Published on January 7th, 2024 | by Madhudvisa dasa


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

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!

10 Responses to The Universe is Not Chandelier Shaped

  1. Gaurasindara Das says:

    The earth is aligned perpendicularly under the polar star and the Bhagavad Gita says that the sun travels six months in the northern hemisphere

    • Bhagavad-gita does not give any detailed information about the structure of the universe or the movements of the sun. Yes. Of course Sun is seen in the North side for 6 months and South side fo 6 months.

      If you actually want to understand something of the structure of the universe and the movements of the sun I suggest you study Srimad-Bhagavatam, something I think the designers of the Maypur “planetarium” have not done.

      If you read the Bhagavatam you will see that actually sun is always directly above Mt Meru. Sun is always in the center. And what we are seeing in the sky is a reflection of the sun and stars, etc, on that reflective golden ring of mountains that “controls the light of the luminaries in the universe”.

      It is like a projector. The sun, moon, stars, everything, they are on the body of the sisumara chakra, which is in the center, and rotating and everything is reflected like a projector in the center of a planetarium projecting all the stars and everything moving around the dome sky.

      So that is what we are living in, a planetarium projector. And it is done with mirrors, so it looks like everything is so so far away. But nothing is more than 2 billion miles away from us…

      Anyhow if you read the Bhagavatam you would know all these things and so much more.

      But I guess you don’t want to know. Or you would have read it already.

  2. Satyajit says:

    Prabhu Madhudvisa!
    Hare Krishna . I have an exciting comment which may be less related with this archive. But , I don’t know where can I put this comment. Prabhu, I was doubting Prabhupada and your teachings and had trusted science more. But now I got a point which I have considered as an absolute proof for earth being stationary. Prabhu, when we tie a metallic ball with a thread on an iron rod handle inside a bus and let the bus drive . The ball will fall back and float ,as the ball can’t stay in stationary cause it will be pulled by the thread . The ball will get the force of the bus only through the thread. But , when we tie in such manner inside our house or a tree – the ball won’t fall back and float. But it must float as we consider earth as moving very fast in 1600km/h . I was sad and thinking that how could science be wrong and my faith was declining .. This concept of proving earth as stationary strengthen my faith a lot . Thanks Prabhu for helping me. May Krishna grant you healthy and long life to save us who are fallen .

    • Hare Krishna Satyahit

      Your experiment is not valid. The reason your ball moves in the bus towards the back, that means the bus is accelerating, speeding up. And of course bus is bumping up and down, so it is not a very perfect place to do the experiment. If you do it instead on an airplane, traveling at 600 mph, when it is cruising at a constant speed your ball will hang straight down and there will be no indication at all of the 600 MPH speed of the plane from inside. You set your glass on the table and it will sit there and not move.

      But yes, earth does seem to be stationary. We don’t have any indication that it is moving. So Prabhu, I am not able to comprehend these descriptions in Srimad-Bhagavatam completely at this stage, so I can say for sure at the moment. It is still a work in progress. In the Bhagavatam we can say for sure that it describes the earth as being stationary. So if we want to believe the Bhagavatam and Krishna, then we have to believe the earth is stationary. Scientists say the earth is moving so if we have faith in the scientists we will believe them.

      The truth is we can’t tell from our position here on the earth, if it is moving or if it is stationary. You can scientifically present equally valid models for a stationary earth and for a rotating earth. No honest scientist will dispute this fact. It just a question of your initial assumptions. You can build a model with the initial assumption of a rotating earth or you can build and equally valid model investing that rotation in the sun and in the whole universal body, called Sisumara-chakra in the Bhagavatam. Our observations from Earth would be identical in either case. There is no way we could tell the difference.

      So we know from the Bhagavatam that the two rotations we observe in the sky are caused by: 1. The 365 day rotation is caused by the sun moving around the earth on the top of Manosattara Mountain and the 24 hour daily rotation is the Sisumara Chakra, to which all the heavenly bodies are joined and kept in their respective places by ropes of wind, and the whole thing is rotating once every 24 hours.

      So we can believe either Krishna in the Bhagavatam or the scientists, however Krishna is the real authority. Because it is Krishna, ultimately, who has created this universe and is maintaining it. So it is Krishna who knows how it works. Scientists, may be be very intelligent, but they have no information, no data, to work on. All they can do is look up into the sky and see a few moving lights and imagine what is the mechanical system that is causing these lights to move. So the speculations of the scientists will be incorrect for sure, certainly in regards to astronomy and the workings of the universe because they no ability to see how the universe is working.

      Krishna, on the other hand, knows very well how the universe is working, Krishna built it, Krishna is maintaining the universe. So although, at present, I can not comprehend fully the description of the universe given in Srimad-Bhagavatam, I know it is correct. And certainly, from the Bhagavatam, for sure, we know the earth is stationary. That is because in the Bhagavatam it is described as stationary and there are other explanations given for the cause of the two rotations we observe in the sky. So our idea of a rotating earth is a mistake for sure according to Srimad-Bhagavatam. That, at this point, I can guarantee for certain.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Your servant

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Satyajit says:

        So Prabhu, will it be a waste of time to think like this about how we could prove that earth is stationary through our own mind. Is it impossible for a conditioned soul who are not scientist (and even the scientist) like us to think about this

        • We don’t care Prabhu, if the earth is stationary or if it is rotating.

          We care about chanting Hare Krishna, at least 16 rounds a day, following the four principles, reading and distributing Prabhuapda’s books. We don’t know. The only reason I am a bit interested is because Prabhupada wants us to build a temple of the vedic planetarium. Otherwise we don’t care at all Prabhu. If it is rotating or if it is not.

          We don’t understand the description of the universe in Srimad-Bhagavatam ourselves. So we can’t, obviously, explain it to others, like the scientists. That would be pointless. So as Prabhupada did, we can accept the globe earth model and preach. We don’t care, if it is rotating, flat a ball, our business is the same…

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy and get out of this place and go back home back to Godhead.

  3. 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

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