Basic Theory of the Project

Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: “My dear King, there is no limit to the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. This material world is a transformation of the material qualities…, yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly, even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahmā” (SB 5.16.4). In this assignment we will describe the structure of this universe, or brahmāṇḍa, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Our aim is to show the Vedic picture of the universe in an appealing way to our experience

Need for the Project

Our strategy is to present the simplest possible world-picture that will harmonize the writings of ISKCON founder Acharya HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, including his translation, with commentary, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and modern Western science, given the assumption that the Bhāgavatam gives a direct and valid account of the universe. This will help us to appreciate the descriptions given in the revealed scriptures are not mythical but factual with true substance.

Approach / Work

The material presented in this report constitutes a preliminary study of Vedic cosmology as described in the Fifth Canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. To properly answer the many questions that arise, much further research will have to be done. This will include (1) study of cosmology in SB, (2) study of the movements of Sun, Moon and other planets, (3) study of the divisions of Bhu-mandala, (4) description of the model, (5) details of the model design and calculations. It is our hope that this material and the 3-D model can enable us effectively present Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the context of Vedic cosmology. This, of course, was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s plan for the Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura.

In doing this, we will draw information from the following sources: (1) The writings of Śrīla Prabhupāda, including his translation, with commentary, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, (2) The commentary of Śrīla Visvanātha Chakravarti on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, (3) other writings in the Vedic tradition, including the Sūrya-siddhānta and Bhugola varnana, and (4) modern Western science.

Conclusion / Results

In the end we come back to the observation made by Śukadeva Gosvāmī in the beginning of his description of the universe: “My dear King, there is no limit to the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. This material world is a transformation of the material qualities, yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly, even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahmā. No one in the material world is perfect, and an imperfect person could not describe this material universe accurately, even after continued speculation [SB 5.16.4].” Thus whatever we have tried to present in this document is as per our limited understanding. There is lot of scope for further refinement and improvements in our understanding and presentation.

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Bhagavata Subodhini

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