Published on October 26th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa


The Universe and Time

You have tried to calculate Lord Brahma’s age by using some figure the scientists think is correct for the age of the earth. But their figures and their thinking is not very useful. The problem is they work with information they perceive through their senses and their senses are imperfect. The whole process of science, which is observation and experiment, is flawed because all our observations are perceived through our imperfect

Dear Lars

Hello. Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. It’s wonderful to hear from you again. Thanks for the thought-provoking questions.

You have tried to calculate Lord Brahma’s age by using some figure the scientists “think” is correct for the age of the earth. But their figures and their “thinking” is not very useful. The problem is they work with information they perceive through their senses and their senses are imperfect. The whole process of science, which is observation and experiment, is flawed because all our observations are perceived through our imperfect senses. We see the world through our senses. We do not actually see the world. We cannot see the world because our senses will not allow us to. But we have put great faith in what we can see with our eyes and experience with our other senses.

There is a story often told by Srila Prabhupada of a frog in a well. The well is three-feet wide and the frog was born there and has spent all his life at the bottom of this well. To him that well is the universe and his senses cannot perceive anything beyond the well. So he tries to understand everything by relating it to his experience at the bottom of the well… So one day another frog hops into his well and says, “I have seen a vast mass of water. It is called the Atlantic Ocean.” So our frog says, “Oh yes, is it twice as big as my well?” His friend goes on to say how vast the Atlantic Ocean is, but our frog can only think in terms of his well. To him his well is the entire universe, very important and big indeed… So he cannot even imagine such a vast expanse of water as the Atlantic Ocean. Our scientist friends are no better off than the frog in the bottom of the well. Their view of the universe is no more expansive than the small circle of sky the frog can see out of the top of his well. Of course our Dr. Frog can look up into the sky and sometimes see blue sky, sometimes clouds, sometimes a black background with twinkling stars, and he can make so much science and philosophy to explain it all. But what use is such science and philosophy and what hope really has Dr. Frog got of actually stumbling on the truth?

So the Vedic process for receiving knowledge is different. The Vedic process does not depend on our senses or our intellectual speculation. The Vedic process is to accept the perfect knowledge descending through the disciplic succession. We have to get the knowledge from someone who knows. That is the process–one has to accept authority. Although these days people do not like to accept authority, everyone does accept authority in every step of their lives. When we get in the car we have to accept the authority of the road rules, the authority of the police; when we go to work we have to accept the authority of our supervisor; even when we speak of science we have to accept the authority of some previous scientist as you have when saying the scientists “think” the universe is “about” 15 billion years old… There is nothing certain in science and what they “think” today may well be completely different to what they thought last year or what they will think next year. So what’s the use of it? We have to get the knowledge from someone who knows. There is no point accepting someone as our authority who “thinks” it “might be” “about”…

As far as the creation of the universe, according to the perfect authority, guru [the bona fide spiritual master], sadhu {the great saints] and sastra [the Vedas], it is perfectly described. If we get knowledge from this source that is perfect knowledge. It will never change. It was always true in the past, it is true now and it will continue to be true in the future.

The creation of the universe is very extensively described in the early cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam and one interested in understanding this subject in depth should make a serious study of the Bhagavatam. I will attempt to briefly summarize the process of creation below.

An important point is the creation is cyclic. Although this universe is created, it exists for some time and ultimately it will be destroyed, the cycle continues and another universe will be created, exist for some time and then be destroyed again. So the cycle is eternal and the material elements are eternal, they are conserved at the time of the destruction of one universe and the same elements are used for the creation of another universe. Also there is not just one universe. Everything we can see in the sky is within only one universe as there is a very thick outer covering of each universe so it is not possible for light to travel from one universe to another. Therefore, by our observations and experiments we can never detect these other universes. The only way we can know about them is if we get the information from someone who knows.

There is an elaborate description of how Visnu [Krishna] creates the shell of the universe. When the shell is created Visnu enters within the universe and from His body produces a huge amount of water that half-fills the universe. He then lies down on the water as if sleeping. After some time a giant lotus stem grows from His abdomen and after some time a bud appears on the top of the stem and the flower opens. At this time Lord Brahma, the first living entity born in the universe, takes birth on the lotus flower. So you will note that quite some time has already passed from the time Visnu [Krishna] actually created the universe until the time Brahma took birth.

When Brahma was born on the top of the lotus the universe was completely dark. There was no sun, no moon, no stars. All Brahma could do was feel around on his lotus-seat. Initially Brahma, like our modern scientists, tried to understand the universe using the strength of his own abilities of observation, experiment and mental speculation. He spent some time exploring his lotus and worked out it’s basic dimensions. He even started climbing underneath and discovered the stem. So he thought if he climbed down the stem he could discover it’s source. So he climbed down and down for many, many years. But he could not find the source.

So bewildered and frustrated he returned to the top of the lotus none the wiser after his many, many years of “scientific” observation and experimentation. Then he heard a vibration in the sky, “ta-pa.” This is a Sanskrit word meaning “austerity.” So he could understand this was a message to let him know he should perform austerity and meditate and the knowledge would be revealed from within his heart. So Brahma sat on his lotus for many, many years meditating and performing austerity. After a long time he could see Visnu within his heart and all the Vedic knowledge was revealed to him from within.

“Here in this material world everyone is in ignorance–everyone, even Brahma. Brahma, he was ignorant, but he was given knowledge by Krsna. Tene brahma hrda adi-kavaye. Adi-kavi means Brahma. So the Vedic knowledge, tene brahma… Brahma means this Vedic knowledge, sabda-brahman. So there was one creature, Brahma only, but he was educated. How he was educated? Hrda. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese arjuna tisthati. Because, at that time, there was no other way but to transfer the knowledge from within. Buddhi-yogam dadami tam yena mam upayanti te. That is caitya-guru, Krsna, Paramatma. So Brahma was also educated. That means beginning from Brahma down to the small insect, they are all in ignorance, all fools and rascals. That is the constitutional position. Nobody should be proud of his knowledge. Everyone is a rascal, everyone. Here it is said, klisyamananam avidya-kama-karmabhih. So Brahma is desiring that “If I can get the opportunity, the post of Brahma, and I can create a big universe…” He was also thinking like that. And the small insects, it is also thinking like that–“If I can create a small hole within the room, then I can live very peacefully and eat.” The same propensity. As Brahma is thinking to create an universe, you are thinking to create an skyscraper building, the ant is thinking to create a hole within the room–the quality of the work is the same.” (741015SB.MAY Lectures)


So, armed with the Vedic knowledge Brahma went about creating the universe and populating it. So Visnu is the primary creator. He creates the basic universal shell and provides all the raw materials and also places the living entities within the material world. Lord Brahma is the secondary creator. He works with the materials provided by Visnu to actually create the planets and he supervises the population of them, etc.

You have calculated Lord Brahma may be only two years old using the scientists figures, but although I do not know Brahma’s age exactly, we can see quite a lot more than two days have passed from Brahma’s birth to the point where he receives the knowledge of the Vedas [which enables him to create the universe] from Visnu within his heart.

The other point is the creation of the universe and the creation of earth are not necessarily the same thing. Of course, in one sense, nothing is created. The matter exists eternally, it is simply transformed in different ways. But the universe develops gradually. First everything is covered by water so there are only aquatics, then gradually the water starts to dry up and we get land, trees, insects, birds and animals, etc.

You have asked if earth will face a major disaster in a few maha-yuga cycles. Well, this is a place for major disasters. The biggest major disaster we can see in front of us right now. This earth planet, which is the most auspicious place in the whole universe because it is the place where Krishna and Lord Caitanya appear, is currently almost completely absorbed in materialism and sense gratification with practically no spiritual life evident anywhere. Even the so-called temples and churches have become simply places of business where completely materialistic people act as so-called gurus and priests and exploit the religious sentiment of the people in general to make money and enjoy sense gratification. That is the major disaster we are facing right now and we, as followers of Srila Prabhupada, have the process to rectify this major disaster. The process is chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra. That is the way to avert the current major disaster.

Of course there will be a major disaster. At the end of Lord Brahma’s day there is a partial devistation and at the end of his life there is a complete devistation. Also sometimes [or always according to some commentators] there is a partial devastation at the end of each Manu’s life. So there are plenty of major disasters in this world. It’s a place for major disasters. We should not be very surprised about that. It’s a dangerous place. There is danger at every step. So a thoughtful person will not want to stay in such a place full of danger and disasters. He will take to Krishna consciousness very seriously so at the end of this life he will remember Krishna and go back home, back to Godhead…

“One last thing I would like to ask you. The Surpreme Lord descended about 5000 years ago. I’ve learned that He does that once in every Kalpa. Will this make the present Kali-yuga a special one e.g. Good news: this Kali-yuga will not be as bad than the previous ones or bad news: this Kali-yuga will be as bad as it could ever be.”

There are so many incarnations of the Supreme Lord. It is not that he just appears once in a kalpa. A kalpa is a day of Lord Brahma and a day of Lord Brahma is described in Bhagavad-gita to be 1,000 cycles of the four yugas [satya, tretya, dvapara and kali]. So if you multiply 1,000 by 4,300,000 that is one day of Lord Brahma in earth years or one kalpa. In one kalpa there are so many incarnations of the Lord. But in that period of one day of Lord Brahma, one kalpa, Krishna and Lord Caitanya only appear once in this universe! And they only appear on earth! And we are on earth and Lord Caitanya just appeared five hundred years ago! And we have Krishna’s pure devotee His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to guide us. So how fortunate we are. Lord Caitanya and Krishna only appear once in 4,300,0000,000 earth years and we are here now at just the right moment to take part in Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtana movement. So we should not miss the chance.

So this is not an ordinary Kali-yuga at all. It is very special indeed.

There are many Kali-yuga’s when Krishna does not appear. But there is always an incarnation of God, a yuga-avatara, so there are many incarnations of God in every yuga. That is a very detailed subject matter which is covered very nicely in the Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila. But there are always incarnations in every age.

Your questions are so deep that to answer them fully would take a very large book indeed. Best thing is to very seriously study Srila Prbhupada’s books, particularly the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and you will find all the answers to all your questions to your full satisfaction. Hope this letter is of some help. Looking forward to hearing from you again. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Madhudvisa dasa

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

13 Responses to The Universe and Time

  1. Sadhusanga das says:

    Dear Madhudvisa prabhu. I understand that this universe in 4 billion miles in diameter, and that there are multiple layers of elements enclosing our universe. It is impossible to ‘see’ beyond the shell of this universe. How is it then, that scientists claim the vast expansiveness our our ‘universe’? They claim so many billions and billions of ‘light years’ distance. How is it possible that these people are making these observation errors? Is the whole concept of distance a ‘distorted illusion”? Please clarify this for me if you can. Thank you, Sadhusanga das.

    • It is because of the mirrors…

      The universe is only 4 billion miles across. But it is surrounded by mirrors going up very high, higher than the polestar, and in the center there is Mt Meru, solid gold, ie a mirror.

      So universe is a house of mirrors, this confuses the scientists about the distances and makes things [like the stars for existance] to appear to be in a completely different place to where they actually are…

      This is the problem one gets when he relies on sense perception, our senses are imperfect, so any “knowledge” deduced from sense perception, it is bound to be incorrect.

      • Sadhusanga das says:

        Yes! This has been my understanding. I was actually researching the concept of the ‘infinity mirror effect’ done over the years by various artists and scientists. They have all concluded that ‘Distance perception’ is totally distorted and cannot be resolved when inside a mirrored enclosure… even with sophisticated instruments. This is why the Hubble theory of an expanding universe based on the ‘red shift’ of (so called) galaxies is a complete distorted illusion. I am in the process of designing a model of this concept that will include a small video camera inside an ‘egg shaped’ mirrored enclosure (brahmanda universe). Thank you for your reply! Sadhusanga das

        • Hare Krishna Prabhu

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

          Yes. It is all in Srimad-Bhagavatam Fifth Canto but I don’t think anyone in ISKCON has read it…

          Actually it seems sisumara-chakra, with all the stars, planets, etc, fixed on the outside of sisumara-chakra, sometimes described as being like a dolphin swimming in the sky with its tail up towards the polestar and sometimes as a coiled serpent, that is the real actual situation of the stars. They are not actually out there on the dome as some imagine, they are not out there light years away as the scientists imagine. No. They are looking at reflections. The stars are basically being projected onto that golden ring of mountains that go up very very high, like a huge golden projection screen all around the universe. And the ‘projector’, that is the sisumara chakra, dolphin swimming in the sky with its tail up and head down. And that is up there above Mt Meru, probably blocked from our vision by Mt Meru, so we can’t see actually sisumara chakra.

          Stars do not look like this to us, all situated on various parts of a dolphin’s body. No. For us the stars are all around. So we are seeing the projection of the stars from the sisumara chakra which is rotation with all stars in fixed positions of its body so that is causing the projection of the stars to move around on the round golden dome-like projection screen all around the universe…

          So it is all mostly a projection.

          I do not understand it very completely yet. But I am quite sure there are mirrors involved in what we are seeing in the sky. Making the universe appear to be so much bigger than it actually is…

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Your servant

          Madhudvisa dasa

  2. Aditya Singh says:

    Hare Krishna prabhuji,

    I am a student studying in tenth class and my question is that is time travel possible?
    Actually I have done many mistakes and I want to correct them. Please reply.

    Thank you

    • Hare Krishna Aditya

      No. Time travel is not possible, except we are all traveling forward in time, that will go on and can not be stopped.

      So we have all done things in the past that, if we had the chance to do it again, would not have done it. But it does not matter. The past is the past and we can not change it. But we can change the future. Past does not matter. People have short memories and forget anyhow. But the future is ahead of us and we can certainly change the future by chanting:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. sanjiv says:

    Hare Krishna

    From where i can get all 80 books of Prabhupada Ji ?

  4. Göran says:

    Yes! It is the ultimate truth. Chant Hare Krishna and stay high 4-ever!

    Please dear God Sri Krishna let me live with devotees, eat prasadam, sing Kirtan, dance, be happy, study and spread Krishna consciousness, travel to India and see many nice people and places all around the world. Please Krishna bestow mercy with me. Let me be your eternal servant. Fill me with love, joy, beauty, fullfilment in life and lots of happiness and more love and joy. Lord Sri Krishna dearmost friend and Supreme Personality of Godhead, bless me with knowledge, freedom, good companionship and everlasting bliss, and ecstatic joy! Let me be free from illnesses, physical and mental distress, let me be good.

    Let me sing joyfully! 🙂 And dance… <3 🙂

  5. Dharmadas says:

    Hare Krishna, Hari OM! Thank you for posting this. It is full of knowledge.


  6. Mudit Agarwal says:

    Hare Krishna

    i had a querry… as we rightly beleive that this kaliyuga is indeed special as lord krishna appears on earth 5000 years ago, but wht abount previous kaliyugas or satyugas/dwapar yugas and treta yugas.

    we know that Lord Ram appears in treta yug, will he appear again in upcoming treta yuga after this kaliyuga….will all the avatars like matasya/ vaman etc happen again at same pace as it was in previous kalpas, or there will be seperate some new avatar tht will be taking place.?

    Second querry:
    as we all know that their are millions of universe, so obiviously there will be millions of earth in each universe, ao when a lord takes an avatar, then did he appear simultaneously on every earth or he appears only on our earth.?

    Final Querry:

    This universe is so big….how can we are sure that it has only one earth, there could be possibly millions of earth in each universe, then ….will the cycle of yugas move at same pace or diffrent on each earth…for eg. if we had kaliyuga on our easth then will it be kaliyuga on other earth or some other yuga like dwapar/treta, satyug etc?

  7. SarChasm says:

    If I were the provost at Frog University, I would certainly look into revoking Dr. Frog’s credentials, as he is clearly not a very smart frog.

    I wouldn’t fault him for not being able to discern the size and nature of the Earth (at least not right away), but he certainly should be able to use his little frog slide-rule and observations about the movement of shadows around the inside of the well to calculate the distance to the Sun and the length of the Solar year. He should also be able to detect the reflected light from the moon, and should he ever get a glimpse of it through the top of the well, it should become pretty evident that it is a round object that seems to be circling his home every 28 days. With this knowledge he should be able to deduce that the moon is quite a bit closer to the Earth than the Sun (at which point, as I understand it, he becomes more knowledgeable than the Vedas).

    It might be a little much to expect Frog to be able to calculate the size of the Earth from observations of gravity, but at the very least he shouldn’t be all that surprised to hear about the very large oceans, since he has already observed a 365-day year, a 28-day lunar calendar and calculated the distance to the Sun using simple trigonometry.

    Any Frog who couldn’t do that simply doesn’t deserve the title of Doctor.

  8. Dilip Singh Wangkhem says:

    Maha mantra is the only means to show the way to heaven

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