ISKCON The Moon

Published on July 7th, 2016 | by giri-nayaka-dasa--madhudvisa-dasa | Full size image

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The Moon — Sadaputa’s is the Bona Fide ISKCON Opinion?

Thank you for your letter. It is a real eye-opener for me. Probably as most other devotees, I was just considering that opinion of Sadaputa Prabhu is bonafide ISKCON opinion. I forgot that the mission of our scientists is to present Bhagavatam to karmi scientists.

Dear Madhudvisa Prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you for your letter. It is a real eye-opener for me. Probably as most other devotees, I was just considering that opinion of Sadaputa Prabhu is bonafide ISKCON opinion. I forgot that the mission of our scientists is to present Bhagavatam to karmi scientists. As Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu quoted:

“Regarding the scientists, we have entrusted our own three scientists namely Svarupa Damodara, Sadaputa, and Madhva and we leave the matter to them, we do not say anything ourselves, but are leaving it to them.”

So their methods may be valued in that way. As Danavir Maharaja writes in his book: “The job with which Vedic scientists are faced is to utilize their knowledge of the material world to provide to the materially-affected persons that what is stated in the shastras is perfect and unasillable, even by material calculations”.

And then he continues with saying for devotees that: “A Devotee should be satisfied with the knowledge and parameters given to him by the spiritual authorities. …”

It is so clear, thank you for pointing this out.

>
> However if we transfer the same absolute faith to some other devotee and
> that devotee turns out not to be on the highest transcendental platform
> that can be very dangerous for our spiritual advancement. In Hari-Bhakti
>
> So knowingly or unknowingly you have accepted Sadaputa Prabhu as your
> spiritual master. You have accepted his words on the same absolute
> platform as Srila Prabhupada’s words. But you do not really know if
> Sadaputa is a self-realized soul who has seen the truth.

I don’t think the problem is not so much in being on highest transcendental platform or not. I’d rather maintain the view that the mission of Sadaputa Prabhu is to explain Bhagavatam to karmi scientists, and to teach other devotees how to do the same. But as far as understanding of devotees goes, we should be satisfied with Bhagavatam itself. I heard this later statement so many times, and thought I understand it, but just see….

> It is quite well known in ISKCON that Sadaputa Prabhu is siding with the
> scientists. Danavir Maharaja has even published a big, big book on this
> subject challenging Sadaputa’s most recent cosmology book. It is called
> Vedic Cosmology and you can get it at

Yes, the book of Danavir Maharaja! I purchased it quite a while ago, but was still waiting on the bookshelf. Yesterday I opened it and there it is, simple and pure view on Bhagavatam, “Vedic Cosmology Taken Literally”. Pure nectar. I don’t think it will pass with scientists though, but it sure brings nectar to devotees.

I noticed that you already had some discussion on this points with Gauranga Premananda das and Madhu Gopal das.

>
> In this book Maharaja shows very clearly how Sadaputa is deviating from
> the teachings of Srila Prabhupada in so many ways and siding with the
> scientists.

Well, deviating is strong word, and it implies on purposeful intention to distort. I rather see it as part of his work, to present SB to scientists in their way. Problem is in our response to his work. Maybe we just need to accept, that his books are not ment for devotees, but for scientifically oriented karmis. This is his preaching, one of many bridge preachings in ISKCON.

>
> You have somehow accepted Sadaputa as your guru without going through the
> system of checks and balances, and you are instructing the people who come
> to you with the teachings of Sadaputa. The checks to see if a guru is bona
> fide are 3. Guru-sadhu-sastra. He must preach in line with his guru, he
> must preach from the sastra and his teachings must be in line with the
> recognized and approved sadhus. Otherwise he is not a guru.

You are hard on this point, I see. Even if I agree, that I accepted Sadaputa prabhu as siksa guru, this still doesn’t require him to be actually qualified as Guru. It just shows my foolishness. I can take from him any valuable siksa, and apply it according to my judgement. I can take siksa from any devotee, like for example local temple president, although he is not Guru. But how i react to such siksa, that is my responsibility. Anyway, we can discuss this points aBOUT Guru understanding in another thread on “Understanding Srila Prabhupada’s Teachings” conference.

>
> The whole basis of Krishna consciousness is to receive perfect knowledge
> from a perfect authority. That is getting knowledge from the descending
> process, not the ascending process.

And that perfect authority is in our case of course Srila Prabhupada, and of course any other devotee, who is strictly presenting teachings of Srila Prabhupada. I considered Sadaputa prabhu as strictly presenting SP, but I may adjust my understanding about this in near future. Give me some time, please, to consult some devotees. I will write in conference about my findings.

>
> So the bigger picture here is not really about the moon at all. It is if
> we should accept knowledge gained by the ascending process or knowledge
> gained by the descending process.

Yes, exactly. And this is exactly what this conference is all about. To differentiate what is Srila Prabhupada, and what not, to understand his teachings. Thank you for pointing this things out.

> Exactly what the Suriya Siddhanta says we really do not know. When people

Danavir Maharaja in his book says the following about consulting Surya Siddhanta, Siddhanta Siromani and Aryabhatiya: “Although Srila Prabhupada didn’t recommend that these be consulted, they are nonetheless being used by some of today’s Vedically-oriented writings, even antithetically to the direct meaning of the Srimad Bhagavatam’s statements. Thus these nineteenth century texts are included as a reference to prevent their misuse.”

> they have is a “predictive model.” That means they have observed what is
> going on in the sky and made some hypothesis, which really means “educated
> guess” as to what is going on. Then they make predictions of what will

Thats obvious. What else could they have? They are observing from the faaaaaar.

We can easily privide to them explanation, which will be viewed by them as another predictive model. They may not agree, but at least they will value it as another “predictive model”. And we can be happy, to know that it is model of reality, not just another predictive model. I hope that Vedic Plentarium can provide such model to them for alternative, and to us for inspiration.

> it serves their purpose. The Suriya siddhanta is not based on the
> Bhagavata astronomy. It comes from a book from an even earlier Indian
> astronomer. I am not very knowledgeable on these things. You could do some
> research and let me know.

Lets see. I’m personally not so much into astronomy, I just deal with it because Srila Prabhupada spoke of it, otherwise I have no special inclination towards it. If I get some additional information, I will post it here, for sure.

>
> But the Bhagavatam is different. It is not a predictive model. The

Exactly. Lets see how it develops with Vedic Planetarium. I will speak personally with one devotee, astrophysics PhD, who is involved in planetarium project. I will ask those points about distances, lets see what will be the answer. I will post here asap.

ys gnd


Dear Giri-Nayaka Prabhu

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

>You are opening a whole new point of view here. I see, my problem was, that
>I accepted explanations of Sadaputa prabhu for bonfide as by definition. I
>never considered, that he may be wrong, since I had faith, that he knows
>what he is talking about.

This is certainly a problem. We can not blindly accept. Of course if you blindly accept Srila Prabhupada there is no problem. It is proven far beyond any question of doubt that Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna and if we simply accept everything he says as the absolute truth we will not go wrong.

However if we transfer the same absolute faith to some other devotee and that devotee turns out not to be on the highest transcendental platform that can be very dangerous for our spiritual advancement. In Hari-Bhakti Vilasa it is recommended that before accepting a spiritual master he should live with him and serve him and enquire from him with the object of testing him to see if he can actually deliver us from the cycle of birth and death. We know Krishna tells us tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jannainas tattva darsinah. Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master, render service unto him, enquire from him submissively, such a self realized soul can give you real knowledge because he has seen the truth.

The key here is that the spiritual master must be a self realized soul who has seen the truth. Otherwise, if he has not seen the truth himself, how can he teach the truth to us?

So knowingly or unknowingly you have accepted Sadaputa Prabhu as your spiritual master. You have accepted his words on the same absolute platform as Srila Prabhupada’s words. But you do not really know if Sadaputa is a self-realized soul who has seen the truth.

>Although you plainly reduce authority of Sadaputa Prabhu, I hope you can
>understand if I take some time before doing the same. I will try to gather
>some more opinions, maybe some explanation pops out, which will prove, that
>Srila Prabhupada is correct, but also that Sadaputa prabhu is correct. I
>believe there may be some explanation lie this, I will try to find it.

It is quite well known in ISKCON that Sadaputa Prabhu is siding with the scientists. Danavir Maharaja has even published a big, big book on this subject challenging Sadaputa’s most recent cosmology book. It is called Vedic Cosmology and you can get it at http://www.thekrishnastore.com/Detail.bok?no=1807

In this book Maharaja shows very clearly how Sadaputa is deviating from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada in so many ways and siding with the scientists.

You have somehow accepted Sadaputa as your guru without going through the system of checks and balances, and you are instructing the people who come to you with the teachings of Sadaputa. The checks to see if a guru is bona fide are three. Guru-sadhu-sastra. He must preach in line with his guru, he must preach from the sastra and his teachings must be in line with the recognized and approved sadhus. Otherwise he is not a guru.

>I can only agree with your observation of hopeless situation, in which
>academics are, due to their huge false ego.

False ego is of course the symptom of the bodily concept of life. Really that is what it means. Ego means self so false ego means a false understanding of the self, or understanding the self to be the body. So ultimately you are right, the scientists are in a hopeless situation due to their false ego. But the main point is all conditioned souls have 4 defects. We make mistakes, cheat, have imperfect senses and are illusioned. So these 4 imperfections render all knowledge coming from “scientific research” practically useless. That is the real point. There are 2 ways of receiving knowledge. One is the ascending process. That is the “scientific process” of observation and experimentation. But we do not accept that process as being a valid way of receiving knowledge because of the aforementioned 4 defects. The other process is the descending process. That is to receive knowledge from an authority. And that is a perfect process, if you can find a perfect authority.

The whole basis of Krishna consciousness is to receive perfect knowledge from a perfect authority. That is getting knowledge from the descending process, not the ascending process.

This idea that we can not understand the world around us and the universe and how things are working on our own strength by scientific research but rather if we want real knowledge about these things we have to hear it from someone who knows is not very attractive to scientists who have dedicated their whole lives to and who have become completely captivated by the “scientific process” of observation and experimentation.

So the bigger picture here is not really about the moon at all. It is if we should accept knowledge gained by the ascending process or knowledge gained by the descending process.

Prabhupada’s strong condemnation of scientists is based on the fact that the “scientific process” is fundamentally flawed. One can never get perfect knowledge through the “scientific process” because of the 4 defects in all conditioned souls, the tendency to cheat, imperfect senses, mistakes and illusion.

It is our desire to establish in the world an understanding that if one wants real knowledge he has to get it from someone who knows. Through the descending process. We can not even understand material things by the ascending process, what to speak of spiritual subject matters.

>1. If Sadaputa Prabhu is wrong, then how to understand properly his work,
>and how to see his endeavors to be connected to Srila Prabhupada?

Sadaputa Prabhu has done a great deal of valuable work and research and so much service for Srila Prabhupada. But the reality is that things change. We can be Krishna conscious one day and in maya the next. We all have that independence. We can choose to serve Krishna or we can choose to serve maya. So because we may do some very nice sincere service for Srila Prabhupada does not mean that automatically everything we do forever will also automatically be on the same transcendental platform. You cannot blindly accept, you have to test, and that is what Danavir Maharaja has done in his book and Sadaputa’s most recent cosmology book certainly fails that test in so many ways.

>2. You condemn the scientists understanding, but how to understand the view
>of Surya Siddhanta, which agrees with observations of scientists. Surya
>Siddhanta was taken seriously both by Srila Prabhupada, and of course by
>Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who took his time to translate it to
>bengali and for that received title Siddhanta Saraswati.

Before becoming “Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura” he was knowen as Bimal Prasada datta. And he was a great scholar and astronomer/astrologer. Prabhupada has described that every type of philosophy is there in India. Even atheism is there, the leader of the atheists is Chavaka Muni who said: Rnam krtva… Somehow get money, buy ghee and enjoy. Similarly all astrological knowledge is there in India, so the Western astronomical model is also present in India.

Exactly what the Suriya Siddhanta says we really do not know. When people translate something with a certain object in mind they find what they want to say and present that quote. It is one of the four defects mentioned before, the tendency to cheat. I can not speak authoratively on what is in the Suriya Siddhanta except that it is a translation of a much older Indian astrological/astronomical text.

I can let you know one thing however. I have discussed these issues with western astronomers in great detail and any thoughtful western astronomer will agree that they really have no idea how the universe is working. What they have is a “predictive model.” That means they have observed what is going on in the sky and made some hypothesis, which really means “educated guess” as to what is going on. Then they make predictions of what will happen in the sky according to their hypothesis and then test to see if that is actually what is happening. In this way they have come up with a predictive model which fairly accurately predicts what we see happening in the sky. And they have speculated things like gravity causes heavenly bodies to rotate around other heaver things in space. They have speculated that the earth and all other planets are rotating around the sun. And they have discovered this does not match the observations if the orbits are circular, so they have made the orbits oblongs. That means the earth is sometimes closer to the sun and sometimes farther away, etc. But if analyzed minutely there are many, many problems with their model.

As I was saying if you approach a thoughtful astronomer he will agree that all he has is a predictive model. All he knows is that by relying on the educated guesses the model is based on they can predict and explain to a certain degree of accuracy the position of the heavenly bodies at a particular point in time.

And as far as the Suriya siddhanta is concerned, that was mainly used by astrologers, astronomy and astrology were one in India and astronomy was to accurately determine the positions of the planets and constellations for the purpose of making astrological charts. So they need a predictive model. If it predicts the positions of the heavenly bodies that is fine, it serves their purpose. The Suriya siddhanta is not based on the Bhagavata astronomy. It comes from a book from an even earlier Indian astronomer. I am not very knowledgeable on these things. You could do some research and let me know.

But the Bhagavatam is different. It is not a predictive model. The Bhagavatam is spoken by Sukadeva Goswami who has heard it from his father Vyasadeva who has heard it from Narada Muni, who has heard it from his father Lord Brahma who created the universe!!! So if you have information directly from the creator of the universe who built everything and who, sitting on his lotus flower seat, can see the whole universe and who knows EXACTLY how it is working, and you have information from one of our “frog in the well” scientists who has no means of seeing more than what he can see out of the top of his 3 foot well, who would you take more seriously?

So the point is we have the prefect knowledge of the universe in the Bhagavatam. It does not agree with the ideas of modern science. Prabhupada has declared that the scientists are fools and rascals and that their “scientific process” is fundamentally flawed and useless. So if we are followers of Srila Prabhupada we have to accept this and instead of turning to science and mental speculation and intellectual juggling to try and discover the answers by the ascending process on our own strength, we can simply surrender to Srila Prabhupada, surrender to Krishna, and hear from a perfect authority. The knowledge will be revealed to us by Krishna from within our hearts. That is the only way we will understand it. These things are all avan manasa gochara, beyond the power of our mind to conceive and beyond the ability of our senses to perceive. If we want the real knowledge we have to find a perfect authority and hear from him…

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Your servant

Madhudvisa dasa

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7 Responses to The Moon — Sadaputa’s is the Bona Fide ISKCON Opinion?

  1. kishore gupta says:

    I have been looking into iskcon for a while and i love many aspects of it but lately i have read some things that really bother me. In regards to the moon landings i personally believe the happened but even if they didnt happen all those years ago, in the modern era there are probes that have been sent there. also there are probes on mars, ie the mars rover and they have sent probes to Saturn and Jupiter and there moons with pictures sent back. so when prabhupad says that we cannot get there with mechanical methods, this is false. unless all of nasa, the russian and indian and china space program are all one conspiracy! also how can the moon be further away than the sun from the earth. this is a ridiculous claim, that is apparently said in the srimad bhagvatam. these kind of claims remind me of christian creationist where they believe the universe is only 6000 years old. you both are taking the scriptures so literally and when science goes against it then there are some outrageous claims made.
    This is the same with iskcon believing that humans have been on this earth for billions of years and lived with dinosaurs. i really hoped that we didnt have a christian type creationists within hinduism but it seems that we have and that really is not good for our belief system.

    • sugriva says:

      …..and if they were able to do that in the 60’s….how come today they can’t go higher than 400 miles with a human being…….personally I call this bull……I dont belive a word…..and all their photos are fake, explain that.
      ….and I must strongly disagree withthe opinion of dear Sadaputa Prabhu being of track with Prabhupada….I can’t believe my eyes…he did nothing but use science to confirm the Bhagavatam….you can’t go around saying he wasn’t self realized….if you can you either didn’t know him ….or your not self realized either…..which would put your opinion in question also.

      • Hare Krishna Sugriva

        Sadaputa never believed in the Bhagavatam. It is very hard for a scientist so invested in the western scientific way of thinking to believe that it could be wrong. And Sadaputa could not believe that science could be so wrong. Maybe in the early days he was believing the Bhagavatam to some extent and of course on some points where there is obvious scientific proof that the Bhagavatam is correct like the in the case of the evolution of man. Sadaputa and Drutakrama Prabhus did some very good preaching on the “Hidden History of the Human Race” where they exposed the fact that scientists are suppressing the proof that their theories in this regard are false and they put a very convincing case based on this suppressed archeological evidence that the conclusion of the Bhagavatam, that the human race did not evolve and has been here a very, very long time, is correct. So in that regard he did a lot of great preaching.

        But certainly his final book on the Bhagavatam giving many indirect interpretations of what is written there proves that he was not prepared to accept what the Bhagavatam says as being factual.

        Anyhow there is still a lot of work to be done in this field of scientific preaching and quite frankly the Bhaktivedanta Institute in all these years has not achieved anything at all substantial. They have not been able to disprove any of the scientist’s bogus godless ideas, really they have achieved nothing. A lot of Sadaputtas work was trying to explain the that Bhagavatam agrees with modern science. But on most issues it presents truths that are radically different from the Western scientific ideas…

        Anyhow, they have left the work in this regard for others to do so some devotees who have a scientific mind should read Prabhupada’s books and understand and realize the subject matter and preach it to the scientists and convince them that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead…

        Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

        Madhudvisa dasa

  2. marco says:

    Hi, I have read with interest the debate on this page and would like to add a new slant, for what its worth, on the discussion.

    There are very good reasons WHY there still so much interest and investment (i.e. $ trillions taxed from all of us) being poured into exploring Moon and Mars. It is not just about claiming scientific victory. Some world leaders KNOW that at the current rate of consumption, our natural resources will not last. In anticipation, they send probes and missions to seek extra-terrestrial natural resources (esp. oil and minerals) and claim early ownership and control (the symbolical meaning of planting the flag) in expectation of the opportunity and means to exploit and enrich their nations from such resources. In this, present day leaders of the world share a common mindset with ancient demoniac kings like Ravana, Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakasipu, Kamsa and Bali who have all conquered the higher planets to plunder the riches of the demigods. History does tend to repeat itself.

  3. mervin says:

    haribol
    id like to comment on the moon landing. if the americans did go to the “moon”
    it was not the home of lord chandra it was a local studio.
    as per srila prabupada man will not go or set foot on any planet in this yuga.

    hollywood are masters of illusion so are nasa etc. science fiction cant compare to vedic truth cause vedic truth is eternal.
    below is from the srimad bhagavatam. where was nasa etc when we had this knowledge millenia ago. this is the age of illusion and illogic and blockbuster movie landings that where made in studios. RADIATION PREVENTS MAN FROM GOING TO OTHER PLANETS. THE VAN ALLEN BELT IN SPACE IS NOT A MYTH ITS A FACT.

    1 yojan = 8 miles = 12,8 km

    Dhruvaloka, the polestar, is 3,800,000 yojanas above the sun. Above Dhruvaloka by 10,000,000 yojanas is Maharloka, above Maharloka by 20,000,000 yojanas is Janaloka, above Janaloka by 80,000,000 yojanas is Tapoloka, and above Tapoloka by 120,000,000 yojanas is Satyaloka. Thus the distance from the sun to Satyaloka is 233,800,000 yojanas, or 1,870,400,000 miles. The Vaikuntha planets begin 26,200,000 yojanas (209,600,000 miles) above Satyaloka. Thus the Visnu Purana describes that the covering of the universe is 260,000,000 yojanas (2,080,000,000 miles) away from the sun

    The moon is situated 100,000 yojanas above the rays of the sunshine. Day and night on the heavenly planets and Pitrloka are calculated according to its waning and waxing. Above the moon by a distance of 200,000 yojanas are some stars, and above these stars is Sukra-graha (Venus), whose influence is always auspicious for the inhabitants of the entire universe. Above Sukra-graha by 200,000 yojanas is Budha-graha (Mercury), whose influence is sometimes auspicious and sometimes inauspicious. Next, above Budha-graha by 200,000 yojanas, is Angaraka (Mars), which almost always has an unfavorable influence. Above Angaraka by another 200,000 yojanas is the planet called Brhaspati-graha (Jupiter), which is always very favorable for qualified brahmanas. Above Brhaspati-graha is the planet Sanaiscara (Saturn), which is very inauspicious, and above Saturn is a group of seven stars occupied by great saintly persons who are always thinking of the welfare of the entire universe. These seven stars circumambulate Dhruvaloka, which is the residence of Lord Visnu within this universe.

    KRSNA IS GOD.

  4. India is only saying what America wants them to say…

    You know America announced that their probe discovered water on the moon and then, only after America announced it, ISRO says “Yes, we also discovered water on the moon but we did not want to say anything about it…” They only announced their findings after America announced they had found it…

    These “photos” are some blued marks only.

    Anyhow we shall see. Maybe ISRO will put a man on the moon and build something practical up there and actually do something on the moon that can be detected from the Earth by anyone who has a reasonable sized telescope. That would be proof that they were on the moon. We are waiting for something solid proof like that…

    Yes. Your idea of chanting Hare Krishna and going back to Godhead is the main point. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy! But it will not work very well unless you have faith in Srila Prabhupada and he did not have much faith in NASA. So we, as followers of Prabhuapda, do not have much faith in NASA.

    If they have been or not been to the moon it does not matter so much. But Srila Prabhupada seriously doubted they went anywhere near the moon. So we also doubt it. We are still waiting for the proof. If they can prove it fair enough. But so far there is no proof…

    Chant Hare Krishna and be happy…

    Madhudvisa dasa

  5. satyajeet says:

    recent photographs from the indian space mission to moon chandrayaan has showed pictures of the landing sites of the american spacecrafts of the apollo missions
    clearly indicating that those missions were not hoax or paper moon.

    so there is no point argueing on the point whether americans really went to moon or not.

    my point is that may be due to our imperfect senses we are not able to understand the information given in the bhagavatam properly or because of our past conditioning we are not able to realise the truth.

    it is stated that maya covers our true knowledge and even covers the covering so that we are in total illusion.

    so whether the americans went to moon or not ,they were still inside this material world full of sufferings.

    thus we should not waste our valuable time and energy in trying to explain some material phenomenon .

    rather we should just chant hare krishna , be happy and go back home back to godhead, as simple as that


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