Published on November 8th, 2020 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image


The Universe is Not Chandelier Shaped

Dear Temple of the Vedic Planetarium Designers

I just saw your 2014 TOVP presentation to the GBC.

This is a total disaster. It seems that you have no idea whatsoever of the universe as it is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

The idea of the chandelier analogy, you have got it totally wrong altogether.

The Vedic universe is not like a chandelier. It is not chandelier shaped. What you are doing is insane. Totally wrong. Totally crazy.

Srila Prabhupada gave the chandelier example in the same way as he more often gives the example of the tree with it’s roots up and branches down and these are describing the same thing:

Tamala Krsna: One big pandita has been contacted, and he’s very surrendered to Prabhupada. He wants to help Prabhupada and our movement to understand the meaning of the sastras in regard to the layout of the universe, so that the planetary systems can be done in our planetarium.
Prabhupada: This planetary system is rotating from east to west, and it is hanging like the chandelier, taking shelter of the polestar. That we can see every night. Now where is the situation, which planet, where is sun, where is moon—so that he has to assert. (1977 conversation between Srila Prabhupada and GBC)

So the chandelier example explains how we see everything in the sky is moving, rising in the east and setting in the west, but at the same time keeping the same relative positions. Planets of course have an indepnedent motion also, so they are seen in different parts of the chandelier at different times.

The stars and constellations move around in the sky, rising in the east and setting in the west, but they always remain in the same relative positions to each other. And this rotation is around the polestar. So it is like the chandelier can rotate but all the little crystals have their place and will remain in the same positions in relation to each other. Or the tree can rotate, so the whole thing is rotating but everything remains in the same relative position on the tree. If it was an apple tree and there were apples and the stars were apples and the tree was rotating in the sky with its roots up and branches down then you get the idea. The apples (stars) move around in the sky but keep their relative positions to each other.

So the chandelier is only describing the rotating part of the sky, which is the stars and planets, etc, it has nothing to do with the earth, nor does it have anything to do with the higher things like the spiritual world, etc. The lotus flower that Lord Brahma is sitting on is not part of the chandelier. The mountain range that the sun god’s chariot is moving on is not part of the chandelier. The lower planetary systems are not part of the chandelier, Bhu-Mandala is not part of the chandelier, Lord Visnu lying on the ocean in the bottom of the universe is not part of the chandelier…

So to put the whole universe and the spiritual world all together in a chandelier is a total concoction, totally wrong, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the way Srila Prabhupada and the Srimad-Bhagavatam describe the universe. It is a total disaster. It is completely wrong. You are trying to put the spiritual world right up the top which is the smallest area of the dome, which is ridiculous, because in comparison to the spiritual wold the material world is nothing, but you are making it seem in comparison to the material world the spiritual world is nothing.

Your whole chandelier concept is so totally wrong, such a complete disaster. You just making a joke out of the whole thing. The chandelier or the tree with its roots upward and branches down are describing the sisumara chakra. This is how it is described in the Bhagavatam, as a dolphin swimming in the sky. It is not a real dolphin, but the analogy is that all the stars and constellations are fixed on various parts of the dolphin’s body and the dolphin is swimming in the sky and this sisumara chakra, which is explained by the tree with its roots up and branches down and also by the example of the chandelier is the key to understanding how the heavenly bodies are moving in the sky.

I have never seen anyone in ISKCON describe this sisumara chakra, which is the movement that is described by the analogy of the tree or the chandelier moving around the polestar. But without understanding this there is no way that one can explain the movements of the heavenly bodies.

You know this nonsense will not display anything at all. Srila Prabhupada says the TOVP has to show how the sun is rising and setting, how the seasons are changing, how the stars and planets and constellations are moving in the sky, etc, etc, etc. In other words the TOVP has to show how the universe is really working according to the Srimad-Bhagavatam. And it has to exactly explain what we actually see happening in the sky. Thoughtful people have to be able to see exactly how these things are working. TOVP has to be an actual predictive model. It has to explain everything we see occurring in the sky. That is the most essential point. This nonsense chandelier does not show anything at all. It is a joke. It is completely useless and completely wrong. This is a 60 million dollar mistake. The biggest mistake ISKCON has ever made!

It is just a decoration in the temple, it is noting more than that. With some mystical mythical Hindu figures on it. But it is not something that anyone will ever take seriously. It is not a planetarium at all. It is just a temple decoration.

This was supposed to be something that thoughtful people could appreciate, and it was supposed to show how the description of the universe as given in the Srimad-Bhagavam is correct and how the ideas of modern science are completely wrong. It does not do this. The nonsense thing you are presenting just does not work even in any way at all. You can not explain anything at all that we observe in the sky using this nonsense chandelier. Such a chandelier universe just doesn’t work. It doesn’t explain the things we see in sky. This is insanity. Total insanity.

The Vedic concept of the universe is NOT AT ALL LIKE A CHANDELIER. The chandelier is simply an analogy that Srila Prabhupada used to describe one part of the universe. It is not the whole thing… And like there is no actual dolphin and no actual tree with it’s roots up and branches down, there is also no chandelier in the universe. These are all analogies trying to explain how the sisumara chakra is moving in the sky. So we have to use the analogies to understand the substance they are describing. Not think that the universe is a chandelier. it is ridiculous. Insane. Crazy.

You have completely misunderstood the chandelier example totally. It is such a disaster. The most outrageous wast of money in the history of ISKCON.

You certainly do not understand the description of the universe in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and probably you do not even believe the description of the universe in the Bhagavatam is correct.

You have turned this Temple of the Vedic Planetarium into a horribly expensive and very nasty joke at the cost of Srila Prabhupada…

It was supposed to be a serious and scientific presentation of the true and actual working of the universe. You have turned it into a joke. No thoughtful person could ever take this chandelier as a universe seriously. It is a disaster. Total disaster.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Your servant

Madhudvisa dasa

If you Love Me Distribute My Books -- Srila Prabhupada

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4 Responses to The Universe is Not Chandelier Shaped

  1. Ganesh says:

    Dear Madhudvisa dasa,
    Hare Krishna,
    Indeed the iskcon people took analogy of chandelier as it, probably in an attempt to broadcast as true disciples of Prabhupada.
    But isn’t it correct “Everything in the universe is personal and mechanical.”

    • Hare Krishna Ganesh

      I have no idea where you got this quote from, “Everything in the universe is personal and mechanical.” Seems nonsense to me. Personal and mechanical are mutually exclusive. A person is not mechanical and a machine is not a person. So the quote is not very good.

      The material universe is a machine, a mechanical machine, but that machine is being operated by persons. There are many demigods, persons, who are in charge of the many different aspects of the material world, and they are working the machine. So there is a mechanical arrangement and there are persons who are controlling and maintaining the machines.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Ganesh says:

        Dear Madhudvisa das
        Hare Krishna,
        The quote is from a lecture by Sadaputa dasa.
        I was bit confused, as my faith is increasing in Prabhupada, we come to know there a elephants of enormous size placed to balance the bhumandala, so how can we rule out the possibility of a dolphin(sisumara) actually present, about the chandelier, I heard Prabhupada’s lecture as far I agree with you, he wanted to make devotees understand by the example, never asserted though, like he always did when discussing about the moon planet.

        • Hare Krishna Ganesh

          We can know by reading Srimad-Bhagavatam. If you read the description for yourself you will see it is an allegorical description. It says ‘like a dolphin swimming in the sky’ and then goes on to describe where on the body of the dolphin the different stars and planetary systems are situated. So it is a description to help us understand how the stars are moving around the polestar. It is described in other places how the stars are moving around the polestar and joined by ‘ropes of wind’. The idea of the dolphin swimming in the sky is to explain exactly how they are moving.

          So just read Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam over and over again. And gradually we will realize more and more.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

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!

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