Organized Religion

Shrimad Bhagavata Purana – A Portrayal Of Fantacies And Idiosyncrasies

Acharya Dharmakirti has enumerated five characteristics of ennui and stupefaction. One of them is to consider the scripture as perfect and authoritative. The tendency to consider a religious book not only as sacred but also as an authority is widely prevalent among gullible followers. These followers do not have any knowledge of its essence and contents, though most of the contents of these “holy” scriptures have been proved fallacious on the basis of reason and reality.

Today, when scientists have determined that the distance between Earth and Moon is about 3,84,403 Km, and the distance between Earth and Sun is about 150 million Km, where is the sense in asserting that according to the ‘Vishnu Puran’ – the Sun is nearer to the earth and the moon is far away? Everybody is aware that the knowledge of the Puraniks about Astronomy and other sciences was limited, almost absurd, and their imagination ran riot when they made tall claims. There is still a large section of bigoted die-hards who are not only proud of the supposedly great legacy of the Puranas, but also make loud declaration that most scientific discoveries are exclusively based on “scientific” Hindu scriptures and have been stolen by the Western people!

One such Maha Puranic texts of Hindu literature is the ‘Shrimadbhaghwat Puran’ (Shrimad Bhagavata Purana) which is full of devotion towards Vishnu and Krishna. (The said granth consists of 12 Skandas [cantos] with 18,000 verses).

The Shrimadbhaghwat Puran occupies place of great reverence and honor among the Hindus in general and among the Vaishnav community in particular. On the basis of ancient tradition Bhaghwat Saptah [recitation made for seven days] is often organized with great religious exhibitionism along with rhetoric expression in praise of the said Puran.

Shrimadbhaghwat Puran is full of absurdities and idiosyncrasies, but I have chosen only few of the wonderful and miraculous “discoveries” of the Puranic era for the readers.

  1. Have you ever heard about the ‘scented excreta’ emanating like a fragrance in the air for upto ten Yojnas [about 30 miles]? Saint Rishibdev performed all his day-to-day functions while sitting or sleeping, and never stood up. His body remained immersed in his excreta [faecal and urine], and the fragrance of his scented excreta could be smelt for around a 30 miles radius. [Ref. Bhaghwat Puran,Skand 5,chapter5]

  2. King Yuvanshava had no son and retired together with his wives to a forest. The seers felt merciful and in order to help the king arranged a fertility ceremony known as Indra -Yajna. One night, the King felt thirsty and entered the sacrificial arena; seeing all the seers fast sleep, he drank sanctified water that was meant for giving birth to a child. Thereafter when the time was ripe, from the lower abdomen of King Yuvanshava, on his right side, a son was born with all the qualities of a good king, who would later be known as King Trasaddasya.

    No doubt, modern medical science [obstetrics] today does not have enough expertise to repeat such a wonderful achievement. [Ref.ibid-Skand 9, chapter 6]

  3. When King Vena died without having a son, the wise man decided to churn the thighs of the dead King with great force. Thereupon a person named Bahuka [the dwarf] was born who later attained the status as King Nishada. His descendants were thereupon called Nishad. Again a case of extra-ordinary achievement which cannot be repeated today despite tremendous advances in medical science. [Ref. Ibid,Skand 4,chapter 14]
  4. There are four mountains in four different directions of the Sumeru Mountain – Mandar in the East, Merumandar in the South, Suparshv in the West and Kumad in the North. These four mountains are like the legs of the Main Mountain. The area of each is described to be around 80,000 miles. Each of them bears a different tree at its peak – Mango, Roseapple, Neulea and Banyan. They serve as their flags and are 1100 Yojnas [about 3300 miles] high! [Ref.Ibid.Skand 4 ,chapter 6].

  5. King Satyadhriti was an expert in archery. His son Shardwan after seeing beautiful Urvashi cking-satyadhritiould not control his carnal desire. His semen falling on a clump of Sara grass resulted in the birth of one male and one female child. King Shantanu, while wandering in the forest, took up both children out of compassion. He named the male child Kripa and female child Kripi, who later became Dronacharya’s wife. [Ref.Ibid,Skand 9, chapter 24 ].
  6. After receiving the semen of Kashypa deposited in her womb, Diti was afraid that the process will destroy the power of others and lead to complete darkness in all directions, like a fire loaded with too much firewood; she retained the said semen in her womb for 100 years! [Ref.Ibid,Skand 3, chapter 15].

  7. Thereupon finding fault with her, Indra, the master of Yog-Maya and mystical powers, entered the womb of Diti while she was asleep. The embryo had a golden appearance; he cut it into seven pieces with his thunderbolt and further divided each piece into seven pieces. All cut pieces with folded hands said, “O’ Ruler, why do you want to kill us, we are your brothers.”[Ref.Ibid,Skand 6, chapter 18.]
  8. During the battle between the demigods and demons, demigods rode Elephants, Camels; White and Red-faced Monkeys; Tigers and Lions. Some of them rode Vultures, Eagles, Ducks, Hawks, Killer Whales, Buffaloes, Cows, Bulls, Jackals, Rats, Lizards ,Rabbits, Goats, Black Deer, Swans and Boars. [Ref.Ibid ,Skand 8, chapter 10].
  9. Raja Priyvat in order to convert night as brilliant as the day, followed the Sun seven times with an identical speed in his Chariot. While following the Sun, the wheels and the rim of his Chariot made trenches which ultimately resulted in the emergence of the seven seas. The whole process divided the heavenly sphere around the earth (Bhu-mandal) into seven islands.[Ref.Ibid.Skand 5, chapter 1].

  10. There are seven seas on the earth. One is full of the saltiest water; the other contains pure water; the third is full of milk, the fourth is full of ghee; fifth is full of sugarcane juice; sixth is full of liquor and the seventh is filled with sweet water. [Ref.Skand 5,chapter1].

  11. God Shiva, smitten by the glamour of the ravishing beauty of Mohini and not being able to keep his eyes off her, runs shamelessly after her. The well-formed glory of Mohini pleased Shiva and the naked Mohini felt embarrassed and tried to hide herself behind the trees. Lord Shiva excited with lust, like a male elephant on heat, caught her by the braid of her hair and pulled her close to his body against her will. Mohini, with scattered hair, squirmed like a snake and managed to free herself. She ran quickly and her heavy hips precipitated the illusionary potency of the lord. Oh lord, who never spills in vain went after her like a mad bull chasing a female, could not further control his carnal desire and subsequently his semen was discharged. All those places where his semen fell were converted into silver and gold mines. [Ref.Ibid,skand 8,chapter 12 ].

    Image source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/artimages/mohini_sm.jpg

    Image source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/artimages/mohini_sm.jpg

  12. Disrespected by his son who refused to follow his orders, Brahma could not control his anger. During his state of anger a child was born instantly from between the eyebrows of the lord. The child had a color composition of red [for passion] and blue [for ignorance]. [Ref.skand 3, chapter 12 ].
  13. Brahma once became concerned about the creation of living creatures. Thereupon in an angry state of mind the lord demolished his own body. O’Nidura were born from the hairs falling from that body, the beings without limbs were created. From their crawling bodies, the snakes and cobras came into existence. [Ref. Ibid ,Skand 3, chapter 20 ].

  14. One day when the creator of the world was wondering as to how he should create all the three worlds, exactly the same way they were before, the Vedic literature consisting of four Vedas manifested itself from his four mouths. [Ref. Ibid ,skand 3, chapter 20].

  15. In order to avoid anarchy after the death of King Nimi, great seers churned the dead body of the deceased King and accordingly one male baby was born. Due to his uncommon birth, the newly born baby was named as Vaodeha [free from a body]. [Ref., Ibid ,skand 9 ,chapter 13.].

  16. As a wedding gift, King Naganjit presented the mighty king ten thousand Cows, three thousand excellently dressed maidens with golden ornaments around their necks, nine thousand elephants, a hundred times as many chariots, with a hundred times as many horses and to that a hundred times as many as there were horses. [ Ref. Ibid ,skand 10 ,chapter 58 ].
  17. Infuriated, Balram with the tip of his plow tore close to the city of Hastinapur and dragged the entire city, with the intention of throwing the city deep into the Ganges. [Ref. Ibid ,skand 10 , chapter 68 ].

  18. When Lord Brahma was deeply immersed in his thoughts, unexpectedly, one male baby, equaling one thumb, emerged out of the nostril [varah-shishu] and within the divine presence attained the body of an adult elephant. [Ref. Ibid, scand 3, chapter 13 ].

  19. When two seers, namely Mitr and Varun, saw the sexy and beautiful Orvashi, they could not control their carnal desire. In a state of extreme excitement their semen was discharged, which they deposited in a nearby pot. After a while two male babies were born out of the said semen. They later became famous as Agastya and Vashishta.[ Ref. Ibid ,skand 6, chapter 18].

  20. Tail piece: King Ugarsen had one ‘neel’ army personal. [Ref. Ibid ,scand 10, chapter 90 ]

    Note: One neel consists of 10,000,000,000,000 men!!!

About the author

Hirday N. Patwari

54 Comments

  • Hirday,

    Very good article and compilation of the ‘profound’ absurdities of the Hindu mahapuranas. I have considered the Srimad Bhagavatam as a fountain-head of mythical nonsense, since it is huge copy-paste job from many other puranas.

    It is called the 5th Veda, veda meaning the knowledge of nonsense and inanity, which is what the other 4 vedas are

    Regards

    • Indeed. Speaking of ‘profound absurdities’, there’s enough here even to forestall the apologists’ stock response, “But aren’t these really allegorical illustrations of truths and don’t allegories work best when they are most hyberbolic?” What they miss is that even the ‘truths’ of which these myths are supposedly allegories are themselves often ‘profound absurdities’.

      For instance, if the oceans of milk and liquor are allegorical about the surfeit of both beneficial and harmful indulgences abounding in human experience, then this ‘truth’ is just a deepity. If the births of Trasaddasya, Baahuka, Kripa, Kripi, Diti’s brood, Vaodeha and so on are really allegories for the irrepressibility of libido and the unintended consequences of repression and sublimation sublimation, then these ‘truths’ are controversial empirical claims which are far from proven.

      As for the origin of the seven seas and the earth’s goldmines, it would take a specially crazed apologist to claim the presence of “Geology in the Puranas”. For those who are thrilled about the presence of ridiculously large numbers in the Puranas, which to them are a testimony to the breadth of imagination of our ancients, a point to ponder is that Ugrasena’s army (10 trillion) is at least 2 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE GREATER than the number of people who ever lived on the Earth! Or maybe they’ll just turn around and say “Look! The ancients had mastered the art of Sustainability and had the infrastructure and lifestyle design to sustain such gargantuan populations!”

      • Monti 6 i gradi in più di adesso rispetto all’ultimo periodo interglaciale l’Eemian e tutti innrvtroceotibilmente dovuti a misteriose e ancora non quantificate forzanti naturali, visto che ancora la Exxon, la Shell e la zootecnia ancora non c’erano sulla faccia della terra.

      • Du, ska tävla snart och skulle bli jätteglad om du kunde svara pÃ¥ nÃ¥gra frÃ¥gor.MÃ¥ste man ha grönt kort till alla tävlingar man ställer upp i?Vad menas med A:0 osv? ( i hoppning AssÃ¥?MÃ¥ste man ha ryttarlicens, vad är det? Skulle bli jätteglad om du kunde svara:)

      • Wow that was odd. I merely wrote up an really long remark but after I clicked post my remark didn’t appear. Grrrr… effectively I’m not penning everything over again. Inspite , simply wished to say outstanding blog!

  • Good article Dr.Patwari. An enlightening one for those who consider story books as holy scriptures and the protagonist as god. When will these people wake up to reality.

  • In addition to the above quoted truth about hindu mythology which has created an illussionary fear among the people of this country which is aroused from the stories which has no scientific validations and are against the laws of nature like :

    1. Vishnu puran says ” vishnu took out 2 hairs from his head one was white and other was black then both the hairs was inserted in the womb of rohini and devki , the white hair reproduced balram and black hair reproduced krishan ( krishan itself means black)

    2 . Shiva is used to be prayed in India as god of creation and destruction on the other side he has been shows as man of unlimited sexual lust and most of the time he loses control on his carnal desires the story in shiv puran goes this way that he lost control on his carnal desires which provokes him to wander in the jungle without cloths insearch of some womens to cool down his lust , when the wives of some devtas saw him coming nude they all went to have sex with him , looking at the gesture the devtas got angry a punished shiva with a curse to burn his lingh but as the fire aroused on the lingh the earth also started burning , creatures started dying then all the devtas when to parvati and told her the whole story , she came there and put her lingam in her ovary and saved the whole earth since from that time shivling has become symbol of peace to save this earth from destruction.

  • The Bible is the only religious scripture both realistic and credible. Jesus Christ is the only living God, the Creator of this universe and life on earth. Those who believe in him will be redeemed and all others would be condemned on Judgment Day! +

    • Alexander,

      Sorry!! Looks like you have chosen the wrong forum for your brand of puerile evangelism.You will not find any takers here for your fantasies about Jesus and Bible.

      If you have something constructive and legitimately critical to say about the subject matter of this article, do so, else it is wise to maintain a golden silence

    • Oh,
      Don’t even get us started on the uncredibility of the bible. In fact, the bible is the most recommended book for budding atheists. And you know that’s true isn’t it?

  • A very interesting article indeed reveling the stupidest stories from these so called holy books. We can find a lot of such example in these scriptures. I think that is the best that they were able to come at their time, however it is also commendable that whoever has written these scriptures were among the wisest people of their time.

  • Looks like you cannot read the Puran with family as it is mostly filled with adult material. Probably, it should be rated with an A certificate.

    And those people had quite pathetic self-control. The point 1 mentioned by abhinav gupta makes me wanna puke.

    • Rishabhdev was a Jain Tirthankar. Point 1 surely makes anyone want to puke unless you believe in Hankey the Christmas Poo. Scented Urine and Stool!

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  • I verified all the above mentioned skanda and chapters. Now I feel Shrimad Bhagvat Puran is just as appalling as the Bible and Islamic Hadith.

  • Why are you focussing on the Puaranas anyway??? Puranas are STORIES and LEGENDS. NOBODY says you HAVE to follow them!

    And, definitely there are LOADS of false things in our religion, but there are a LOT of correct predictions too! Evolution, for example and other millions of things.

    I truly believe in God and compared to all religions, hinduism or sanatana dharma makes more sense. See we are discussing these things and nobody is shouting “you are going to hell!”

    I have another: Shiv lina is the union of male and female. Think about it and you will see why. I know all this.

    GO BACK TO VEDAS… Read them. They are correct. and awesome. (even they are not always awesome, but they are 95%, a lot more than other holy books)

    • Why are you focussing on the Puaranas anyway??

      Who are you to question what to focus and what not to? There are plenty of people who believe that the events in puranas have really taken place, which necessitates articles like this.

      ..but there are a LOT of correct predictions too! Evolution, for example and other millions of things.

      You say “millions”, but the one example that you mentioned (evolution) is just pseudoscience. You were quick to point out that puranas are stories and legends and yet you believe in something just as absurd. I can perform a revisionist and imaginative reading of the puranas and find the general architecture of x86 family of processors in them. Would you then believe that puranas are not just stories, but are tales of an advanced civilization?

      GO BACK TO VEDAS… Read them.

      I’m pretty sure the author of this article has read them.

      They are correct. and awesome.

      That is just hyperbole. The Vedas are a product of their times and that shows up in a manner that cannot be missed.

    • You said
      “Shiv linga is the union of male and female. Think about it and you will see why”

      Wish you had not asked for this for I did not want to tread upon a raw nerve of religious sensibility.

      Since anyway you made as, Satish very nicely put it, a revisionist and imaginative reading of the portrayal of Shiva Linga, I felt a response was called for.

      Though religious apology will put any kind of subjective aesthetic gloss on it, linga worship originated with medieval phallic worship and is probably an inheritance of a very old and barbaric system of asceticism called ‘Trantricism’. As an artistic representation of the union of the ‘phallus’ and ‘yoni’, the linga can aim to be an ‘object d’art’, but to celebrate it as an object of worship is to take sensibility and faith to an extreme level of deviancy.

      As one who once subscribed to the Hindu faith, my own initial reaction when I studied the origins of linga worship, was to recoil with horror an revulsion. I really doubt if majority of the Hindus even know the origins of this religious icon.

      But do blind adherents even need or care for any apologies?!!!

  • Dear Friends,

    One cannot pass judgement on scriptures such as the Bhagavata by simply picking out certain stories and parables from it and then dismissing the entire work as a ‘cock and bull’ story. One must first take into account the entire religious structure of the Purana, its methodology and try to understand *what it is trying to say*. Of course, this must be done with an open mind and shedding all pre-meditated mentalities. If your main objective behind turning every page of the Bhg. is only to gather ‘evidence’ for tarnishing the Purana, then, well, you won’t get any closer to the spirit of any scripture. Because, to understand the spirit of any Book – its essence – you need first to engender within yourself a certain attitude of sraddhaa. (Please note that this ‘sraddhaa’ does NOT mean stupefaction!)
    Coming to the Bhg., it has, like other Puranas, certain laksanas or characteristics such as those of sarga (creation), pratisarga (secondary creation), vamsanucarita (genealogy), etc but what distinguishes the Bhg. from the others is its (10th and final)laksana called ‘Asraya’ (Sole-Refuge). This ‘Asraya’ is not present in the other Puranas and therefore this Book has been called the Best Among Puranas (that in which the Highest Truth has been determined). The main objective of the Holy Srimad-Bhagavata is to focus only on ‘Asraya’ or Eka-Sarana (Sole-Refuge) in Krsna (God). Its only rationale behind positing a whole range of exciting stories, anecdotes and imageries in moving towards its goal of ‘Asraya’ is to infuse the mass-mind, the folk-mind, the mind of the hoi-polloi with Devotion for God. And, friends, please keep in mind that it is *poetic in nature*. Suka Deva who recited the whole Purana as the ultimate antidote for the venomous bite (Taksaka) of samsara, himself declares in the 2nd Skandha of the Work that he will deliberately incorporate literary elements (rasa) such as those of sringara (amorous sentiment) in his recitation so that the work does not become too dry and so that ALL people (including the women and Sudras who were hitherto kept outside the pale of Devotion by the protagonists of orthodoxy) may partake of this delicious nectar of Devotion in great joy. This accounts for the poetic character of the Purana.

    Further, friends, these so-called ‘stories’ carry a certain symbolism (at times, multi-layered) within them and are used to illustrate highly metaphysical and psychic concepts. This is the conceptual modelling of the Bhg. Again, today, we talk of ‘trees’ and ‘queues’ in the domain of Computer Science but do these ‘trees’ and ‘queues’ really exist? They are just used to aid understanding of abstract concepts. So, also the Bhg talks, eg. of the ‘city with the nine gates’ (?). Need we laugh? Should the Bhg. be faulted for making religion interesting?

    Friends, the Bhg. employs a wide range of literary devices and contraptions to attract the attention of the reader and lead him on to Its final goal of Sole-Refuge. It is due to THIS MESSAGE that millions have over millennia, found the Bhg. to be attractive. Otherwise, stories are to be found everywhere!

    Therefore, friends, do not discard the essence for the dross. Do not dismiss the entire Bhg. for what might appear to the casual eye as mere ‘fairy-tales’. For it is the CORE TEACHING of any Book which ought to be the object of focus for the *really* open-minded and intelligent reader.

    In this connection, may I make a humble suggestion? Interested readers, if they want the core teaching of the Bhg, may kindly go through the ‘LORD KRISHNA’S TEACHINGS TO UDDHAVA’ from Canto XI of the text. The Teaching of EKA-SARANA (sole-refuge), forsaking all other dharmas, as given in the 12th Chapter of the said Canto, is the ULTIMATE MESSAGE of the Bhagavata.

    For those interested in knowing more about the philosophy and/or the religious structure of the Bhg, Daniel Sheridan’s ‘ADVAITIC THEISM OF THE BHAGAVATA’ is perhaps the best available choice.

    The 19th century American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson once exalted the Bhagavata as a book to be read “on one’s knees.”

    Thank you.

    • Arunava,

      You have said nothing new or meaningful in your long and tideous defence of the Purana.

      All this huffing and puffing around devotion is just another kind of religious fetish.

      Bhagavatam is making religion puerile and ludicrous, not interesting.

      If it wants all to take refuge in Krsna, does it tell where Krsna is and why he is not coming to the rescue of many millions of hapless and miserable Indians.

      What you call as metaphysical and psyhic concepts, we call it beating around the bush with futile speculation on imaginary abstractions. If the nonsense in Bhagavatam is ‘highly metaphysical’ what is lowly metaphysical according to you.

      Also critics and independent thinkers can find nothing multilayered in the symbolism of the Purana. It is all exaggerated fanstasy which was fine 1000 years ago.

      But modern intelligence deserves more respect than what die-hard religious apologists like you are willing to give

  • Guys its not so easy to understand the hidden spiritual codes in the words of religion. Not only hindu spiritual texts but for that reason various spiritual texts from different religions of the world contain stories which you can compare with Aesops fables but encapsulating the essence of some spiritual value. For example the wjole of mahabharata is nothing if we delete the chapters of bhagavad gita from it.Perhaps gita is the only concept and to make the lay men understand constructed stores around them………..If we take the stories seriuosly and start valuating the holy books based on them then we fail to detect the encapsulated spiritual code…. For example if you take the agni of veda as fire and jal as water then perhaps you will say that jal can be used to extinguish agni…..but in spiritualism akasha, vayu, agni, jal and prithvi called as the panch mahabhutas are not the visible elements of daily life we know of…these are indications for the subtler conponents of the universal consciuosness…..Ok let’s stop this and answer me two of my simple questions…………

    1. tell me one thing that you did in your life till date or have and you know why you did it or have it ?

    2. Please translate for me one of these famous quotations of St. John’s, which I respect supremely in context of spiritualism and is mentioned in Hindu spiritual texts too….You can also take the help of modern science :

    In the beginning there was the WORD..the WORD was with God…and the WORD was god….

    • Krishnendu

      Let me ask you questions before I answer your 2 ‘great’ questions:

      Why are spiritual codes hidden in the words of religion?

      Are they just hidden codes or encapsulated codes and how and why so?

      And why has nobody been able find them for 3000 years and more?

      If nobody has been able to find them or know them, how are they hidden spiritual codes?

      Coming to your questions:

      The 1st question is not being answered since it is not worth answering silly and nonsensical questions that are not framed and defined properly

      You have already answered your 2nd by translating St John’s quotes. And Modern Science is very grateful to you for your amazing translation skills

  • Dear Ranganath, Thanks for sharing your views and I m not surprised at your answers as you took the questions at a wrong angle. My intentions were not to attack but to try explain something people take mistakenly. Ok let me explain my questions first :
    1. My first question is not non sensical. Just for 5 minutes speculate upon my question and you will find it sensible….Let me explain it….Let’s say you love cricket, even I do so. But do you know where from the attraction for cricket came…..You dislike a particular attitude of a person which your friend may like…why your choices were not te opposite…we tend to do what we feel but never ask why we feel so.Why I harboured a particular desire, why I hated tat particular thing, and the only answer tat comes is uncertainty as the favourite word but if uncertainty is the answer for everything that we feel then its definitely an issue. we speak our mind, we behave our mind…the same question asked to us in different stages of life gives different answers, only bcoz. the mind changes with time….the SCIENTISTS try explain truths with the help of the mind itself they know least….and SPIRITUALISM is nothing but a try that our ancient champion of meditations gave to understand the stuff called MIND….May be holy books we see today may not contain 100% truth as the same book is translated more than thousand times since written first…I can bet if Chetan Bhagat’s Ist book is translated by someone other than him over a period of a thousand years the originality will disappear atleast by some percent………..I believe now you could understand why I asked the first question bcoz. the funniest and silliest fact of human civilization is tat we all spend our whole life without ever knowing what drive us, i.e. our thoughts and who we are….None of us no…I too don’t know….but atleast we can salute the attempts of those who tried to know and try ourselves……..

  • Now to answers your questions : a very very valid question as to why the codes are hidden and not straight…???
    Answer : its not that the codes are hidden but become so in the lack of spiritual experience or lack of a person having the same…Suppose someone tries to explain a common student of Arts the idea of Schrodinger’s Cat, which says that in quantum mechanics a CAT can be dead and alive both at the same time. WHAT ABSURDITY the student of Arts will probably say untill he is told that the idea is central to quantum mechanics.we respect immensely quantum non classical mechanics bcoz its a worldwide idea otherwise.Just that…we fail to understand the spiritual lines bcoz of two reasons :
    1. Tendency of the old day authors to teach by way of stories…propagate an idea by citing a story to explain the same….But there are texts like bhagavad gita, as straight as anything…Any adult person can understand tat……
    2. We never try to understand the texts….but speak of modern science whose latest of champion ideas all look absurd at the outset unless we try to understand them…

    And there have been people who understood the language of the texts. They are those who wrote the upanishads and te Gita…..Read these texts for once and if then you find something silly feel free to post here…..But beware of the people having great business in name of religion these days……Welcome all free ideas but before criticizing any text scientific or spiritual….spend some time to try to understand instead straightaway abusing the painstaking effort of tose who wrote them.

    • Krishnendu,

      It is very clear that you have no idea what quantum physics or quantum mechanics is. You are quoting the ‘Thought Experiment’ of the Cat out of context.

      So far there is not enough in the theory of quantum physics/mechanics to invalidate the application of ‘particle physics’ in our day to day living

      I don’t know what you mean by saying “we respect immensely quantum non classical mechanics bcoz its a worldwide idea otherwise”

      I have heard of the term “Quantum Mechanics”, but what is this ‘non-classical’ in the middle.

      You cannot respect something that you don’t know clearly or do not understand fully.

      From the kind of nonsense that you are quoting about QM, it looks like you have no proper idea or notion of it.

      QM is a model trying to explain phenomenon at the sub-atomic level. Still how does that make it world-wide.

      When you say something, be specific and clear and not vague like “lack of spiritual experience” and “lack of person having the same”

      These terms can mean anything or nothing when no proper definitions are given. Spiritual is the most abused word of our times.Every religious addict claims to be spiritual and pretends or claims that he/she has uncovered great meaning from the primitive junk that is written in their scriptures

      And what do I say about your last para of comment. It is the case of the kettle calling the teapot black. It is also evidence of your pathetic ignorance and the fact that you have not read any of the criticisms of the Gita or Vedanta in the articles of Nirmukta. The authors including me have read these works and only then evaluated the demerits of these.

      It is you who should be spending time reading these works, not we.

  • CAN YOU PICK THE LINE WHERE I WENT WRONG????….I DIDN’T SAY THAT MY PET CAT IS THE SCHRODINGER’S CAT….Its a concept in a limited context and that everybody knows…Yes Ranganath, I lately discovered that I am posting ideas on a forum which is not an open forum rather a forum where some people are stubborn atheists….Yes its true that QM is valid in the sub atomic world but what I tried to explain in my previous comment was not QM but a very widely followed fact in the scientific domain : An idea, whatever it might be, if it explains nature and is experimentally valid, is a potential theory..QM is a champion theory today bcoz. of the flexible minded people of the scientific domain, unlike, the people who can’t simply consume an idea against their own…May be that all of spiritualism is but blunder, may be…but then that also need to be tested and not just bcoz. a man has spent a lot of energy to misinterpret some books, the common mass too follow the suit….A single piece of writing can be interpreted in thousands of ways and I am sure you will not be able to understand as before what I am saying here since you don’t want to…and the so called idea as NIRMUKTA, a word which itself can be interpreted in multiple ways……GO through any interpretation of bhagavad gita apart from the NIRMUKTA interpretation and you may find something meaningful….Yes I read some of the articles and they are just an example of profound negativity a person can have…..I have one request…Please bring out an interpretation of the inspirational book “You Can Win” by Shiv Khera and I am confident that this forum will be successful in discovering some negativity in that too…..Thanks.

  • My intentions are not to harm anybody’s sentiments or beliefs…I just wanted a free discussion….Guys….call an absurd thing as absurd…call a book as mark of absurdity but only when it is thoroughly tested not bcoz…somebody thinks so….Yes, there are some missing patterns in Gita…there are instances we can say that either the same thing is repeated or is not ordered but something is not ordered is not the proof of its absurdity…The same book is interpreted in many ways….Everyone can find a meaning for himself….some see light of profound spiritualism, some religious fanaticism and some absolute absurdity but interestingly nobody knows what the author wanted to say…What we all say is our belief…it can be true…can be false….so explore, establish absurd as absurd and then set your belief on that….Till then just explore…….

  • Majority of stories in the Bhagavatapurana are sex-centred. Author is obsessed with sex. Many of stories belong to areas of sexual deviation. Many great sages therein are seen to be incapable of controlling their libido. They are unable to control their anger. They are liberal with curses. There is no consistency in personality of characters. Many times stories offend sense of decency. These stories cannot be read to an audience comprising mother, father, children, children in law or even friends. A decent man would hang one’s head in shame on many occasions. Very occasionally, as in case of Rantideva, one would find guidelines for a generous, broadminded living. Ignorance of the author regarding geography, astronomy, human physiology and physics is monumental. I wonder how a such trash is still being read with great respect and worshiped in an age when material knowledge has advanced to such an extent that when a false thing is mentioned one can see it as false.

  • @Vasant,
    I don’t think really you read any chapter of Bhagavatam. Yes sure Bhagavatam speaks of dangers of lust, but never it is “obsessed” with sexual thought. Of course human character is not consistent because the sins and good merits often shape our thought process. Regarding curse and boons, when one’s mind is upset by another’s action or words, the other person will receive the curse. And vice versa in case of boon. The curse/boon works at all levels. But of course in case of great seers with lot of power, it will be amplified compared to ordinary people.

    Read Bhagavatam, atleast coupls of chapters before coming up with a prejudiced opinion.

    http://www.vedabase.com/en/sb?gclid=CJDyiIrVjNICFRQWaAodLu8L0w

  • @Vijay
    You have no means to know whether I have read Bhagavata or not. Therefore do not presume that I have not read it. I am not prejudiced. I have no reason to be. Had I not come across some revolting stories therein, I would not have made those comments. You may do some repeat reading of the book and see if my comments are in order or not. Will you kindly explain to me how graphic descriptions of Raasaleela can be harmonised with lofty spiritualism ?

  • When the mind is prejudiced no amount of explanation can help. Now we people think ourselves modern and think all the ancient texts are rubbish and full of thrash, but how many of so called ultra modern have actually gone through those texts or tried to digest them with sincerity? It is easy to comment on every hear say things. Most of us don’t know sanskrit and read about those texts from english translations done by western scholars who without deep understanding of the language and it’s grammar and due to their hidden agenda to show indian culture and tradition in negetive way and to convert people had mistranslated the texts and now we relaying on such texts go on spitting on our texts. I know my post will invite many angry and humorous as well as those defending the so-called modern views, but truth will ultimately prevail, no matter how much is said about the texts.

  • Swami Dayananda saraswati on the Bhagavata Purana:-
    ” “Fie on you! O you senseless, idiotic author of the Bhagvat Puranana. What a shameless creature you were! You did not feel a bit of shame or hesitation in writing such falsehood! You became so utterly blind.” by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Satyarth Prakash, Ch 11, page 407, Tr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaja”
    http://satyarthprakash.in/english/chapter-eleven/

  • There is some correct and some incorrect information in the scriptures. In hind sight it is easy to find the incorrect information and simply scrap all of it. But a wise man would carefully separate the correct from the incorrect. You pointed out that the Purana said the moon is further away from the sun. But you conveniently ignored the fact that they correctly knew that the earth is not the center of the universe, something the Europeans believed until the 15th century, and burnt anyone who believed otherwise. With this one anecdotal evidence you came to the conclusion that “Everybody is aware that the knowledge of the Puraniks about Astronomy and other sciences was limited, almost absurd, and their imagination ran riot when they made tall claims.” But have you ever wondered how did the ancient Hindus know that stars and planets are different? To a naked eye both are illuminating objects in the sky. Have you looked at the description of the philosophy of science in Patanjali’s yoga sutras? The Greeks always thump their chests to say they invented logic. Well logical reasoning existed from time immemorial in Bharat. I humbly suggest that you read all of the ancient Hindu texts and you will be surprised how advanced they are for their time in all fields including astronomy, mathematics, economics, mind sciences, medicine you name it. Lastly, these scriptures that have lasted the test of time and have been considered valuable for thousands of years, can’t really be all crap. Consider the possibility that may be you simply didn’t see the true value in them just yet. The alternate possibility that all of our ancestors are just stupid people who simply valued some illogical crap, is highly improbable.

    If you are genuinely curious, I recommend reading the 5 volumes by Dharam Pal, beautiful work. You can also checkout this video for a taste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIuKuYZ-bd8

  • And don’t forget, if 3000 years from now, someone finds a book of Harry potter or Lord of the Rings and says it is fallacious on the basis of reason and reality then that will be a very incorrect judgement. So, don’t take the `scented excreta’ or ‘medical miracles’ in the puranas literally. Instead, try to grasp the moral that is being expounded.

  • One more thing. This is a good path you are on. But you should also hear the counter-point to your view – Poorva Paksha ( another of the great Hindu tradition ) which requires you to full study something, as a genuine learner who wants to learn that subject, before critiquing it – a tradition popularized by the Adi Shankaracharya. Check out Rajiv Malhotra on youtube – a scientist, successful international business man and sufficiently modern by any standard. He has a very good counter-point. In my opinion this will help you see the two sides of the coin.

  • @Bheema

    If you find some correct and some incorrect information in a book, may be its just another book and clearly not divinely authored, which nothing is.

    Of course anything believed for thousands of years can absolutely be false and frequently is. Why do you think it can’t be? You need to learn some logical fallacies.

    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/44/Appeal-to-Tradition

    I think it is safe to say that puranas are Harry Potter books of the old and should be regarded only as such. Harry Potter books also have morals and nearly always much better morals than Bhagavata and are much better written. Thinking Bhagavata is divine would be just as silly, if 3000 years from now, people think Harry Potter was divinely authored.

    Why just hindus? Name one culture that thought planets and stars were the same. They look quite different. Maybe you meant that people started making both stars and planets into people with their wild imagination?

    And lastly, Rajiv Malhotra is a joke. This “modern man” could not figure out Nityananda is a fraud and Mid-brain activation is a scam. You don’t need much intellect to figure these scams. Why anyone takes this plagiarizing author seriously at this point is the mystery.

  • Bheema,

    Regarding Bhagawata purAna specifically, There is a difference of opinion among the Hindus themselves as to whether the Vaishnava or the ShAkta version of the said Scripture is the ‘authentic’ bhagawata purAna based on several grounds.

    https://www.kamakotimandali.com/misc/mahapurana.html

    And I guess you haven’t read a link which I posted Earlier. This Article, written by a Theist Hindu himself, Takes the Mahabharata as true history and exposes several of the blunders and contradictions present within the popular Vaishnava version of the text.

    In fact it’s not even an atheist who truly exposes the text as a bundle of Idiosyncrasies and fantasies. 😉

    (http://www.mahapashupatastra.com/2011/12/bhagavatam-of-krishna-is-bogus-devi-bhagavatam-is-authentic.html ).

  • //You pointed out that the Purana said the moon is further away from the sun. But you conveniently ignored the fact that they correctly knew that the earth is not the center of the universe, something the Europeans believed until the 15th century, and burnt anyone who believed otherwise.//

    That does not make the cosmology of the bhagawata any less ridiculous than that of the Bible ; In case you’d like to think so.

    http://bhagavata.org/canto5/chapter20.html

  • I agree that there may be some correct info in some of the scriptures here and there, but that does not disprove the fact that the texts themselves were only a product of their times.

    Let us say, you are an IBM PC fan, and I tell you that the PC was crap because it was so far behind the current technology. How would you respond?

    You could say, ‘The IBM PC processor was actually a 3.5 GHz machine and was faster than even today’s iMac but IBM deliberately suppressed its full power so as to not freak out the world’.

    But would you say that? Of course, not!!!

    Moreover, Did you know that even in the 21st century, there still are people who would take every ounce of these texts literally, form cults centered around these texts and would even resort to lambasting Science itself when the facts run counter to their cherished beliefs?

    https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/facts-are-not-anti-religious/

  • the world does owe a lot to Ancient India,[one of the few civilization] with their Maths and Yog and astronomy too. Thats facts. Religious texts i can’t argue about that because i don’t know so much but the other stuff, is all genius work by them

  • Hridynath ji, it is very useful information. I think it should be on fb on your ID with tag of some friends.
    It will be better if this information is circulated in Hindi language because in our country commen people can read Hindi language easily than English.

  • Well I would like to say yes and no.

    Yes, you are right in a way for which you have already given the proof.

    On the other side NO, you are not completely right.

    If you compare to the modern age then the amount of scientific information of the Ancient Indians pales by comparison but for this we need to delve a bit deeper into historical causes . The victorious march of western science was a direct fallout of the spirit of the Renaissance in Western Europe and the Reformation in the catholic church . The Renaissance brought back with itself the spirit of inquiry into the natural events and the Reformation broke the back of the Catholic dogmatism . This coupled with the rising tide of capitalist economy and the libertarian philosophy with the coming of the industrial revolution, the Christian doctrine of the Earth being made for man’s enjoyment and the notion of white supremacy as the Europeans encountered the native races laid the foundation of modern science.

    The genocide of the natives and their traditional living styles, the corporatisation of the vast natural wealth of the global east and global south to feed the factories and dump the waste in the river , the institutes of slavery all in the name of empire and the God gifted burden of civilising the natives unlocked a source of near unlimited wealth that formed the foundation of the universities that we know today .

    Let us compare this with ancient India . Nothing short of hellfire and eternal damnation was promised to those who would cut away fruiting trees or fell a forest without compensation and eternal bliss itself was reserved for those who would plant trees . This deep abiding respect for the natural world prevented its use for a factory based economy and made the ancient Indians rely on a mercantile economy . To build a dam on a river such that it alters the ecology of the river area made a person a loose his social standing . These are but some examples of how the cultural ethos made it well nigh impossible to create a libertarian economy which can feed the huge demand of power and raw materials that modern industries need to sustain universities both economically and materially .

    However it would be wrong to assume that the country that had realised the threefold stage of education and built universities in the hoary age of man’s past would not come up with some terrific scientific achievements . Of these the well known one is the use of zero not just as a placeholder but a digit by itself , the rules of generative grammar for Sanskrit in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi ( a linguistic achievement unheard of in contemporary times ) , excellent navigation abilities as evidenced by their trade relations with South East Asia far before Rajaraja and Rajendra Chola would built their great navies .

    Others include the charting of the South west monsoon’s before Kalidasa’s time
    the art of surgery in the pre christian era along with the elaborate descriptions of anatomy and surgical instruments used for various purposes , the importance of antisepsis and sterility {though the efficacy of the methods is up for debate } ( the world would have to wait till the coming of Joseph Lister once again to understand why sterility is important for surgery ) in the famous Sushruta Samhita who himself belonged to the Dhanvantari school
    the theories of diseases and the medicinal preparations for them as per the Charaka Samhita

    The rudiments of calculus which in turn would lay the foundation of all modern physics and chemistry was worked out by Madhava’s school of Kerala mathematics and is said to have been transmitted to Europe by the Jesuit Missionaries and thence to Newton himself

    Aryabhatta’s heliocentric theory

    Sage Kanad’s theory of atomism

    The work of Vrikshayurveda which attempted an early classification of plants and Varahamihira’s work by similar name which worked on the water content of soil based on plant distribution .

    Thus we can see that the Ancient Indians made considerable progress in the fields of the basic and the applied sciences ( repair of a Mauryan era tank by Rudradaman , elaborate irrigation facilities , the science of construction and sculpture so elaborately displayed in our temples ) though perhaps its rate was much slower compared to the rate of modern scientific progress . It slowed our understanding of the world and delayed the rise of the investigative sciences but at the same time perhaps allowed the time for social maturity which was found to be lacking in the twentieth century and science was used to justify everything from eugenics to genocide to the gross perversion of the natural world which started the sixth ongoing great extinction event of all known and unknown species of the planet.

    Sources :
    Varāhamihira – Wikipedia
    Prachin Bharate Paribesh Chinta ( Environmentalism in Ancient India ) by Subhendu Gupta ( This book is in Bengali and I do not know if a translated version is yet available )
    http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/dr-george-gheverghese-joseph-tsays-the-work-of-kerala-mathematicians-influenced-their-european-counterparts/article7818063.ece

    Indians predated Newton ‘discovery’ by 250 years

    http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/indians-predated-newton-discovery-by-250-years/

    Wikipedia — Sage Kanad’s school of thought on atomism is the Vaisheshika school

  • Exact Science In the Srimad-Bhagavatam
    Complexity:

    by Sadaputa Dasa

    A unit of measure known as the yojana hints at advanced astronomical knowledge in the ancient Vedic civilization.

    An encyclopedia article states that in early times length was defined by the breadth of the palm or hand, and the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (the cubit). The article goes on to say, “Such standards were both changeable and perishable, and only within modern times have definite unchanging standards of measurement been adopted.” (Microsoft Encarta)

    The Middle Ages certainly saw many conflicting and poorly defined standards of weights and measures. But exact standards of measurement are not solely a modern invention.

    Consider this example. In tenth-century England, King Athelstan decreed that the king’s girth, in which the king’s peace is in force, should extend from the royal residence for a distance of 3 miles, 3 furlongs, 9 acres, 9 feet, 9 palms, and 9 barleycorns. This sounds quaint. But it defines a circle with a diameter of 36,500 feet – almost exactly 1/10 of a degree of latitude in southern England.

    Measuring with Latitude

    To define a unit of length exactly, it is natural to use latitude as a standard, because latitude derives from the size of the earth, a constant that can be measured astronomically. So if a fire or invasion destroys the standard measuring rod stored in some government building, astronomical readings can be used to restore the lost standard. Of course, it seems unlikely that accurate astronomical measurements were being made in England in the days of King Athelstan. But if we look into the history of weights and measures, we find that distances were gauged in terms of latitude in ancient times, and medieval societies inherited many exact standards of measurement. These included volumes defined as length cubed and weights defined by filling such a volume with water.

    The Greek astronomer Eratosthenes is usually credited with being the first to measure the size of the earth by observing latitudes (see Figure 1). He is said to have noted that the sun, when directly overhead at Syene at the Tropic of Cancer, casts a shadow of 7.2 degrees at Alexandria. Knowing the distance between Syene and Alexandria, he could compute the length of a degree of latitude and estimate the circumference of the earth.

    But there is reason to believe that the size of the earth was known long before Eratosthenes. The Italian scholar Livio Stecchini has given extensive evidence that the ancient Egyptians laid out their country using latitude and longitude. He argues that they had accurate knowledge of the dimensions of the earth and that such knowledge was inherent in the design of the great pyramid at Giza. Since the great pyramid dates to about 2500 B.C., this implies that the earth was measured scientifically at least that long ago.

    Defining the Yojana

    Turning to India, we find a unit of distance, called the yojana, that at first glance seems as ill defined as the medieval English furlong or foot. The yojana is defined to be either 16,000 or 32,000 hastas, where a hasta, or cubit, is 24 angulas, or fingers. That there were at least two sizes for the yojana is upheld by the writings of classical Indian astronomers. The fifth-century astronomer Aryabhata used a yojana of about 8 miles, and the astronomy text Surya-siddhanta a yojana of roughly 5 miles.

    The first hint of the ancient history of the yojana comes from Strabo, who describes the experiences of Megasthenes, a Greek ambassador to India in the period following Alexander the Great. Strabo cites Megasthenes as saying that along the royal road to the Indian capital of Palibothra (thought to be modern Patna), pillars were set up every 10 stadia (see Figure 2). The British scholar Alexander Cunningham argues that the pillars marked an interval of one krosa. Since there are traditionally 4 krosas per yojana, this implies 40 stadia per yojana.Stecchini gives 400 cubits per stadium, and this implies 16,000 cubits per yojana.

    Since the smaller of the two definitions for the yojana assigns it 16,000 hastas, we can tentatively identify the hasta, or Indian cubit, with the Greek cubit. This unit is well known, and it enables us to compute the length of the yojana. The Greek cubit is 462.42 millimeters. This gives us a small yojana of about 4.6 miles, in rough agreement with texts such as the Surya-siddhanta.

    Stecchini points out that the stadium was defined as 1/600 of a degree of latitude. This would mean that there are 15 small yojanas per degree. Likewise, there are 60 krosas per degree, or 1 krosa per minute.

    Here we must make a technical observation about latitudes. Consider the earth to be a sphere, rotating on a line through the north and south poles called the polar axis. The latitude of a person facing north at some point in the northern hemisphere is the angle from his horizon up to the polar axis (see Figure 3). That angle is 0 degrees at the equator and grows to 90 degrees at the North Pole. The length of a degree of latitude is the distance a person would have to travel north for his latitude to increase by 1 degree. On a perfect sphere, this distance would be the same at all latitudes. But the earth is slightly flat at the poles and bulges at the equator. This makes for a degree of latitude slightly smaller at the equator than further north (see Figure 4).

    Stecchini noted that the Greek stadium is 1/600 of a degree of latitude at Mycenae in Greece, and he argued that it was deliberately defined this way in ancient times. I propose that to define the yojana in India the degree of latitude at the equator was used. This means that the hasta should be 460.7 millimeters instead of 462.4 millimeters (and the yojana would still be about 4.6 miles). I shall point out below why this fine distinction is important.

    At first glance, the yojana of 32,000 hastas should be twice as long as this, or about 9.2 miles. But there is reason to think that these two yojanas use different standards for the hasta (see Figures 5 and 6).

    Hiuen Thsang, a Buddhist pilgrim who visited India in the seventh century, wrote of yojanas in terms of a Chinese unit of measure called the li. He reported that a yojana consisted of 40 li according to Indian tradition but the measure in customary use equaled 30 li and the measure given in sacred texts was only 16. The li has taken on many values during China’s history. But using values for the Thang dynasty, when Hiuen Thsang lived, we can compute that the yojana of 16 li matches the small yojana of 4.6 miles.

    Could the yojana of 30 li match the larger yojana of 32,000 hastas? If it does, then the larger yojana has to use a slightly smaller hasta, 30/32 as long as the hasta in the shorter yojana. Multiplying our hasta of 460.7 millimeters by 30/32, we get a smaller hasta of 431.9 millimeters. The larger yojana of 32,000 hastas then comes to 8.59 miles. At the equator, that is 1/8 of a degree of latitude.

    In an investigation to be reported in a later article, I found that the geocentric orbits of the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn align closely with the dimensions of dvipas in Bhumandala. Bhumandala and dvipas are features of cosmic geography defined in the Fifth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. To align planetary orbits with dvipas we need to be able to convert the yojanas used in the Bhagavatam into the miles or kilometers of modern astronomy. I found that the alignment of orbits and dvipas works well if we assume about 8-1/8 miles per yojana.

    To compare orbits with the structure of Bhumandala, I used modern ephemeris programs for orbital calculations. I was most interested in the epoch of about 3000 B.C., the traditional time of Krishna’s manifest pastimes on earth, as described in the Bhagavatam. It turns out that at this epoch the planetary orbits align closely with dvipas in Bhumandala at a sharply defined value of 8.575 miles per yojana. This is very close to the figure of 8.59 miles based on the hasta of 432 millimeters. So the value of the yojana we get by historical research is confirmed by completely independent calculations having to do with planetary orbits and the astronomy of the Bhagavatam.

    Familiar Numbers

    As explained above, we get the larger yojana of 32,000 hastas (and 1/8 of a degree of latitude) by using a hasta of 431.9 millimeters. This can be rounded off to 432, a familiar number in Vedic literature. (For example, 432,000 is the number of years in Kali-yuga, the current age.) It turns out that this familiar number may not be simply coincidental.

    First of all, the meter itself derives from a measurement of latitude. The meter (one thousand millimeters) was originally defined in 1791 as 1 ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole through the meridian of Paris. That distance has been remeasured since then, but the change amounts to a tiny fraction of a percent.

    So accepting for the larger yojana a hasta of 432 millimeters, we find that this hasta comes very close to 108 ten-billionths of the circumference of the earth through the poles (see Figure 7). (This is because 432 = 4 x 108 and there are 4 quadrants from equator to pole in the circumference.)

    Another 108 comes up if we consider the mean diameter of the earth, 7917.5 miles, or 1,728.5 “small yojanas.” This is close to 1728, or 16 x 108. (Recall the 1,728,000 years of Satya-yuga, the first in the cycle of the four ages.)

    These observations suggest a simple experiment. Try setting the mean diameter of the earth to exactly 1,728 small yojanas of 16,000 hastas. Suppose that 30/32 of a hasta gives a smaller hasta exactly 108 ten-billionths of the circumference of the earth through the poles. If we multiply it all out, we find that the ratio between circumference and mean diameter comes to 3.13967.

    This ratio expresses the degree of polar flattening of the earth (see Figure 8). (If the earth were a perfect sphere, the number would be pi—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.) As it turns out, 3.13967 is within 0.006% of the actual ratio, as calculated using modern data. That this calculation works out so well indicates strongly that we are dealing with design rather than coincidence.

    In summary, simple arguments from the testimony of Megasthenes and Hiuen Thsang enable us to reconstruct two closely related yojana values. Both are precisely defined as fractions of a degree of latitude at the equator. Both relate to the earth by multiples of 108 (namely 432 and 1728), and this relationship gives us a very accurate estimate of the polar flattening of the earth. Also, the length of the larger yojana is confirmed independently by an investigation comparing modern astronomy with the cosmology of the Bhagavatam.

    The Great Pyramid

    Let us return briefly to our replacement of the Greek cubit with a slightly smaller unit linked to a degree of latitude at the equator. All the calculations above would go through if we used the Greek cubit directly and did not make this substitution. But the errors would be larger. So I prefer to match the two yojana lengths to the equator rather than to Greece.

    Curiously, we can find support for this in the design of the great pyramid of Egypt (see Figure 9). In 1925 an engineer named J. H. Cole made an accurate survey of the great pyramid using up-to-date instruments. He found that twice the perimeter is 1,842.91 meters. For comparison, a minute of latitude at the equator—or 1 krosa of the small yojana—is 1,842.93 meters. In other words, the perimeter of the great pyramid is almost exactly 1 krosa. Likewise, we find that the hasta of the small yojana goes almost exactly 500 times into each of the sides of the pyramid.

    The Greek cubit and stadium, however, fit the pyramid less closely. (There is a 0.4% error.) So it would seem that the great pyramid was designed using units linked to the degree of latitude at the equator.

    There is a further astronomical support for the length of the larger yojana. If we divide an up-to-date value for the distance from the earth to the sun by this length, the result is 10,821.6 thousand yojanas. This figure is close to 10,800, another multiple of the familiar 108. In a later article, I will show that this distance also fits naturally into the system of dvipas in Bhumandala, and I will also give many examples of 108 in astronomy.

    Wise Ancients

    If the yojana was exactly defined as a fraction of the equatorial degree of latitude, then the people who defined it must have known that the earth is a globe. Indeed, they appear to have understood the dimensions of the earth’s equatorial bulge.

    Who were these people, and when did they live? The evidence considered here puts them at least as far back as the time of the great pyramid—a time when people supposedly believed that the earth is flat. Yet the correlation between planetary orbits and features of Bhumandala shows that the “earth mandala” of the Bhagavatam was far from being a naive flat earth. Its connection with planetary orbits shows that Bhumandala represents the plane of the solar system, which (if we discount the slight inclinations of the planetary orbits) is actually flat.

    The Bhagavatam speaks of an ancient Vedic world civilization. Although the evidence we have looked at here does not prove that such a civilization existed, it does show that some people in the distant past attained an unexpectedly high level of scientific knowledge. Whether they lived in the East, the West, or both is hard to say. We do know that some evidence for this civilization is preserved in texts from India such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other evidence may be found in ancient ruins of the West. Perhaps there was an advanced civilization that was worldwide in its influence. It is worth our while to be on the alert for other evidence that may shed light on this hidden chapter in human history.

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