juice becomes the gold named Jâmbūnada, due to the contact of wind and sun. This gold is always used for making the ornaments for divinities. This gold is worn in the form of crowns etc. by demigods along with their divine damsels.
Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasâdâcârya …. Unto where it flows in Ilâvrta, up to that; the soil on both banks, mixed with the juice of the river, becomes the famed gold called as Jâmbūnada, due to the effect of wind and sun, which is always used for making the ornaments of demigods. U, ha, vâ, va—well-known as “invaluable.” Which—Jâmbūnada, used by demigods, etc. with their wives, make into jewelry like crowns, etc. and wear, indeed.
Our comment. HG Sadaputa comments: “The clothes, food, dwellings, airplanes, and other paraphernalia of the demigods must be just as invisible to us as the demigods themselves. (Imagine what it would be like to see a suit of clothes being worn by an invisible demigod!) In other words, the demigods live in a complete world that is invisible to us but perfectly visible to them. They can travel to our world since they are endowed with suitable mystic powers, and advanced yogîs can travel to their world. However, humans with ordinary senses cannot perceive the demigods or their gardens and cities. This sums up what we mean by a higher-dimensional world.” (Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy 8)
The gold of the Bhauma-svarga is of the same quality as Siva, Parvati and the demigods wearing the gold; subtle and invisible.
Therefore Indra preached to Krishna and Satyabhama in Harivamsa that this parijata (desire) tree is not for the earthly mortals. ”If the mortals are able to enjoy the benefits of the celestial pArijAta tree on earth, there will be no impetus for them to lead a pious life in the hopes of attaining a heavenly abode…humans will be considered equal to the demigods, and the earth will be considered as good as heaven.”
We don’t see Indra’s world with our telescopes. (SB 8.5.12-22) Nor in SB 5.26 we read how the hells are subtle, but we do read in SB 3.30.20 : yAtanA-deha Avrtya ‘’The yamadhutas put him in a body suitable for punishment, bind him with ropes by the neck, forcibly take him away.” We don’t see this with our gross eyes.
Sukadeva Gosvami speaks from another dimension, not always specifying about which dimension he speaks. We read eg in the 10 th canto : “I have heard from authoritative sources that the Yadu family employed 38,800,000 teachers just to educate their children.
Who can count all the great Yadavas, when among them King Ugrasena alone was accompanied by an entourage of thirty trillion attendants?”
Commentary by ViŚvanâtha Cakravartî : “This great number is being spoken of by Sukadeva Goswami, the speaker of Bhagavatam, from the remembrance of the continuous ongoing nitya-lila of the Lord in Goloka Vrindavan, and not from the pastimes that happened on earth.”
|| 5.16.22 ||
Five rivers of honey, each about five vyāmas wide, which flow from the hollows of the tree called Mahākadamba growing on Supārśva Mountain fall from the top of Supārśva Mountain in the western direction and gives pleasure to itself and the whole of Ilāvṛta-varṣa.
Commentary by ViŚvanâtha Cakravartî:
Āyāma means a vyāma. A vyāma is the space produced by extending the two arms and the fingers. The width of each river is five vyāmas. Another version has panca-vyāma-pariṇāhāḥ. It feels pleasure itself by hearing the praises of the people.
|| 5.16.23 ||
The air carrying the scent from the mouths of those who drink that honey perfumes the land for a hundred yojanas around.
|| 5.16.24 ||
Similarly, on Kumuda Mountain there is a great banyan tree, which is called Śatavalśa. Flowing down from its branches are many rivers fulfilling all desires such as milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, molasses, food, clothing bedding, seats and ornaments. These rivers, flowing down from the top of the mountain to the northern side of Ilāvṛta-varṣa, give happiness to Ilāvrṭa.
|| 5.16.25 ||
The residents of the material world who enjoy the products of these flowing rivers have no suffering such as wrinkles, grey hair, fatigue, foul smelling perspiration, old age, disease, untimely death, cold, heat, loss of luster, or troubles. They all live their whole life with unlimited happiness.
Commentary by Virarâghava for texts 24-25: Similarly, the banyan tree named Śatavalsa, grown on Kumuda mountain, has, emerging from its trunks, milk, curd, honey, ghee, brown sugar, food items, clothes, beds, seats, and jewels. These rivers (nadîs), are falling from the summit of Kumuda, to the north of Ilâvrta, making the residents of that region healthy and happy. This is elaborated as such: “Consuming the offerings of these nadls, people don’t undergo any diseases such as skin diseases, graying of hair, tiredness, infirmities, and mental states like light-headedness, sorrow, desire, hatred, fear, haughtiness, mistake, lunacy, grief, ignorance, greed, pride, avarice, envy. The consumers remain fit life-long.”
Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla Downward flowing, streaming with milk etc., all these rivers (nadas), granting all the wishes, descend from the peak of Kumuda mountain, to the north of Ilâvrta.
Commentary by Śri Bhagavatprasâdâcârya Thus, emerging downwards from the branches of the great Banyan tree, grown on the Kumuda mountain, known as SatavalŚa, are boon-granting rivers (nadas) descend from the peak of Kumuda, streaming milk, curd, honey, ghee, jaggery, rice, etc. and various types of clothes, beds, seats, jewels etc. flow to the north of Ilâvrta.
|| 5.16.28 ||
In the middle of the summit of Meru is the township of Lord Brahmā. Each of its four sides is calculated to extend for many thousands of yojanas. It is made entirely of gold, and therefore learned scholars and sages call it Śātakaumbhī.
Another translation. In the middle of the summit of Meru is the township of Lord Brahmâ.
Each of its four sides is calculated to extend for ten million yojanas [eighty million miles]. It is made entirely of gold, and therefore learned scholars and sages call it Śâtakaumbhi.
|| 5.16.29 | Surrounding Brahmapurî in all directions are the residences of the eight principal governors of the planetary systems, beginning with King Indra. These abodes are similar to Brahmapurî but are one fourth the size.
Our comment. The devas on Meru parvata are invisible for us, just as Meru is also.
5.17.1 ….Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean entered this universe as the Ganges River. Having washed the lotus feet of the Lord, which are covered with reddish powder, the water of the Ganges acquired a very beautiful pink color….
Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tîrtha : …Though naturally pure white, the water becomes blossom reddish by washing the red lotus-like feet of Lord Hari, combined with the saffron dust of His lotus-feet…
Commentary by ViŚvanâtha Cakravartî
At the time of Vāmana avatāra (tatra), by stepping over the earth with his right foot (vikramataḥ) and from throwing his left foot in the air, he cause all places up to the top of the universe to tremble, up to the layer of prakṛti (where the guṇas are pacified), as related by Brahmā: trisāmyasadanād urukampayānam. (SB 2.7.4) Thus the spiritual steam of water of the Kāraṇa Ocean, outside of the eight layers of the universe, descended to Dhruva-loka (divaḥ mūrdhani).
Our comment. The ganges has 3 aspects– adhi daivika (the devi Ganga), adhyatmika, adhibhutika.
The gross form we see, comes from the Himalayas, which is ice water. The Ganges water described here in Bhagavatam is the invisible-for us– river which joins the ice water Ganges at its (ice) source and purifies us. The
description in these pages of Bhagavatam, is the demigods vision of the planets and bhu-mandala, the Ganges descends through; we don’t see the very beautiful pink/saffron color of the Ganges.
|| 5.17.4 ||
After purifying the seven planets near Dhruva-loka, the Gangā’s water, carried on the path through the heavens, where are also throngs of celestial airplanes, inundates the moon and finally reaches Lord Brahmā’s abode atop Mount Meru.
Commentary by Śridhara Svâmi. Then descending through the heavenly (aerial) route, bustling with the traffic of many hundreds and thousands of aircraft, drenching the moon’s disc, the river falls onto the abode of Brahmâ atop Mount Meru. The traffic of planes (denoting the path of performers of rituals) is below the station of the seven sages as indicated by describing the bustle after them.
Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla. The traffic jam of planes of those performing rituals and reaching their destination is below those of the seven sages.
Visvanatha bhasya.Deva-yānena means the path in the sky. Below the seven sages, the places are filled with those who perform karma-yoga. Thus tataḥ indicates “below, lower down” and sankula (crowd) indicates the many karma-yogīs. Flooding the moon planet, the Gangā descends to the abode of Brahmā situated on the top of Meru.
Our comment. We don’t see the aircrafts of these karma-yogis along with the subtle Ganges.
|| 5.17.11 ||
Among the nine varṣas, the tract of land known as Bhārata-varṣa is understood to be the field of karma and the other eight varṣas are known as “heaven on earth,” places to enjoy the remainder of pious acts after leaving Svarga.
There are three types of Svarga: heavenly, earthly and subterranean. These eight varṣas are the places of earthly heaven. ( Visvanatha bhasya)
|| 5.17.12 ||
In these eight varṣas, human beings like devatās live ten thousand years according to earthly calculations. They have the bodily strength of ten thousand elephants. They have wives who conceive once in the last year of their lives, after sexual enjoyment of the couples, excited by thunderbolt bodies possessing strength, youth and fragrance. There the happiness is like that of Treta-yuga.
|| 5.17.13 ||
There, the chiefs of devatās, their glances and minds attracted by the playful glances and smiles of beautiful women because of their desire, amuse themselves freely with ingredients supplied by their followers in pastimes such as water sports in clear lakes resounding with the sounds of various groups of bees, swans, water hens, cranes and kāraṇdavas excited by the fragrance of a variety of blooming lotuses growing in valleys between the mountains, which have hermitages and pleasant gardens splendid with trees and creepers whose branches are bent down by the abundance of fruits and flowers of all seasons.
Another translation: In each of those tracts of land, there are many gardens filled with flowers and fruits according to the season, and there are beautifully decorated hermitages as well. Between the great mountains demarcating the borders of those lands lie enormous lakes of clear water filled with newly grown lotus flowers. Aquatic birds such as swans, ducks, water chickens, and cranes become greatly excited by the fragrance of lotus flowers, and the charming sound of bumblebees fills the air. The inhabitants of those lands are important leaders among the demigods. Always attended by their respective servants, they enjoy life in gardens alongside the lakes. In this pleasing situation, the wives of the demigods smile playfully at their husbands and look upon them with lusty desires. All the demigods and their wives are constantly supplied with sandalwood pulp and flower garlands by their servants. In this way, all the residents of the eight heavenly varsas enjoy, attracted by the activities of the opposite sex.
Commentaries on 5th Canto Commentary by Śridhara Svâmi Yatra ha – in which varsas; leading deities along with their main groups of servants = being served well, enjoy at will. In which places? In all continents amid breathtaking valleys, forests and gardens with dwellings beautified by flowers, trees and creepers. There, stimulating romance, pure water lakes various types of lotus flowers blossom and spread their fragrance, royal swans swim, honeybees hum and divine damsels cavort and attract the mind
Commentary by Viraraghava : The masters of the demigods, being served well by the leaders of groups of their respective servants, enjoy at will in this varsa
Commentary by Vijayadhvaja Tîrtha : Where = in which varsas, lords of demigods sport at will. In which places? Where trees have bent-down branches and creepers due to a wealth of flowers, fruits, sprouts, etc. born in all seasons. These trees are very distinct from those in Bhârata-khanda and make lustrous, beautiful hermitage dwellings, rain-causing hill-valleys, (both sides being tall and the middle being low). In pure water sources like ponds, with fragrant, blossomed, various forest lotuses, pleasing royal swans, delightful humming black bees (this is adjective of pond), their minds and eyes are attracted by the amorous dalliances of sensuous, divine nymphs.
Commentary by Śri Giridhara Lâla : There on eight continents, even the masters among the demigods such as Indra are served well by garlands, sandal paste and servants while they enjoy water-sporting with beautiful damsels.
Our comment: ‘The masters of the demigods’ come here, since it is as their realm.
|| 5.17.15 ||
In the tract of land known as Ilāvṛta-varṣa, the only male person is Lord Śiva. No other male exists there. One who knows about Durgā’s curse does not enter there. If any foolish man dares to do so, he turns into a woman. I shall explain this later.
Another translation: In the tract of land known as Ilâvrta-varsa, the only male person is Lord Śiva, the most powerful demigod. Goddess Durgâ, the wife of Lord Śiva, does not like any man to enter that land. If any foolish man dares to do so, she immediately turns him into a woman. I shall explain this later [in the Ninth Canto of Śrîmad-Bhâgavatam] Commentary by Virarâghava : Lord Rudra is the only male person living (no other male member lives) there. This is because Bhavânî, his wife, cursed that any man entering there, even unknowingly, would become transformed into a woman.
Our comment: Siva and His abode are invisible.
5.17.21 (Visvanatha bhasya) He does not know the universe which is situated somewhere on one of his hoods. Because he is situated below bhū-mandala measuring 493,400,000 yojanas, his hoods are not wide enough to hold it. However persons situated there can see that by his inconceivable energy, his hoods become unlimited in dimension, and thus Bhū-maṇdala appears like a mustard seed. That is actual, not an illusion. This is an example of his astonishing unlimited nature just mentioned.
Our comment: ‘persons situated there can see’, we don’t see.
5.20.2 As a moat around a fort is sometimes surrounded by gardenlike forest, the saltwater ocean surrounding Jambūdvīpa is itself surrounded by Plakṣadvīpa, whose breadth is twice that of the saltwater ocean (200,000 yojanas). On Plakṣadvīpa there is a plakṣa tree as tall as the jambū tree on Jambūdvīpa, after which the island gets its name. There is a blazing, upward fire with seven flames. ( This seems to be the pippala tree. The dimensions of the Jambhū tree are mentioned in SB 5.16.12 as 1100 yojanas high and 100 yojanas wide.)
|| 5.20.8 ||
On Śalmalīdvīpa there is a śālmalī (silk-cotton) tree, from which the island takes its name. That tree is as broad and tall as the plakṣa tree—100 yojanas broad and 1,100 yojanas tall. Learned scholars say that this gigantic tree is the residence of Garuda, the king of all birds, who chants prayers.
In Śākadvīpa there is a big śāka (teak) tree, from which the island takes its name. Its fragrance scents the entire island.
|| 5.20.29-30 || On Puṣkaradvīpa there is a great lotus flower with 100,000,000 pure golden petals, as effulgent as the flames of a fire. That lotus flower is considered the sitting place of Lord Brahmā.
The lotus has 100,000,000 of gold shining with blazing flames.
In the middle of that island is a great mountain named Mānasottara, which forms the boundary between the inner side and the outer side of the island. Its breadth and height are 10,000 yojanas.
5.20.34 Beyond the ocean of sweet water and fully surrounding it, is a mountain named Lokāloka, which divides the countries that are full of sunlight from those not lit by the sun.
Another translation. Beyond the fresh water ocean (tataḥ) is the Lokāloka Mountain, circular in shape (paritaḥ), is between (antarale) the places with light from the sun and other luminaries, and the places without light. It separates the two areas.
|| 5.20.37 ||
That mountain has been created by the Lord in all eight directions extending up to the end of the three worlds in height. The rays of the sun, of other planets up to Dhruvaloka, and of the stars spread throughout the three worlds, but cannot spread beyond the mountain. That is the height of the mountain.
The mountain extends up to the end of bhūr, bhuva and svaḥ in eight directions. How high and wide is it? From the obstruction it creates (yasmāt), the rays of the sun and other planets up to Dhruvaloka spread light everywhere, but cannot go beyond the mountain. That is its height and breadth. Because it extends as high as Dhruvaloka, it defines the limit of the three worlds. (footnote: Dhruvaloka is 3,900,000 yojanas above the earth. It is above Svarga and below Maharloka. Maharloka is 13,900,000 yojanas above the earth. The breath or width is said to be the same in the commentary by using the dual case. However from the commentary of the next verse and verse 42 say that the width of Lokāloka is 82,200,000 yojanas. Perhaps there is a mistake and the meaning is” the extent of the height is up to Dhruvaloka.”) The distance between Sumeru and the end of Lokāloka is one fourth of the diameter of the universe, or 41,100,000 yojanas.
Our comment: We don’t see the sunlight being blocked somewhere. This is the sun the demigods see. That also explains that the diameters of sun and moon given in SB 5.24.2 don’t match with the figures of our human calculations. The sun has two aspects– subtle and gross – at the same location, as we have a subtle and a gross body at the same location, one – the gross – visible, the subtle one invisible.
5.22.15 Commentary by Śrî Giridhara Lâla:
“Saturn’s chariot is also described, “Shani moves slowly in his chariot drawn by horses born from the akasha [the sky] of variegated color.”
HG Mayesvara prabhu pondered in his ‘sailing to Jambudvipa’, how Jambudvipa, which has nine varsas, was ruled by the Pandavas. We asked His Holiness Bhanu Swami, who translated Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti’s rendering of the Bhagavatam. Persons with great powers empowered by the Lord could/can rule the whole area.
How they traverse from the gross egg of clay round earth planet to the subtle flat planes of Jambudvipa, it is not a continuum? And one is round, the other is flat, one is gross , the other subtle, then they change that gross body earth form to subtle to be visible in these flat planes and relate with these subtle beings.
Then going back to the earth planet they again shift back from subtle to gross and move through space?
If they have such powers it is possible.
Our comment: Arjuna went also to Indraloka.
Thus the Bhagavatam’s Bhu-mandala, Jambudvipa till LokAloka mountain, are Bhauma-svarga’s, heavenly areas, inaccessible for humans. You can only sail there with yoga-siddhis.
Hare Krishna Nitai-Chandra dasa
A lecture on 5th Canto from Ishan Gaura das
Bharata-varsa is a Flat Island Floating on the Salt-water Ocean
While so excellently ruling the universe, King Priyavrata once became dissatisfied with the circumambulation of the most powerful sun-god. Encircling Sumeru Hill on his chariot, the sun-god illuminates all the surrounding planetary systems. However, when the sun is on the northern side of the hill, the south receives less light, and when the sun is in the south, the north receives less. King Priyavrata disliked this situation and therefore decided to make daylight in the part of the universe where there was night. He followed the orbit of the sun-god on a brilliant chariot and thus fulfilled his desire. He could perform such wonderful activities because of the power he had achieved by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The sun that illuminates our tiny island of Bharata is like a light-bulb or a reflection—it is herein referred to as ‘a brilliant chariot’. It is estimated to be some three thousand miles above sea-level and constantly circumambulates in three circles. The moon we see is similarly a reflection of the original, which is situated in Bhuvar-loka. In his purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada writes the following:
Modern materialistic scientists sometimes present themselves as knowing all the ingredients of the sun, yet they are unable to offer a second sun like Maharaja Priyavrata’s.
Although Maharaja Priyavrata devised a very powerful chariot as brilliant as the sun, he had no desire to compete with the sun-god, for a Vaisnava never wants to supersede another Vaisnava. His purpose was to give abundant benefits in material existence. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that in the months of April and May the rays of Maharaja Priyavrata’s brilliant sun were as pleasing as the rays of the moon, and in October and November, both morning and evening, that sun provided more warmth than the sunshine.
It is clear by this verse that Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura understood that there are two suns; one of them created by Priyavrata Maharaja near to the beginning of time.
At the time of Priyavrata the universe we know as Bhu-mandala was one island, thus the sun that Priyavrata was dissatisfied with is some 96 million miles from our island of Bharata. When its light was blocked by Sumeru Hill the side opposite to the sun was in darkness or shade for a long period. Priyavrata wanted to alter this situation, thus he made another sun which acts to reflect the light of the real sun and follows its exact course in miniature, thus we see 1:360 perfect alignment with Bharata and Puskaradvipa.
That scientists of Bharata say the earth is a globe that spins on its axis at 1,00mph is a lie, or at best a serious error in judgment. What is most unfortunate is that our Vedic Planetarium team also think that our earth of Bharata is a globe. Prabhupada stated that bhu was a globe, but this bhu-goloka refers to the universe, which is a globe. The Bhagavatam describes Jambudvipa as an island that floats on the sea of salt-water. Bharata-varsa is a part of Jambudvipa. That complete island is flat, as well as being round in shape.
The people controlling our Earth at present state that Earth is some eight thousand miles in diameter. Contrary to this, Bhagavatam affirms that it is some 72 thousand miles from south to north and it is much more going from east to west (closer to 5-6 hundred thousand miles in diameter). It is not possible for the rest of Bharata to be baron, thus other humans must live very close by. Indeed Sukadeva entitled Chapter 18 ‘The Prayers Offered by the Residents of Jambudvipa’ and separately entitled Chapter 19 ‘A Description of the island of Jambudvipa’. There are nine islands in Jambudvipa, thus there are nine prayers offered. These are spread over Chapters 17, 18, & 19 with Chapter 19, A Description of the island of Jambudvipa, having two separate prayers for two separate inhabitants, the Kimpurunas and the humans of Bharata.