Srila Prabhupada was not alone to claim the monlanding was a hoax

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Payonidhi das: My humble pranams
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
On the 20 july is 40 years ago since the so called moon landing.But many believe it was a hoax If you go to the Air and Space museum in Washington Dc you can touch a piece of the moon and visitors( “pilgrims”) come to touch this black stone ( did someone say they landed on Rahu.?Hmmmmnnn)
May 11th 1975 Srila Prabhupada said:
Amogha: He says did they actually get to the moon or not?
Prabhupäda: That I am doubtful. Always. [break] …doubt always. They have… They might have gone… Mostly, most probably they have not gone. Simply propaganda. But even they have gone, not to moon. Maybe the Rahu planet. Or there are so many other planets.
Amogha: Is that Rahu planet closer than the moon to the earth?
Prabhupäda: Rahu planet orbit is in between moon and sun. So when it comes in between moon and sun there is eclipse. At night it is eclipse in the moon, and daytime it is eclipse in the sun
#

your servant
Payonidhi das

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/07/17/moon.landing.hoax/index.html

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1 varahanarasimha

If you do some google search you wll see many,even scientists claims it was a hoax.Fox TV
station in USA showed a 3 hour documentary few years ago about why this was a hoax.See also Srimad Bhagvatam 7.14. 36 purport. .
One of the proves that this moon laning was a hoax is the US flag blowing in the wind( according to modern science there is no atmosphere or wind on the moon) , no stars,there is no stars in the so called moon landing pictures .
And recently NASA claims thy delted the original movie from the moonlanding by accident…how convinient …. filmed in studio 152 in Hollywood
X-rays from the sun would fog the film, and ultra-violet rays would distort the colours - yet the colours in the Moon landing pictures are perfect.

Gravity on the moon is one-sixth that of the Earth, which means that an astronaut who would weigh 140 kilograms in his space suit on the ground would weigh only about 30 kilos on the moon. And yet the depth of the astronauts’ footprints in the sand on the moon suggest they weighed much more than that.
See also http://www.unmuseum.org/moonhoax.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mouUUWpEec0

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 19th, 2009
2 varahanarasimha

One devotee made this observation:
■Apollo 14 astronaut Allen Shepard played golf on the Moon. In front of a worldwide TV audience, Mission Control teased him about slicing the ball to the right. Yet a slice is caused by uneven air flow over the ball. The Moon has no atmosphere and no air.
■A camera panned upwards to catch Apollo 16’s Lunar Lander lifting off the Moon. Who did the filming?
■One NASA picture from Apollo 11 is looking up at Neil Armstrong about to take his giant step for mankind. The photographer must have been lying on the planet surface. If Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then who took the shot?
■The pressure inside a space suit was greater than inside a football. The astronauts should have been puffed out like the Michelin Man, but were seen freely bending their joints.
■The Moon landings took place during the Cold War. Why didn’t America make a signal on the Moon that could be seen from Earth? The PR would have been phenomenal and it could have been easily done with magnesium flares.
■Text from pictures in the article show only two men walked on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission. Yet the astronaut reflected in the visor has no camera. Who took the shot?
■The flags shadow goes behind the rock so doesn’t match the dark line in the foreground, which looks like a line cord. So the shadow to the lower right of the spaceman must be the flag. Where is his shadow? And why is the flag fluttering?
■How can the flag be brightly lit when its not facing any light ?
■And where, in all of these shots, are the stars?
■The Lander weighed 17 tons yet the astronauts feet seem to have made a bigger dent in the dust.
■The powerful booster rocket at the base of the Lunar Lander was fired to slow descent to the moons service. Yet it has left no traces of blasting on the dust underneath. It should have created a small crater, yet the booster looks like it’s never been fired…

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 21st, 2009
3 Unregistered

Payonidhiji,

With all due respect, but parotting badly researched statements doesn’t make a good case.

The “observations” you attribute to “one devotee” and the statements from your first comment are neither from devotees, nor from yourself. These are statements that have beenaround since 1974 and have been addressed ad nauseum. It doesn’t serve the vaishnava community to blindly accept, propagate, and publish opinions and theories from the hoax fringe in lieu of personal research and conclusions. The crack-pot “science” set forth by Bill Kaising, Ralph Rene, William Briant, et al would hardly come even close to anything that could be called “parampara.”

I’d like to address these silly points you brought up, just to show why they shouldn’t be taken as examples to support a position against the moon landings:

- The US flag blowing in the wind.

Never occurs. The only time any of the flags moved was when it was set up by the astronauts.

- There is no stars in the so called moon landing pictures .

Do some homework on film exposure, shutter time, and light sources. Alternately, try photographing a starry night sky with high-light settings.

- And recently NASA claims thy delted the original movie from the moonlanding

It wasn’t recent and it wasn’t deleted. It was lost during a move of the archives. The film referred to, by the way, only pertains to the video capture made from the camera on the LEM during the Apollo 11 landing. This footage has been duplicated thousands of times since.

- X-rays from the sun would fog the film, and ultra-violet rays would distort the colours

Fogging requires water, which there was not. Besides, the camera housing was all metal, which is impervious to x-rays and UV rays… Not all the pictures were perfect, either. Out of the over 60,000 photographs only the best ones have been regularly published.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on July 21st, 2009
4 Unregistered

- The depth of the astronauts’ footprints in the sand.

Appearances may deceive. The prints appear deeper because of the angle of the sunlight. One of the first observations of Armstrong pertained to the depth of the prints. But then of course, you would have to be familiar with the mission logs, which I really doubt you are.

- A slice is caused by uneven air flow over the ball.

That’s why it was such a joke.

- A camera panned upwards to catch Apollo 16’s Lunar Lander lifting off the Moon. Who did the filming?

Mission control. For the last two missions the surface cameras were remote controlled.

- One NASA picture from Apollo 11 is looking up at Neil Armstrong about to take his giant step for mankind. The photographer must have been lying on the planet surface. If Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then who took the shot?

There is no such picture. The only time Armstrong shows up anywhere is on the LEM camera during his decent from the ladder and on footage shot by the surface camera after it had been set up. Photographs from an astronaut coming out of the LEM show Aldrin. These photos were taken by Armstrong. Practically all photos showing an astronaut during Apollo 11 are showing Aldrin.

- The pressure inside a space suit was greater than inside a football.

Don’t be fooled by the outer covering. Under the outer covering is an extremely rigid pressure suit. It was designed to allow as much movement as possible by utilizing a metal hing-like construction for all join locations.

The rest of the arguments are really too idiotic to even further address. If you *really* believe any of these arguments, it can only be because of blind following. Good luck with that, but I recommend that you first do some research for yourself before taking this out into the public.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 21st, 2009
5 varahanarasimha

You are free to believe what you want, if you watched the documentary on Fox , there are many experts that have given plenty of evidence /Considering that the biggest con artist
Nixon was the president at the time, it makes complete sense.The russians never went and have denied it in the past the US went also.Even they called it a hoax.No one ever went back.One can not enter the moon planet just by a a mechanical arrangement.For those unfamiliar with vedic cosmology ,this may be hard to understand.Please do not be blind there is no shred of evidence.,that the moon landing ever took place. Come on there is not even one star you can see on that socalled moonlanding? Yes the flag was blowing steadily , clearly showing the actual location, namely earth.And no creater created by the blast off… See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....;index=108
see also moonmovie.com please see these links that clearly prove that it is a hoax
from the moon one would be abel to see many start but whoever did that “movie” forgot to
put stars in it.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 22nd, 2009
6 Unregistered

Prabhuji, don’t worry, for me it is not a question of believing. I have done my homework. And I have seen the Fox documentary, which has also been addressed to no end.

Bringing in the Russians is a mute point. They had a very active moon landing program themselves (http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/spacecraft/q0196.shtml). They clearly thought is was possible to go to the moon and pursued the matter well into the early 70s.

And there you go with the stars again. Kaysing came up with that idea because he was clueless about photography. No atmosphere on the moon means that the sky is always black, even with the sun at noon. Taking pictures of them requires long exposure. The shutter speed of the lunar cameras was 250th of a second, about forty-five thousand times shorter than needed to photograph stars. There are long exposure pictures, though, made by Apollo 16 and the Surveyor lander that shows the stars just fine.

Why would there be a crater? Just because you expect one? There is an excellent explanation, but you’d have to at least be willing to consider it.

The links you provide are productions of the main hoax advocates only, who all borrow their material from Kaysing and each other, who have n0 credentials in the fields of astro-physics or anything else space travel related, have been caught in the most ridiculus lies and are mostly concerned with making money off of their books and movies.

You have chosen to put your trust into these people, of whom you likely know nothing, and parrot them as if they speak sastra, without seeing any need to follow up on their claims. You say there is “no shred of evidence” for the moon landings, but have you ever even given the existence of such evidence a passing glance? I doubt it. Blind followers like you scare me, and you do not do the vaishnava community a favor with adhering to this kind of conspiracy theory. This is my last word on the matter, since I don’t sense that you are objective enough to take a couple of steps back.

To others who may have been struggling in silence with this highly controversial and taboo issue I offer the chance to make up your own mind after checking out the other side of the story at: http://kuruvinda.com/MoonHoax01.shtml

You can also email me at: varnadi at gmail dot com (diatribes and aparadha-based “shut-ups” will not be entertained)

Comment posted by WillemV on July 22nd, 2009
7 varahanarasimha

dear Varnadi Prabhu (is that your name or is it Bhakta William?)
Please accept my humble obaisences
all glories to Srila Prabhupada
The very first thing that came to mind when I read your response ,was a vers from Srimad Bhagavatam:
SB 10.14.7: In time, learned philosophers or scientists might be able to count all the atoms of the earth, the particles of snow, or perhaps even the shining molecules radiating from the sun, the stars and other luminaries. But among these learned men, who could possibly count the unlimited transcendental qualities possessed by You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who have descended onto the surface of the earth for the benefit of all living entities?
Obviously you have also carefully looked into this subject , but my humble advise is to not neglect the vedic statements about the moon. One vers in the 5 canto is of great significance in this matter:
Above the rays of the sunshine by a distance of 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles] is the moon, which travels at a speed faster than that of the sun. In two lunar fortnights the moon travels through the equivalent of a saḿvatsara of the sun, in two and a quarter days it passes through a month of the sun, and in one day it passes through a fortnight of the sun.

PURPORT

When we take into account that the moon is 100,000 yojanas, or 800,000 miles, above the rays of the sunshine, it is very surprising that the modern excursions to the moon could be possible. Since the moon is so distant, how space vehicles could go there is a doubtful mystery. Modern scientific calculations are subject to one change after another, and therefore they are uncertain. We have to accept the calculations of the Vedic literature. These Vedic calculations are steady; the astronomical calculations made long ago and recorded in the Vedic literature are correct even now. Whether the Vedic calculations or modern ones are better may remain a mystery for others, but as far as we are concerned, we accept the Vedic calculations to be correct.

I think this subject needs to be discussed in great detail.The undisputed fact is that this material word is a place of misery , and we need to get of of this material world and rejoin Krsna in the spiritual world (see Bhagavad Gita 8.16)
your friend and servant
Payonidhi das

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 23rd, 2009
8 Madhavananda Das (Orissa)

Thank you Varnadi Prabhu for the research and interesting comments. It’s very brave of you to post such a thing.

Personally, I always found the topic a non-issue — “who cares if we went or not.” It doesn’t make any difference to my bhajan and seva. In that regard, it has never been something that I found relevant to preach about. Although Srila Prabhupada sometimes said that they didn’t go, on other occasions he said things like, “Even if they did …”

I will have to admit however, that for years I have been persuaded by the “we never went there” arguments. One of which that I found convincing was the lack of a crater under the lunar module. If the dust is soft enough to make footprints of the astronauts, why didn’t it leave a mark from the rockets landing? You mention this above, could you please further explain it here?

Thanks. And again, kudos to you for being so frank and bold to address this topic! It’s refreshing. We need to be more thoughtful in our preaching.

Comment posted by Madhavananda Das (Orissa) on July 23rd, 2009
9 Unregistered

Prabhupäda: “That I am doubtful. Always. [break] …doubt always. They have… They might have gone… Mostly, most probably they have not gone. Simply propaganda. But even they have gone, not to moon. Maybe the Rahu planet. Or there are so many other planets.”

Here Prabhupada expresses doubt about the moon landing but the quote is certainly not definitive, and this along with this other things he said indicate that he was not entirely sure about the entire affair.

Prabhupada said: , “First of all, find out whether they have gone to the moon. I am not so sure.” ..AND “They have gone to the moon, but for all their labor they have simply taken away some dust and rocks.”…AND “Those who have claimed to have gone to the moon have not gone there or else their imperfect vision cannot actually perceive the particular type of living entities there.” …AND when he heard that astronaut Edgar Mitchell of the Apollo moon landing stated that upon setting foot upon the moon he had a religious experience, Prabhupada replied, “That’s nice. He is good,”

So while it seems that Prabhupada did not personally believe that the astronauts had landed on the moon, neither was he presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The point being it is not necessary to believe that man never landed on the moon in order to advance in Krsna consciousness. The message of Mahaprabhu (Hari Nam) was the focal point of Prabhupada’s preaching, not whether or not the moon mission was a hoax.

brahma dasa

Comment posted by brahma dasa on July 23rd, 2009
10 Unregistered

Prabhupad said it perfectly. He clearly says “May be they went, may be not” so let us leave that debate as the only way to really find out is to go back to Moon looking for footprints.

The point is despite their grandiose idea of going to moon they stayed hidden inside suits and scurried back within a few hours. The great achievement was to bring back a few rocks that they collected on. A classic example of wasteful expenditure of human effort, time and resources. The only true way of planetary travel is by performing right karmas and rituals which will give one the right body and access to distant planets where the native can go and live.

All other attempts are if not hoax, are as good as hoax because they achieve absolutely nothing.

Comment posted by Vimal Prabhu on July 23rd, 2009
11 Akruranatha

Whatever we do, we should not encourage anybody to go back. It is another ugra karma, all this mechanical space travel. Lord Buddha advented Himself one Kali Yuga to prevent such irreligion. And Ravana was also trying in Treta Yuga to transport unqualified people to higher planets.

I have seen some pretty convincing forensic photographic analysis and even some flag flapping in films long after the astronauts stopped touching the flag, but all that may prove is that those particular photos and films were faked, not that there were not real ones. It could be like Clint Eastwood’s film “Flags of Our Fathers”, based on a true story about how the famous photo of U.S. soldiers raising the flag on that island was staged later with different soldiers. [That is, they might have arranged for some bogus films to make propaganda, even if they really had some other films that were deemed of too poor a quality.]

I have heard that some Apollo astronauts set up some reflector equipment which scientists still bounce lasers off of, and some powerful telescopes can see debris left by the astronauts on the moon. But that still does not make me doubt Sukadeva Goswami’s statements.

The main thing is, this method of proving something based on photographs and expert and percipient witnesses still is in the realm of imperfect senses and faulty speculations. The method of parampara which reveals the Absolute Truth to the sincere disciple is foolproof, whereas in the courtroom there is always some room for doubting if the jury got it right.

Srila Prabhupada requested us to build a planetarium in Mayapur and I assume the planetarium will show the moon farther from earth than the sun, as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam. Some devotees argue these things are to be taken as “metaphorical” or “poetic”, but I never heard Srila Prabhupada say so. I would say this, though: Krishna consciousness *is* poetic, in the sense that reality is full of dazzling splendour and mysterious beauty. The prosaic view of the world proposed by empirical positivists is lacking in charm, beauty and life itself. It sucks us further into a whirlpool of doubts, delusions, contaminations, angst and depression.

Guru’s words transport us into understanding of Krishna, which is more important than anything else. Love does not have to compete with empirical knowledge, but if the two apparently conflict we must follow our heart and our propensity to love Krishna, which is life’s ultimate goal.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 23rd, 2009
12 Unregistered

Response to comment #7

Payonidhiji,

My issue is not with what Srila Prabhupada said or the cosmological viewpoint of sastra. Srila Prabhupada is an individual with his own opinions, likes, and dislikes, not an automaton. He made many statements about the moon landings, ranging from acknowledgment to dismissal, from plausible to stating that astronauts may have visited some hellish planet or an uninhabited part of the moon. In the latest known statement on the matter he presented a conclusion that many adhere to.

The cosmology of sastra is as compareable to modern science’s view as apples to oranges. It makes no sense to compare a sphere-based orbital system with a topgraphic-projection based model. In the former the moon orbits around the earth at a closer distance than the earth orbits around the sun (moon is closer than sun). In the latter the distance referred to is from the moon and sun to the topographical plane of bhu-mandala — the sun is closer *to that plane* than the moon. However, it is still located at the edge of the mandala, much further away from bharat-varsa (located in the center) than the moon.

But again, my issue is not with Prabhupada or sastra; it is with using pseudo-science and quickly Googled quotes to back up poorly understood concepts and somehow or other trying to change someone’s opinion into some kind of absolute truth. Devotees tend to be quick to condemn science and demand proof for every little thing, except when it seems to even remotely confirm something “vedic.” Then there is acceptance without question. Using such double standard is not advantageous to the message of Mahaprabhu. It is better to address issues as Bhaktivinod Thakur indicated, with progressive thought.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 23rd, 2009
13 Unregistered

Response to comment #8:

The topic is essentially a non-issue, unless:

1) It is brought up in public vaishnava forums and the poster sides with a conspiracy theory based on bad science and profiteering, without ever having scrutinized the “proof” offered.

2) The same scenario as number 1, but with the added bonus that “Prabhupada said they never went to the moon,” bas (as in, question this and you have your one-way ticket to Hell).

3) It is brought up in public with endless wrangling about the cosmology of “the Fifth Canto,” of which I think there is no one who actually understands what it is all about.

4) Perhaps other circumstances?

You see, if it really were a non-issue all the time for everyone, no one would ever have blooped over it, refrained from joining over it, felt defensive over it, or seen a need to take shelter of conspiracy theories. One fact is that it is an issue because of the propagation of absolute statements on the matter.

As far as the so-called missing crater is concerned, the answer is a bit technical. In short, the lander descended to the moon surface most of the time in a horizontal position. Only in the last minutes did it assume a vertical position. Because there is no air pressure that forces exhaust into the familiar column of flames and billowing smoke, exhausts expands outward from the nozzle rapidly in all directions. The engine was throttled to 3,000 lbs nearing the surface and shut down when 6 feet long probes made contact. At that point, considering the diameter of the nozzle, the thrust was only about 1.3 lbs per square inch — enough to blow away several inches of dust and leave a radial pattern of discoloration, but not enough to dig a crater into rock.

For the long answer and pictures (high-res):

http://kuruvinda.com/MoonHoax06.shtml#04

Comment posted by WillemV on July 23rd, 2009
14 Unregistered

Response to #10:

The point is despite their grandiose idea of going to moon they stayed hidden inside suits and scurried back within a few hours. The great achievement was to bring back a few rocks that they collected on.

This statement smacks of baseless disdain. Baseless because if you think bringing back “a few rocks” is all that was achieved, you obviously know very little about the Apollo project. Yet here you are, speaking absolutely on its value. So typical…

Another approach would be to look at the spinn-off technology that permiates the world today and is used by thousands of vaishnavas worldwide to spread the glories of the holy names — including the computer you wrote your comment on. Perhaps you could meditate on how this all fits into the bigger picture of Krishna’s plans for this world and its jivas.

Why is it that people have to be derided and made out to be fools just for following their nature? To make us feel better? Isn’t that an antithesis to the vaishnava philosophy of compassion? Why not give some due respect? Amanina manadena?

The only true way of planetary travel is by performing right karmas and rituals which will give one the right body and access to distant planets where the native can go and live. All other attempts are if not hoax, are as good as hoax because they achieve absolutely nothing.

Merely your opinion based on what you define as planetary travel and worthy achivements. Most definitely not a defacto standard.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 23rd, 2009
15 Kulapavana

Payonidhi Prabhu,
The Bhagavatam verse you quote is all about the comparison of movements of sun and moon as seen from the earth’s perspective. The speed of these objects is clearly angular and apparent as measured from earth, not linear as in their real movement through space. The phrase ‘above the rays of sunshine’ also clearly refers to their apparent position as seen from earth (moon following the sun in it’s movement through our sky). The rays of sun reach all the way to Loka-aloka mountain range in our universe and there is nothing ‘above’ them in the sense of linear distance.

It is very easy to see that the moon is closer to earth than sun when both sun and moon are visible in the sky at the same time. That is obvious from the pattern of light and shade on the surface of the moon. If moon was further away than the sun we would always see a full moon in the sky. The ancients knew it very well. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese knew it, so did the Aryans - see Surya-siddhanta for example.

The distance to the moon can presently be measured down to a fraction of an inch using laser range finders - the same technology as one available from any sporting goods store, just a lot more powerful and accurate. These laser range finders also use mirror arrays placed on the surface of the moon by one of the Apollo missions to accurately measure this distance. Proof positive that people did land on the moon.

As it was pointed out earlier, whether people landed on the moon is irrelevant to bhakti yoga. Yet, if we insist on making claims that people did not land on the moon, or that moon is further away than sun, our credibility in general is seriously eroded because there is plenty of solid proof to the contrary and everybody knows it, including a lot of devotees.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on July 24th, 2009
16 varahanarasimha

I regularly do sankirtana in front of the Air and space museum in Washington DC, and I have been inside over the years and talked to astronauts, and scientists ,professors, school teachers etc-also about the moon landing , how the distance is measured by science to the moon etc.I do agree with Madhavananda Prabhu about Varnadi Prabhu, he has come forward in a non offensive way , and presented what many may believe namely that they did go to the moon.
The lack of the crater, that would come from a blast off is certainly , absent.The fact that no one ever went “back again” is also something Srila Prabhupada noted.The Russians never went…wether they will go is a” post dated check”.Srila Prabhupada taught us not to buy into. ” In the future…..After taking with one astronaut at the Air and space museum (around 2002) he told me the distance to the moon is measured by radio waves .Another tour guide there with a PH.D. said it was done by mirrors that had been placed on the moon through laser from New Mexico. That was later in 2004 http://www.physics.ucsd.edu/~t.....ollo.html.
According to modern Science at its closest point, the Moon gets to 363,104 km (225,622 miles), and at its furthest point, it’s 405,696 km (252,088 miles from the earth).Srimad Bhagavatam says the moon is 800.000 miles away further away than the sun.
4 verses are very significant in Srimad Bhagavatam :SB5.22.8 to 11.There is a good percentage of USA population that believe the moon landings was a hoax, also among highly materially educate persons . So if others think I am a simpleton or narrow minded to stick with the Srimad Bhagavatams conclusions I am not bothered, I will choose Srila Sukadeva Goswami and Srila Vyasadeva over NASA any day. Did NASA bring back any bread from the moon to feed the millions of starving even in USA?Did they do anything to help solve the global warming problem? Oopps I forgot to mention USA and China is the top polluters…but whereas they religious claim the moon landing to be real they destroy their own planet? What kind of logic is that? US that does not even have proper healthcare for all it citicens is spending all its resources on war and these nonsense space expeditions, wasting tax payers money.I am not fooled
by the propaganda of those who does not have the common good of everyone in mind, but only in exploitation.(see BG 16.8)

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 24th, 2009
17 varahanarasimha

Instead of relying on imperfect mind and senses I am more interested in what the acaryas and Krsna has stated about the moon:
Srila Prabhupadas purport to Gita 10.21 9 is of great importance in this matter:
Of the Ādityas I am Viṣṇu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marīci, and among the stars I am the moon.

PURPORT

There are twelve Ādityas, of which Kṛṣṇa is the principal. Among all the luminaries twinkling in the sky, the sun is the chief, and in the Brahma-saḿhitā the sun is accepted as the glowing eye of the Supreme Lord. There are fifty varieties of wind blowing in space, and of these winds the controlling deity, Marīci, represents Kṛṣṇa.

Among the stars, the moon is the most prominent at night, and thus the moon represents Kṛṣṇa. It appears from this verse that the moon is one of the stars; therefore the stars that twinkle in the sky also reflect the light of the sun. The theory that there are many suns within the universe is not accepted by Vedic literature. The sun is one, and as by the reflection of the sun the moon illuminates, so also do the stars. Since Bhagavad-gītā indicates herein that the moon is one of the stars, the twinkling stars are not suns but are similar to the moon.

if you go to http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-10-19.html you can get the commentary of the acaryas to this vers from all 4 sampradayas

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 24th, 2009
18 varahanarasimha

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary to Gita 10.21

Commencing with this verse until the conclusion of this chapter Lord Krishna reveals His prominent vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence beginning with of the 12 Adityas He manifests Himself as Visnu incarnation manifesting in the form of the brahmin dwarf Vamana. Of luminaries He is the solar orbs, the radiant suns whose shining rays illuminate the darkness of unlimited, innumerable universes. Of the Maruts the seven groups of winds which flow throughout all space atmosphere, Lord Krishna is the wind known as Parivaha which precedes all the others and bears the name Marici. It should not be misconstrued that Lord Krishna is talking about one of the six great sages who were mind born by Brahma also with the same name as that is not correct. The words naksatranam aham sasi means that as the moon He is Lord over the 27 constellations beginning with Ashvini and ending with Revati due to the moon having a stronger influence. In this verse the word Vishnur is in the partitive case whereas in others the case ending is possessive. Although form this verse onwards the meanings are quite clear we shall show at selective verses throughout this chapter that even with regard to incarnations of the Supreme Lord Krishna such as Vishnu, the intention of describing them shows that their superlative power is exemplified as also a part of His vibuti

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 24th, 2009
19 Pavamana

What amazes me is that there are plenty of narrations in the Srimad Bhagavatam which, in comparison to the so-called “moon landing”, are much more fantastic and unbelieveable. Modern science would never admit there is someone who could lift a hill, let alone for seven days on the end of his finger. In the physical world, such things would be considered impossible. Not even mystic yogis can perform such feats. The list of stories in the Bhagavatam is unlimited, most of which appear as fantasy to the average person. The description of the universe in the Srimad Bhagavatam is also mysterious, definitely contrary to what we think we know based upon empirical science. But there are many things that exist that are beyond our perception, and this requires faith. We have to hear from an authority, and accepting that authority is the basis for knowledge. If we aren’t prepared to accept the authority opinion, what is the use of going to him? If his opinion is the same as yours, why then are you still here in the material world?
What makes me angry is that there is someone on this blog that is criticizing devotees for accepting what Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya, Jagat-Guru has said. That you believe that we did go to the moon doesn’t matter to anyone here. It’s the derisive attitude towards those who accept Srila Prabhupada’s opinion that I find offensive.
Personally, finding someone whose opinion isn’t based upon speculation, sense perception, faith in “science”, or any other materially derived conclusion is far more reliable and sure than accepting what conditioned souls say. Srila Prabhupada didn’t make whimsical judgements, and certainly he knew what the possible reactions would be in the minds of his disciples. Why would he make such assertions, knowing that some devotees would lose faith? Srila Prabhupada wanted to discredit the so-called scientific conclusions, and took every opportunity to do so. He made such statements about the moon landings on several occasions, making his opinion well known, but couching his statements in vague language, ie., “perhaps”, “maybe” and so on so as not to directly insult those who disagreed.
If you think you know more than your Guru, that you think he’s just an old Indian gentleman who is unaware of “modern scientific conclusions”, you are sadly mistaken. His opinion is heavier than yours. That’s why he’s Guru.

Comment posted by Pavamana on July 25th, 2009
20 Suresh das

When Srila Prabhupada introduced the 5th Canto of “Srimad Bhagavatam”, he openly declared war on the world’s modern, atheistic, scientific establishment. He established such organizations as Bhaktivedanta Institute for the purpose of challenging modern scientific beliefs and theories, that are in defiance and disagreement with the Vedic conclusion and principals. Srila Prabhupada stated that astronauts did not go to the moon. One of his arguments is that the moon is farther from the earth than the sun. In the BBT edition of the 5th Canto of “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Chart Three (at the beginning of the book), it states that the moon planet is 200,000 yojanas (1,600,000 miles) farther distance from the sun, than the earth. Modern science states that the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the earth. So if the moon is 1,600,000 miles farther away, you add that distance to the sun’s distance from the earth, and then you travel in your Apollo spacecraft at 17,000 miles per hour, you reach the moon in 231.86 days. NASA claims to have reached the moon in roughly 3 days. Why the discrepancy, and who is right?

Comment posted by Suresh das on July 25th, 2009
21 Unregistered

Suresh das states:

“Modern science states that the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the earth. So if the moon is 1,600,000 miles farther away, you add that distance to the sun’s distance from the earth, and then you travel in your Apollo spacecraft at 17,000 miles per hour, you reach the moon in 231.86 days. NASA claims to have reached the moon in roughly 3 days. Why the discrepancy, and who is right?”

The answer to this question is easy. NASA accepts that the moon’s distance from earth is approximately 238,855 miles. If you redo the calculation, it should take about 14 hours to reach the moon at a constant speed of 17,000 miles per hour. However, for that to happen, the moon and the earth would have to be stationary.

It is troublesome to accept as valid the distance from the earth to the sun, as given by modern technological measurements, but reject those same methods when applied to calculating the distance from the earth to the moon. Let us not mix the two.

If you want to believe that the moon is farther than the sun to the earth, that is OK. If you want to believe the sun revolves around the earth, that is OK too. If you want to believe that eclipses are the result of Rahu swallowing the moon, that is also OK. But for preaching purposes, those arguments will not attract too many people. Hence, many will be deprived of the treasure house of bhakti simply for advancing arguments we can neither understand nor defend outside the realm of Srimad Bhagavatam. Instead, we should encourage everyone to chant the holy names. That will be of benefit to them, as well as to us.

Hare Krsna!

Comment posted by anantaramdas on July 26th, 2009
22 Kulapavana

Surash Prabhu,
Why would you believe in the modern science when it comes to measuring the distance to the Sun, but not the Moon?
As I said earlier, it was common knowledge in ancient times that Moon is closer to us than Sun - it is also a directly observable fact. Try a simple experiment where a light bulb is a Sun and a ball is a Moon. You will easily see that if the light bulb is closer to you than the ball you see the ball always fully illuminated. In other words the Moon would have been always full.
Should we also doubt the pictures we get from space, like the Hubble Telescope, clearly showing Moon orbiting the Earth much closer than the Sun? Is that fake too? Nobody went into space? The NASA shuttles just fly over the clouds never actually going into high orbits from which you can clearly see both Moon and Earth? Be serious for a moment…
I might expect this kind of approach from street corner Bible-thumpers but not from devotees who aspire to present most advanced science in existence.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on July 26th, 2009
23 Unregistered

To me this discussion seems like an argument between blind faith and scientific approach.

One party assumes that Srila Prabhupada and Vedic scriptures advocate pure blind faith, and despises scientific approach. I seriously question the validity of that. SP called Krishna Consciousness a science - meaning that our spiritual efforts were producing directly perceivable results. ‘pratyaksha avagamam dharmyam’. Interestingly enough, when you examine which scientific claims SP challenged and criticized, you end up with mere theories like big bang, evolution, origin of life etc - which don’t follow the before mentioned definition of what is scientific. Those theories have never been proven and are just theories. I can’t recall SP challenging other scientific achievements.

However, we so quickly jump and declare the science to be bogus and demoniac, and totally useless. How silly do we sound? And then we wonder why our preaching has got no effect? Oh, sorry, forgot, it’s Kali yuga, nothing to do with out preaching message, right?

On the other hand, Varnadi prabhu is carefully examining the scientific proposition and the scriptural alternative. Many devotees have been quoting Srimad Bhagavatam 5th Canto, while not really understanding it. Many of our scientifically educated devotees (starting with late Sadaputa Prabhu) have been strongly hinting that the 5th Canto should not be taken literary and were trying to find the key to the shastric descriptions of the universe.

Varnadi prabhu is not just blindly jumping on the moon hoax bandwagon, he took his time to carefully research the claims by both parties. By looking at the evidence provided, he came to conclusion that Moon landing was much more probable than Moon hoax.

My question here is: how many of you who oppose him took the same effort? Did you actually look into all these claims and arguments? If you didn’t, then maybe you should, and if you still maintain your belief based on the moon hoax arguments, then present why. That would then become a cultured discussion.

For me personally, only one hoax argument remained strong - the lack of crater under Apollo. For EVERYTHING else there is a very simple explanation (if you are ready to hear, of course). Even after reading the info on Varnadi’s website, it’s hard to say. However, the reason for it is that the info presented is beyond my power of comprehension. He could have wrote anything in that way, and I would not be able to really assess it.

Continued

Comment posted by kanakabja on July 26th, 2009
24 Unregistered

Now, are we really offensive to go ‘against’ SP on the Moon issue? When we look at everything SP said, he left the room for his ‘mistake’, and ultimately said that is doesn’t matter if they went to the moon or not.

The description of the Moon in the vedas and what we see is quite different. However, that can be explained by multiple dimensions theory, which would quite nicely accommodate our belief and the moon landing. After all, there are so many descriptions of heavenly areas in the Himalayas (which we clearly don’t see), or even the Dham’s them selves. Imagine your friend returned from Vrindavan and described what he has seen (dirt, ruins, thieves etc), and you tell him that he is a cheater, for that doesn’t match what you read in Krishna Book? Well, sure, he hasn’t been to THAT real Vrindavan, just as our astronauts haven’t been to THAT Moon we read about in SB, thought the physical location was definitely the same.

One more thing, on Rahu. According to our scriptures, Rahu is actually not a planet. Sanskirt term used is graha, which doesn’t mean physical planet, it means a heavenly body that can embody particular meaning. There are many planets, but not all are Grahas (like Pluto or Neptune), and some Grahas are not planets, like rahu and ketu. Astronomically, Ketu and Rahu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. They are called ’shadow’ planets, and they don’t have physical body, so you can’t land on them, just as you can’t punch ghosts, though they exists and have power of influence. Now, Srila Prabhupada was not an astrologer, and therefore I don’t think it’s offensive to put aside the rahu landing comment.

In conclusion, if we are a bit more introspective and HUMBLE, we can find the balance between the both views.

Thank you Varnadi prabhu for your brave and very insightful comments.

Your servant, Kanakabja das

Comment posted by kanakabja on July 26th, 2009
25 Unregistered

Comment on #16:

Payonidhiji,

You again assert that “The lack of the crater, that would come from a blast off is certainly , absent.” What do you base that on? Why do you expect a crater? Especially since it appears that you don’t know much about the physics imposed by a low-gravity vacuum environment. Why would pressure of a little over a pound per square inch blast a crater in solid rock? To put that in perspective, it is almost a quarter of the pressure exerted by each square inch of a 180 pound man’s feet when standing still here on earth.

Yes, no one went back again, so far. Considering the price, man power, risk, and needs involved, that makes sense. The US won the cold war space race. However, now there is a bit of a new space race coming up, with China and India (out of all countries) as the main contenders. Now, what if they land on the moon? Still the same hoax story with the same bad arguments?

It is interesting that you bring up the mirrors on the moon, because these are by far the most tangible proof for the landings. Retro-reflectors were left by three of the Apollo missions. Two French reflectors were left by Russian unmanned missions. All in different locations. From 1969 to this day measurements have been made by observatories in Hawaii, California, France, Australia, and Germany. The International Laser Ranging Service is adding more stations world wide every year. If no mirrors exist on the moon, the hundreds of scientists from these countries involved in laser ranging over the last 40 years must either be all cheaters or complete madmen.

As for your further comments, prabhuji, again, it is not about whether space exploration is worth the money spent on it. Not the point. And it’s not about comparing the modern version of cosmology to the ancient one. Not the point.

It’s about using crappy, pseudo scientific arguments from conspiracy theorists to back up and/or supercede your own faith-based conclusions and then presenting them in public as if it were a community conclusion.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 27th, 2009
26 Unregistered

Comment on #17:

As stated in the commentaries from the four sampradayas, the moon is counted as the chief of the nakshatras (luminaries with influence, of which there are 27) because it exerts the greatest influence. This refers to astrology. In jyotish charts are based on the moon, which represents the most important of the senses: the mind. None of the acharyas make any mention of astronomics in these commentaries.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 27th, 2009
27 Unregistered

Comment on #19:

What makes me angry is that there is someone on this blog that is criticizing devotees for accepting what Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya, Jagat-Guru has said. That you believe that we did go to the moon doesn’t matter to anyone here. It’s the derisive attitude towards those who accept Srila Prabhupada’s opinion that I find offensive.

Then I suggest that you please read the entire conversation again, Pavamanaji. Nowhere do I show anything near a derisive attitude towards anyone for accepting what Srila Prabhupada said. What to speak of criticizing them for it.

As a matter of fact, I make it ample clear on several occasions that my postings have nothing to do with Srila Prabhupada’s opinion or any comparison between the cosmology of modern times and ancient times.

Your accusation lacks any foundation.

And you are wrong; from the public and private feedback I am getting the issue clearly matters to many people, including those here.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 27th, 2009
28 Unregistered

Comment on #20:

Sureshji, the distances spoken of in the 5th canto refer to the plane of Bhu Mandala, not to the orbital solar system. Therefore you cannot compare the two on face value.

The Surya-Siddhanta (translated into Bengali by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and referred to by Srila Prabhupada in CC, Adi 1.3.8, as and “authentic astronomy book”) sets the distance from the earth to the moon as approximately 258,000 miles, which is very close to the modern number of approximately 238,000 miles. The distance from Jambudvip to Manasottara (earth to sun) as mentioned in the Bhagavatam approximates the modern number of 93 million miles. The issue of accuracy depends on the actual measurement of the yojana, which is a well known problem tackled by Sadaputa prabhu on his book Vedic Cosmology. Read that book and you will understand why the whole “moon is further from the earth than the sun” thing is essentially a mute point as far as modern astronomy is concerned.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 27th, 2009
29 Suresh das

Srila Prabhupada is the one who stated that if we accept that the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the earth, and that if we add the additional miles stated in our own books, that he wrote, we printed, and he approved, then we arrive at the distance of the moon from the earth, that I stated above. I heard him give the example in a recorded lecture. Are you stating, Kulapavana Prabhu, that Srila Prabhupada is wrong, has made a mistake about this, and that modern science is the correct authority we should all be accepting? Why beat around the bush. This is what you are in fact stating isn’t it?

Comment posted by Suresh das on July 27th, 2009
30 varahanarasimha

That some is attacking Srila Prabhupada..because after all he was not an astronomer… but neither is Kanakabja, or Varnadi or .
Though they claim more authority than Srila Prabhupada and sastra.Srimad Bhagavatam is beyond material mistakes, and though many devotees fail to understand that, and take their faith in mundane science and their imperfect senses..I say good luck with such an empiric approach.The fact is one of the most difficult parts to understand is the Vedic cosmology .I strongly disagree with Sadaputa Prabhu ever took the side of mundane scientists about the moon landing. I guess these devotees are not familiar with his seminars and books on this subject? He has explained that it is a higher dimensional plane, and simply seeing the universe through our sense will never give us a perfect understanding. .There is a nice model at http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/p.....index.htm.
Many also has no faith in the existence of the hellish planets situated around Pluto, and think it is some man made creation to frighten people from going there. Ther is great details of the hellish planets in Garuda Purana as in Srimad Bhagavatam 5th Canto. , This is surely not some bible school where we have blind faith.ISKCON is not like the Catholic church trying to stop progress that the earth is flat and stop persons like Galileo .I really think that those who quote Sadaputa Prabhu should
carefully read his books.I would be interested in hearing from HH Danavir Mahaharaja , about the moon, he has had the 5 canto researched and added the commentaries of the acaryas .( that I have not studied yet).He also have had the Surya Siddhanta translated.
Regarding Rahu,I believe that the astronauts went there, the stone in the Air and space Museum in Washington DC is clearly completly black.It s no where stated in sastra that Rahu is fictional . Prabhupada and Srimad Bhagavatam describes Rahu as a planet.SB 4.29.69

Kṛṣṇa consciousness means constantly associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such a mental state that the devotee can observe the cosmic manifestation exactly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. Such observation is not always possible, but it becomes manifest exactly like the dark planet known as Rāhu, which is observed in the presence of the full moon.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 27th, 2009
31 varahanarasimha

continued:

and in the purport:
In this connection, the darkness occurring before the full moon, the lunar eclipse, can be explained as being another planet, known as Rāhu. According to Vedic astronomy, the Rāhu planet, which is not visible, is accepted. Sometimes the Rāhu planet is visible in the presence of full moonlight. It then appears that this Rāhu planet exists somewhere near the orbit of the moon. The failure of modern moon excursionists may be due to the Rāhu planet. In other words, those who are supposed to be going to the moon may actually be going to this invisible planet Rāhu. Actually, they are not going to the moon but to the planet Rāhu, and after reaching this planet, they come back. Apart from this discussion, the point is that a living entity has immense and unlimited desires for material enjoyment, and he has to transmigrate from one gross body to another until these desires are exhausted.

Those who believe we went to the moon in this body has been fooled, please see
http://krishnatube.com/video/1.....n-the-Moon
and
http://krishnatube.com/video/3.....e-universe

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 27th, 2009
32 Unregistered

Kanakabja prabhu,

Thank you so much for your encouraging words. You hit the nail right on the head.

The whole reason for me to even go out on this limb and respond in public is to draw attention to the fact that too often devotees jump the gun when confronted with science and immediately try to bury it in “authoritative” quotes (regardless of their origin), not seldom without understanding any of the science. Why so insecure? Why so defensive? Why so fearful? What do you think you stand to lose?

Please, dear fellow vaishnavas, is our faith that shallow?

Adi-guru Bhaktivinod Thakur said: “Knowledge is like the sun, while all scriptures are only its rays. No single scripture could possibly contain all knowledge. The personal realizations (svatah siddha-jnana) of the jivas are the basis of all scripture. These realizations should be recognized as the gifts of God Himself. The perceptive Rishis obtained this self-evident knowledge directly from the Supreme Brahman and wrote it down for the benefit of other jivas. A fractional portion of this knowledge has taken form as the Veda. A conditioned soul is advised to study the Veda with the help of all these explanations. But even with the help of these explanations, he should still examine them in the light of his own self-evident knowledge (or personal realizations), because the authors of these explanatory literatures and commentaries are not always clear in their meaning. In some cases, commentators have confessed to having doubts about their own understanding. …[Quotes Katha Upanishad (2.5)]… Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate knowledge in the light of one’s own personal realizations. This is the rule governing scriptural study. Since knowledge born of personal realization is the root of all the scriptures, how can we expect to gain benefit by ignoring it and depending exclusively on the scriptures, which are the branches growing out of it?”

There is so much between “heaven and earth” that we know little to nothing about — from the sub-atomic level to the macro cosmos of millions of galaxies. Only a fraction of that was compiled into the Puranas. Let’s not pretend that because we have knowledge of a fraction of the material creation, we can use it to explain away everything in existence.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 27th, 2009
33 Unregistered

When speaking of planetary orbits (sun around earth, or earth around sun) it is all a matter of relative perspective/location when referring to the cosmos. Since we are viewing things from the earthly platform, it would make sense to say the sun orbits the earth since that is our point of perspective. Either way, it doesn’t matter because all orbits are anchored on polaris (the polestar), according to the Vedic version.

When discussing something as the “supposed” moon landing, a couple of things come to mind. First, if the moon landing can be replicated in a filming studio, that would leave open the possibility of a “hoax” or cheating. Second, everything we are considering here is solely based on speculation. The exception to this is the process of accepting knowledge/information from an authority. The question is, “Who do I accept as an authority for authentic/factual information?” My teachers from school? The news media? NASA? Text books that have a tendency to change and outdate themselves every year or so? Conspiracy theorists? My parents? The consensus of the general public? Etc… Or, the Supersoul/jagat-guru/the acharyas/the exalted vaisnavas? All motives aside, we must accept an authority for receiving any kind of knowledge. Either way, it is faith alone. Faith in ones own mind and senses, or faith in a superior authority?

For instance, there are many things described in Srimad Bhagavatam that 99.9% of us have no direct realization/experience of. The Supreme Personality of Godhead in His innumerable forms such as Lord Nrsimha. Therefore, our faith is built by our surrender to the acharyas. We can see how with every bit of advancement we make that their statements and words become more and more realized as truth. We directly experience that. This way our faith becomes realized and directly perceived. It is NOT blind faith, it is good logic.

Comment posted by brhad bala on July 28th, 2009
34 Unregistered

So, the moon landing is no different. Srila Prabhupada stated his position very clearly, consistently and publicly. I propose that for those devotees who doubt the opinions and positions of our acharyas, especially those of His Divine Grace, should check their false ego with truthfulness and humility. They should evaluate their faith in the other statements made by our acharyas in regards to all other topics. I have not directly realized that the Supreme form of God is a blackish cowherd boy that plays a flute, and everything is emanating from Him alone. However, I have directly realized several things in my life, that at one time I had difficulty in understanding and accepting. But, I have never realized anything that Srila Prabhupada stated, to be untrue or false. Therefore, I will be sticking with the acharyas on this one, and all others.

The moon issue is not really an issue, unless you want it to be. Besides, it is only a very small percentage of people who actually care. Let’s leave it up to the Vaisnava cosmologists, like Bhaktisiddanta Thakur, and the others of our modern time for introspection on this matter.

ys
bbd

Comment posted by brhad bala on July 28th, 2009
35 Akruranatha

This is a fabulous discussion. I do not see it as one side versus another side, but as a group of faithful devotees examining Srila Prabhupada’s books and teachings from all angles.

I do not see Varanadi questioning the authority of Srimad Bhagavatam (which, after all, Lord Caitanya called the “spotless” Purana, which surely has no mistakes.) Even if it had some literary faults or was “irregularly composed” (which it isn’t), it would still be “heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

Varanadi is primarily questioning the authority of the conspiracy theorists who make a case for the moon landing hoax based upon empirical evidence. We should not be too apt to follow them just because their conclusion (that men did not walk on the moon) superficially jibes with some of Srila Prabhupada’s statements. Srila Prabhupada’s statements were based on different kind of evidence, including his own pure realization.

I do not think Kanakabja has really found the right solution by distinguishing modern cosmography as “real science” from theories like “big bang”, Darwinian evolution, origin of life, which are supposedly “junk science”. To most modern scientists, there is no such clear-cut distinction. Nobody has seen a neutrino either, or a proton, but scientists go on talking as if these things factually exist.

And the “science” of Krishna consciousness, although it does involve direct perception through realization, is not empirical by nature. It involves learning to directly see things that those who are too afflicted with passion and ignorance (or even those who are highly purified jnanis but who have insufficient bhakti) cannot see. It has its own version of “peer reviewed” publications, but the “peers” have to be recognized sadhus and sages, not modern Ph.D.s The Vaisnavas may practice mundane science professionally, but Vaisnavism and Vaisnava philosophy is an entirely different profession.

Varanadi, Kanakabja, Anantarama, Kulapavana, Brahma and others’ willingness to address facts of the objectively perceived world is wonderful. But so is Payonidhi et al.’s sense of loyalty and refusal to compromise on Srila Prabhupada’s vision. I think there is a way of synthesizing these two apparently competing instincts. There has to be if we are going to distinguish ourselves from naive, “know-nothing” fundamentalists.

Varanadi’s quotation from Bhaktivinod Thakur points in that direction. Srila Prabhupada took it farther…

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 28th, 2009
36 Akruranatha

Srila Prabhupada usually insisted on literal interpretation and thus seemed to many as if he was taking an anti-intellectual stand, but actually he was taking a super-intellectual stand. We need to understand this.

Mundane intellectuals take the Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita as fictional accounts written by imperfect though undeniably talented visionaries. They are too enamored by the so-called achievements of modern civilization, and the Lord’s illusory energy lets them imagine that Vyasadeva and Sukadeva Goswami and Krishna and Kapiladeva and Maitreya Muni and Suta Goswami and Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Narasimhadeva did not really say these things (if they existed at all), and that even if they did say these things they were just not as advanced in modern technical understanding as people are today.

In some of his writings Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur found it necessary to offer nods in respect of the sensibilities of such people in order to woo them to the right path. Every sankirtan devotee knows, you do not always tell every customer directly about what the book says. You have to put it into a context and a language that corresponds to the mentality of the audience. Devotees like Buddha Avatara and Sankaracarya even propounded nondevotional philosophical systems for a higher purpose.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made few compromises and found that he could directly and boldly challenge us to accept the bhakti scriptures on their own terms. However, we should not for a moment think that he was any less broad or “catholic” in his realization that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. He was just expressing the same universal vision in a bolder, more direct way.

We need to learn to tackle the “science” problem in a way that will be approved by Srila Prabhupada. One part of his approach was to try to cultivate working scientists who were also devotees, and to have them “move” science, however gradually, toward recognition of Vedic conclusions about the soul, consciousness, karma, meditation and God. Another is to just attract people in general to chanting Hare Krishna and the other processes of devotional service, and to defend their simple faith from the onslaughts of the atheists.

We can and should sidestep the traditional lines of “faith” versus “reason”. And yet at the same time we should affirm that Krishna really knows and is the origin of all planets and demigods.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 28th, 2009
37 Akruranatha

We know the moon, being overjoyed at Krishna’s appearance in his dynasty, appeared full in the sky on Janmasthami, even though it was the eighth day of the waning moon.

Nondevotees will scoff at such descriptions as mere mythology or exaggeration or some kind of literary device, but devotees know that the world is full of strange and wonderful things, that the planets and elements and forces of nature are alive with their own predominating deities or demigods.

Even the geography of this earth has changed remarkably over time if we accept the descriptions of the Bhagavatam and the commentaries of acaryas.

Influenced by Cupid, the object of our romantic desire looks especially beautiful to us. Influenced by psychedelic drugs or even alcohol, things look very different to us than when we are sober.

We are all under the spell of various demigods and few of us are truly sober. We partake in a kind of group delusion when as conditioned souls we try to collectively describe the phenomenal world, and Krishna allows us to be deluded so as not to interfere with the will of karmis (that’s what the material world is for, although our mission is to try to wake everyone up and see that it should all be offered to Him.)

When Krishna says (B.G. 15 19) that one who knows Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the knower of everything, we should not take this the wrong way. It is akin to the statement in Chapter Two that one who completely knows the Supreme Brahman can achieve the purposes of knowing all the Vedas.

It is not that we should challenge a Vaisnava to describe some intricate detail of material nature or to read our minds or something, and then scoff or reject him if he fails to do so. Pure devotees have all the mystic powers and siddhas of the yogis (pure devotional service is the only thing that attracts Krishna, and Krishna can do or provide knowledge of absolutely anything), but they do not cheaply employ such powers. They are satisfied to serve Krishna within the bounds of their own apparent situations.

Real knowledge is described in B.G. 13.8-12. Partial knowledge of details of endlessly mutable material nature may have its place. It can be used in performing service, and we should not appear ignorant or lacking in education about such things, but because it does not lead us out of birth, death, misery and illusion about who we are and what our purpose is, it is actually unimportant. Therefore Prabhupada sometimes disdained it.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 28th, 2009
38 Unregistered

Comment on #29:

Sureshji,

I don’t think Kulapavana prabhu is implying anything about Srila Prabhupada. He simply states that knowledge about the distance of the sun and moon to the earth as we currently know is not a modern achievement, but was known to many cultures of antiquity — including India, as is evident of planet diameter and distance calculations of the Surya-siddhanta. The Surya-siddhanta does not deal with the cosmological view proper, as presented in the Puranas, yet is accepted as authentic even by Srila Prabhupada.

What seems to be going on here is a lack of understanding between the two viewpoints. You cannot mix the distance calculations of the Puranic viewpoint with that of the modern viewpoint or that of the Surya-siddhanta. Therefore it bears no meaning to add or subtract numbers from those different viewpoints.

They stand in their own right and you are free to choose whichever you feel comfortable with. =)

My only humble request is that you know why you choose for a particular viewpoint and leave some room for understanding why others may choose a different one.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 28th, 2009
39 Unregistered

On Rahu:

Srimad Bhagavatam hardly touches the vedic science of Astrology in the 5th canto with the sole purpose of helping us to relate it to Krishna. Sukadev Goswami had no time nor interest to teach King Parikshit astronomy. From that point of view, Srimad Bhagavatam is not astronomical nor astrological scripture, it is 100% fully focused on bhakti.

I’m not saying that SB statements are wrong, I’m saying that perhaps we need to see them in a different way, just like I presented the multidimensional idea, which accommodates both SB and moon landing.

In Sanskrit, there is a huge difference between graha and loka. Loka is clearly a planet, and Graha, by definition, is anything which has the power to seize, grasp or influence. This is why ’statues’ that we worship are called vigraha’s - the statues that can become deity when properly installed. The moment of transformation from statue into deity is an installation ceremony - statue now become vigraha. Rahu (or Ketu) are never referred to as lokas, but grahas. And Vedic astrology shastra explains that though they don’t have mass (or physical body to qualify as lokas or planets), though their are mathematically calculated energy points in the sky, they are grahas and they play a very important role in the cosmic code of divination - astrology. They have a great influence, which no one is questioning. Now, this is not my concoction as some think, this is rather Vedic scriptures view on Rahu.

That is why you can’t land on Rahu - there is nothing for you to land on, just as you can’t punch a ghost though it exists and has influence.

The point I’m accused of here is questioning Srila Prabhupada and his authority.

To make that clear - I fully accept Srila Prabhupada’s authority on the spiritual science of Krishna Consciousness. I never questioned that nor ever will. Knowing Varnadi prabhu, I’m sure he doesn’t either.

And this discussion is not really about Krishna Consciousness, it is rather about such a silly thing as landing on Moon planet. Lol!

Srila Prabhupada never claimed to be an authority on astrology nor similar ‘material’ or worldly aspects of the Vedas. Are we really offenders for not accepting him as such?

Continued…

Comment posted by kanakabja on July 28th, 2009
40 Unregistered

Comment on #30:

Payonidhiji,

I certainly do not claim more authority than Srila Prabhupada or sastra, because in this case authority simply does not apply. Sastra does not state anywhere in sruti or smrti that going to the moon or other planets by mechanical means is absolutely impossible. As a matter of fact, sastra abounds with stories of vimanas. Srila Prabhupada’s statements are personal opinions that changed back and forth over the years. Since some are mutually exclusive they cannot constitute an authoritative statement.

Now, when you say, “I strongly disagree with Sadaputa Prabhu ever took the side of mundane scientists about the moon landing. I guess these devotees are not familiar with his seminars and books on this subject?” I have to strongly disagree with you. Not only am I very familiar with Sadaputa’s books and seminars, but as a personal friends we have shared several long discussions on the matter. However, out of deep respect for both the person and his legacy I will not discuss his personal viewpoints in his absence.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 28th, 2009
41 Unregistered

Comment on #33:

Brhad Balaji,

You said: “First, if the moon landing can be replicated in a filming studio, that would leave open the possibility of a “hoax” or cheating.”

There is a consensus among researchers worldwide that the behavior of the dust and movements of the astronauts in the lunar footage is nearly impossible to duplicate even with nowadays’ CGI technology, let alone in the late 60.

The issues center around vacuum and low gravity. To have dust fall in ballistic arches as it does on the footage requires a near vacuum. The speed with which it moves is in exact agreement with the lunar gravitational pull.

Very large vacuum chambers are barely within reach of modern science. The largest in the world was built only recently to test NASA’s new Orion project. To build a vacuum chamber large enough to contain a set on which astronauts could drive around for hundreds of yards in the lunar rover is still beyond scientific capability. Now, if, for argument’s sake, there would be a chamber like that, we’d still be dealing with earth gravity. There is no such thing as a machine that can manipulate the gravitation of a large area underneath a vacuum chamber.

This issue alone excludes the possibility of a hoax.

Then you say: “Second, everything we are considering here is solely based on speculation.”

Please speak for yourself only. I certainly don’t accept that everything considered here is speculation. What do you base this assertion on?

Your version of what constitutes authority for factual information makes little sense, just by some introspection and contemplation of one’s own life. After all, if we had not accepted as factual information so many of the things our parents, teachers, friends, senses, intelligence, experience, and environment have taught us, we wouldn’t be here. And even to this day there are a myriad of things that neither guru, sadhu, or sastra teach us about, yet we accept as factual — even such simple facts as that when you press certain keys on a keyboard, letters will appear on your screen…

The world isn’t black and white. Everything requires balance.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 28th, 2009
42 Unregistered

During his presence, Srila Prabhupada many times said some things and then changed his mind about it. He developed many things by trial and error. For example, imagine if he didn’t change his mind on arranged marriages in ISKCON that he introduced at the first place? Maybe we would now be having a discussion on whether we are heretics for not letting our TP or guru chose our spouse, though we have clearly seen it didn’t work. Yes, arranged marriages are an ideal vedic principle, but they obviously didn’t produce expected results, and that’s why SP abandoned him. In the same way he introduced things that were contrary to what his guru was doing - like having boys and girls living in ashrams together.

However, this is a different discussion all together which I don’t wish to start over here.

So back to the moon landing, I agree that they didn’t go to the moon in a same way that I never went to Vrindavan that Krishna Book describes. Moon is a planet full of vegetation and water, which is quite opposite from what we see. In the same way, Vrindavan that I go and visit is void of beautiful kunjas and lakes, forests and Krishna’s pastimes. None of the places can’t be accessed by physical travel, without spiritual qualification.

What were Srila Prabhupada’s arguments? Non-qualification, moon description not matching the scriptural one. It’s perfectly supported by what I presented? Where I’m I contradicting Srila Prabhupada?

:)

On blind faith - I’m not challenging bhakti yoga process - all I’m saying is that so many devotees are BLINDLY (yes, blindly) accepting NON-DEVOTEE moon landing hoax arguments, without even having ability to verify them. Varnadi prabhu took his time too look into them, and he presented his findings.

For number of years I used to run and organise a university preaching programmes in London. One of my great preaching tools (so i thought) was a book by Dr Matsaru Emoto - Messages from water. (google it). It seemed to scientifically support many of our scriptural conclusions. Then, I got challenged, embarrassed and fully discredited. So called doctor was a total fraud, and his book a pile of rubbish. I made a mistake of not verifying the info i was presenting, and thus almost ruined all of my preaching efforts. I’m not doing the same mistake again.

Anyone replying to this, pls separate SP’s arguments from moon hoaxers claims. Lets address them separately. Thanks.

Radhe Shyam!

Comment posted by kanakabja on July 28th, 2009
43 Suresh das

Devotee: “Did they actually land on the moon, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: No, they cannot go there. What is the question of landing? They cannot go there. It is far, far away. What you calculated? 1,600,000 miles away, up the sun planet. 1,600,000 miles above the sun. According to your calculation, the sun is away from this planet by 93,000,000 miles. And above that, 1,600,000 miles. Then you go to the moon. How it is possible?
Guru krpa: How is the moon behind the sun?
Prabhupada: Not behind, above.”
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, May 27, 1975, Honolulu, Hawaii)

Comment posted by Suresh das on July 29th, 2009
44 Unregistered

A few people (devotees?) on this post have choosen to believe versions and statements of atheist Scientists and the Governments that have time and again lied to public. Cover ups and lies especially emanating during the pressures of cold war era are far too many to list. Also their ignorance is laid bare when they extol such wasteful moon missions as advancement of mankind (mode of ignorance). There are two things here: Where do you want to put your faith in? In your own personal conclusions that inherently arise out of your false ego and imperfect senses or the Sastras, revealed to the extent that one can make progress and go back to Godhead in this lifetime itself. It is not important that the vedas explain everything to us. The process of photosynthesis can alone constitute enough information to write several voluminous books which is unimportant when it comes to our day to day spiritual advancement. So personal realizations here means that we see the effects of chanting in our lives and see the anarthas being destroyed within us. This should be enough proof for us then to put full faith in the words of Guru and Sastra. One cannot keep speculating whether Guru and Sastra is right or wrong his entire life. But at the same time it should not be blind faith as well. We have all gone through the phase where we doubted everything we heard from the scriptures. But gradually by chanting and by experiencing that what Sastra says is correct and with the guidance of Krishna within our heart our faith become stronger and stronger.

Also, we should have enough intelligence to discriminate between atheistic Science and scientific advancement that has to some extent helped mankind. Everything in this material world can be used in 3 modes of material nature. Computers can save lives (mode of Goodness) but can also proliferate pornographyand crime (mode of ignorance). But unfortunately almost all advancements in the sceintific field has being used in the mode of ignorance. This is the reason why we are today facing global disasters in epic proportions (global warming and melting glaciers) and nature has reached a tipping point.

All this has lead to recession of not just the economies but also a severa spiritual recession. It does not take so much intelligence to realize that things are only going from good to bad to worse as the days go by as we have seen within the last few hundred years.

Comment posted by Vimal Prabhu on July 29th, 2009
45 Pavamana

One day these foolish scientists will be discredited. As long as you believe everything they say, and less what Srila Prabhupada says, your faith in Krishna Consciousness will not solidify. With our four defects (remember?) we cannot have access to the spiritual truth. We must have a guru. And we must have implicit faith in him. Guru-Krishna Prasade Paya, Bhakti lata Bija. Our eyes are covered by ignorance, and anything we perceive through them is of relative truth. Why should we bother about things in this world? Who cares if they went or not? What was our gain for the billions spent doing this? It is a childish endeavor, as opined by the Founder Acarya Srila Prabhupada. Not my statement, but his. Srila Prabhupada was poking fun at them, pointing out discrepancies in the official statements. Srila Prabhupada was keen at pointing out the defects of the conditioned souls so that we, his followers, could also see. It has become an issue here because some of us are still doubtful that Srila Prabhupada was correct on this issue of the moon landing. It has become an issue for some devotees who could not accept his opinion, and some have left our movement because of this and other doubts. Is it worth doubting the words of the acarya, to miss the opportunity of human life and a chance to gain liberation? The original article simply points out that we are not alone to doubt the moon landing. Some here are obviously very serious to correct the record, and don’t mind making derisive, condescending comments towards devotees for accepting conspiracy theories. Whether or not it was a conspiracy isn’t really the point, nor is the counter argument. It is that some conditioned souls made an attempt to land on the moon, and the whole thing was lambasted by our Spiritual Master. Some of us agreed with His Divine Grace, and some did not. My opinion, personally, is that they did not go to the moon. It is an opinion only. I wasn’t there, so I have to believe somebody’s word. Knowing the cheating propensity of conditioned souls, I choose to believe Srila Prabhupada. To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you want to believe otherwise, whatever. But don’t belittle devotees, puffing yourself up and accusing them of ignorance of the “real” facts. We are all blinded by Maya, and we need to stick to the only one who can see. That one is the Guru.

Comment posted by Pavamana on July 29th, 2009
46 varahanarasimha

In the Bhagavad Gita Krsna states:
BG 4.40: But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.
We are all eager to percieve things with our senses, when it comes to understand devotional service and Krsna this is certainly possible.
Krsna states (BG 9.2):
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
Krsna uses the word pratyaksa in this vers that is direct perception.We can percive we are not this body when we engage in devotional service,and it is very joyful bewcause that is the nature of devotional service. And in SB 10.48.19 it is stated:
O Supreme Absolute Truth, with Your personal energies You create this universe and then enter into it. Thus one can perceive You in many different forms by hearing from authorities and by direct experience.
This is not blind faith.So just as we get some understanding from Guru, sastra and Sadhu, we can have some direct perception and realizations, by the grace of Krsna.Of course our realizations of the universe is very minimal due to our imperfect senses.But if we hear from Srila Prabhupada and Srimad Bhagavatam and the other vedic litteratures about this subject that is wanted Krsna also says in Bhagavad Gita:
Again there are those who, although not conversant in spiritual knowledge, begin to worship the Supreme Person upon hearing about Him from others. Because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and death.

The problem is in this material world we also get illusioned by the ahankara ,plus a mundaner (1) is sure to commit mistakes, (2) is invariably illusioned, (3) has the tendency to cheat others and (4) is limited by imperfect senses. In his Substance and Shadow, Suhotra Vanacari examined this subject very nicely.
So how can we expect to understand something as complex as the unvers directly with our senses and direct perception?

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 29th, 2009
47 varahanarasimha

continued:
SB 4.29.69: Kṛṣṇa consciousness means constantly associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such a mental state that the devotee can observe the cosmic manifestation exactly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. Such observation is not always possible, but it becomes manifest exactly like the dark planet known as Rāhu, which is observed in the presence of the full moon.
To come to the level of observing the cosmic manifestation as Krsna does ,is for the Paramahamsas like Sukadeva Goswami.But we should simply have faith and not take it that Srimad Bhagavatam is some made up fairy tales.This is how Krsna Himself perceives the universe, and we should have faith and try to apply our God given intelligence to understand the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 29th, 2009
48 Suresh das

I believe it is important when debating on a particular subject to find someone who is equal to you in education, and to have a subject that can be fairly debated. For example, say a doctor of Western Medicine wants to debate the value and validity of Ayurveda. First he should find a qualified doctor of Ayurveda. Then the debate should be on the Ayurveda itself. The Srimad Bhagavatam only mentions perhaps one sentence about the Ayurveda, so requiring that it be used as the subject matter of the debate seems hardly appropriate or reasonable for a fair debate. Without sufficient subject matter to debate, one might become frustrated and angry that the subject matter is too limited and narrow.

One problem is you may be debating with persons who are not your equals in educational background. For instance, persons who are arguing in favor of the conclusions of modern science may hold advanced degrees in the various sciences. The devotees on the other hand, who are attempting to defend and argue for Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and writings, might not have sufficient scientific background to give you satisfactory answers to your questions.

Srila Prabhupada taught his disciples to see everything through the eyes of scripture, and to give scriptural quotations to back up their viewpoints. This is not a flaw or defect on their part, but only the way they were trained.

Then there is the problem and actual purpose of the Srimad Bhagavatam itself. Maharaj Pariksit knew he was cursed to die in seven days. He inquired from Srila Sukadeva Goswami what were the most important and expedient messages he should hear in the last moments of his life. His desire was to go back to Godhead. He was not actually concerned with going to the Moon, or any other planet or place anywhere within the material world. We should always remember that no matter where we go in the material world, we still trapped in a prison house, and subject to birth and death. We can not make any permanent settlement in any location in this material world.

Comment posted by Suresh das on July 30th, 2009
49 Suresh das

The Vedas themselves are vast, containing all knowledge accumulated since time immemorial, on all kind of subject matters. Just as there is an Ayurveda dealing with medical science, there are similar Vedic books dealing with all kinds of subjects, such as warfare and weaponry. Hitler and his scientists were apparently studying a section of the Vedas during World War II with an interest to develop jet engine and aircraft technology. Some types of technologies mentioned in the Vedas are too advanced for the current state of human civilization to comprehend or develop. The jet engine described (Mercury vapor heated by the Sun) could not be manufactured in the 1940’s. The U.S. Navy is apparently experimenting with this type of technology at this time.

Srimad Bhagavatam is Srila Vyasadeva’s own commentary on his book Vedanta Sutra. The Vedanta Sutra is very compact knowledge. Even though the information Srimad Bhagavatam mentions may be brief and seem incomplete to you, each idea actually contains volumes of meaning.

My suggestion is to find appropriate and educationally qualified persons to debate with and then choose the appropriate subject matter. Find the section of the Vedas that specializes in space travel, astronomy, and other like sciences. Then find someone you feel is qualified and equal to you, and then debate on the merits and validity.

Comment posted by Suresh das on July 30th, 2009
50 Unregistered

Thank you Varahanarasimha for providing links to the videos that clearly and beyond reasonable doubt lays bare the real facts. Only somebody blinded by ignorance and nationalistic ferver would keep on denying.

One of the clinchers was the fact that not only the flag flaps as if it had caught a wind but the end of the flag actually raises upwards (observe that this means it is going up against gravity - however less it is) and folds upon itself… this happens several times. You cannot compare a flag moving back and forth in absence of air with a flag that is violently flapping and rising upwards and getting clurled upon itself. Clearly only an external force can cause such a thing. And that force has to be the wind in the absense of any other external visible agent.

More SCIENTIFIC evidence that the whole thing was fudged:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

Comment posted by Vimal Prabhu on July 30th, 2009
51 Akruranatha

What Bhaktivinod Thakur says about scriptures not containing all knowledge goes doubly for science textbooks, which can be seen as a kind of very imperfect scriptures composed by fourth-class “rshis” with knowledge that does not even purport to be self-evident.

I agree it is important to develop personal realization and to consider the teachings of the scriptures in light of the cultivation of real knowledge. We are not ignorant Bible thumpers.

The Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita are so profound, and contain such a profound, thorough critique of the situation of the conditioned jivas’ situation in ignorance, that we who cherish them ought to be able to rise above the football hooligan style of argument that “I believe what my team says; my team is better than yours.”

But in modern society we have dug ourselves into a mindset that empirical knowledge which presents itself objectively to the senses of the common man — along with the theoretical constructs our talented specialists erect based upon such observations — is the ultimate arbiter of truth. This mindset is part of the air we breathe so to speak, and we need to recognize this is not the only way to think, but a product of historical and social forces. Srila Prabhupada was breaking us out of this cultural conditioning.

On other websites I have seen devotees make shocking assertions that some of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings about social issues were the result of his “cultural baggage,” and it always astonishes me that these authors never seem to question their own cultural baggage. The same is true about the “facts” of science: We are conditioned souls and our sense perceptions, individual and collective, play a large role in that conditioning.

In another thread, Kulapavana asked me if I believe in dinosaurs, etc. [Some of my comments here and there have not been published yet. Maybe they were rejected by the editors?]

I would have to say that while outwardly or publicly I do not dispute commonly accepted “truths” based on direct sense perception (yes, I have seen the bones in natural history museums), in my heart of hearts I am skeptical about anything that differs from the Bhagavatam.

And this is so even though the Bhagavatam’s account contains descriptions that seem not only fantastic from the point of view of the world as experienced through our senses, but even illogical or inconceivable to me. Bhagavatam leads us to a spiritual world beyond what even Brahma can conceive.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 30th, 2009
52 Unregistered

Comment on #35, 36, 37:

Akruranathji,

A couple of observations, if you don’t mind.

You say “(which, after all, Lord Caitanya called the “spotless” Purana, which surely has no mistakes.)” As evident from purports dealing with the term “spotless” in this regard, it become clear that it refers to the Bhagavatam’s purity in total absence of fruitive activities, not to a total lack of mistakes. The auparuseya knowledge may not be tainted by mistakes, but the involvement of humans in its composition, translation, and/or copying certainly will.

There are 20 known manuscripts of the Bhagavatam in the largest manuscript libraries that hold manuscripts of ancient Indian writings (Bodleian Library, Oxford; India Office Records, British Library, London). The earliest of these dates to 1407. It contains alterations in a different hand writing that do not always make sense. The next oldest dates from 1642 and is written in Sarada script. The bulk of the remaining manuscrips dates from the early to late 1700s and the manuscripts are often either incomplete, have poor writing, or contain clerical (copy) errors. The rest is composed in the 1800s.

Therefore, when you continue to say that “Even if it had some literary faults or was “irregularly composed” (which it isn’t),” you are putting yourself in a position that boldly overrides not only the understanding of many a vaishnava and the findings of comparitive studies of manuscripts (which is purely linguistic and grammatical), but even the words of the Bhagavatam itself.

Furthermore, I feel strongly that you are making sweeping generalizations while presenting them as facts — indicating that you have an intimate insight in the minds of all “mundane intellectuals” without even qualifying what constitutes such category, and that you seem to know the inner workings of Srila Prabhupada’s mind. Prabhuji, please, you speak in terms of how things “are,” rather than how you *think* they are and then tell us how we “should” and “need to” think and act.

By stating that “In some of his writings Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur found it necessary to offer nods in respect of the sensibilities of such people in order to woo them to the right path.” you are treading on the thin ice of imposing intention and motivation upon the Thakur. You cannot have this stand as a statement in itself without offering some evidence to support it, lest it turns out to be based on conjecture only and thus loses its meaning.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 30th, 2009
53 varahanarasimha

Varnadi , the problem is you accept things with your imperfect senses, this is how old the Srimad Bhagavatam is:
idam bhagavataa purvam
brahmane naabhi-pankaje
sthitaaya bhava-bhitaaya
kaarunyaat samprakaasitam [SB 12.13.10]

It was to Lord Brahma that the Supreme Personality of Godhead first revealed the Srimad-Bhagavatam in full. At the time, Brahma, frightened by material existence, was sitting on the lotus flower that had grown from the Lord’s navel

and later Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Srimad Bhagavatam:
kasmai yena vibhaasito ‘yam atulo jaana-pradipah puraa
tad-rupena ca naradaaya munaye krsnaya tad-rupinaa
yogindraaya tad-atmanaatha bhagavad-raataaya kaarunyatas
tac chuddham vimalam visokam amrtam satyam param dhimahi [SB12.13.19]

I meditate upon that pure and spotless Supreme Absolute Truth, who is free from suffering and death and who in the beginning personally revealed this incomparable torchlight of knowledge to Brahma. Brahma then spoke it to the sage Narada, who narrated it to Krsna-dvaipaayana Vyasa. Srila Vyasa revealed this Bhagavatam to the greatest of sages, Sukadeva Gosvami, and Sukadeva mercifully spoke it to Maharaja Parikshit.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on July 31st, 2009
54 Unregistered

Comment on #43:

Sureshji,

What is the particular purpose of this quote? It has been explained several times now that the difference in distance from the moon and sun to the earth in the modern and puranic viewpoints is due to a fundamental difference in perspective. Why are you so hung up on this?

Srila Prabhupada had his own understanding of these things according to the Bhagavatam, which is not disputed. However, he was not conversant with modern astronomy, nor with jyotish. So it can be expected that there may be misunderstandings arising from mixing the three.

Srila Prabhupada’s reasoning is based on the Puranic cosmology of the Bhagavatam, which states that:

1) Bharata-varsa (India) is located on Jambudvipa, at the center of the Bhu Mandala (earth), near Sumeru.

2) Surya (sun) is located on Manasottara, at 126 mln miles from Sumeru and 800,000 miles above Bhu Mandala.

3) Candra (moon) is located 800,000 miles higher above Bhu Mandala than Surya, but *not* beyond Manasottara and further away from Jambudvipa.

4) Candra has a tighter orbit than Surya and thus completes its journey around Jambudvip much faster.

Now, please take a look at:

http://www.geocities.com/caita.....thing7.jpg

If A is Jambudvipa, resting on Bhu Mandala, B is the sun, and C is the moon, then it is clear that the moon is further away from Bhu Mandala than the sun, but still the sun is further away from Jambudvipa, where Bharata-varsa is located.

Puranic cosmology: Moon is further away from earth (Bhu Mandala) than sun.

Modern cosmology: Sun is further away from earth (Bharata-varsa) than moon.

Both are true. To mix both viewpoints, however, will cause misunderstandings. One of those is the mismatch in time that it took NASA to reach the moon, from which then a host of further misunderstandings arise.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
55 Unregistered

Comment on #44:

Vimalji,

You said:

“A few people (devotees?) on this post have choosen to believe versions and statements of atheist Scientists and the Governments that have time and again lied to public. Cover ups and lies especially emanating during the pressures of cold war era are far too many to list. Also their ignorance is laid bare when they extol such wasteful moon missions as advancement of mankind (mode of ignorance).”

What is your motive in questioning the devotional integrity of those who happen to accept that man has landed on the moon? And why are you claiming that anyone extolled the landings as “advancement of mankind,” equating that to ignorance, while no such thing occurred? Seeds of character assasination on which you can then build your arguments?

I guess you are well-versed in “cover ups and lies especially emanating during the pressures of cold war era” that you can determine that there are far too many to list — accepting that the list would contain proven and verifiable instances. Would you mind sharing a couple of those? You have really piqued my interest. =)

Then you ask:

“Where do you want to put your faith in? In your own personal conclusions that inherently arise out of your false ego and imperfect senses or the Sastras, revealed to the extent that one can make progress and go back to Godhead in this lifetime itself.”

My answer: My own personal conclusions and realizations arising from the study of sastra as recommended by Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

The rest of your comments are similar to those of Akruranath prabhu, telling everyone what the “real” scoop is, without making clear that it is really only your personal understanding, and then what we all “should” do and “cannot” do.

With all due respect, but I would rather see a more intelligent approach to what the original matter was — namely: Do not use weird, bad-science arguments from unverified sources to back up what is mostly a misunderstanding — rather than dealing with this kind of parotting of dogmatic concepts.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
56 Unregistered

Comment to #46:

Payonidhiji,

You quote the Bhagavad-gita, and I think your intent is to point out that those who have voiced that they accept that the moon landings happened somehow or other doubt sastra.

If so, you are wrong. I’ll tell you why.

From the get-go this entire exchange was never about the statements of sastra. No one so far has disagreed with sastra. If you think anyone has, please let us know when and where. If anything, several contributors have repeatedly tried to show how the statements of sastra stand on their own, in their own right. What I and others do point out is that one cannot mix the viewpoint of sastra and modern science without leading to misunderstanding — especially when lacking understanding of both. This very exchange is proof of that.

> So how can we expect to understand something as complex as
> the unvers directly with our senses and direct perception?

We can’t, and no one is advocating that here. In itself, however, this has very little to do with using pseudo-science as proof for a conspiracy theory, which in itself is nowhere addressed in sastra, to back up personal opinions.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
57 Unregistered

> The jet engine described (Mercury vapor heated by the
> Sun) could not be manufactured in the 1940’s. The U.S.
> Navy is apparently experimenting with this type of
> technology at this time.

Apparently? Sources, please.

> My suggestion is to find appropriate and educationally
> qualified persons to debate with and then choose the
> appropriate subject matter. Find the section of the Vedas
> that specializes in space travel, astronomy, and other
> like sciences. Then find someone you feel is qualified and
> equal to you, and then debate on the merits and validity.

Whom are you suggesting this to?

So far, I have only seen a number of persons (including you) doing exactly the opposite.

The subject matter is: Don’t use pseudo-science as evidence for personal opinions that you try to pass off as the official conclusion of an entire society.

There is no section of the Vedas that deals with space travel or like sciences. Each of the 18 Maha-Puranas is required by its own definition to contain cosmology as one of its subject matters, so all of them do — and they are not all in 100% agreement, either.

Who is qualified: Anyone who knows both sides of the coin, not just one side. Fair enough?

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
58 Unregistered

Comment on #50:

Vimalji,

I would really appreciate it if you could go a little deeper than just accepting stuff on face-value just because it appears to support your cause and then presenting it in a jabbing manner.

> Thank you Varahanarasimha for providing links to the
> videos that clearly and beyond reasonable doubt lays bare
> the real facts. Only somebody blinded by ignorance and
> nationalistic ferver would keep on denying..

And what do you base your assertion on that the video is showing you “the real facts”?

Everything presented in these videos comes from the same handful of people and has been refuted over and over again. Did you even bother to check the validity of the claims made in the videos? Please don’t tell me that you just sat back, watched the video, and then blindly accepted everything that was shoved your way in these couple of minutes.

I kinda like your explanation of the flapping flag, which is what I would expect from someone who doesn’t bother to do some follow-up scrutinizing. I also find it amazing that no one of the thousands upon thousands of people perpetrating this “hoax” got to the point of:

“Hey, dude, look at that flag… it shouldn’t be waving man… people will figure out in no time that we’re faking it. Keep those doors shut, guys. Let’s shoot this again and make sure that there is no draft this time.”

And then they repeated this same elementary mistake 5 more times…?

And the draft would make the flag flap, but leave anything else flappable untouched — like hundreds of square feet of dust? This flag thing has been explained so many times and all you have to do is be objective enought to Google for the explanations, or you could actually do some further research yourself.

And then you present another video that you accept on blind faith (perhaps just because the guy is a PhD?). What you did not bother to follow up on (notice a pattern here?) is that Dr. Groves made some serious mistakes in his experiments (different film, different camera, no shielding, excessive radiation), rendering his conclusions pretty useless. But don’t just take my word for it. Read some more about Groves at:

http://www.clavius.org/envradfilm.html

Then: do your own research.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
59 Unregistered

Comment on #53:

> Varnadi , the problem is you accept things with your imperfect
> senses, this is how old the Srimad Bhagavatam is:

No, Payonidhiji, that is not the problem. I am well aware that the knowledge of the Bhagavatam is ancient and how it was manifested in this material world. When Krishna spoke it to Brahma, it was in the seed form of the catur-sloki. Afterwards it was expanded upon. Untill it was put into writing by Vyasa, it had been orally handed down. From this point on we are no longer dealing with sruti-dharas, but with manuscripts in Kali-yuga.

My point is that almost all known manuscripts have certain issues that were propagated to greater or lesser extent to later manuscripts — of which ultimately print versions were derived. This is not about the age of the knowledge laid down in the Bhagavatam or its stature as the topmost vaishnava scripture. This is about the Bhagavatam’s own statement that it *is* paramahamsa literature that is enjoyed by thoroughly honest men *despite* possible irregularities in its composition.

Why on earth would we want to override that by claiming that the Bhagavatam is free of any kind of mistake, as Akruranathaji did? What are we trying to accomplish with that?

After having been a translator and editor of Srila Prabhupada’s books for several years and having associated with other translators and editors for other languages, I can assure you that in the production of any book in any language (including the original English versions) stuff goes lost in translation and errors slip in. It’s called human nature.

Thus the message of the Bhagavatam about its own possible irregularities becomes even more important.

Comment posted by WillemV on July 31st, 2009
60 Unregistered

There is another interesting controversy and that is that Srila Prabhupada was also saying how Jesus went to India. Here is the quote: “Even in some literatures of your Christian religion I find that Lord Jesus Christ also went to this Jagannatha temple and lived there for some times. Of course, how far it is true, that is to be judged by you, but I have read this information in a Christian book, Aquarian Gospel. ” >>> Ref. VedaBase => Arrival Lecture and Press Conference — San Francisco, July 4, 1970, (Ratha-yatra)
Now it is rather interesting that this book was written in 1908 and what is more there are many instances there where Jagannatha murti and His worship is directly and heavily criticized: http://www.burningcross.net/cr.....jesus.html

So this example shows us clearly how Srila Prabhupada sometimes used relative truths or even untruths for preaching or teaching purposes. And please also note how he is saying: “…how far it is true, that is to be judged by you…” He was highly aware of the time and place and trends and tendencies in the contemporary society he was preaching to.
I would be interested to know why a pure devotee quoted from a book which is offending Krishna and Jesus, calling it even a Christian book?

There is another book “Jesus Lived In India” by Holger Kersten. This book is also a total hoax. So if you look both the authors, they are clearly “mayavada” oriented, from the 20th century and usually their thesis are highly embraced by devotee community in West.

That is why I agree with Varnadi Prabhu that we should be careful where do we get our information from. We should check the source and see what is the real agenda there.
And in these 2 examples I gave, there is clear mayavada agenda there.
Often devotees do not have right discrimination by reading and using such a literature
for the preaching purposes.

My suggestion: there are enough religious scientists that are not “blindly” following and that do not have hidden agenda. Please try to consult them on different issues, even if they are not vaishnavas by rituals but Catholic for example.
And please try to avoid popular so called scientists that have more or less hidden mayavada agenda, mostly from different evangelistic or Muslim sects. They are in my opinion more “dangerous” than the “normal” atheistic scientists. And what is worse, they are sometimes quite popular in devotee society and are often used and quoted for preaching purposes.

Comment posted by Dhira Nitai das on July 31st, 2009
61 Unregistered

(comment 41)

I’m sorry to have not been concise enough in my examples and statements for you to follow. Please allow me to try again.

You state, “There is a consensus among researchers worldwide that the behavior of the dust and movements of the astronauts in the lunar footage is nearly impossible to duplicate even with nowadays’ CGI technology, let alone in the late 60.”

You must be referring to the same consensus that accepts and proposes the Big Bang as the origin of all that exists with no possibility of a personality to initialize it, evolutionary theory, the consensus that there is no such existence of a God or soul. Are you proposing that a consensus of modern scientists is transcendental to the four defects? Please tell me you are not betting the whole house on the consensus of modern scientists and your own imperfect reasoning. If so, that’s fine. However, I would not suggest propagating it amongst transcendentalists. Empiricism vs. spiritualism is not a debate that’s going to end up with any agreed conclusion, except disagreement. Now, I am not saying that empiricism is completely ineffective or a bad thing, but it definitely has its limitations in arriving at truth. I experience this in my own scientific field on a daily basis. Just one historical gross example is that the consensus of modern nutritional science has understood that protein is a most necessary component of healthy eating. In fact, throughout the 1950s it was a consensus amongst nutritional researchers that the more red meat one consumes, the better one’s health will be. So we can all see (unless blinded by modern scientific dogma) a consensus of modern scientists is hardly exempt from defects. So you trying to validate your point by citing “consensus among researchers” is pretty weak and certainly prone to error.

(SB 5:14:26 Purport)
In this material world, so-called scientists, philosophers and economists are nothing but cheaters in one way or another. The scientists are cheaters because they present so many bogus things in the name of science. They propose going to the moon, but actually they end up cheating the entire public of large sums of money for their experiments. They cannot do anything useful. Unless one can find a person transcendental to the four basic defects, one should not accept advice and become a victim of the material condition. The best process is to take the advice and instructions of Sri Krishna or His bona fide representative.

Comment posted by brhad bala on August 1st, 2009
62 Unregistered

You state, “Very large vacuum chambers are barely within reach of modern science. “ in order to omit the possibility of a studio replication.

I am not a film or special effects expert. That’s why I stated “if” it could be replicated. I am not implying the presence or absence of a “vacuum chamber” or any other unsubstantiated factors. I am simply leaving room for possible outcomes to the truth, unlike your absolute statements in regards to this topic. Therefore, If you are trying to convince or prove to the dedicated followers of His Divine Grace, something based on erroneous prone empirical and hypothetical analyses (such as the moon landing), which contradicts statements made by His Divine Grace, you are simply wasting your time.

When I said “Everything we are considering here is solely based on speculation”, I am referring to individual opinions of the moon landing based on individual subjective conclusions, rather than through genuine objectivity.

“What do I base this assertion on?”

The fact that you, myself, nor anyone else on this forum, has personally been, or known a person to have been, on the moon. Only a small handful of individuals claim to have been to the moon and they have not, and do not welcome/allow open scientific questioning or interview analyses on the event (except the one brief laughable press conference that followed after their claim of victory).

Personally, I don’t care if man ever set foot on the moon. Nor do I think it matters to most devotees, or even the public. I am not debating whether or not man landed on the moon. What I am in disagreement with are your statements concerning the science of guru viddhi. “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.” (BG 3:34)

Comment posted by brhad bala on August 1st, 2009
63 Unregistered

If you’d like to debate and argue with conspiracy theorists, then go ahead and waste valuable time speculating with them. However, if you want to discredit the statements made by the Founder Acharya, I suggest you reconsider. A shakti-avesa-avatar has a direct conscious connection with Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan – the source of all knowledge. I would like to personally suggest you evaluate and study the statements Srila Prabhupada has made in this regard, and try to understand the context and meaning of these statements. Just because one doesn’t understand them, or make sense of them, doesn’t mean they are false or contradictory. If you take to studying them seriously, in time, you will gain realization and understanding of the factual truths His Divine Grace has given. This is the task for all of us. In this regard, so many examples can be given as to how this process works. The example of factually knowing one’s father is perfect in this case. If the mother is truthful, good, and not in ignorance, she can tell her child who the father is. If she’s in ignorance of the fact or is a cheater, that’s a different story. So, knowledge of the father can be acquired through a reputable mother, and that is most efficient and conclusive. The child, if he wishes, can then also personally realize this truth (to satisfy his own doubts) in his own analytical observations/studies through empiricism – a paternity test. However, if you start from the lower platform, with empiricism (the paternity test), then you can search your entire life and not reach the conclusive truth. You risk beginning with the wrong hypothesis and arriving at the wrong conclusion. This is not blind religious faith. It is a logical scientific process as well as a genuine process for transmitting true knowledge. When Srila Prabhupada was unfamiliar with something, he would say that he doesn’t know. Srila Prabhupada is not omniscient, but he is free from the four defects. Just like in one of the video recordings where devotees are asking him technical questions on how to record and lay down audio tracks of him singing. He says. “I don’t know…you know better.” So make sure you thoroughly understand the statements made by His Divine Grace before you become quick to criticize. This my friend is a great offense.

Comment posted by brhad bala on August 1st, 2009
64 Unregistered

So, if you have more faith in your own mental reasoning and the consensus of modern day scientists, rather than that of the pure devotee who is above the four defects of conditional life, then I wish you luck on this journey.

“A foolish person who manufactures his own ways and means through mental speculation and does not recognize the authority of the sages who lay down unimpeachable directions is simply unsuccessful again and again in his attempts.” (SB 4:18:5)

PURPORT
At the present moment it has become fashionable to disobey the unimpeachable directions given by the acharyas and liberated souls of the past. Presently people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. This Krishna consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Chaitanya therefore says: “By My order you may become a spiritual master.” One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions. Materialistic men are not interested in taking directions from a liberated person, but they are very much interested in their own concocted ideas, which make them repeatedly fail in their attempts. Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered.

Comment posted by brhad bala on August 1st, 2009
65 Unregistered

Comment on #61:

Brhadbalaji,

Thanks for your long and thought ful answer.

As has so far been the case, more and more of the posts here are diverting the issue from “please don’t use conspiracy theorist concoctions to back up a personal opinion as absolute truth” to a kind of conflict of faith, where the opinion of Srila Prabhupada has become the standard of all measurement — regardless of sastra or science.

> You must be referring to the same consensus that accepts and
> proposes the Big Bang as the origin of all that exists with no possibility
> of a personality to initialize it, evolutionary theory, the consensus
> that there is no such existence of a God or soul.

No, I do not. Nor does this assertion of yours conform to reality. Perhaps the time has come that devotees start understanding that the arguments used 40 years ago to battle science do not hold up very well in this modern day and age. The industrial era is history. It is not for nothing that this current era is called the Information Age.

Presenting the idea that there is a global concensus among scientists about major existential issues, such as the Big Bang and the theory of the evolution of species, at best shows that you haven’t kept up with decades of scientific development. I am guessing here, but it is probably highly likely that you have never bothered to try and find out what the Big Bang theory is all about anyway.

There is no consensus on the Big Bang theory or any other theory on the origin of the universe. There are roughly 9 main models that all have strong and weak points. Science would like to get to some kind of Unified Field Theory, but readily admits that it has so far not gotten anywhere.

What I referred to is a consensus on the elementary math and physics facts with which to calculate arcs and ballistics. That’s all. Comparing that to an outdated consensus on majorly complicated and multi-disciplinary theories on the origin of the universe to somehow discredit what it proves is laughable.

> So you trying to validate your point by citing “consensus among
> researchers” is pretty weak and certainly prone to error.

It would if it was subserviant to the context of your examples. However, we’re neither talking about the Big Bang, nor about nutrition (easily defeated straw men). I am talking basic, high school level math here.

Comment posted by WillemV on August 2nd, 2009
66 Akruranatha

Varnadi Prabhu,

PAMHO. Sorry for taking so long to respond to your comment 52, but I was (happily) distracted by LA Ratha Yatra, and some other things.

Thank you for warning me not to offend Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. Anantarama also gave me such a warning so there must be something careless about the way I have been expressing myself. The last thing I want to do is even sound like I am viewing him in a relative way. I understand that he is “gaura shakti svarupaya”, an eternally liberated associate of Krishna.

If I am “ascribing intentions” to Srila Bhaktivinoda or to Srila Prabhupada it is only in the interest of trying to understand better the meaning of their various writings and activities, which is why we are talking about these things, isn’t it? But I do understand that “no one can understand the mind of a Vaisnava”, least of all a simple and very faulty neophyte devotee like myself, and I am very happy to be enlightened by other devotees on this forum.

If I often fail to qualify my statements by “I think” and “I feel,” I apologize. [You might be surprised that I have been criticized for doing it too much].

Regarding your main point about interpolations in the Bhagavatam, I have to say I have always understood that the Bhagavatam as presented by Srila Prabhupada is free from such things. I did not know the history of the various extant manuscripts (thanks for pointing that out), but it still seems to me that Srila Prabhupada and the other acaryas would have pointed out any unauthorized passages if there were any. [For example, Srila Prabhupada did advise us to reject the “white hair, black hair from the nose of Brahma” passage of some other Purana.]

Instead, Srila Prabhupada was always saying things like every verse, every line of the Bhagavatam was perfect. [If “spotless Purana” means free from fruitive activities, fine, but that also implies free from mistakes. Nondevotee astronomers are not free from fruitive activities. They do not know how to be. They do not even know that they ought to be. That is what I mean by calling them “mundane”.]

At least Prabhupada certainly did not say the cosmography described by Sukadeva Goswami was an interpolation, and on the contrary, he charged us with publicizing it and building a planetarium. Now, how to do that nicely and not become laughing stocks is a very worthwhile topic for isthaghosti, and I want to say I very much appreciate your comments in this forum and hope you keep it up.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 3rd, 2009
67 Akruranatha

One thing I think we all are convinced about is that all devotees are very special people, and we have such a great esteem for them regardless of various differences of opinions, and even if some of them (speaking for myself) do not yet have all the good qualifications of Vaisnavas like putting no one into difficulty, being not disturbed by anyone, being equipoised in happiness and distress or honor and dishonor, being tolerant, renounced, self-satisfied, expert, pure, renounced, in control of mind and senses, compassionate to all beings, silent, and not caring for any residence.

I remember that statement (from Ramayana?) that if one just once sincerely says, “Lord, from this day forward I am yours,” that person will become forever under the special protection of the Lord. Such a person is quite different from a nondevotee, even if the nondevotee is apparently decorated with good qualities like education, beauty, high birth, skill, wealth and refined manners.

Srila Prabhupada writes, “We may find some repetition in the description of the qualifications of a devotee, but this is just to emphasize the fact that a devotee must acquire all these qualifications. Without good qualifications, one cannot be a pure devotee. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah: one who is not a devotee has no good qualification. One who wants to be recognized as a devotee should develop the good qualifications. Of course he does not extraneously endeavor to acquire these qualifications, but engagement in Krishna consciousness and devotional service automatically helps him develop them.”

And yet, even though we did not have all these good qualifications, Srila Prabhupada still loved us, inspired us, stuck up for us, was proud of us. He knew that if we engaged sincerely in devotional service under his guidance we would surely develop all the good qualities.

I noticed that “acceptance” and (practically unconditional) appreciation for each other was a major theme of the gurukuli mela in LA this weekend. [That could be a topic for another gigantic discussion].

In the context of the moon scientists and scholars, I think we have to be careful when mixing with them that we do not start to look down on devotees who do not have the education or even the polished manners that they do. I have seen it happen that friends become so embarrassed by devotees that they start to make friends with those who don’t chant Hare Krishna and gradually give up all their devotional practices.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 3rd, 2009
68 Unregistered

Comment on #66:

Akruranathji,

Thank you very much for your honest and polite answer. Despite my somewhat nitpicky attitude on language, I find your comments balanced and encouraging. You indeed strive for a dialogue from which we can all walk away with the satisfaction that we have learnt something valuable. I commend you for that. So please have patience with my growing frustration, as this thread trudges on with increasing dogmatism.

In regards to Bhaktivinod Thakur, it wasn’t even a matter of his purported status. I think we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s agree on having intentions and motive imposed upon them. As evident from his writings (like the Krishna Samhita) the Thakur was very broad-minded and apt to indicate when he himself would venture into the realm of conjecture. He would also often state that certain things that were too technical for him (usually materially related) would be for future generations to figure out. In all cases he is very clear about his motivations and intent. This is something you will find throughout his lifetime.

Back to the grantha-raja, Srimad Bhagavatam.

> If “spotless Purana” means free from fruitive activities, fine, but
> that also implies free from mistakes.

If that was true, there would be no question of irregular composition. Amala literally means “free from filth or dirt” and does refer to fruitive activities.

The Puranas have their own built-in system for checks and balances, in the way that they refer to each other’s topics and verse counts. The Bhagavatam is one of very few that actually comes close to its purported verse count. Most other Puranas do not. They have been tampered with throughout the centuries (with the Bhavisya Purana being at the top of the list). Now, “tampered” is a big word that requires a bit of cultural modification. We, in the modern sense, would consider it tampering — just as we would consider copying large portions of other people’s works plagiarism. In ancient (and modern) India, it didn’t and doesn’t work like that; especially if it comes to scripture.

In the vaishnava traditions it has been a common practice to “plagiarize” and it was not considered anything to frown upon. Likewise, to augment Puranas with updated information — such as predictions and lineages — was very common. This was done during the reigns of certain emperors, and the resulting copying of manuscripts would carry on these changes.

Continued….

Comment posted by WillemV on August 3rd, 2009
69 Unregistered

Ironically, it is because of the errors made in the copy process that there is a good track record of what is more original and what is not. Also, because the Puranas often deal with the same or similar materials there is a great possibility for cross-referencing.

The kind of errors we are talking about are mostly clerical and relate to translations from Prakrit to Sanskrit and the methodology of the clerks. From comparitive studies of manuscripts it is found, for instance, that very often, when clerks encountered a valid grammatical error (or thought they found one), they would simply insert the correct character where they thought would be best, without crossing out the wrong one. In other cases they would simply write their correction down and would not copy what they were correcting. And although Prakrit and Sanskrit are similar, they are not the same.

Several Bhagavatam manuscripts are very clear and clean, but the modern compositions are by no means free of irregularities — or, what we would call mistakes.

Simple case in point: Canto 12, chapter 1, verses 18 to 20. It is stated in there “These kings of the Kanva dynasty will rule the earth for 345 more years of the Kali-yuga.” This is a mistake. The Matsya, Vayu, Brahmanda and Visnu Puranas correctly give the reign of the four kings as a total of 45 years. Not a surprise, as numbers are especially difficult to deal with in manuscripts.

A biggie? By no means. The Bhagavatam is a true vaishnava Purana, yet to be included among the Puranas it does have to deal with topics that can be considered mundane by some, such as Kali-yuga dynasties and even material cosmology.

> At least Prabhupada certainly did not say the cosmography described
> by Sukadeva Goswami was an interpolation, and on the contrary, he
> charged us with publicizing it and building a planetarium.

All Puranas need to describe cosmology to qualify as a Purana, so it is indeed very unlikely that there was any interpolation is this regard. That said, please understand that therefore the Bhagavatam is not the only Purana dealing with cosmology. All Puranas contain many chapters dealing with this topic and, as usual, not all agree with each other on every little thing.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on August 4th, 2009
70 Unregistered

I think it is important to keep in mind the advice that Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives in the introduction to Krsna Samhita. I will not quote directly, but feel free to verify the source. He states that most acharyas, due to their extreme mercy, write their commentaries with kanishta-adhikaris in mind. Preaching to kanishta adhikaris and to madhyama-adhikaris requires different styles because their needs are different. Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself says he is writing that book for madhyama adhikaris, and that kanishtas should not be presented the knowledge contained therein. Hence, it is not that Bhaktivinoda Thakur was simply accommodating his preaching to Indians influenced by British influence, but that his most revealing books were written to help madhyama adhikaris go beyond their limitations. One exception is Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, where Nityananda Prabhu reveals to Jiva Goswami (via the samadhi of Bhaktivinoda Thakur, just like many pastimes of Radha and Krsna were revealed to Rupa Goswami) the glories of the names, pastimes, and abode of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. This book, written in 1889-90 reveals what some have termed “the secret of all secrets” to attain perfection in devotional service: the chanting of the name of Gauranga, which does not consider offenses like other names of Krsna. Unfortunately, the book has not received the attention it merits, whose content will benefit all souls throughout the universe, regardless of their adhikari.

Jiva Goswami establishes in Tattva-sandharba that sastra is the ultimate pramana (evidence). However, Bhaktivinoda Thakur reveals in several of his writings that even beyond sastra is the direct perception received in samadhi. He invites all his readers to confirm the absolute truth in such way. For that to happen, however, there are certain prerequisites, like developing attachment for the chanting of the holy name in the form of 64 rounds daily and up. Unfortunately, often we are too timid to pay the price.

I’d like to close agreeing with Akruranatha Prabhu’s advice to appreciate devotees, regardless of their faults, and be careful of not associating with those who scorn devotees because some of our claims may seem unreasonable. As a university mathematics professor, I try to preach in a very sober way. In particular, I like to preach with the example. The way I conduct myself and live my life say much more to my colleagues and students than any philosophy I may try to present.

Obeisances to all.

Hare Krsna

Comment posted by anantaramdas on August 4th, 2009
71 Unregistered

It would be fantastic to have a 3D representation of the cosmology of the Puranas. I doubt, however, that it would ever be compareable to modern presentations. The reason is the same as has been pointed out several times in this thread already: the two viewpoints are incompatible.

The good news is that they don’t have to be. They both work fine in their own right. It is when we start claiming superiority of one over the other while forcing both into the same pigeon hole that we end up in strife — like on this blog.

> In the context of the moon scientists and scholars, I think we have
> to be careful when mixing with them that we do not start to look down
> on devotees who do not have the education or even the polished
> manners that they do.

I agree whole heartedly. At the same time, though, I will have to honestly tell you that, sadly, my experience over the last decade has been mostly the other way around. I have found that it often is the type of devotees you mention here that are quick to put people like me down — crying aparadha, ignorance, and what not. I have plenty of hate mail to back that up. On the other hand, I also have a lot of appreciative mail from disciples of Srila Prabhupada and members of both the 2nd and lost generations.

Again, thanks for the inspiring feedback. It is much appreciated.

Comment posted by WillemV on August 4th, 2009
72 varahanarasimha

dear Varnadi Prabhu
Please accept my humle obaisences
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
I lik to point out there is 2 videos done about Vedic cosmology, one is by Sadaputa Prabhu and the other one by HH Dhanavir Maharaja
Sadaputa Prabhus presentation http://www.lalive.info/flash/Orbits521.htm
and that of Danavir Maharaja:
http://www.lalive.info/flash/VedicCosmos512.htm
your servant
Payonidhi das

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on August 6th, 2009
73 Akruranatha

Here is where I sheepishly admit that I have never actually read Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s “Krsna-Samhita.”

Judging by the turn this discussion has taken, it may be about time I read it, although I am a little concerned about whether I have the adhikara to do so, since I understand that it is meant for madhyama adhikaris, or those whose attachment to Krishna is strong enough to deeply consider and even empathize with views of those outside the Vaisnava tradition (including modern philosophers, historians and scientists) without losing their faith that Krishna’s devotional service is their greatest asset.

What I did read (and have commented on here on Dandavats in the past) is “Hindu Encounter With Modernity,” a study of the life and theology of Bhaktivinoda Thakur by our own Shukavak N. Dasa. Particularly Chapter 5 of Shukavak’s book, entitled “Reason and Religious Faith” deals with what Bhaktivinoda Thakur calls the “adhunika-vada,” or “modern approach” elaborated on in “Krsna-Samhita,” in which the Thakur favors applying techniques of 19th century British Orientalism to gain a new appreciation of the Hindu tradition capable of satisfying modern intellectuals such as the British educated Bengali elites of his day known as the “bhadraloka.”

According to the “adhunika-vada,” Bhaktivinod distinguishes “artha-prada,” or phenomenal knowledge, from “paramartha-prada,” or transcendental knowledge. He states that the former is subject to rational analysis, doubt, criticism and revision, whereas the latter is not. He goes on to state that the Bhagavatam includes both, and he even goes so far as to entertain rejecting traditional notions of Vedic history and of the ancient origin of the Bhagavatam as part of “artha-prada” and therefore subject to human error and inessential.

My own view on this remains that the Thakur is speaking this way to reach out to people outside the Vaisnava tradition. Anything in the realm of “artha-prada,” being subject to human error and revision, is simply relative truth, and I have no greater reason to embrace a non-parampara version than I do a strictly parampara version, except for purposes of not appearing too strange and laughable to people steeped in a different tradition (or to achieve some practical result in the phenomenal world, e.g. to navigate according to modern geography or employ technology based on modern scientific principles).

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 7th, 2009
74 Unregistered

Comment on #72:

Payonidhiji,

Thanks for the references. I know these videos well. The one with Sadaputa is an abridged version of the detailed explanations on the disk accompanying his book “Mysteries of the Sacred Universe.”

At the same time I’m not sure what your point is. If anything, especially Sadaputa’s video confirms many of the statements I have made. There is no mention whatsoever about the moon or moon landings, though.

Comment posted by WillemV on August 7th, 2009
75 Akruranatha

One basic idea of the “adhunika-vada,” at least as enunciated by Shukavak and also on these pages by Varnadi and Anantarama (who I accept as far superior to me in learning, sadhana and devotion), is that most religious books are written for neophytes who have simple, tender faith (komala-sraddha), and their religious literalism alienates those who are inclined to rational and logical analysis (whom Bhaktivinod Thakur generously classifies as madhyama-adhikaris).

According to Shukavak, Bhaktivinod composed “Krishna-Samhita” and “Tattva-sutra” with the needs of these “madhyamadhikaris” in mind, but warned that it is not always appropriate for “komala-sraddhas” to hear what is written for “madhyamadhikaris.”

[Shukavak allows that Bhaktivinoda Thakur is using the term “madhyama-adhikari” in a non-standard way, compared with, for example, the usage in Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.45-47, inasmuch as he is applying it to those who are not actually bhaktas.]

I am not sure that what Bhaktivinod Thakur is doing here (again, I admit I have not even read the books themselves) is that much different from what we typically do in interfaith discussions, or what I do when I present a Krishna book on the street to someone as “a classic of world literature.”

In other words, I realize that if I tell someone (as I sometimes do), “The original, most complete form of God, Krishna, came to earth 5,000 years ago to display His most intimate exchanges of love with His devotees, and this book explains what He did, why He did it, and who He was,” they may write me off as a religious fanatic with a limited, parochial perspective that does not appeal to them.

However, if I appeal to their sense of being broad minded, liberal, ecumenical thinkers who strive to understand or at least be familiar with the major cultural, philosophical and artistic traditions of the world, I have a better shot at closing the sale.

I know they are going to approach the book as “mythology” or even “fantasy,” but that doesn’t bother me. At some point, Srila Prabhupada’s fully-realized descriptions of Krishna’s all-attractive qualities will win them over if they can just be persuaded to consider these books with a halfway open mind.”

One thing I think none of us is saying or would dare to say is that Prabhupada presented things for neophytes and now we are going to present a more sophisticated version. Everything we need is in Prabhupada’s books. We can’t “jump over” or view Prabhupad in a relative way.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 7th, 2009
76 varahanarasimha

the entire Krsna Samhita is online since Akruranatha Prabhu asked about it
http://nitaaiveda.com/All_Scri.....amhita.htm
The reason I posted these links is that they also shows the univers according to Vedic cosmological calculations, that is the moon is futher situated from earth than the Sun.
Now Sadaputa Prabhu has been quoted left and right but not in what he actually said about the moon missions,: this is from his Vedic cosmography and astronomy:6c
“This brings us to the question of whether or not there was a moon hoax. Obviously, this is a very touchy question, and we have no definite evidence that settles it one way or another. Here we will simply give one piece of evidence suggesting that published reports of the moon landings may not have been fully honest. Figure 18 shows an official published picture of the Apollo lunar module on the surface of the moon (MSF, p. 397). The clearly visible footprints confirm the astronauts’ statements that the lunar surface was soft and dusty. The rocket engine of the lunar module can be seen beneath the craft, a few feet above the surface.
As the lunar module descended to the surface of the moon, these rockets would have been firing continuously to break the vehicle’s downward motion and also support its weight. Under the lunar gravitational pull (which is 1/6 as strong as the earth’s gravity) the module would have weighed some 1,300 kg after expending most of its descent-stage propellant (MSF, p. 298). The question is, With the engine firing with enough power to support this much weight and break the module’s fall, why do we see no disturbance caused by the rocket exhaust in the soil beneath the engine? The engine was supposedly shut down when the vehicle was about 1.52 meters above the surface (MSF, p. 300). One would think that its exhaust would have left some recognizable streaks or markings on the soft lunar soil. Yet none can be seen in this picture or in other, similar ones.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on August 8th, 2009
77 varahanarasimha

continued from Sada Puta Prabhu’s Vedic Cosmography and astronomy:
“In summary, Shrila Prabhupada rejected the idea that men had visited the moon on the grounds that these men were not qualified to enter a higher planet and that their descriptions of their journey indicated they had not done so. He also indicated that their gross mechanical methods were not suitable for entering a higher planet. Apart from these firm conclusions, Shrila Prabhupada mentioned a few tentative possibilities as to what might have actually transpired on the moon flight, and he expressed general doubts as to the honesty of the people involved with space exploration. In this area there are many opportunities for cheating, and there is evidence suggesting that some cheating has taken place. However, to obtain conclusive proof of large-scale cheating would be very difficult, and possibly dangerous”

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on August 8th, 2009
78 Unregistered

Dear Akruranatha Prabhuji,

Dandavats. I was just praising you and asking my wife to read your post when I came across your kind words about a struggling soul like me. My only qualification is that I strive to follow the only one direct instruction I received from the holy mouth of my Guru Maharaja, who you hosted in your house in his advanced age. That instruction was: “Be honest.” If we are honest about our doubts, shortcomings, understanding and misunderstandings, perhaps we will be able to one day realize the absolute truth. However, if we deceive ourselves claiming to understand or to have faith, when deeply we neither understand nor believe, that will make our devotional progress very difficult.

In an interview by Danavir Maharaja about the 5th Canto, Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja prophesied that an empowered personality would come who would be able to explain it to scholars. Keep in mind that Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja received Srila Prabhupada’s direct instruction about presenting a “working model of the universe” based on the 5th Canto that would serve as “great propaganda.” If Prabhupada requested his disciple to do it, it is only because he himself did not present such a working model. I find Sadaputa Prabhu’s and Danavir Maharaja’s attempts are simply unconvincing, unless you happened to be uneducated about mathematics and science. But it is precisely the community of those educated in science and mathematics that Srila Prabhupada wanted to convince! I’d rather humbly accept that I cannot please Srila Prabhupada in that regard and that no one as of yet has pleased him.

That is why I prefer to focus on chanting the holy names. The holy name is the means and the end. The rest are details.

Just one more thing,when my faith in bhakti yoga is challenged, I take refuge of Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s life and example. He gives me hope that one day I might be able to become a devotee.

Comment posted by anantaramdas on August 9th, 2009
79 Suresh das

Kulapavana Prabhu,

I am not a stupid fool. Certainly the Space Shuttle exists. It regularly takes off from earth, circles many times, is used to perform many experiments, and then returns to earth, often flying over my residence in California, causing a sonic boom on each fly-over. The Hubble telescope takes many beautiful pictures of planets in outer space that I enjoy reading about in the pages of magazines such as “National Geographic”. The space station for that matter is pretty cool as well. That still doesn’t prove in my mind conclusively that man ever went to the moon.

There are many wonderful technological and scientific achievements created by man today, but they aren’t going to the moon. The moon landing took place in 1969, taking only 14 hours for the vehicle to reach the planet, as stated in comments above. The technology that existed back then was primitive compared to the technology of today. There were no cell phones, I-pods, advanced computers, internet, or even hand-held calculators, as far as I remember, back then. The primitive technology of the Apollo space craft was not even 1969 technology, as the vehicle was designed many years earlier.

To clarify, of course, I am a simple-minded, uneducated man. I do not possess a college degree. I also am not highly educated in Krishna Conscious philosophy either. They could have gone to the moon, or not, I have no conclusive proof either way. Also as a common man I do not have access to everything NASA has, only what they let me see.

Isn’t the same group that claims it went to the moon, also claiming there are no UFO’s, even though there have been thousands of sightings all over the earth? They still maintain they are only weather balloons. We all know governments cheat and lie on a regular basis all the time, so that’s why I have my doubts, but no conclusive proof either way.

For me what is important is time. I am 58 years old. All around me, Godbrothers and Godsisters are dying all the time, and my time is limited on this earth as well. In my limited time left I am most concerned with what is the most important information I need to improve where I am going in my next life. It is not so important for me to prove whether the moon landing is a hoax or not. At the same time I appreciate your need for scientific proof.

Comment posted by Suresh das on August 12th, 2009
80 Unregistered

There are 55 solid proofs that nobody went to the Moon:

http://blogg.aftonbladet.se/sn.....o-analyser

Srila Prabhupada was after all right!

Comment posted by Rohininandana on September 16th, 2009
81 varahanarasimha

It is interesting to see that one yourtube posting done by Rohininandana Prabhu from Sweden , it shows clearly there is no reflection when the laser is pointed at the mirrors that supposedly was placed by Appolo 15…good stuff.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on September 20th, 2009
82 Kulapavana

Targeting the mirrors left on the Moon and catching their faint reflections is a challenge, but astronomers have been doing it for over 35 years. A key observing site is the McDonald Observatory in Texas where a 0.7 meter telescope regularly pings reflectors in the Sea of Tranquility (Apollo 11), at Fra Mauro (Apollo 14) and Hadley Rille (Apollo 15), and, sometimes, in the Sea of Serenity (there’s a set of mirrors there onboard the parked Soviet Lunokhud 2 moon rover). Additional measurements have been made by observatories in Hawaii, California, France, Australia, and Germany. Over the years thousands of readings were taken by various research teams from many different countries.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on September 21st, 2009
83 Unregistered

Comment on #80 and #81:

Rohininandanaji,

After everything that has been said in this entire exchange so far, you post a link to “55 solid proofs” that are nothing more than a bunch of YouTube clips and some standard conspiracy arguments put together by conspiracy affecionados — all of which have been addressed to no end. I mean, you bring up the same chewed out stuff taken straight from the publications of Bill Kaising, Ralph René, et al.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but *none* of it appears to be from research that you have conducted yourself.

Besides the general weakness of most of the “55 solid proofs” things like 40% of the readers of the Swedish magazine Aftonbladet questioning the landings is definitely not proof.

Putting the “moon landing conspiracy” on par with the “9/11 conspiracy” really tops it of.

Varahanrsimhaji,

Ralph René’s clip compares laser ranging, which is specifically meant for high-accuracy measurements, with mere detection of broad laser reflections from the lunar surface. Yes, the latter experiments were conducted in the early sixties in both the US and the former Soviet Union, but were vastly different in setup, execution and purpose than the later laser ranging experiments. His point is as valid as the claim that apple juice and orange juice should taste the same because they are both juice.

By the way, the clip shows that there *is* a reflection. Ralph René’s conclusion is that therefore either the guys from Mythbusters are lying or the equipment of the laser ranging facility is rigged to support NASA’s conspiracy. Yawn…

We’re back to square one.

Follow up on claims, people! Don’t accept everything just on face value!

Comment posted by WillemV on September 23rd, 2009
84 Gauragopala dasa

Over the next 10 years with the U.S. Russia, China and even India all ‘claiming’ to send men/women to the Moon, all this ‘debate’ will be answered one way or the other.

Frankly, what does is matter, the material world will still be an ‘illusionary’ (temporary) place of repeated birth and death. As said in a recent posting, ISKCON has to gather all comments by Srila Prabhupada on this subject and come to a bonafide conclusion so that the teachings of Lord Caitanya’s movement is not questioned.

Further more, the Vedic Planetarium should be built based on shastra and not influenced in anyway by material science. The Vedas describe the material creation beyond the vision of our biological eyes and its material extensions be them the Hubbell Telescope, Spacecrafts or Electron Microscopes. Modern technology is a trick of Maya to keep us in the cycle of repeated birth and death

The Vedas tell us that if we are to achieve the higher heavenly worlds or even hellish worlds outside this earth planet, they can only be achieved through pious or impious activity and not with gross material science and spacecrafts. Frankly Maya is testing all of us, to put our faith in Krishna or Maya’s material ‘illusionary’ science.

In conclusion, we are not seeing the cosmos or mahat-tattva in its full expression with our biological eyes and its material extensions. The Vedas describe the mundane material creation in its fullness that science cannot distinguish or will ever perceive, what to speak of the Vaikunthas. For this we must understand the secrets of the Srimad Bhagavatam and that is only ‘realized’ with Bhakti to Lord Krishna and His pure devotees.

Hari bol, your fallen servant Gauragopala dasa

Comment posted by Gauragopala dasa on September 23rd, 2009
85 varahanarasimha

Kulapavana ,how many of these reflections have you witnessed ? There is no shred of credible evidence man went to the moon…

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on September 24th, 2009
86 Unregistered

Comment on #79:

Sureshji,

Apollo’s trips to the moon took almost 3 days each way, not 14 hours.

As far as the “primitive” argument is concerned, it’s neither here nor there. Cell phones, iPods, advanced computers, etc were not required for the task. First, the essential on-board configuration relied on mathematics and timing, which do not requires massive computing power. Second, where more computing power was needed, it was done in Houston and the results relayed to the craft.

Now, here’s something that may surprise you: in the space industry unmanned missions are considered far more complicated and fail-prone, because they miss the greatest computer of all — humans. In addition, before Apollo 11 there were many test missions designed to work out flaws and issues. Because of the design process, space hardware is almost always “behind” in the times, especially the computer components. One of the reasons is that because of the available test duration of older hardware, it is often much more reliable than the latest-greatest.

Now, I raise my eyebrows when you say “Also as a common man I do not have access to everything NASA has, only what they let me see.” From everything you have written so far I never got the impression that you have ever taken a look at what *is* available from NASA. So why worry about what may not be available?

Then you say “Isn’t the same group that claims it went to the moon, also claiming there are no UFO’s, even though there have been thousands of sightings all over the earth? They still maintain they are only weather balloons.”

Besides overly generalizing, I think you are missing the point that UFO sightings are just that: sightings of unidentified flying objects. That a flying object hasn’t been identified does not automatically mean that it is an alien space craft. Nor is everything dismissed as weather balloons. So far, however, there have been no documented cases that prove beyond a doubt that a sighting was indeed an alien spacecraft, neither by governments, nor by independent groups. There have been many sightings and reports of reliable people (like pilots) of encounters with unidentified objects, but again, no conclusions. Unfortunately, these are overshadowed 100 to 1 by hoaxes.

Comment posted by WillemV on September 25th, 2009
87 Unregistered

Comment on #84:

Gauragopalaji,

I like your style, but please be careful not to keep things too vague.

“ISKCON has to gather all comments by Srila Prabhupada on this subject and come to a bonafide conclusion so that the teachings of Lord Caitanya’s movement is not questioned.”

ISKCON is a loose-knit conglomerate of temples, centers, restaurants, and other entities, under the auspice of a Governing Body Commission that cannot be everywhere and know everything all of the time. So, realistically, who do you suggest will do this research?

By the way, the number of comments by Srila Prabhupada on this matter are suprisingly few. They vary and sometimes contradict each other. I don’t know what your concept of a “bonafide conclusion” is, but it will not change the fact that Srila Prabhupada’s comments constitute a personal opinion: not a sastric verdict. The validity of the teachings of Lord Caitanya’s movement do not depend on personal opinions that are in essence unrelated to those teachings.

“The Vedas describe the material creation beyond the vision of our biological eyes and its material extensions”

You say “The Vedas” but I guess that is not really what you mean, is it?

“Modern technology is a trick of Maya to keep us in the cycle of repeated birth and death”

Unless, of course, it can and is used in Krishna’s service. Like the very telescopes, spacecraft and electron microsopes you speak of. Yukta-vairagya. It is not about condemning “modern technology” but about using it for Krishna’s sake. Gee, even the pants you’re wearing are a product of modern technology.

Your conclusion, which is actually just your opinion, does not jibe with acaryas even in our own sampradaya. “The Vedas,” whatever that means for you, do not describe the mundane material creation in its fullness. That would likely require more paper and ink than is in existence. Even Sukadeva Goswami himself made clear that the material universe cannot be described accurately and that he would merely attempt to describe its principal regions (SB 5.16.4).

Comment posted by WillemV on September 28th, 2009
88 Unregistered

But why do they look so gloomy and awfully embarrassed in the press conference, after the first alleged moonlanding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3FTfFaVuXw

Something is terribly wrong…

Furthermore, how do the apol(l)ogetics explain the following. Here the “Sun” is made too big, it should be 4 times smaller than the Earth, seen from the Moon:

http://www.aulis.com/sunsize.htm

Obviously they used spotlights to fake the Sun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaV7QB_ReTw

I could go on and on and on…

Comment posted by Rohininandana on September 29th, 2009
89 Kulapavana

Varahanarasimha asks: “Kulapavana ,how many of these reflections have you witnessed ?”
None. But I have not witnessed volcanic eruptions in Iceland either, yet I have no doubt they also exist. It is called ‘peer review’ and it is one of the fundamentals of scientific process.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on September 29th, 2009
90 Gauragopala dasa

WillemV writes - ““The Vedas” I guess that is not really what you mean, is it? And “The Vedas,” whatever that means for you?” This comment is a little vague by you Prabhu, Veda means Knowledge and my comments are referring to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada based on that ‘Vedic knowledge’ from the Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita as it is, plus his taped lectures, letters and morning walks.

Srila Prabhupada is a Bhakti-Vedantist and has also the position of Bhaktivedanta – as we know, so why are you so confused about me using the word ‘Veda’ when describing the teachings of Srila Prabhupada? Also Prabhupada had firm faith that the ‘Vedas’ could defeat the material scientists speculation on life’s origins and purpose, yet also admitted he was no authority on material science.

Srila Prabhupada – “I am not a scientist, (although) I am convinced I can defeat them, all of them, on the basis of the Vedas.”

Quote from Hari sauri prabhu - “When Prabhupada got Svarupa Damodara dasa, brahmacari at that time, now (The late) Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Swami, when he brought him into the fold, the ranks of the devotees, initiated him, he told him, he said, “I wanted to defeat the scientists; now I am not a scientist, and I don’t know the scientific arguments,” But he said, “I am convinced I can defeat them, all of them, on the basis of the Vedas.” He had that conviction, and he knew the Veda is correct, its axiomatic, and that there is nothing in material science that can actually match it. He knew that, but he didn’t have the words, the methodology, that would convince a material scientist that, “Oh this is something worth hearing.” So he said, “Therefore, Krishna sent you along.” He is a scientist. “So you can defeat them.” So he told him, “You go out and challenge them all over the world. Challenge them and defeat them.” http://www.dandavats.com/?p=600.

In conclusion, “The Vedas describe the material creation beyond the vision of our biological eyes and its material extensions, your comment that we can use material science in Krishna’s service is an important point because without it, we would not be having this discussion over the Internet, we would not have the beautiful colourful Books Srila Prabhupada has given us. Such technology also will help build the Vedic planetarium that will present the material creation beyond the vision of modern science that paradoxically defeats their view of the cosmos.

Comment posted by Gauragopala dasa on September 29th, 2009
91 varahanarasimha

Kulapavana you will be a pure devotee the day you place as much faith in the Vedic scriptures as you do in science, to me your faith in science seems like blind faith

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on September 30th, 2009
92 Unregistered

Comment on #88

“But why do they look so gloomy and awfully embarrassed in the press conference, after the first alleged moonlanding:”

Besides the unimportance of this as far as the landings are concerned, are you implying some kind of standard behavior to be followed from people whom you know next to nothing about? I am sure it is easy to read all kinds of things into this press conference without knowing the people or any details.

“Furthermore, how do the apol(l)ogetics explain the following. Here the “Sun” is made too big, it should be 4 times smaller than the Earth, seen from the Moon:”

Are *you* telling me it should be 4 times smaller, or are you just parroting stuff claimed on the site? If the former, can you tell me why? If the latter, do you agree with these same people when they say that all shadows should run parallel? Uh, do you even know who these people are?

Now, to take a low-resolution image with a lense flare and then claiming that the core of that flare is the sun may make a good foundation for a hoax, but it won’t turn that flare into the sun.

This is, however, not at all surprising for a site created by Bennet and Percey, who’s book hasn’t managed to even hold up to scrutiny by fellow photographers. Percey may take nice pictures himself, but doesn’t seem to understand even the basic principles of parallax and vanishing points.

“Obviously they used spotlights to fake the Sun:”

A mere slide show of low resolution images of lens flares (many partials) with a country and western background tune, put together by “straydog” and “greenmagoos” makes it *obvious* to you that the sun was faked with a spotlight. Wow…

“I could go on and on and on… ”

I am sure you could. The amount of unrealistic conspiracy garbage out there seems truly endless… =(

Comment posted by WillemV on October 2nd, 2009
93 Unregistered

Comment on #90:

Vague? You were the one who said “The Vedas describe the material creation beyond the vision of our biological eyes and its material extensions,” without clarifying that you really meant just the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. You cannot expect everyone to have that same definition.

I am not concerned with defeating scientists on life’s origin or purpose here. My concern still is that devotees are using bad arguments from conspiracy theorists to “defeat” a technological feat that essentially has little to no impact on their personal spiritual lives — but in doing so they make fools of themselves and this movement.

Your assertion that modern science’s view of the cosmos will be “defeated” by a Vedic Planetarium is misplaced, in my opinion. A Vedic Planetarium may be able to show the general puranic point of view, but I highly doubt that that will ever supersede the modern scientific viewpoint on a world scale. Nor does it have to. I’m just being realistic here. Both models stand in their own right as different viewpoints on the same topic, from different times, places, and circumstances.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 2nd, 2009
94 Unregistered

PAMHO Devotees

Hare Krishna

Regarding a point raised by someone about - Could it be possible that over 40 scientists from all over the world are lying on the same issues.
Yes its possible.
A story which comes to mind is this

- there was a circus in a village..everyone went in..and came out and said its great.

- Finally they found that everyone was beaten inside..but was too shy to admit it.

It is a possibility :)

ys
mpcd

Comment posted by mpcd on October 4th, 2009
95 Akruranatha

Varanadi, there is something jarring about hearing a devotee write off any of Prabhupada’s statements as mere “personal opinions” that are “in essence unrelated to [Lord Caitanya’s] teachings”.

Most of us have a deep conviction that nearly all Srila Prabhupada’s opinions are related to Lord Caitanya’s teachings. Srila Prabhupada saw everything through the eyes of the scriptures and Vaisnava acaryas, and he was the consummate master at spreading Lord Caitanya’s movement throughout the world.

This was the subject of an interesting recorded discussion of Devamrta Swami, Niranjana Swami, Kesava Bharati Swami and Sivarama Swami posted last month on Sivarama Swami’s website. It is not always easy to distinguish between “absolute” and “relative” statements of the great “absolute” persons. I think it was Niranjana Swami who said at one point in the discussion something like, “There comes a time when a disciple has to grow up”, by which I took him to mean that even a faithful disciple learns to discriminate between the guru’s pronouncements of absolute truth and those which are mere relative opinions.

The issue of the moon landing is a good test case. As far as I know, Srila Prabhupada never enjoined us to accept that there necessarily was a hoax perpetrated by conspirators. That very limited, narrow issue is one about which different devotees may have different opinions.

However, there is an obvious, glaring, broader issue of major discrepancies between the materialistic outlook and cosmology of empirical science and the consciousness-centered outlook of Vedanta (and devotion-centered outlook of Srimad Bhagavatam.)

Through parampara we receive a view of the universe in which the sun which we see in the sky is the unique “king of planets” and not just one of many stars. There are 14 graded planetary realms populated with different types of conscious beings. Every corner of the universe is teaming with living beings, and there is a self-luminated spiritual realm outside the covering of the egg-like universe.

These statements are not personal opinions but are indeed “sastric verdicts”. Prabhupada’s doubtfulness about NASA’s Appollo program was obviously related to these larger deep conceptual differences between empirical scientism and the Vedic-Puranic world view.

And yet the broad intellect of Vaisnavas can comprehend the (relative) value of making an empirical construct of reality to achieve practical purposes. It is not Truth, however.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 4th, 2009
96 Akruranatha

The Truth is really Krishna, and even His material creation is unlimited, but His infallible, nondual, self-illumined spiritual world which is full of consciousness and eternally liberated devotees is even more unlimited.

Nanto ’sti mama divyanam…

For those accustomed to accepting the phenomenal wonders as awe-inspiring, Krishna suggests seeing them as mere parts of His gigantic universal body. This is “The First Step” described by Sukadeva Goswami at the beginning of the Second Canto of Bhagavatam. Everything that exists in the entire cosmic manifestation is but a spark of His splendor, as He describes in the Tenth Chapter of the Gita.

The “peer review” concept of scientific publication is based on the idea that a collegial process of review by the community of trained specialists yields good results in explaining aspects of nature.

The process of commentary on bhakti sastras by referring to the explanations of recognized acaryas is also a kind of “peer review” process, but it is a different kind of specialist and a different kind of knowledge. The acaryas are recognized not only by their ability to describe the transcendental subject matter clearly, but by their ability to act in an exemplary manner and to remain Krishna conscious under all circumstances. Such devotees are never in illusion about anything.

Those acaryas do accept the Puranic descriptions of the different demigods, demons, sages, ancestors, goblins, gandharvas, etc., and their respective realms. Considering that the NASA astronauts’ experiences do not seem to tally with their descriptions of what one should expect to see if one visited the moon planet, it is no wonder there is reason to doubt that NASA went there.

Regarding using technology in Krishna’s service, Prabhupada writes: “Generally, the sacrifice is offered with clarified butter and grains, but with the progress of time, human society has produced varieties of goods by transforming materials supplied by God’s material nature. Human society, therefore, *must learn to offer sacrifices not only with clarified butter, but also with other manufactured goods in propagation of the Lord’s glory, and that will bring about perfection in human society.*” (S.B. 2.1.37 Purport, emphasis in original).

We may know that a volcano or asteroid exists, but we still do not know what it really is, unless we understand its relation to Krishna. rte ‘rtham yat pratiyeta… (S.B. 2.9.34) That is the greater science.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 5th, 2009
97 varahanarasimha

my pranams to all the devotees here ,I am so thankfull and happy devotees can have such open and mature KC discussions, and hopefully this will prevent any devotee from ever again bloop over this issue, then a great service has been done,Maybe not realistic, but if new commers with doubts about this issue will see this discussion.I have faith it will strengthen their KC..and will help them have an open mind on this issue.Thanks to and pranams to Dandavats editors to allow this discussion.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 5th, 2009
98 Unregistered

Comment on #94:

If this refers to the Laser Ranging, the reference was to “over 40 years.” The number of scientists runs in the hundreds. The imaginary circus where people were beaten into smiles could perhaps be a supportive analogy for some kind of conspiracy, but how does it apply here? Does anyone here really believe that hundreds of different scientists from different generations in different independent countries to this day have been and are perpetuating a hoax, without anyone ever speaking out on it?

Comment posted by WillemV on October 5th, 2009
99 Akruranatha

>>A Vedic Planetarium may be able to show the general puranic point of view, but I highly doubt that that will ever supersede the modern scientific viewpoint on a world scale. Nor does it have to.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 5th, 2009
100 Unregistered

Comment on #95 and 96:

“Varanadi, there is something jarring about hearing a devotee write off any of Prabhupada’s statements as mere ‘personal opinions’ that are ‘in essence unrelated to [Lord Caitanya’s] teachings’. ”

Akruranathji,

Please be careful not to generalize comments I make about something specific. The topic I am commenting on is the moon landings, and the argument of Gauragopala I am commenting on is that the teachings of ISKCON may be questioned because of comments made by Srila Prabhupada and that ISKCON therefore has to come up with a “bonafide conclusion.”

I am contesting that argument.

As I have mentioned many times, puranic cosmology and modern cosmology are not suitable for one-on-one comprison, which will lead to the very major discrepancies you mention.

“Prabhupada’s doubtfulness about NASA’s Appollo program was obviously related to these larger deep conceptual differences between empirical scientism and the Vedic-Puranic world view.”

Yes, and therefore they constitute an opinion.

“Considering that the NASA astronauts’ experiences do not seem to tally with their descriptions of what one should expect to see if one visited the moon planet, it is no wonder there is reason to doubt that NASA went there.”

As far as I am concerned it *is* a wonder. First, no sastra or previous acarya mentions a word about traveling to the physical location of the moon with earth bodies in an earth-made vehicle. Second, if the civilization of Candra-loka is on the deva level, why *would* you expect to be able to perceive it?

There is a difference between realm and location. Different realms manifest in our realm differently, regardless of location. Sastrically, the location of Bhuta-loka is the same as that of Earth, but is about 600 miles larger in diameter. For the most part it is imperceptable to us. Surya-loka is the home of a deva civilization, yet its location manifests in our realm as a ball of fire so hot that we can feel the heat from millions of miles away. We’d vaporize before we’d reach its surface. Likewise, the location of Candra-loka manifests in our realm as rocks and dust.

Sastrically, attaining the specific civilization of a specific realm requires attaining birth in that realm. This makes sense especially for subtle realms, like those of the devas. There is no mention anywhere in sastra, however, that the same requirement exists for traveling to the gross manifestation of these realms.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 5th, 2009
101 varahanarasimha

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21.....8#33238491
Just see another giant NASA hoax ,they pretended to shoot a rocket at the moon and there was no impact… ,I have no faith in modern science….yes we have learned so many things as kids about the univers, they seem all like mostlyideas that change,every few years…Brahma Samhita says even if one can count the atoms of the univers still one can not understand Govinda.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 9th, 2009
102 Suresh das

What is the scientific explanation of the two spacecraft just sent to the moon that were to create an explosion visible from earth but nothing happened? The event got lots of press coverage. The purpose of the expensive experiment was to prove that water is on the surface of the moon. Scientists are now theorizing that the moon has frozen water on it, after years of teaching us that it is all just barren rocks. Even though telescopes, both professional and amateur were trained on the moon, all over the earth, as well as the Hubble telescope in outer space, to witness the event, nothing was apparently visible. I was just wondering what happened?

By the way, back in the mid 1970’s, Srila Prabhupada told us that there is a thin layer of ice on the surface of the moon, and that it is not just all barren rocks, as the scientists were theorizing. I heard that he said the moon is a fire planet covered by ice, but I don’t know where the exact quote came from.

Comment posted by Suresh das on October 10th, 2009
103 Akruranatha

Varanadiji,

Sorry if it seemed like I was over-generalizing your comments. What I was *trying* to do was establish that your comments really were directed to the limited, narrow issue of whether there was a hoax conspiracy, because I did not find that clear from reading your comments, and they did seem a little jarring to me.

But even with that explanation, it still seems to me that Srila Prabhupada’s opinions on that narrow issue are entitled to great weight. This was not one of those matters on which he was asking disciples, “Should we do it this way or that way? What do you think?” He seemed to be instructing us by his example that our confidence in the truth of sastric descriptions of the universe should be very deep, and our attitude toward even very widely accepted “truths” of empirical science should be noncommittal and skeptical.

As conditioned souls, our opinions about astronomy are likely to be overly invested in the hype of modern science. IMHO, Srila Prabhupada’s peacefully detached and sometimes mocking attitude towards the way our mundane civilization takes this science so seriously was a refreshing corrective.

Regarding reference in sastras or by previous acaryas to traveling to heavenly planets without the necessary pious qualifications, the most famous example is Ravana, who was building a “Stairway to Heaven” long before the Led Zeppelin song of that name.

Prabhupada also wrote in a Srimad Bhagavatam purport that in a previous kali yuga of a different maha yuga cycle, Lord Buddha appeared to stop mechanical space travel. I have not done research regarding whether Prabhupada was referring here to something reported in sastra or in a commentary of a previous acarya, but Prabhupada did not present it as merely an opinion, but as a statement of historical fact.

The idea that we should not expect to perceive the affairs of devas with our human bodies and senses is an important one, and it seems to be something that all of us agree on.

And yet, throughout history, asuric types try to encroach on treasures and pleasures that are not allotted to them by nature, although they should not expect to be able to enjoy that which is not ordained by God for them to enjoy. Over and over, they plunder what is assigned to devas, just like Bhaumasura, who stole the earrings of Aditi and built a fortified palace on the side of Mount Meru, where he kept 16,100 captive princesses who were meant to become Krishna’s queens.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 12th, 2009
104 Akruranatha

Regarding the bombing of the moon that was supposed to be visible from earth, I am less concerned with whether it was a hoax than with what a horrible idea it was in the first place. The arrogant and demonic attitude of modern science toward nature is as visible in this fiasco as it is in the horrors of unethical experimentation on poor, helpless animals.

Francis Bacon, one of the philosophical fathers of modern scientific method, was a prosecutor and torturer for Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. He wrote in “Novum Organum” (figuratively of course) that nature should be bound and tortured into revealing her secrets.

So-called science that does not respect mother nature is evil. We are living in a civilization that turns a blind eye to many transgressions of laws of nature. Bombing the moon is such an obvious transgression, and yet where were the environmentalists and “deep ecologists” when this diabolical, mad-scientist plot of NASA was being hatched?

I wish there had been more public debate on the moon bombing, both in the US and internationally. I did not even learn about the bombing until 24 hours before it was supposed to happen. This was probably due to apathy on the part of those in the press and the public rather than any intentional secrecy within NASA. NASA seems oblivious to the idea that anything could be objectionable about detonating a 2-ton kinetic bomb on the lunar surface.

Is the world scientific community so intoxicated by arrogance that not a single scientist (in these days of outrage over global warming) even bothered to raise the issue of why the U.S. space agency should be disrupting the lunar surface with a huge bomb? Is the world so accustomed to the U.S. bombing wherever it feels like bombing? I swear they would start strip mining the moon (and the ocean floors) without a care for the consequences if they could get away with it and make financial profit from it.

The idea supposedly is, if they can find water on the moon they can proceed with lunar colonization? Doesn’t this sound insane? There are millions of acres of uninhabited land on earth, including the huge continent of Antarctica, as well as mountain regions, desert regions, tundra regions, savannahs and prairies, that could be colonized at a tiny fraction of the cost and trouble of colonizing the moon. What is motivating this passion for extra-terrestrial colonization? Is the imperialist impulse so strong and reckless?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 12th, 2009
105 Unregistered

Comment on #102:

Sureshji,

“I was just wondering what happened?”

I am sure that if you really want to know, you can find the answer to that question. I hope you don’t mind that I won’t provide it for you this time.

You have had a lot of questions over the course of this exchange and I have done my best to answer them — mostly just to find no follow-up. I have also posed many questions to you, none of which you have bothered to answer, so I no longer find it useful to address questions that are likely not posed for an answer, but some other reason.

This “moon bombing,” by the way, isn’t the big deal it has been made out to be. There have been at least 12 impact missions to the moon since 1952, the latest of which was the Chandrayaan-1 in November of 2008 — yes, launched by by India.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 12th, 2009
106 varahanarasimha

yes Akruranath Prabhu is right ,the scientists exploitation of nature ,is a demoniac mentality .Srila Prabhupada warned all the drilling for oil, would cause earth quacks ,I once met a PH.D in geology and put that question to him, he though about it for a second,:
Yes it makes sense, though when oil is drilled often water is put back .I asked how that was possible .Since if they are drilling for oil and pumping up oil to the surface, it seems a contradiction they send water down back into the earth.He had no answer.That global warming is a documented fact,still wasting billions of dollars, scientist should focus their energy on Solar energy and such things and not destroy nature.Meanwhile people starve and die every day.And trying to colonize the moon…what kind of insanity is going on.
Life on the moon is often described to be of a more subtle nature, if Lord Brahmas body is made of pure intelligence, subtle matter, how can we even expect to find life, if they where abel to go? Krsna says in Bhagavad Gita:
naham prakasa sarvasya yogo maya samavritah mudho ‘yam nabhijanati.

Thus scientist are fooled by Krsnas yogamaya.Einstein was a little pious so he appriciated Bhagavad Gita ,other should follow his footsteps and read Srila Prabhupadas Bhagavad Gita as it is very carefully .

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 13th, 2009
107 Akruranatha

Varnadiji,

Just because India does it, it is supposed to be “no big deal?” India slaughters cows, too. India is not a pure Vaisnava country by any stretch.

Suppose the U.S. decided to hurl a 2-ton hunk of metal into some part of India. Wouldn’t India protest? Or any other country? Would it make it “no big deal” if the place they were impacting was thought to be sparsely populated?

There is a kind of arrogance and “unconscious cruelty” (to borrow a phrase from James Joyce) to the way we go about doing modern science.

A few months or so ago there was a very thought-provoking video of a class Hrdayananda Maharaja gave in Orlando, Florida, in which he spoke about the history of Buddhism and a number of things. He proposed some very interesting theses about history and culture, one of which was as follows (I hope I am not mangling it too badly):

In Vedic culture, if you want to build a temple, and must cut down a tree, you first have to pray to the tree and acknowledge the tree has as much right to live as you do, and that the tree is a home to a number of other creatures, a whole ecosystem of birds and insects and squirrels and so on who make their home and receive their livelihood there.

Maharaja said, if I remember correctly, that proper theological understanding of God includes understanding and acknowledging His energy, both internal spiritual nature and also material nature. The Abrahamic traditions of Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology (or at least their mainstream versions) have little understanding of God’s relationship with nature. They emphasize His transcendence of material nature but not His relation to the varieties of phenomena and powerful demigods in the universe.

Because of this lack of understanding and appreciation of God’s relationship with nature, which is a kind of flaw or aberration, the societies based on Judeo-Christian-Islamic values developed an unhealthy, exploitative attitude toward nature.

This exploitation and disregard for the divine order has been incorporated into the modern science that all the world is now chasing after. Hence we have China, India and other countries rushing to hurl missiles into the moon in the name of increasing human knowledge, and if you say “But this is a great offense to Lord Candra, who is ordained by God to preside over the lunar heaven,” people will just scoff at you and howl with laughter as if you could not be serious to bring up such “primitive, mythological” concerns.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 13th, 2009
108 Unregistered

Comment on #103:

Akruranathji,

You are right when you say that the moon issue was not one on which Prabhupada consulted his disciples. For me that makes sense for two reasons, the foremost being that the dichotomy between the puranic and modern model already existed, and then the lack of knowledge on the part of the early disciples and their gullibility to blindly accept pseudo science — both of which simply escalated the schism.

What you’ll find is that, rather than discussing the model dichotomy and its non-compareability with Srila Prabhupada on a rational and detached level, disciples were eagerly jumping to silly conclusions and providing Prabhupada with the very conspiracy material I am contesting here. We’re 40 years further and devotees are still doing the same thing!

Prabhupada’s disciples were the ones that told him that the moon doesn’t revolve around its axis, that the rocks were made in laboratories in Arizona, that the landings were faked in film studios, that the US and USSR were in cahoots, and who would continually present anything space-travel related as failing or doomed. They were enforcing the misconception that the two models can be compared one-on-one, which lead to incompatibility and the us-versus-them mentality so prevalent among devotees to this day.

“Regarding reference in sastras or by previous acaryas to traveling to heavenly planets without the necessary pious qualifications, the most famous example is Ravana”

This has nothing to do with traveling to the gross manifestations of planets in our solar system. The qualifications are required to become part of the heavenly civilization, which is what Ravana tried to circumvent.

“The idea that we should not expect to perceive the affairs of devas with our human bodies and senses is an important one, and it seems to be something that all of us agree on.”

If this were true, this entire discussion would not have taken place. The problem is that while we generally accept that the devas (and necessarily the asuras) exist on an imperceivable, subtle plane where the choice to interact with humans is theirs and not ours, we somehow still believe that the planets they inhabit *are* perceivable and their civilizations as well.

Otherwise, what is the problem?

Comment posted by WillemV on October 13th, 2009
109 Unregistered

Comment on #104:

Akruranathaji,

“So-called science that does not respect mother nature is evil.”

I am going out on a limb here, but will nonetheless frankly state that for the most part I find people with this attitude hypocritical when they cry faul while their own implications are the exception to the rule.

“So-called science that does not respect mother nature” is the same science responsible for the birth and survival of most devotees alive today, for the gas in your car, your car, the electricity you use, and on and on and on and on, ad infinitum. To separate the two is this day and age is nearly impossible. NASA spin-off technology accounts for a large percentage of items, technology and services happily used by devotees worldwide on a daily basis.

My point here is not to glorify modern progress per sé, but to raise some awareness of gratitude that Krishna supplies the thorn with which to remove another thorn, the wood for the handle of the ax that will cut down the very tree that supplied the wood. Krishna consciousness means to see *everything* in relation to Krishna.

“NASA seems oblivious to the idea that anything could be objectionable about detonating a 2-ton kinetic bomb on the lunar surface.”

Two vehicles crashed into the surface in an impact mission. There were no bombs, no detonations. Most of this is media-hype. There are thousands of things going on right here on Earth that should cause a much bigger outrage. Why isn’t there? It must be the same apathy that makes people believe that a bomb was detonated on the moon.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 13th, 2009
110 Unregistered

Comment on #106:

“Since if they are drilling for oil and pumping up oil to the surface, it seems a contradiction they send water down back into the earth. He had no answer.”

And that is supposed to proof what? If you want to know how oil drilling is done, why ask a geology professor? Why not instead consult oil drilling experts?

I am not a fan of the oil economy, nor of its ecological impact, but for now it seems a necessary evil that we all have to deal with. Do you ever use any oil products, Varahanrsimhaji?

“That global warming is a documented fact,still wasting billions of dollars”

The only fact is that it is *not* a documented fact. Those who grew up in the 80s will well remember the doom and gloom of a coming “New Ice Age,” but that wasn’t a fact either.

Earth goes through climate cycles all the time, some larger, some smaller, regardless of human emissions. There have been temperature spikes in times long before combustion engines existed. The Earth has seen it all, over and over again.

When the vulcano Mount St. Helen blew up in the 80s it released more sulphur and CO2 in one day than all the cars all over the world combined did since they were invented.

“Solar energy and such things and not destroy nature.”

Like solar panels and wind mills. Yeah, that sounds great, but these devices have associated batteries, the manufacturing process of which is intensely more polluting than burning coal.

“Meanwhile people starve and die every day.”

Which is due to economics, not science, and certainly not because of moon missions. The percentage of money “wasted” on space exploration is a pittance compared to the amount wasted on politics, military, entertainment, and food.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 13th, 2009
111 Unregistered

Comment on #107:

Akruranathji,

With that argument and in the scope of this topic, I then suggest that this concern for the moon is misplaced. Mother Bhumi is under constant attack by missles, bombs, tanks, etc. and is being mercilessly exploited by just about everyone walking on her soil.

In light of this, let’s forget about a couple of impacts on the moon (which are anyway massively dwarfed by whatever created the numerous miles-wide craters on its surface) and direct our attention to mother Bhumi. Thank you. Yes, there is some sarcasm here, but how could there not be? Let’s get real, please. Why even worry about these little moon things while there are endless opportunities to help mother Earth?

I see so many people here attacking the very people and resources of which they enjoy the fruits every day, who get upset with “modern science” without undestanding even its basics, who cheer for the moon as if it’s part of a competitive game, who speak out on puranic cosmology without knowing anything substantial about it, who ask plenty of questions but never answer any.

Is this about trying to understand the topic in context?

Or is it all just about sastra-supported whining and complaining?

Comment posted by WillemV on October 13th, 2009
112 Dhanesvara

Dear Prabhus,

I’m a bit late to this party, just having caught up with it today, but the discussion continues and I have a few things to add that you may find interesting. This evidence is circumstantial, but enough circumstantial evidence can make a good case. I hope that I’m not repeating anything, as I confess that I have not read all of this looong thread.

One of our godbrothers, Rajendranatha Das, was working for the company that developed the engines for the Saturn IVB (I think that was the booster’s name), maybe it was Rocketdyne. In fact he was in charge of testing those engines. He told me that the rocket engines never performed as expected in any of the tests, and did not develop enough thrust for the rocket to escape the earth’s gravity. Not once. When the Apollo missions began and the astronauts supposedly left the earth’s gravitational field, NONE of the engineers he worked with (including himself) believed it.

Second piece: I lived in Tampa, Florida in 1979-83. In 79 I visited Cape Canaveral with my family and there were many photos of the moon landings in the visitor center and gift shop. Several years later I made another visit. By this time there was considerable controversy about the moon landing. What was quite strange was the fact that there was then NOT ONE photo from the Apollo missions in the gift center! I asked where all the pictures were, that I wanted to purchase some, and was told that they had been removed “for inventory”. Yea, right.

Now, just the other day I read an interesting interpretation of Stanley Kubrick’s movie, The Shining. The author makes a very convincing argument that this movie was used as a way of Kubrick secretly revealing how he created the Apollo “moon landing”. Willhelm isn’t going to buy this one, but others might. Read it here: http://www.jayweidner.com/ShiningSecrets.html

Simon & Garfunkel had it right: in the end you believe what you want to believe. Personally, I accept what my spiritual master stated, and do not believe that they went to the moon.

Comment posted by Dhanesvara on October 15th, 2009
113 Akruranatha

Comment on #108:

Dear Varnadiji,

I am not sure what you are saying about “lack of knowledge on the part of early disciples”, but what I *think* you are saying sounds incorrect to me. You seem to be saying that Prabhupada was “misled” by half-educated or gullible disciples into speaking about astronomy in a certain way. I cannot accept this.

When you say “early disciples”, who do you mean? Who are the “later disciples” who spoke with Prabhupada differently? Or do you mean that all of the disciples who interacted with Prabhupada while he was physically present had this same defect?

Even among the earliest disciples were intelligent devotees like Satsvarupa Maharaja, Rupanuga, Tamal Krishna Maharaja, saintly Jayananda, etc. These were not superstitious simpletons. Later there were bright devotees like Ramesvara and Hrdayananda Maharaja, and scientists like Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Maharaja and the brilliant Sadaputa Prabhu. Which ones were the “early” disciples of whom you speak?

Of course, the ’60s produced a whole crop of intellectuals who radically questioned many modern “verities” that had previously been taken for granted. The use of psychedelic drugs, the post WWII challenges to Eurocentric political and cultural hegemony which was related to protests against the Vietnam war and racial injustice, and a large “baby boom” generation coming of age in an atmosphere of relative prosperity and leisure may have been factors in this willingness to doubt and question everything. Srila Prabhupada and his young disciples were really at the vanguard of a radical challenge to the way we view science, religion, epistemology, philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and everything.

My own take on it is that Srila Prabhupada encouraged and inspired his disciples to be skeptical about science and about western civilization generally. The dynamic on those morning walks and room conversations was that the disciples were trying to please him and show they understood, even when playing “devil’s advocate”. It was not so much that they were gullible or loony, but out of filial affection as submissive disciples they were motivated to show Prabhupada that they really had more faith in him and the Vedic-Puranic culture he offered than in the “establishment” of their native culture.

It was Prabhupada’s strong, transcendental personality, his skills of argument, his clarity and certainty, and his amazingly powerful bhakti that led them, not the other way around.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 16th, 2009
114 Akruranatha

After all, it was Prabhupada who wrote in Srimad Bhagavatam (in 1975), “We suggest that the modern expeditions attempting to reach the moon are mistakenly going to Rahu.” (5.16.8 Purport).

It was actually Sukadeva Goswami who said (S.B. 2.7.37) that Buddha will appear to stop atheists from flying in rockets to annihilate inhabitants of other planets, and Jiva Goswami who commented (according to Prabhupada’s purport) that this will be a Buddha in a different Kali-yuga.

Prabhupada was leading this attack on science, not his disciples, who sometimes seemed to wish he would give a compromise explanation that would be more respectable or acceptable.

From a June 18, 1976 morning walk:

Ramesvara: …they are sending their sputniks to…, with televisions.
Prabhupada: They can never stay there. They’re coming back.
Ramesvara: No.
Prabhupada: They cannot go there.
Ramesvara: But they have TV camera on the sputnik, and the sputnik is flying over the planet, and they are filming it, and they don’t see any life. That is their argument.
Prabhupada: No, we have got our own argument, that the other planet is as good as this planet. If this planet is full of life, why the other not? Analogy. Analogy is also another science.
Ramesvara: Sometimes, you write in the Krsna book that the demigods can come to this planet invisible.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Ramesvara: So, if ordinary man went to some other planet through his sputnik, would he be able to see the demigods?
Prabhupada: No, why not? Some men arguing that…. Because he did not see, it does not mean there is no life. That they cannot say. Just like in the water we don’t see. Superficially.
Hrdayananda: Yeah, if they take a sputnik…
Prabhupada: Eh?
Hrdayananda: If they take a camera over the water, they won’t see any life.
Ramesvara: Or over the fire, they will not see any life on the sun…
Prabhupada: No.
Ramesvara: …with their camera.
Hrdayananda: Even over the earth, you can’t see any life. They took pictures of the earth.
Prabhupada: That, that is their defect, that their eyes are defective. They cannot go there. That they will not accept. The camera which they manufactured, that is also defective. Because you have manufactured it. You are defective. Your senses are defective. Therefore, in the Vedic literature: “Don’t try to see with your eyes, but try to see by ear, sruti. ” Sastra-caksusa. You should accept as your eyes the sastras. Not your so-called eyes. (end)

We need to see by ear, sruti.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 16th, 2009
115 Akruranatha

Comment on #108, continued:

I think most of us here do accept what you say about there being no “one-to-one” correspondence between the empirical scientific construct and the authoritative Puranic version. After all, the former is based on imperfect senses that are manipulated by demigods/nature, and the latter is based on perfect revelation from those who are beyond the four defects.

When Gaura Gopal said, “The Vedas describe the material creation beyond the vision of our biological eyes and its material extensions be them the Hubbell Telescope, Spacecrafts or Electron Microscopes”, I took him to be saying pretty much the same thing you are saying when you point out that we cannot see the demigods on the sun, or the moon, or even in the ocean for that matter, with our mundane senses.

Or maybe I am missing some distinction you are making.

It seems to me that the reason we perceive only a celestial ball of fire for the sun (which appears to be a rather insignificant star among billions of others) or a barren, rocky moon (which appears to be an insignificant satellite of earth compared to moons of Jupiter or other planets in our solar system) is because our senses and mentality are very limited and dull. We are seeing only what it has been alloted for us to see with these dull senses, whereas we have a chance to be guided by the celestial sages and the great transcendental seer His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

Yes, they are two different models, but Prabhupada’s mood was to establish the superiority of the Vedic-Puranic model. He invited us to join him in that mood. “Us versus them” originated in his contagious enthusiasm for cultural conquest on behalf of Lord Caitanya.

Now, maybe you are right that by regurgitating the conspiracy theories of various nondevotees we do more harm than good to that mission. I am inclined to agree with you there.

But what I want to hear from you is a more positive program for establishing the superiority of Prabhupada’s explanations. What would you have said to Prabhupada on a morning walk about these issues? How do you think he would have responded? Please elaborate on that.

One thing is, when devotees showed too much faith in scientific-type reasoning, he was usually not pleased. Kanupriya and Jamadagni’s infamous “challenge” is a model for us to avoid. Even Krishnadas’s honest submission of doubts seemed to disappoint Prabhupada.

Hansadutta’s bold public debate with an atheist thrilled him.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 16th, 2009
116 Akruranatha

Comment on #111:

Varnadi, the argument that we should not be very worried about specific immoral acts (impact missions to the moon) because there are plenty of greater immoral acts (animal slaughter, abortion, Las Vegas, torture, rampant prevarication, land mines, factory farms, deforestation, pornography, toxic dumping, exploitation of financial crises, whatever) is suspect. It seems like you are trying to make excuses for immoral conduct.

Alexander the Great’s leniency to a thief because he pointed out that Alexander was greater thief was a one shot deal. A man arrested for burglary cannot escape punishment by pointing out that millions of abortions are going unpunished. He still has to answer for his own burglary.

Yes, there are thousands of crimes committed on the earth every day. Yes, our whole civilization including the cars we drive and computers we use are implicated in an unholy and ecologically unsound way of life.

Still, there are people who think there is actually nothing whatsoever immoral about sending impact missions to the moon. Why are you defending them? Why not just agree that we should convince them how and why it is wrong? Why concern ourselves with the question of whether it is “as wrong” as something else?

If only those with clean slates can throw stones, criminals would run rampant without anyone to bring them to justice. We need to be able to talk about whether one deed is immoral or not, or we could excuse every immoral deed by comparing it with others.

And what is the solution to the gigantic moral problems of our sinful age? We have to water the root of the tree. Sankirtan yajna, or profuse chanting of the holy names, is the universal solution.

And part of that solution is that it automatically rectifies the crippled, miserly mentality that the universe is empty of purpose and we can exploit it without a thought.

In the age of oceanic exploration legal scholars like Hugo Grotius debated whether the seas were “res publicus” (property of everyone) or “res nullius” (property of no one). The same debates go on in modern “Law of the Sea” and “Space Law” discussions. The lawyers need to understand that all is the property of Isa, and that there is a universal order we all must follow or be damned.

“Daivi sampad vimoksaya nibandhyayasuri mata.” (B.G. 16.5) Bombing (or “impacting”) the moon is asuric. Why should we be shy about saying so, for the good of the world?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 16th, 2009
117 Unregistered

Thank you Varnadi, for taking this stand. I don’t quite get it. Payonidhi and a number of other devotees shoot down any proof that Varnadi presents, which goes against their opinions, with an argument that goes like this: The karmis who have done this research are subject to the 4 failings of the senses, tendency to cheat etc. Therefore I am not interested and will not believe what they say. Here are a few quotes from past posts. “Instead of relying on imperfect mind and senses I am more interested in what the acaryas and Krsna has stated about the moon” plus “a mundaner (1) is sure to commit mistakes, (2) is invariably illusioned, (3) has the tendency to cheat others and (4) is limited by imperfect senses.”
However Varnadi’s original point was “my issue is not with Prabhupada or sastra; it is with using pseudo-science and quickly Googled quotes to back up poorly understood concepts and somehow or other trying to change someone’s opinion into some kind of absolute truth.” Although I don’t agree with everything Varnadi has said, I find his arguments to be reasonable, logical understandable and most of all consistent.
His original point still unanswered. The tactic of quoting large tracts of scriptures is then added, by those against him. The basic message then transmitted is “ You are wrong, the shastra is right and it agrees with me. It is not subject to the 4 flaws and is infallible, therefore my opinion is infallible.
However, hardly any of his detractors have answered his questions. Maybe they will answer mine.
1. Payonidhi, if you truly are “only interested in what the acharyas say” and consider any opinion by the karmis to be subject to the four defects: Why did you start this post by putting up a web link to someone who is neither an acharya nor is free from the four flaws? Why did you then continue to put up numerous links to these faulty individuals, and quote it as proof that the moon landing did not occur?
2. Why is it ok for you to quote these individuals as proof of your arguments but not ok for Varnadhi to quote, far more (albeit materially) qualified sources?
3. Most people would consider it hypocrisy to say you are only interested in the Acarya’s opinion, but act the opposite by quoting the non vedic sources. Would you agree that this is hypocritical and there is a duality between your statements, stated beliefs and your actions?
Which brings me back to

Comment posted by Matsya on October 16th, 2009
118 Unregistered

(continued) Which brings me back to Varnadhi’s original point. Quoting some, “whack job” that you downloaded from the internet as an authoritative source is the same mad science approach that I have seen numerous devotees (often insecure ones) use, over the years, to the discredit of Iskcon and Prabhupada. It only perpetuates the belief, by many non devotees that we are ignorant. And why wouldn’t it, when you take such bogus material practitioners as your guru, and quote them like they are Prabhupada. Your inconsistency in arguing, and your refusal to answer some basic questions, leaves me unconvinced. Unfortunately, the people you meet on the street, (who come to the same conclusion) don’t have the faith in Prabhupada that I have and may never get to hear this beautiful philosophy because of this.

Comment posted by Matsya on October 16th, 2009
119 Unregistered

Comment on #112:

Dhaneshvaraji,

One of the recurring themes in this exchange is that people make statements that lack any backup or research, although it is often easy to provide. The problem with this is that if a majority finds that acceptable, the statements take on an air of undeserved authority.

“One of our godbrothers, Rajendranatha Das, was working for the company that developed the engines for the Saturn IVB (I think that was the booster’s name), maybe it was Rocketdyne. In fact he was in charge of testing those engines. He told me that the rocket engines never performed as expected in any of the tests, and did not develop enough thrust for the rocket to escape the earth’s gravity. Not once. When the Apollo missions began and the astronauts supposedly left the earth’s gravitational field, NONE of the engineers he worked with (including himself) believed it.”

It took about 2 minutes to find out that S-IVB was never used as a first stage booster for any Apollo flight, which means that they were never meant to get anything to escape earth’s gravity. They served as a second stage for the Saturn-IB rocket, which only launched 9 times into Earth orbit. The Saturn V that went to the moon used the S-IVB as a third stage booster to enter lunar orbit.

Now, the production deadline for the manufacturer, Douglas Aircraft Company, was 1960. If Rajendranathji was indeed working as the head of testing S-IVB engines at DAC more than 50 years ago, can you or he provide the credentials for that? If he was in his 20s, he’d be in his 70s now. Also, I find it next to impossible to believe that the person “in charge of testing those engines” would not know that they were not meant as escape boosters – or any of the other engineers you mention in your claim.

By the way, the S-IVB was so successful that it was later used for Apollo-Soyuz and SkyLab, which is quite the contrary of what you are trying to present.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
120 Unregistered

Comment on #112 continued…

“What was quite strange was the fact that there was then NOT ONE photo from the Apollo missions in the gift center! I asked where all the pictures were, that I wanted to purchase some, and was told that they had been removed “for inventory”. Yea, right.”

And what are you trying to say with this? That just because for a short time photos were taken down from the gift center the entire Apollo project was a hoax? C’mon, prabhu. Really?

I spent a whole day at the Kennedy Space Center two years ago and believe me, there are plenty of photos there from the Apollo project; and not just in the gift center.

“Now, just the other day I read an interesting interpretation of Stanley Kubrick’s movie, The Shining. The author makes a very convincing argument that this movie was used as a way of Kubrick secretly revealing how he created the Apollo “moon landing”. Willhelm isn’t going to buy this one, but others might. Read it here: http://www.jayweidner.com/ShiningSecrets.html

Yes, you bet that I am not buying this one, and I think no one should. Jay Weidner is a filmmaker, author, and self-proclaimed “hermetic scholar” (whatever that is…). His strengths are dabbling in conspiracy theories, alchemy, and speculation-par-excellence. Not astrophysics, engineering, astronomy, physics or any other science. If you want to put your faith in the conjectures of a nut like this, be my guest.

“Personally, I accept what my spiritual master stated, and do not believe that they went to the moon.”

That’s fine with me. I never had a problem with that. But then why use conspiracy theory type “proof” to back up that faith. That’s the part I don’t get. Please help me understand.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
121 Unregistered

Comment on #113:

Akruranathji,

“You seem to be saying that Prabhupada was ‘misled’ by half-educated or gullible disciples into speaking about astronomy in a certain way.”

“Misled” is a big word. One that I didn’t and wouldn’t use, as it infers a motive of deliberate conning that I do not think occurred. Srila Prabhupada was quite capable of making his own decisions. However, as I am sure many of those who were close to him can attest to, he would also base some of his decisions on information he was provided with by external sources, such as his disciples. He was not omniscient. Only Krishna is.

“When you say ‘early disciples’, who do you mean?”

Particularly the disciples who discussed the moon landings with Srila Prabhupada in the late 60s and early 70s. Still, vague, I know. I guess I should not have used that term. My bad. ;-)

“Even among the earliest disciples were intelligent devotees like Satsvarupa Maharaja, Rupanuga, Tamal Krishna Maharaja, saintly Jayananda, etc.”

I am not questioning their intelligence, sincerity, or any of their good qualities. The simple fact is that those who discussed the matter with him (documented cases) did not have any training in the field of astrophysics or related sciences. I’m not dumb, either, but I wisely keep my mouth shut if it comes to cinematography, because I have no training in that field.

“Later there were bright devotees like Ramesvara and Hrdayananda Maharaja, and scientists like Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Maharaja and the brilliant Sadaputa Prabhu.”

The issue remains the same.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
122 Unregistered

Comment on #113 continued…:

“The dynamic on those morning walks and room conversations was that the disciples were trying to please him and show they understood.”

This is conjecture, my friend. In practically all documented conversations where the topic comes up (specifically after 1974) disciples are mostly just agreeing with what Srila Prabhupada says, bringing up arguments from Kaysing’s book, and presenting their own (often mistaken) ideas. Srila Prabhupada’s acceptance of these arguments and ideas is not for me to speculate on. He is a person; an individual. I, for one, do not believe in stripping him of that individuality in favor of some kind of shrink-wrapped avatar status as I have seen far too many do already.

Still, all in all, none of this really matters to me in the context of this discussion. Therefore I will say it again:

I have no problem whatsoever with anyone’s interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s opinion on the moon landings or with the Puranic cosmology. I am simply questioning devotee’s usage of flawed conspiracy theories to so-called “proof” their points.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
123 Unregistered

Comment on #114 :

Akruranathji,

“After all, it was Prabhupada who wrote in Srimad Bhagavatam (in 1975), ‘We suggest that the modern expeditions attempting to reach the moon are mistakenly going to Rahu.’ (5.16.8 Purport).”

Rahu is a node; a point of intersection between the orbit of the moon and the ecliptic, when the moon is moving from South of the ecliptic to the North of it. Ketu is the South node. Neither are physical planets. This information has been recorded in both astronomy and astrology treatises since the Gupta dynasty. Srila Prabhupada was neither an astronomer, nor an astrologer, so I am not surprised he would make a *suggestion* like this in the context of his convictions. That, however, does not turn Rahu or Ketu into physical planets.

“It was actually Sukadeva Goswami who said (S.B. 2.7.37) that Buddha will appear to stop atheists from flying in rockets to annihilate inhabitants of other planets, and Jiva Goswami who commented (according to Prabhupada’s purport) that this will be a Buddha in a different Kali-yuga.”

I don’t understand the purpose of what you are trying to say with this.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
124 Unregistered

Comment on #115:

“After all, the former is based on imperfect senses that are manipulated by demigods/nature, and the latter is based on perfect revelation from those who are beyond the four defects.”

The really important terminology used here is “based on,” because the former is based on the observation and interpretation by imperfect senses and their extensions over the last century, and is constantly adjusted and updated. The latter is based on imperfect senses interpreting a perfect revelation written down thousands of years ago, which has been copied repeatedly over centuries by people with equally imperfect senses (no extensions) who were also subject to the four defects. What I am trying to dispel here is the illusion that the current print versions of whatever is left of the ancient sastras is equal to their originals. They are not.

In terms of spirituality this is not very important, though. The bhakti-siddhanta is still as bright as ever and “even through irregularly composed, is heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

“But what I want to hear from you is a more positive program for establishing the superiority of Prabhupada’s explanations.”

I see no comparison between the two models that would grant a stance of superiority of one over the other in a common arena. I have made that clear before.

“What would you have said to Prabhupada on a morning walk about these issues? How do you think he would have responded? Please elaborate on that.

How nice. You ask me these questions and then proceed to basically make clear that in your eyes Srila Prabhupada would likely be displeased with me. Truth is, we don’t know. Srila Prabhupada dealt with everyone on a personal basis, differently. It serves no purpose to imagine a scenario around Srila Prabhupada’s intentions and exchanges. If anything, I’d consider it a disservice.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
125 Unregistered

Comment on #116:

Akruranathaji,

“It seems like you are trying to make excuses for immoral conduct.”

Nope. You missed the point. I juxtaposed a large concern for something small with a small concern for something large. It’s called “out of proportion.” Decades of moon impact mission went by without devotees’ concern and now all of a sudden it is a big deal? This is not about right or wrong. This is about priorities.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 17th, 2009
126 varahanarasimha

dear Matsya das Prabhu , I personally see no shred of evidence ,that man went to the moon,’I you can present me with one ,I will gladly accept.Srila Prabhupada and sastras states that one can not go by mechanical means or mystic powers ,only by permission of higher authorities, namely the demigods and Lord Visnu. Yes it is a fact Srila Prabhupada did nto accept the scientists went to the moon, I am not just accepting this on blind faith.The general belief is that man went to the moon, what I have posted is a lot of evidence that we did not go. I quoted about the moon bombing, there seems to be no evidence of that there where an impact.In short where is the evidence? We learned in school many years ago the distance to the moon is measured by radio waves, sastra states the moon is further away than the sun. Then there is those mirrors on the moon, they claim you can see the reflection of the laser beams from.But many persons that went there to see that testified it was no so. I personally am not a fan of conspiracy theories , Srila Prabhupada considered the moon landing a hoax .I believe he is right.So is science wrong or sastra? Both can not be right on this.I choose sastra.Yes the universe if far more complex than any scientist will ever know.Because it is Gods creation, the universe was not created by accidents or big explosions.Yes we do have imperfect senses, and so many other faults
, if you choose to place your faith in science that is your choice. I have no faith in them, they have helped increase a demoniac society based on selfishness, and immorality and sin.
If they even went to the moon as they claim what have they gained?I pointed out that demigods have superior powers than humans, even if they can find the demigods and take over the heavenly planets what did it prove?It boils down to that some do not believe in Srila Prabhupada and the Vedas.They believe there is no demigods and all planets in the universe are lifeless, until modern science proves otherwise.Does science know about the soul? Obviusly some asuras (demons) in the past went somehow to colonize the heavenly planets ,and some like Hiranykasipu, Indrajit, Kamsa did this, but no one of them could remain there,except for Bali Maharaja who stayed for some time .It is mentioned in other Kaliyugas sometimes asuras (scientists) tries to go to higher planets by mechanical means and got bewildered by an incarnation of Lord Buddha,and stopped.So where is your faith, in science or Krsna?

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 17th, 2009
127 Unregistered

Comment on #126:

Varahanrsimhaji,

You are really starting to crack me up now, although I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or not.

“I personally see no shred of evidence ,that man went to the moon,’I you can present me with one ,I will gladly accept.”

So far you have been provided with evidence that immensely outweighs the counter-evidence you have provided. I think it is futile, though, because you are not interested in a sensible debate. You ask for evidence, but have a preconceived notion that there is none. Therefore nothing will change your mind.

This evidence is not accepted by you:

- Over 60,000 high resolution images.
- Thousands of hours of video and audio.
- Testimonies of more than 100,000 people.
- Retrieved moon material, studied internationally for over 40 years.
- Confirmation by scientists of other great nations (including the former USSR).
- The testimonies of more than a dozen astronauts.
- Reflectors left behind, used for over 40 years by various independent nations.

What you do accept as counter-evidence:

- Speculations from people never affiliated with the Apollo project.
- Speculations from people without any credentials to add to their credibility.
- Kaysing, René, Brown, et al.
- Low resolution, 3rd-generation images and videos, regardless of source.
- Apparently, whatever conspiracy theorists claim.
- Unverified claims by unqualified sources.

Then you sometimes spice things up with a couple of quotes from sastra, which aren’t always to the point or in context, and top it off by repeating the same silly arguments even after they have been shown to be wrong.

See why we don’t get anywhere here?

“Srila Prabhupada and sastras states that one can not go by mechanical means or mystic powers ,only by permission of higher authorities, namely the demigods and Lord Visnu.”

No one contests that one cannot attain the deva realm by mechanical means, just as one cannot attain the bhuta realm in that way. Sastra makes no mention, however, about traveling to the associated locations as they manifest in gross matter.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 18th, 2009
128 Unregistered

Comment on #126 continued…:

“The general belief is that man went to the moon, what I have posted is a lot of evidence that we did not go.”

No, you did not. What you (and others) have posted and supported so far is:

1) A lot of poppy-cock from conspiracy theorists without even bothering to do some basic verification of their claims.

2) Misunderstandings about puranic cosmology and how it relates to modern viewpoints.

That is *not* evidence.

“I quoted about the moon bombing, there seems to be no evidence of that there where an impact.”

This issue is irrelevant to the subject, especially because again you did not bother to do any further research.

“We learned in school many years ago the distance to the moon is measured by radio waves, sastra states the moon is further away than the sun.”

Irrelevant, because the way the distance is measured is *different* and although this has been explained here several times (notably in comment 54, including an image that shows how the measurement differs), it obviously goes in one ear with you and out the other.

“Then there is those mirrors on the moon, they claim you can see the reflection of the laser beams from.But many persons that went there to see that testified it was no so.”

Another issue that has been addressed several times and obviously went in one and out the other. “Many persons that went there.” Wow… Can you mention like one or two of these people and where they went? I’d really like to follow up on that. Thanks.

“So is science wrong or sastra? Both can not be right on this.”

It is not about right or wrong. Pick whatever model you feel comfortable with.

It is still about using conspiracy grabage to back up your faith.

“It boils down to that some do not believe in Srila Prabhupada and the Vedas.”

No, it doesn’t boild down to that. I take great exception to that accusation, prabhu. Great exception. As far as I am concerned, this kind of nonsense is only presented as a knee-jerk reaction by people who’s lack of faith makes them so insecure that, rather than objectively deal with progressive spirituality, they resort to burrying reality under a pile of conspiracy-supported dogma.

You haven’t answered practically any question posed to you, and certainly not any of Matsyaji’s recent questions. Instead, you end up questioning people’s faith and sincerity as if you could play them out like that. I’m not going for these silly attempts of character assasination.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 18th, 2009
129 Unregistered

Two years ago the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, sent a space vehicle in orbit around the moon with a number of scientific missions on it’s agenda. One of which was to make a topographic map of the moon using special cameras.

What they were able to do with those cameras was make a 3-d image of the moon’s surface for the first time. One of the side effects of that achievement was that it proved the Apollo missions were not faked. How? By proving that the pictures taken of the moon’s surface by Apollo astronauts were in fact exactly what they should look like if they were actually taken on the moon.

There was no way for that to be faked, the technology for 3-d mapping of the moon didn’t exist back than, there was no way to fake what the moon’s landscape actually looked like from the moon’s surface, or even to know what it looked like.

In the following video you can see a picture taken by an Apollo astronaut on the moon showing a specific lunar landscape with a mountain and hill in the background, you will also see the same exact location rendered in 3-d by the Japaneses SELENE moon orbiter vehicle taken recently. You will see that they look exactly the same. The picture taken by an Apollo astronaut of the moon’s surface is exactly what that place on the moon actually looks like, the only way for that picture to have been faked is to have the technology and capability to create a 3-d map of the moon, which did not exist at that time. Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r80qhoPB0g

You can see pictures of that at

http://harekrishnamoon.wordpress.com/

In 2009 NASA sent a craft to the moon and for the first time was able to take pictures of what was left by the manned Apollo missions from decades ago. Previously that had never been done because the most powerful telescopes on Earth couldn’t resolve objects as small as what was left on the moon by the Apollo missions. The recent NASA vehicle took a powerful telescopic camera and orbited the moon, it was able to take the following photo, at:

http://harekrishnamoon.wordpress.com/

Comment posted by gurukrsna on October 18th, 2009
130 Unregistered

“It boils down to that some do not believe in Srila Prabhupada and the Vedas.”

“No, it doesn’t boild down to that. I take great exception to that accusation, prabhu. Great exception. As far as I am concerned, this kind of nonsense is only presented as a knee-jerk reaction by people who’s lack of faith makes them so insecure that, rather than objectively deal with progressive spirituality, they resort to burrying reality under a pile of conspiracy-supported dogma.”

WillemV

I would just like to interject that I agree with your statement here and too take exception to this and other similar insulting comments you received on this thread.

I wholeheartedly applaud your heroic efforts to dispel all these pseudo-scientific arguments and reply with some common sense to this issue.

How refreshing!

Thank you very much, I learned a lot.

Brahma Das (ACBSP)

Comment posted by brahma dasa on October 18th, 2009
131 varahanarasimha

I have no interest in these circular arguments.I have presented my case which is in line with Srila Prabhupada and sastra.If Varanadi and others believe man whent to the moon fine with me. Just do not expect anyone in ISKCON to take you serious.No one is attacking anyones chracter, so no need to be parnoid. I gave up discussing with Varanadi ,if he thinks going to the moon by mechnical means, is possible, that is his choice.
There is a vers in Caitanya candramrta that comes to mind:
33 Watered with nectar a stone will never sprout a single blade of grass. Carefully stretched out a dog’s tail will never become straight. A man may reach out his arms as much as he likes, but he will never grasp the moon. A man may follow all the rituals of ordinary religion, but without the mercy of Lord Gaura he will never attain the festival of ecstatic love for Lord Krsna.

Varanadi and modern science can try to grasp the moon, that is like a childs immature dream .He can laugh as much as he likes at me, I have lost interest in such a debate that does not lead to remembrance of Lord Caitanyas lotusfeet.

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 19th, 2009
132 Unregistered

“I have no interest in these circular arguments.”

Don’t just say stuff like this: show us which “circular arguments” you are talking about. Otherwise readers will have no clue what you are referring to.

“I have presented my case which is in line with Srila Prabhupada and sastra.”

Your “case” is full of holes and based on totally unreliable crack-pot science — which is absolutely *not* in line with Srila Prabhupada and sastra.

“If Varanadi and others believe man whent to the moon fine with me. Just do not expect anyone in ISKCON to take you serious.”

I don’t.

I did my homework and stated my conclusions and realizations. It is up to the individual to come to their own conclusions. If some reach similar conclusions as mine, so be it. If some don’t, so be it. I welcome anyone to discuss the matter objectively.

I do not, however, support your methodology.

“I have lost interest in such a debate that does not lead to remembrance of Lord Caitanyas lotusfeet.”

Ah, yes, those grapes were sour anyway, weren’t they?

Comment posted by WillemV on October 19th, 2009
133 Unregistered

I also want to thank Varnadi prabhu for his commitment and patience. I’ve never been all that much interested in the whole moon landing argument, but I think I’ve learned a little bit from this discussion. You have really put time and effort into understanding and then explaining the subject. As Brahma Das said, most refreshing.

Comment posted by gndd on October 19th, 2009
134 Dhanesvara

Dear Willem,

You’ve a better researcher than I am. You’ve got the facts correct. But my memory doesn’t serve so well for a conversation 30 years ago. WHATEVER the rocket engine was that was supposed to power the Apollo missions out of earth orbit was the rocket engine that failed the tests.

The reason I present these kinds of arguments is because I am also not immune from the adage that a person believes what they want to believe.

My spiritual master said they didn’t go and that is what I believe. Therefore I accept that evidence that supports that conclusion. Not scientific? Too bad. I don’t care about so-called science. During the time that I was working on my MS degree in Materials and Nuclear Engineering I realized that much of science is anything but.

Of course there is some legitimate science. But, much of what passes as so-called science is filled with politics as became clear during the Bush administration. A good example is found in the book “Biology as Ideology”. The author writes how biology is used to form *consciousness* (meaning indoctrination)! He uses the example of homosexuality to demonstrate his point, writing:

“Thus, the entire discussion of the evolutionary basis of human sexual preference is a made-up story, from beginning to end. Yet it is a story that appears in textbooks, in courses in high schools and universities, and in popular books and journals. It bears the legitimacy given to it by famous professors and by national and international media. It has the authority of science. In an important sense, it is science because science consists not simply of a collection of true facts about the world, but is the body of assertions and theories about the world made by people who are called scientists. It consists, in large part, of what scientists say about the world whatever the true state of the world might be.
“Science is more than an institution devoted to the manipulation of the physical world. It also has a function in the formation of consciousness about the political and social world. Science in that sense is part of the general process of education, and the assertions of scientists are the basis for a great deal of the enterprise of forming consciousness. Education in general, and scientific education in particular, is meant not only to make us competent to manipulate the world but also to form our social attitudes.”

You can keep your faith in science. I’ve put mine in Srila Prabhupada

Comment posted by Dhanesvara on October 20th, 2009
135 Akruranatha

The narrow topic about whether devotees should rely on arguments of mundane conspiracy theorists to “debunk” well-accepted scientific claims is interesting. We may look foolish and lazy, especially when the conspiracy theorists’ arguments are defeated by scientists.

Whether the Vedic-Puranic view of the cosmos is superior to the modern scientific view is a related and relevant topic. It can be challenging for devotees.

After all, the scientific view is extremely persuasive. In the 17th century Galileo looked through a telescope and saw hills and craters on the moon, and concluded it was made of earthly substance. Kepler worked out his laws of heliocentric planetary motion: (1) the paths of planets were ellipses with the sun at one focus; (2) the planets travel faster when closer to the sun, so the arc of their orbits sweep out equal areas in equal times; and (3) the period of the orbits cubed over the radius of the orbits squared is a constant that holds true for all the planets. In the 18th century Newton’s laws of mechanics tied everything together: The planets were behaving just like matter in space would behave under the force of universal gravitation.

Two hundred years of improved measurements and technology only solidified these findings. By the time we graduated from high school, most of us had looked through telescopes and done experiments in science classes about gravity, inertia, acceleration and so on.

When religionists argue against the materialist theory of evolution, critics taunt them that next they will doubt the law of gravity or the orbits of the planets. It is too ridiculous to even consider.

And yet Prabhupada was bold enough to challenge even these “unquestionable” truths of science. As Payonidhi said, if they do not even know where the moon is, how could they go there? They say the moon is orbiting earth very closely, and the whole earth-moon system is orbiting the sun at a much greater distance. It is unthinkable for an educated modern person to doubt this. All world religious authorities have retreated in the face of such scientific certainty.

Bhagavatam says something different, however. How can we deny that Bhagavatam is mistaken? But Prabhupada did just that. He was fearless and had complete conviction. His assault on the supremacy of sense perception over Vedic sabda as evidence was thorough, fresh and exciting. It was completely radical and beautiful. Jaya Prabhupada!

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 21st, 2009
136 Akruranatha

Varnadiji, to answer your question about what I meant regarding the Buddha avatara who stops kali yuga men from traveling in rockets to annihilate demigods in higher planets, I understand why it seemed out of place.

I had thought it was something Prabhupada said in a purport, and in an earlier comment (#103) I had wondered aloud whether he was repeating the commentary of someone else or giving his own realization. When I went back to look for it, I found it was right there in the text of the Second Canto, so I just blurted that out.

Now, to clarify why I think it is significant, it seems to underscore that, regardless of whether all this mechanical space travel is possible, there is something morally wrong about it. Buddha avatar’s m.o. is to curb immoral conduct by referring to reason and common sense that appeals to atheists. It seems like this mechanical space travel by kali yuga humans is a problem and should be discouraged by any means.

It also ties into your point, which I would like you to further clarify, about how sastra says we cannot participate in the civilization of higher realms without attaining the proper qualifications, but does not say we cannot travel to the gross manifestations of those realms as they appear to us with our limited qualifications.

I find the character the Danava named Maya, who provides the space ships for kali yuga men to travel to “gross manifestations” of subtle realms, interesting. This same Maya helped the Pandavas after Arjuna gave him shelter, but often he is helping asuras defeat suras with his clever technology. Hmmm.

Anyway, please don’t take offense at my question about what you would say to Prabhupada and how he would respond. Although I suggested I thought he might not be pleased, I have an open mind about it. He was always surprising and defying stereotypes and expectations.

While it might involve speculation, it is the kind of question I always find myself asking. If pleasing Prabhupada is our life’s breath, then we have to wonder whether our questions and ideas will please him, even if we also have to admit we don’t know the answer.

Really I was just trying to draw you out and get you to elaborate further on your positions about Vedic cosmology versus modern astronomy and science.

Personally, I have found my own analytic approach and posing of difficult questions sometimes displeasing to senior devotees. I cannot seem to help it, though it may be a disqualification.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 21st, 2009
137 Akruranatha

Anyway, Varnadiji, I find your approach to this “larger question” about the superiority (or lack thereof) of the Vedic view of the cosmos interesting and refreshing. If I do not agree or even understand you right away, please do not get impatient or insulted. You really may win me over to your way of thinking. At least you can express yourself more completely in writing, which should be valuable for you and others.

It seems to me you are saying (please correct me if I am wrong), that Vedic cosmography, like astrology, is something like a lost art. While the conclusions of bhakti are still being passed down intact through parampara, the succession of authoritative, perfect knowledge about cosmography has been broken, at least in our circle of acquaintance, and thus it can only be imperfectly understood today, even by great devotees.

Is that what you are saying? Is there no hope of finding those who can revive the authoritative teachings on this subject?

My concern is that this seems to be something different from what Prabhupada taught us. Prabhupada never claimed to be omniscient, but he did seem optimistic about the project of reestablishing Vedic knowledge about astronomy, sociology, politics, economics, religion, music, art, and everything. At least, that is how I understand his mood (I could be wrong).

I am one of those who are willing to accept Prabhupada as an “avatar”. I do not mean he was Vishnu tattva, of course, but I accept him as an eternal associate of Krishna who came to push on Lord Caitanya’s mission, just as Gaudiya Vaisnavas accept many other of Lord Caitanya’s associates and previous acaryas as eternally liberated souls who descended or condescended to be visible to us, the bound and conditioned souls of this world.

And so if Prabhupada “suggests” the astronauts traveled to Rahu, and if Rahu is just a node where an orbit transects the ecliptic, I wonder: “Hmm. They traveled to a point of intersection, and not to a physical planet. Fascinating!” :-)

I wonder, why is the element “earth” (bhumi) named the same as the earth planet? Are other planets made of other elements, like fire, air or sky (or mind)?

You say there are “gross manifestations” of planets in our realm that are different from their real manifestations visible only to sages and demigods.

Could it be that as “earth” creatures we see only “earth” things, and our astronauts and instruments find “earth” in outer space instead of the real celestial matter?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 21st, 2009
138 Unregistered

Comment on #134:

Dhanesvaraji,

The reason I emphasize research is that it is the corner stone of any claim.

Wouldn’t you agree that if I were to publicly announce some off-the-cuff claim about a spiritual topic, the first reactions would question me about its source in sastra and what its backup is from sadhu and guru? Strangely, this scrutiny is often absent when material evidence is presented that lends even the remotest credence to something spiritual. Rather, this “evidence” is accepted instantly, regardless of source. I do not support this double standard, which many devotees seem to maintain as the hallmark of “proofs” when it comes to the moon landings.

“WHATEVER the rocket engine was that was supposed to power the Apollo missions out of earth orbit was the rocket engine that failed the tests.”

I’ll keep it as short as I can.

The Saturn V used three stages to get from the Earth to the Moon. The first stage had five F-1 engines that would push the Saturn to 42 miles. The second stage had five J-2 engines, pushing the Saturn to about 110 miles. The third stage, with one J-2, would put the Saturn in a parking orbit. After verification of the Saturn’s position and condition, this engine would then reignite to bring the Saturn close to escape velocity for Trans Lunar Injection.

Both F-1 and J-2 engines were manufactured by Roketdyne. The F-1 combustion instabilities were addressed and resolved between 1959 and 1961, after which they were very stable. The first full stage test of the J-2 took place in 1962. The vibration issue that came up during Apollo 6 was resolved. The J-2 has proven so reliable that a variant model, the J-2X, is scheduled for test firing in 2010.

All engines go through issues in their development stage. That is what development is for; to get out the kinks. Neither the F-1, nor the J-2 ever had issues that would ground the Apollo project from 8 onward – and grounded it would have been, as Rocketdyne had an extremely strict engine failure policy (the vibration issue caused an 8 month investigation).

Now, this may just be yadda yadda to you, but what I intend to show here is that the flippant claims that you and many others make here in favor of a hoax *need* to be questioned, because so far 100% of the time they have turned out to be highly inaccurate at best.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 21st, 2009
139 Unregistered

Comment on #134 continued:

“My spiritual master said they didn’t go and that is what I believe.”

Srila Prabhupada said many things, including that they may have gone, that they did go, that they may have gone to Rahu, that they may have gone to a hellish planet, and that they may have gone to a barren part of the moon.

What appears to be his last documented word on the matter, about a month before he left this world and with the issue obviously still bothering his own disciples:

“Even it is true that they have landed on the moon, so what is their accomplishment? If I come to Earth planet and land in the Sahara desert, then I say, ‘Oh, this planet is a barren desert, no one lives here?’ The moon may be like that or like this, so what does that help to our Krishna consciousness movement. We have nothing to do with moon planet or this planet and that planet in Krishna consciousness. We simply want to serve to Krishna, that’s all.”

This echoes how many devotees *ultimately* feel about it. Landings or no landings. It’s like “Where did this arrow in my chest come from?” Who cares? Get it out. This is a great realization, but what I have seen too much, unfortunately, is that some devotees only resort to this conclusion after first giving the conspiracy arguments a try. Some even downright milk it out for all its worth, websites and all…

I respect Srila Prabhupada’s viewpoint on the whole moon landing thing and even agree with it in relation to its sastric roots. That, however, does not necessarily mean that I reject the moon landings. This is where I draw the line. I want to be true to both Srila Prabhupada and myself.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 21st, 2009
140 Unregistered

Comment on #134 continued:

“Therefore I accept that evidence that supports that conclusion. Not scientific? Too bad.”

What is also “too bad” is that by doing so in public you utterly disregard the opinions of other vaishnavas, including many of your god brothers and sisters, and risk both coming across as foolish and representing the movement as such. This has been my point in this entire exchange:

Stick to Srila Prabhupada, fine. Do not, however, make a fool of yourself and his movement by using conspiracy theories to “prove” your faith.

“A good example is found in the book ‘Biology as Ideology’.”

Yeah, I know Lewontin, who wrote that book almost 20 years ago. It is really about taking out biology as the determining factor in the theory of evolution and replacing it with environment. The example you quote is simply what one scientist thinks about science. Awkward.

“You can keep your faith in science. I’ve put mine in Srila Prabhupada”

And I have faith in… tadaaaa: *both* =)

I do not live in a dogmatic, black and white world.

“Science” is as much of a catch phrase as “religion.” I am truly surprised that some devotees cannot understand that “science” consists of multi-disciplinary layers that span a vast scope of interests and approaches. To claim that all science is evil and demoniac is as silly as claiming that all “religion” is evil and demoniac. These kinds of blanket statements do not make one come across as anywhere near educated.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 21st, 2009
141 Dhanesvara

Varnadi (Willem), I am not really interested in a protracted debate on this matter but must reply to your statements and challenges at least once more. As I had mentioned, I did not read the entire thread and just thought to toss in two cents of anecdotes. And it is just *two cents* worth. I am not interested in upping the ante. You seem to want to find fault in my less than water-tight arguments, and I am sure that you will again have a rejoinder to what I now write. This is obviously an important matter to you so I will let you have the last word.

You write: What is also “too bad” is that by doing so in public you utterly disregard the opinions of other vaishnavas, including many of your god brothers and sisters, and risk both coming across as foolish and representing the movement as such.

It is not, and has not been my objective to convince anyone of anything. Those who choose not to accept my arguments certainly have that right. Yes, I am guilty of disregarding the opinions of others. There are so many opinions that will never agree, so what am I to do? I will let everybody keep their opinion and I will keep mine. You may, even rightfully, challenge that I am not scientific enough. My point is that I do not have to be. I am not entering a formal debate and am compelled by rules of such. Nor am I the representative of anybody else, especially “the Movement.” I am indeed biased and make no claims otherwise. If you or any others don’t like my bias, too bad.

I have problems with the politics of science, evidence of which I presented but you then reject that as simply one person’s opinion. It is not. In fact you mischaracterize the entire book I offered as evidence, which is given by its title: BIOLOGY AS IDEOLOGY. The focus of the book is the use of a “science” to establish an ideology. I quoted his writing that MANY professors and so-called scientists present this completely fallacious information about the origins of homosexuality, and legitimize it with their stature. If they were actually real, honest scientists they would not do this. But they do, and in many arenas, not just this one example. Scientists can be bought and sold, and they are. If you want to research this one just look at how real scientists were outraged at how the Bush administration was politicizing science. It can be politicized because some scientists are prostitutes. Can the claims about the moon landing be painted by this broad brush? They certainly can be. . .continued

Comment posted by Dhanesvara on October 23rd, 2009
142 Dhanesvara

But this is where I find problems in science, and THIS is the foundation as what I see in this debate also. NONE of us has *personal* knowledge of anybody going to the moon. All of us accept the evidence that we want to accept. There are various kinds of evidence, some of which are presented by “scientists”, but for all we know they can be of the stature of the scientists that Lewontin writes about. Since I have no way to test their claims, and since their claims are really of no interest to me, and since their claims may indeed be politically motivated, I choose to dismiss the entire issue. If you don’t like my stand, I again say “too bad!” It is not my purpose to please anybody who may be offended by my lack of respect for science. And if anybody thinks this makes me look foolish, they are welcome to their opinion. Although a reasonable person may just as well say that I have a right to my opinion even if it is not their opinion.

“Science” IS as much of a catch phrase as “religion,” but I do not “claim that all science is evil and demoniac”. I did acknowledge that there is legitimate science – we have reliable bridges and heavier than air flight. I know what science is - I have an advanced degree in science. And I know what science is not.

I wrote: “You can keep your faith in science. I’ve put mine in Srila Prabhupada”

To which you reply: And I have faith in… tadaaaa: *both* =)

Really? Sorry but I don’t see it in the tone or tenor of your arguments. It seems to me that you have great faith in science and therefore want to defend it, strongly defend it, against what you see as an irrational, sentimental challenge based on religious sentiment. The way I read this exchange is that your ego is entirely entangled in this issue. And if you have such faith in Srila Prabhupada why do you not use your devotional name on this devotional forum? To me this says that you have a stronger attachment to another identity. . . . continued

Comment posted by Dhanesvara on October 23rd, 2009
143 Dhanesvara

Last point:
“WHATEVER the rocket engine was that was supposed to power the Apollo
missions out of earth orbit was the rocket engine that failed the tests.”

Being too focused on scientific evidence you entirely missed my point regarding the engines of the Saturn rocket. Let me repeat it: Rajendranatha told me that he was a test engineer for those engines and that they never passed the test, so that those engineers never accepted the truth claims of the Apollo missions. He may have been lying to me. He may have been wrong. I may not remember it correctly. It is not important. I was just repeating an anecdote that I was told 30 years ago, the semblance of which was as I presented it, because I thought that those reading this exchange might find it interesting. Apparently you do not. . . . continued

It does not serve the purpose of the exchange (my purpose anyway) to bring in so much other evidence regarding the engines of the rocket. It misses the entire spirit of the discussion that I thought I was entering into. Having now seen that the spirit of this exchange is not what I thought it was I am not going to continue. The reason is not that I am a coward, or that I fear that your point will be made over mine. The reason is that such useless debate falls in the category of prajalpa, which is harmful to one’s devotional service. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes the following in his “Bhaktalokya”:

“Useless arguments arise from envy or pride, aversion or attachment to sense gratification, or foolishness or self-pride. Quarrelsome people also become intoxicated by useless arguments. While discussing topics of the Lord and His devotees the practicing devotee should always be careful to avoid useless arguments.”

“Debate arises only from a desire for conquest. It is extremely abominable. Fault-finding arises only from imposing one’s own bad habits on others. This should be given up in all respects. Speaking falsehoods is another form of useless talk. Worldly talk is completely rejected by renounced devotees. Householders may accept some worldly talk that is favorable to devotional service. If topics like archeology, zoology, astrology, and geography [moonology] are devoid of God consciousness, they should be rejected.”

Best wishes in Krishna consciousness,
Dhanesvara Das

Comment posted by Dhanesvara on October 23rd, 2009
144 Unregistered

Comment on #135:

Akruranathji,

Thanks for bearing with me. It is much appreciated.

“And yet Prabhupada was bold enough to challenge even these ‘unquestionable’ truths of science.”

I often feel that devotees in general are a bit stuck in time, rehashing information about evolution and physics that were hot topics 40 years ago and they either got exposed to back then or are picking up currently from ISKCON’s history books.

Things aren’t so clear cut anymore. Nowadays most ‘unquestionable truths’ from past science are questioned all the time. Quantum physics and the formulation of the Standard Model of elementary particles are largely responsible for this. Consequently, it has become harder to debate models of reality without knowing at least the basics of the models being debated. The last two hundred years may have solidified some of the former findings, but they have shattered and outdated many, many more.

To stick with your example, yes, there are laws of gravity, but these are constantly questioned, and physics scientists will usually preclude debates on gravity with the caveat that although some of its characteristics follow laws, the source and substance of gravity are not known. Likewise, the orbits of the planets, and even what defines “planet” are merely definitions according to sets of rules (which is why Pluto is no longer categorized as such).

When objects revolve around each other in free space, there is no meaning to which one revolves around which one. We give it meaning by assigning one of the objects to be a reference point. In the past that was the Earth, because all observations and calculations were conducted from its surface. In modern times the reference point is the Sun, which is purely based on the fact that bodies with larger masses have larger gravitational fields in which smaller masses get captured. However… the orbital calculations remain the same, regardless of which object in our solar system you take as the reference point. So it doesn’t matter if you put the Earth in the center or the Sun, or even the Moon, or Mars, or Venus. The Sun-centric model is the only one, though, resulting in circular and elliptical orbits for all planets.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
145 Unregistered

“Bhagavatam says something different, however. How can we deny that Bhagavatam is mistaken?”

The Bhagavatam uses a different model with a different reference point than used in modern cosmology. You recognize the difference, but you don’t understand the difference. Therefore it makes little sense to argue about mistakes or superiority.

Comment on #136:

“Now, to clarify why I think it is significant, it seems to underscore that, regardless of whether all this mechanical space travel is possible, there is something morally wrong about it. Buddha avatar’s m.o. is to curb immoral conduct by referring to reason and common sense that appeals to atheists. It seems like this mechanical space travel by kali yuga humans is a problem and should be discouraged by any means.”

The verse states that the enemies of the devas (the asuras) move about unseen in flying cities made by the asura Maya Danava, murdering populations of various realms.

What we’re dealing with here is members of the subtle realms (half-siblings of the devas) creating havoc. The technology used is of a daivic nature. It is not referring to Kali-yuga humans on interplanetary genocidal missions in mechanical space ships manufactured on Earth. Thus, both the purport and Buddha’s mission are concerned with ahimsa, not space travel.

“the Danava named Maya, who provides the space ships for kali yuga men”

I have never found this to be a particular policy of his. The transportation means of the devas and asuras seems to be reserved and only very rarely either bestowed as a precious gift or taken by force. Maya Danava is not in the NASA business. =)

“Really I was just trying to draw you out and get you to elaborate further on your positions about Vedic cosmology versus modern astronomy and science.”

I thought my position would be pretty clear by now.

Modern astronomy and associated sciences are constantly evolving. There is a broad, general consensus on a basic model. Differences show up as you branch out into the details of particular theories and approaches – specifically in the relation between time and space.

Puranic cosmology also shows a broad, general consensus on a basic model. Differences show up when you look at the accounts in different Puranas, different manuscripts, and associated scriptures dealing with the same subject matter.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
146 Unregistered

Comment on #136 continued:

To claim the BBT version of the 5th Canto of the Bhagavata Purana as the only reliable, all-in-all authority on the cosmos is in my opinion not a realistic stance by any stretch of the imagination. This is a material topic that largely relies on large-scale numbers and calculations with little room for vague approximations, so getting a full grip on Puranic cosmology requires more than just looking at one specific edition of one specific Purana. Wouldn’t it make more sense to:

- gather as many manuscripts as possible from the Puranas and build up a text-critical version of each.
- conduct a comparative study of the cosmology as presented by these versions.
- cross reference the result with text critical versions of associated scriptures.
- take historical context into account.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
147 Unregistered

Comment on #137:

“If I do not agree or even understand you right away, please do not get impatient or insulted.”

Insults usually don’t mean much to me, but I will take your request about my patience to heart.

“It seems to me you are saying (please correct me if I am wrong), that Vedic cosmography, like astrology, is something like a lost art. While the conclusions of bhakti are still being passed down intact through parampara, the succession of authoritative, perfect knowledge about cosmography has been broken, at least in our circle of acquaintance, and thus it can only be imperfectly understood today, even by great devotees.”

You know, I have never directly looked at it like that, but seeing it the way you put it makes sense to me.

The manifestation and dissemination of Bhakti has been a gradual process with adjustments and additions of new realizations over centuries, kept alive by dedicated groups and individuals. The more material topics of scripture did not always have this kind of dedication. As I have mentioned before in another thread, the augmentation of scripture was a fairly common practice in bygone eras; one that underlies the inconsistencies found in them today (alleged verse counts don’t match, content of various manuscripts is different, Sanskrit with Prakrit grammar, and more such idiosyncrasies).

The demise of large kingdoms in India and the brahmanical culture also saw the demise of scriptural augmentation. The incursions of Greeks and Scythians appear to have been the last major one (as recorded in the Yuga Purana section of the Gargiya Jyotisha), which is echoed in the Puranic lineages. Augmentations regarding the Muslim incursions are less and less and less. By the time of the British Raj, the first to systematically collect and document manuscripts, no significant further augmentation was done.

It is for this reason that text-critical editions are so important. Text-critical does not mean, as some seem to think, that the content of the text is being criticized. It simply means that all versions of part or all of a text deemed critical to its content, or is critically different from that content, is represented.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
148 Unregistered

Comment on #137 continued:

“Is there no hope of finding those who can revive the authoritative teachings on this subject?”

Ancient astrology has been kept alive fairly well, likely because it was actually in use almost continually over the centuries. Puranic astronomy, on the other hand, appears to have dwindled over time. Parts of it were taken up by Arabic conquerors, together with many other aspects of ancient Indian science, and further developed, and later on found its way to the West, where it was yet again expanded.

Unless there is still some community left in India that has kept Puranic astronomy alive and kicking, I’d say the only hope would be the process I have outlined earlier.

“he did seem optimistic about the project of reestablishing Vedic knowledge about astronomy, sociology, politics, economics, religion, music, art, and everything.”

Yes, but you can’t reestablish things that are essentially lost in their original form. All you can do is establish that it existed, what its most original form may have been, how it relates to the knowledge of today, and then decide if and in what form it could or should be revived. With music and art that has been much easier, although these, too, have been adapted to time, place, and circumstances.

“I wonder, why is the element “earth” (bhumi) named the same as the earth planet? Are other planets made of other elements, like fire, air or sky (or mind)?”

Sanskrit words usually have several meanings according to the context in which they are used. If you’re in a house, bhumi refers to the floor. In debate it can refer to attitude. Obviously, when referring to elements we need to keep in mind that the scriptural elements are not the same as defined in modern chemistry. At the same time we can also understand that it’s not as simple as saying that everything is made of soil, H2O, heat, a mixture of mostly Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide, and space.

Referred to as panca-bhuta (five existences), we can surmise is that these elements indicate the various states that matter exists in and their medium:

- Earth: Solid state (molecular bonds are rigid)
- Water: Liquid state (molecular bonding decreasing)
- Air: Gaseous state (molecules separated)
- Fire: Plasma state (molecules breaking up)
- Ether: Space (Medium)

All matter has these states and it is quite correct to say that everything consists of these states.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
149 Unregistered

Comment on #137 continued:

“You say there are “gross manifestations” of planets in our realm that are different from their real manifestations visible only to sages and demigods.”

My personal opinion on this is really beyond the scope of this thread, and I have already been pushing it to the limits.

There are obviously gross manifestations of the Sun and the Moon, because we are looking at them every day. In sastra it is mentioned that the cultures inhabiting these regions are daivic, and as such not perceptible to the common man unless they choose to be. What I am saying is what would be a natural conclusion of these facts.

That there are other planets is also well known and we know what they look like, although there is no specific mention of their cultures. Mars doesn’t seem to have much going for it in terms of a culture visible to us. The same issue may apply as for the Moon.

”Could it be that as “earth” creatures we see only “earth” things, and our astronauts and instruments find “earth” in outer space instead of the real celestial matter?”

That would be the same as saying that we can perceive the gross manifestation of the realm, but not its subtle culture, yes. Besides the panca-bhuta there are three subtle elements. Sastra indicates that daivic cultures have more of the subtle elements and less of the gross. It is said that Brahma’s body consists almost exclusively of buddhi.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 23rd, 2009
150 varahanarasimha

Varanadi I see you are not rejecting Srila Prabhupadas statement ,then I have no problem talking to you.You are however very sure that man went to the moon, there is so many there is not.There is different ways to accept knowlege.Pratyaksa ..direct perception is one.It is not clear to many that we went to the moon,even Fox TV ran that documentary about man not going to the moon.According to Vedic sastras ,descending knowledge ,man can not go there by mechanical means.This said many times in sastra we see that the asuras conquered Indra and the heavenly planets.Sataputa Prabhu did not accept the moon landing and has explained why and I have quoted him in privious posts.
I understand you disagree with him.And I will not try to discourage you in that way.However science has also stated that the human race is only 10.000 years old, this is what I also learned in school many years ago, but now they have totaly changed their view points . Everything is not as clear as you make it out to be…..

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 24th, 2009
151 Unregistered

Comment on #141 -143:

Dhaneshvaraji,

I am sorry that my responses to your posts have been less favorable than you might have wanted. I hope that you can understand, though, that your intention could easily have been misunderstood in a discussion about devotees’ usage of unsubstantiated conspiracy claims.

“You seem to want to find fault in my less than water-tight arguments, and I am sure that you will again have a rejoinder to what I now write. This is obviously an important matter to you so I will let you have the last word.”

I don’t think that attempts to define my personality to support and argument are useful here.

By now, anyone who has taken the time to follow the thread knows that it is not about finding faults, but about exposing the folly of using pseudo-science as proof. Sadly, taking apart the pseudo-science seems to have been a necessity. =(

Your relationship with science is your business. Good or bad, I’ll respect it either way. I cannot agree with your assessment of my relationship with science, though. To say that I have great faith in it and an urge to strongly defend it against an “irrational, sentimental challenge based on religious sentiment” is imaginary. Nowhere in this discussion have I so characterized anyone’s spiritual insights or faith, or even their interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s opinion on the moon landings.

As to Lewontin. His observation that science is political and subjective relates directly to his stance against biology’s treatment of DNA as some kind of all-in-all deterministic aspect of evolution. He argues that environmental influences play a bigger role in the evolution of organisms. That is what the book is about. Hence its full title, “Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA.” To extrapolate a base opinion and apply that to the moon landings, which took place 20 years before the book was written, is a bit too broad of a brush for my palette.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 25th, 2009
152 Unregistered

Continued…

“And if you have such faith in Srila Prabhupada why do you not use your devotional name on this devotional forum? To me this says that you have a stronger attachment to another identity…”

This is silly. By now you have spent more time trying to indignify my character than addressing the topic.

“Being too focused on scientific evidence you entirely missed my point regarding the engines of the Saturn rocket.”

In a discussion about unsubstantiated claims used as proof for a conspiracy theory you claim to have personally heard from the man in charge of testing the rocket engines used for the moon landings that they failed testing and that he and all the other engineers he worked with therefore didn’t believe that the moon landings were real. I presented you with background information and asked you to back up your claim. Instead, you backed out.

“Having now seen that the spirit of this exchange is not what I thought it was I am not going to continue. The reason is not that I am a coward, or that I fear that your point will be made over mine. The reason is that such useless debate falls in the category of prajalpa”

Too bad. And I don’t mean that in the sense you have been using it. I’d rather see you stay and continue the discussion for the benefit of all.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 25th, 2009
153 Unregistered

Comment on #150 :

Payonidhiji,

“It is not clear to many that we went to the moon,even Fox TV ran that documentary about man not going to the moon.”

I’d venture to say that one program questioning the moon landings in 40 years isn’t very convincing as far as believe vs. disbelieve goes. According to a Gallup poll conducted less than a year before the program aired only about 6% of Americans believe it didn’t happen:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/199.....-Moon.aspx

In the decade since the program aired nothing new has come up. I’d love to see a worldwide poll.

”According to Vedic sastras ,descending knowledge ,man can not go there by mechanical means.”

Sastra states that one cannot permanently attain the same nature of existence of higher beings by mechanical means, because it requires a change of body.

According to the same sastra, however, at the discretion of higher beings or through practice of mystic yoga an earthling can temporarily reside in higher realms without a change of body. Arjuna visited Indra, Indradyumna visited Brahma, Durvasa Muni went all over the universe, Muchukunda fought alongside the devas for millennia, to name a few.

”This said many times in sastra we see that the asuras conquered Indra and the heavenly planets.”

The suras and asuras are members of the same family and belong to the realms of higher beings. They can’t be compared to Earth dwellers.

Continued…

Comment posted by WillemV on October 25th, 2009
154 Unregistered

Comment on #150 continued:

”Sataputa Prabhu did not accept the moon landing and has explained why and I have quoted him in privious posts. I understand you disagree with him.And I will not try to discourage you in that way.”

You are wrong, prabhuji. In his book Vedic Cosmology, as quoted by you, he states: “we have no definite evidence that settles it one way or another.” He then makes a suggestion about the possibility of dishonesty based on a picture from a book, pointing to the absence of markings beneath the lunar lander’s engine: “One would think that its exhaust would have left some recognizable streaks or markings on the soft lunar soil.”

The book was first published in 1989, long before the internet and easy access to high resolution scans of many of the Apollo images that do show definite streaks and markings:

http://kuruvinda.com/img/apoll.....5921HR.jpg

Besides the very low thrust of less than 1.3 pounds per square inch before engine shut-off at 6 feet above the surface, the lander did not descend vertically. The actual site it landed at was picked out by the astronauts themselves as they descended at an angle, traveling across the landscape and skidding to a stop. Consequently the lander did not hover directly above its final landing site long enough to blast a crater into solid bedrock. That would anyway have been impossible in an airless environment, where the thrust isn’t directed in a downward column, but disperses evenly in all directions. In addition, regolith (moon dust) consists of very jagged particles that interlock and resist to pressure.

”However science has also stated that the human race is only 10.000 years old, this is what I also learned in school many years ago, but now they have totaly changed their view points .”

Anthropology is irrelevant to the issue.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 25th, 2009
155 varahanarasimha

Varanadi you are agressivily sticking to your point that the moonlanding took place, I also know some new devotees that are agressivly sticking to be vegans.I see no problem
with neither as long as one follows the proscess of Krsna consciousness……

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on October 27th, 2009
156 Akruranatha

Comments on #144:

“Nowadays most ‘unquestionable truths’ from past science are questioned all the time … The last two hundred years may have solidified some of the former findings, but they have shattered and outdated many, many more.”

This may be true to a certain extent for professional scientists, but the popular science vs. religion debates take for granted that there is greater certainty in established scientific truths, even though (or even *because*) the scientific models are constantly being revised and improved.

It does not help that there are a lot of religious imposters, but Prabhupada was the real deal. We need to somehow get this across to the public, but it is challenging.

Its true that the last university science class I took was nearly 40 years ago, but relativity and quantum mechanics were already important then, though I am sure there have been a lot of later developments I am not well aware of. (It was probably in the 1870s that Max Planck was advised to pursue a career in music, because Physics was supposedly finished, nearly all questions having been answered. I am not that old.) Quarks and string theory were kind of new when I was in law school in the mid- 1980s.

But there still seems to be a strong sense, even among professional scientists, that the methodology of science is the correct one for acquiring reliable knowledge about how the world works. Unfortunately this methodology leads us to overlook karma, reincarnation, higher divine beings and sages and our obligations to them, and of course our primary beneficial activity of hearing and chanting about Krishna and remembering and worshiping and serving Him.

When it comes to understanding the soul and God and where we go after death, people conditioned by science say “it is unknowable”. It will be nice if some devotee scientists can someday reunite these two branches of philosophy for the good of the world. Nothing is impossible.

“The Sun-centric model is the only one, though, resulting in circular and elliptical orbits for all planets.”

That was my point, from the historical perspective of 16th through 18th centuries. Without the sun-centered model the idea of universal gravitation as the cause of planetary motion would have been missed. Cartesian scientists thought the planets were being carried along in celestial whirlpools or “vorticies,” and scoffed at gravity as an “occult” force that was not mechanical enough, acting unseen at a distance.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 28th, 2009
157 Akruranatha

Responding to #144 (cont’d) and 145:

I find that looking at history of science gives perspective and helps us see that it is really a human cultural endeavor, like art or music, and is stamped with the particular flavor of the modes of nature under which the scientists or philosophers of a given place and time are laboring.

However, the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavatam, like the holy name, is not the product of human imagination. It is a manifestation in sound and thought of the perfect spiritual perspective, both phenomenal and numinous, that has descended to our plane of experience. Because of our own impurities we are liable to misunderstand it in various ways, but by striving constantly to understand it while keeping an open, sincere (nonenvious) attitude and avoiding deleterious conduct, its awesome transcendental truth becomes gradually more and more established in our psyches. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu…

“The Bhagavatam uses a different model with a different reference point than used in modern cosmology. You recognize the difference, but you don’t understand the difference.”

Okay, do tell. Please help explain for me and anyone else who hears you what the difference is. Maybe this will clear the way for many struggling with these concepts. Please don’t be concerned about whether it is appropriate to discuss in this thread. The topic has come up, and you seem to have some knowledge about it, so why not enlighten us?

“What we’re dealing with here is members of the subtle realms (half-siblings of the devas) creating havoc. The technology used is of a daivic nature. It is not referring to Kali-yuga humans on interplanetary genocidal missions in mechanical space ships manufactured on Earth.”

Maybe, but I am not convinced. Jiva Goswami says it takes place in a kali yuga. The “deva-dvisam” mentioned here may well be Kali yuga humans who envy the devotees. It does appear that the technology is Vedic (”nigama”), but it is given by Maya, of the Danava race. “Ahimsa” and environmentalism seem to me like good arguments against modern-day space travel, which seems to be ugra karma at best. There is a lot of wisdom and order lacking on earth, and it seems rude and unnatural for us to direct our energy to spoiling outer-space, even if as byproducts of such exploration we get cell phones and microwave ovens and Tang.

I am still not sure that Maya Danava’s ilk is not involved in the NASA business and a lot of our modern technology for that matter.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 28th, 2009
158 Akruranatha

Coment on #145-146:

“Puranic cosmology also shows a broad, general consensus on a basic model. Differences show up when you look at the accounts in different Puranas, different manuscripts, and associated scriptures dealing with the same subject matter.

To claim the BBT version of the 5th Canto of the Bhagavata Purana as the only reliable, all-in-all authority on the cosmos is in my opinion not a realistic stance by any stretch of the imagination.”

Okay. What the BBT version has going for it is the imprimatur of a recognized acarya who has perfect love of Krishna. But I agree with you that Srila Prabhupada did not pretend to have comprehensive knowledge of Vedic-Puranic astronomy. He was showing us, however, by his example, that he had absolute certainty (based on direct realization) that the sages and demigods and great authorities on these subjects knew better than modern scientists.

Now, he also instilled in us a sense that to know all the details and exact measurements is not particularly important. Our main concern should always be knowing how to come to Krishna, or at least knowing how to escape the clutches of repeated birth and death. Without that knowledge, like the proverbial boatman told the professor, “100% of our life is wasted.”

But to establish that this Puranic knowledge descends from higher realms and is not, as is commonly supposed, the product of human imagination, is very much a part of our mission and the work Prabhupada expects from us.

Let me pause to tell a story on myself. I saw Prabhupada at SF Ratha Yatra in 1975 before I became a devotee, but the first time I saw him in person after I joined was in Detroit in the summer of ‘76. I guess I was staring at him, scrutinizing his gestures, wondering if he knew what I was thinking, and so on. He turned and stared at me, eyes wide, mouth opened. To this day I don’t know for sure, but I think he was mocking me for the foolish way I was staring at him.

So yes, Prabhupada did not present himself as omniscient. Arjuna said that only Krishna fully knows Himself. But Prabhupada did leave us with some reverence for divine authorities, and deflated our awe of modern science and technology.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to:
- gather as many manuscripts as possible from the Puranas and build up a text-critical version of each…?”

It might be useful, if seen in proper perspective. Our real method is “cet0 darpana marjanam.” It is not exactly an intellectual process. (cont’d)

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 28th, 2009
159 Akruranatha

Comment on #146, continued, and 147:

I agree that we should have devotees in ISKCON who are excellent scholars, but it is not exactly by scholarship that we come to understand these truths of the scriptures.

Yasya deve para bhaktir…

Prabhupada emphasized that the imports of the Vedas are revealed according to our level of faith and devotion. Lord Caitanya instructed Tapana Misra not to be a bookworm. It is really by the practice of dedicating ourselves to Krishna in single-pointed bhakti that we become enlightened with all necessary knowledge, not by theory or research or scholarship.

And yet, since we want to also reach the bookworms and scientists and wits of the world, we need some devotees who can hold their own among such people, demonstrate proficiency and earn their respect, and at the same time show them, in a way that is persuasive and attractive to them, the error of their ways.

So yes, we should have some devotees who are recognized as authorities on Vedic scholarship, but those same devotees will be pointing out that mere scholarship without devotional feeling is not the way to wisdom or understanding of the scriptures. Yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyatitarisyati tada gantasi nirvedam srotavyasya srutasya ca.

And these devotee-scholars should help resolve and explain away the misunderstandings of the various nondevotee scholars, some of whom are attached to a wrong understanding of the Vedic scriptures, and many of whom actually do openly criticize the Vedic tradition.

Now how this relates to understanding Vedic astronomy, I am not sure. Varnadi I am sure you know better than I do. To point out there are conflicting descriptions in various Puranas is useful, but a devotee should be able to offer a positive explanation.

At least with the Bhagavatam, we know that it was accepted by Lord Caitanya (Krishna Himself) and commented on by Jiva Goswami in the form we have today. [In CC, Lord Caitanya instructs Sanatana Goswami that some descriptions of Mausala Lila, etc. are not accepted by devotees, but He does not criticize the cosmology.] Lord Caitanya also favored Brahma-Samhita (the chapter He discovered), and Bhagavad-Gita (which Madhvacarya commented on), in their current forms. These scriptures at least are especially valuable to us.

If there are “more material” parts of these and other scriptures whose traditions have been neglected or allowed to fallow, maybe it is time for dedicated devotees to correct this, but…

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 28th, 2009
160 Akruranatha

Maybe it is time for learned and realized devotees to address the issue of discrepancies in scriptures with respect to exact measurements of planetary motions and so on, or at least explain them in a faithful way, but I suspect those devotees (you may be one of them Varnadiji, but you seem reluctant to share some of your conclusions) will be sensitive to the importance of practical realization and devotional conduct, and not be overly enamored by the process of mere textual scholarship or the humanist traditions (philology, etc.) any more than that of empirical science.

“Referred to as panca-bhuta (five existences), we can surmise is that these elements indicate the various states that matter exists in and their medium:”

Yes, with the caveat that the very concept of “matter” is somewhat different in the Bhaktivedanta/Sankhya model versus the modern Physics models, as is “time.” I am not sure that “analah” or fire refers to plasma state and not to energy in its various forms (we have fire in our body, but not superheated matter), and “vayuh” or air sometimes seems to include subtle prana or “chi” that appears different from matter in a gaseous state. Of course matter also includes manas, buddhi and ahankara. The striking thing (to me) about the gross elements is their association with specific senses and sense objects, and time seems very subjective, as with Lord Brahma’s moment being a year later.

Aristotelian scientists held that earth stayed at the center of the universe, while less dense elements of water, air and fire sought their respective realms. Of course, the Vedic tradition was quite mangled by then, but they thought moon, stars and planets to be not-earthly substance. But do we accept them as islands of earth or fire separated by oceans of different substances?

“My personal opinion on this is really beyond the scope of this thread, and I have already been pushing it to the limits.”

Well, I don’t want to ask you to push beyond what you are comfortable with, but if I had my way you would not feel constrained to limit yourself in any way. So, if I can do so without being impolite, I would request you to freely elaborate in as much detail as possible the solution to some of these challenges. What little you have done only whets my appetite for more, and yet you should be patient that I might not immediately and uncritically accept your explanations, particularly when they sound different to me from Prabhupada’s in mood and content.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 28th, 2009
161 Unregistered

Comment on #156-158

I mentioned earlier that I have been pushing the limits of this discussion, because I prefer to keep it on topic. Within that scope many of the things we have recently brought up fit only marginally.

I am not surprised that due to the loaded nature of the topic the discussion has a strong tendency to change from “usage of silly conspiracy theory arguments” to “science versus religion.” Yet, for me the former is more important than the latter, because it cannot but negatively impact the credibility of devotees when played out in public. This has been my point all along.

It is obvious that science doesn’t have all the answers, especially concerning anything metaphysical, despite claims of superior methodologies. It would be more accurate to say that science has progressive answers in specific areas of research only. Therefore it can never know beyond the point of research it has reached. I find this a realistic way of looking at science; one I use myself. Science is not God. It is prone to human weaknesses like failure, politics, greed, etc. Keeping this in mind, one can discern its strength and potential, and put those to good use.

”Okay, do tell. Please help explain for me and anyone else who hears you what the difference is. Maybe this will clear the way for many struggling with these concepts.”

In Mysteries of the Sacred Universe Sadaputaji explains how the Bhagavata cosmology can be interpreted in three ways: (1) geographically as a projection of the Himalayan region, (2) astronomically as a partial projection of the solar system, and (3) metaphysically as a higher dimensional perspective. I suggest you get a copy of this book to get a better idea of the complexity of Puranic cosmology.

”I am not sure that “analah” or fire refers to plasma state and not to energy in its various forms (we have fire in our body, but not superheated matter), and “vayuh” or air sometimes seems to include subtle prana or “chi” that appears different from matter in a gaseous state.”

Yes, as I mentioned, according to context Sanskrit words may differ in meaning. In the context of ayurveda fire and air mean something different than in the context of vaisesika, dhanur, vastu, etc.

”I would request you to freely elaborate in as much detail as possible the solution to some of these challenges.”

I have to decline your kind request for personal reasons.

Comment posted by WillemV on October 29th, 2009

Comments are closed. Please check back later.

 
 
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