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In the Beginning: Even Before Brahma

Bhagavan without Brahma seated on a lotus attached to His navel

The story of Creation, as told in the Srimad Bhagavatam, is introduced here by referring to Krishna's teachings in chapters 8 and 9 of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna tells us that one day of Brahma (the daytime with light) lasts for 1000 Chaturyugas, with a night of equal duration, and that all beings return to Him at the end of the Mahakalpa - the end of Brahma's lifetime. Then He releases them and creation starts all over. What happens when there is no Brahma? How does creation begin? The answers to these questions will be explored here by referring to the Srimad Bhagavatam. The document will be updated as the story is told.

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Table of Contents
No. 1 2 Topic Gita chapters 8 and 9 verses and Uddhava’s surrender Rishis of NaimisharaNya poses their questions: Sootha responds Page No. 3 22

Appendices a. b. Kakudmi and Revati’s trip to Brahmaloka Why did Brahma laugh? Why do gotras disappear? 27 32

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Dear All: As we continue our discussion of chapter 8 (next Sunday May 6, 2012), it is of interest to recall here the description of creation as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam. In chapter 8, and also in chapter 9 (verses 7 and 8), Krishna mentions briefly about repeated cycles of creation, kalpa after kalpa, with one kalpa being a day of Brahma (the "day" being made of equal durations of daytime and nighttime of 4.3 billion years, or 1000 Chaturyugas). Although Krishna only uses the word "yuga" in chapter 8, verse 17 (Sahasrayuga partyantam ahar yad BrahmaNo vidhuh) this "yuga" actually means Chaturyuga the four yugas - Kruta, Treta, Dwaapara, and Kali - taken together. Kaliyuga, the age or yuga in which we live, lasts for 432,000 years. One Chaturyuga lasts for 4.3 million earth (or human) years, or ten times the duration of Kaliyuga.

Brahma is seated atop the lotus attached to Bhagavan’s navel. The image depicted here is that of the Lord as Ranganatha (as seen in Srirangam).

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One thousand (1000) such Chaturyugas make up the daytime of Brahma (BrahmaNah ahar). One year of Brahma is made up of 360 days (called kalpas) and Brahma lives for 100 years or 36,000 kalpas (see also Ramanujacarya's commentary for chapter 8, verse 17, and also chapter 9, verse 7). One kalpa equals the daytime and night-time of Brahma, for a total of 8.64 billion years (as reckoned here on earth by humans). Hence, Brahma’s lifetime is 311 trillion and 40 billion (earth/human) years. Sahasrayuga paryantam ahar yad BrahmaNO viduh l Raatrim yuga sahasraantaam tEhoraatra vidO janaahaa ll 8.17 ll BG


ll ८ .१७ ll

In the same way, when Krishna says "kalpa" in chapter 9, verse 7, see below, all our acaryas say that He actually means what is called a Mahakalpa, when Brahma's lifetime also ends. A new Brahma must then be created and creation begins all over again. Then, in chapter 9, Krishna mentions clearly that ALL beings (sarva bhootaani) come back to Him (Maamikaam) at the end of the kalpa (kalpakshaye). He also says that He releases them from within Him (visrujaami) at the start of the kalpa - when Brahma will be the first being created! Sarvabhootaani Kaunteya prakrutim yaanti Maamikaam l Kalpakshaye punas-taani Kalpaadhau visrujaamyaham ll 9.7 ll BG

l ll ९.७ ll
We find some more additional details about this topic in Canto 3 of the Srimad Bhagavatam (chapters 5 and 8). In chapter 5, and in the intervening chapters, we find the sage Maithreya describing to Vidura what happens even BEFORE Brahma
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is created. It is only in chapter 8 that we see the story of how Brahma is created. So, Bhagavan must do something BEFORE He creates Brahma. What exactly does Bhagavan do? What is going on BEFORE Brahma is created? The understanding of this pre-Brahma creation, to me at least, seems to have stunning parallels with how physicists describe the material universe. Please do not misunderstand the meaning of parallels. There is really no parallel. Let me explain. When we were in high school, we first learned about the five gross elements earth, water, air, fire (or light), and sky (or ether). Then we learned about atoms and molecules. It was the chemists who developed the so-called atomic theory (Dalton being considered the father of modern atomic theory) to explain how chemical reactions occur. The idea of a molecule (made of two or more atoms) was later introduced by Avogadro - who was mocked by Dalton - as effectively suggesting that "atoms" could be subdivided. Dalton could not fathom (or did NOT want to) what Avogadro meant by a “molecule” and an “atom”. This was in the first half of the 19th century. Avogadro prevailed and we now have something called the Avogadro number – a fundamental constant. Physicists refused to accept this “nonsense” called atomic theory (chemists were considered to be “inferior” scientists), until the very end of the 19th century, when the discovery of radioactivity, in 1896 (by Becquerel, with important contributions later made by Madam Curie), and the discovery of the electron, in 1897, essentially forced physicists to accept the atomic theory of matter. (Sir J. J. Thompson was studying ‘cathode rays’ but soon concluded that these ‘rays’ must be made up of a stream of extremely tiny, negatively charged, particles located within the atom. He received the Nobel Prize in 1906. Modern TVs are essentially cathode ray tubes, CRTs, and work on the principles used by J. J. Thomson. Later, his son, William Thomson, who also received the Nobel Prize, showed that electrons also have a wave-like character, just like light, X-rays and gamma rays; see also additional notes on Boltzmann at the end.) Thus, in the first half of the 20th century, we arrived at the simple model for the atom - made up of a positively charged nucleus (made up of protons, which are positively charged, and neutrons which are electrically neutral) and the negatively charged electrons orbiting around the nucleus, like planets orbiting the sun, or moons orbiting a planet. And, by August 1945, we also learned, to our horror, about the incredibly huge amount of energy which is locked within the nucleus of

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an atom – with the discovery of nuclear fission and the production of atom bombs or nuclear bombs (dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II). This is just about the point at which most of our learning about physics and chemistry ended, sometime in our high school years. Very few of us know what modern physicists know about the electron, or what the proton and neutron are made up of, or what is going on inside the nucleus. The one word answer to all of this, that only serious students of physics know, is Quarks. By the 1960s, as physicists pursued their discoveries about matter, they found a host of other particles which were NOT part of the atom - like mesons, muons, pions, antiparticles, and so on. They found a particle called the positron, which is identical to the electron in every way but is positively charged. This was found during the study of what are known as "cosmic rays", radiation that is received from outer space. In order to explain the existence of all these new and strange particles, Murray Gell-Mann (who studied at both Caltech and MIT, interesting since Caltech was founded by MIT alumni) proposed what is known as the quark theory. Gell-Mann received the Nobel Prize in 1969 and was named as the sole recipient that year - a remarkable feat since Nobel Prizes are now usually "shared" by up to three scientists (the maximum allowed to share the prize). Gell-Mann (and another theoretician Zweig) showed that ALL of the "particles" of matter are made up of a few fundamental entities called "quarks". Then the idea of various types of "forces" to bind these quarks together within the particles and more entities called "gluons" or exchange particles, or force exchange particles, were conceived to explain the nature of the three macroscopic forces (gravity, electricity, and magnetism) and the forces encountered only within the nucleus, or the subatomic particles. And, now, physics may be reaching the end of this road with one important particle, predicted by theory (the Higgs boson) still defying experimental detection. This particle is supposed to provide the property called "mass" to the universe. Last year's (September 2011) brief sensation about particles (called neutrinos) going faster than the speed of light, was a brief detour in the journey for the discovery of the Higgs boson - often called the God particle by physicists. This is our "highest level" understanding of matter - the material universe, or what is called "Prakruti" in the scriptures like the Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna's statement about the five gross elements (chapter 7, verse 4) seems like our "crude" understanding of the gross elements (this was the Aristotelean
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conception, before Galileo, Newton and others paved the way for the modern) before we learn about atomic theory and then about electrons, protons, and neutrons. And, many of us are quite happy with that level of understanding. All this quark stuff is just too quirky! Likewise, the understanding of creation, and the idea that Brahma is the creator, is also an elementary one. Like the quarks that lie hidden (according to theory, no quark can ever be isolated and found to exist independently "outside" the particle, ha ha...) there is something hidden behind Brahma and his creation as well. How can Brahma start creating? Imagine a great chef who is entrusted with the task of the preparation of a grand feast for a big event - like a White House state dinner in Washington DC, or a feast at the Buckingham Palace in London, or the Raj Bhavan in New Delhi. Can the chef prepare the grand feast all by himself? First, the chef will need a well-stocked kitchen with many ingredients - vegetables, spices, various types of meat (for non-veg meals), juices, etc. Second, the chef will need cooking utensils, a stove, range etc. But, what about electricity? The chef will need that too. How do we get electricity? Just call the utility company and get electricity connected! Not that simple, really. What if there is no utility company or even that no one has even discovered electricity, or fire, or that it can be used to cook? What if there are no vegetables either? How do we get vegetables? What makes them grow? Ok, ok, we need seeds and we need rain? How to produce rain? How to produce the seed? This is the situation BEFORE even Brahma is created. This is the subject matter of Canto 3, chapter 5 onwards where the story is told by the sage Maithreya. Vidura, who was one of the three sons produced by Vyasa (the other two being Dhrutarashtra and Pandu) to continue the family lineage after Satyavati's (she was Vyasa's mother, conceived through the sage Parashara, when she was still unwed and not married to Shantanu) son died without leaving a heir. Vidura refused to take sides during the Mahabharata war (fought by the sons of Dhrutarshtra and Pandu) and went on a pilgrimage. There he met Uddhava, who was on his way to Badarikaashrama, after having received instructions from Krishna, just before He returned to Vaikunta. Krishna instructed Uddhava and the sage Maithreya had also received the same message. Krishna told the sage that he should share the message with Vidura. What was the message? What were the instructions that Uddhava received?
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This is known as Uddhava Gita and is the subject of Canto 11 of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Uddhava, who was a cousin of Krishna and resembled Krishna so much that he was often mistaken for Krishna, was a dear friend - a sakhaa - just like Arjuna. He wanted Krishna to take him to Vaikunta as well (swadhaama naya maamapi, Canto 11, chapter 6, verse 43). He tells Krishna that we are all wandering here aimlessly following the path of fruitive activities (bhramantah karma vartmasu, verse 48). But, now, we can spend our time thinking about You and all of Your divine pastimes (tvad vaartaayaa, smarantah, keertayantah, krutaani gaditaani ca). We can cherish each word that You have uttered and relish the thoughts of all Your activities. This is the ONLY way for us to overcome this Maya (of Prakruti). But, now You want to leave us behind in this BIG JOKE of a world of mortals - yannruloka vidambanam.

Uddhava meets with the Gopis at Vrindavan. He had been sent by Krishna after He had moved to Dwaraka. The Gopis think their friend Krishna had returned. Uddhava was told to continue this pretense so that he could learn about how the gopis really felt about Krishna and report back. When Uddhava finally revealed himself, the gopis extracted a promise from him NOT to tell Krishna about how they felt (because they did NOT want to let Krishna know about their pain). ******************************************************************************

Yes, Uddhava says nru loka (of mortals, humans) vidambanam (a big joke). The word ‘vidambanam’ also means troublesome, vexing, etc. He wants Krishna to take Him to Vaikunta. He does not want to be here. Thus ends the sixth chapter of Canto 11. But, Krishna refuses and tells Uddhava that he must stay back. Uddhava then wants to know the Supreme truth from the Supreme Being (tatva
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jijnaasuh Acytam, verse 13, chapter 7, Canto 11). Just before this entreaty begins, Bhagavan had briefly conveyed the message of tyaga and sanyasa as the way to live in this world (same as the message conveyed to Arjuna in chapter 18). But, Uddhava is not happy. He says, “O Yogesh, the Master of all the yogas, this is not possible. We are too entangled with thoughts of Me and Mine (mama aham iti, verse 16). We are all deluded (vimohita dhiyah, verse 17) by Your Maya. We cannot give up easily this attachment to all the sensory pleasures (that Krishna says we must).” So, Uddhava wants Him to instruct him fully so that we can learn how to live in this world, overcome this Maya and fully understand Him. Like Arjuna, Uddhava also surrenders to Krishna and indeed uses exactly the same words that we find Arjuna using in chapter 2, verse 7.

Uddhava pleading with Krishna, in His Chaturbhuja form, as Krishna is ready to leave for Vaikunta (His Divine Abode). The tree under which Krishna sat is still present in Prabhas kshetra, very close to the famous Somnath temple. (I was fortunate to visit this holy place in February 2012.) d=C0A15972A3B7D202F9CAA26860BB7D00EEBF8F81&first=0&qpvt=krishna +uddhava+pictures&FORM=IDFRIR ****************************************************************** It is a beautiful verse, which begins Uddhava Gita and the instructions that Udhhava received, which were eventually shared by Maithreya with Vidura. Herein lies buried the story of the pre-Brahma Universe... what precedes the
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creation of Brahma, as told by Bhagavan Himself, through the great recipients of this knowledge just mentioned. We will continue this discussion later but let us now enjoy the Uddhava surrender sloka at the conclusion of his plea to Krishna. Tasmaad Bhavantam Anavadhyam Anantapaaram Sarvajnam Eeshwaram Akunta-vikunta-dhishNyam l NirviNNadheerahamu ha vrujinaabhi taptO NaarayaNam Narasakham sharaNam prapadye ll 11.7.18 ll Alternate for 3rd line : NirviNNa dheeriha muhuh ha ...


l ll ११.७.१८ ll

Uddhava says sharaNam prapadye -- I am surrendering to You. Arjuna says shaadhi maam prapannam. The noun form prapannam is replaced by the verb form prapadye. Arjuna says shaadhi, which means to advise him, instruct him, rescue him, help him, liberate him, in other words, to pay urgent attention to his condition of total helplessness in the battlefield where he has totally lost his mind. Uddhava says anushaadhi bhrutyam, in an earlier verse 16. “I am Your servant. Please tell me what to do. How can I understand Your words and hold them dear”, says Uddhava - tvad anjasaa nigatim Bhavata yathaam samsaadhayaami. Both Arjuna and Uddhava surrender to Krishna. But, there is a difference. Arjuna is in raajasic mode (mode of passion) and also gripped with tamasic qualities (ignorance). Uddhava, on the other hand, is in the saatvic (pious) mode, overcome with some raajasic qualities (passion). The questions asked and the instructions received therefore differ. Krishna's objective was to ensure that Arjuna understands his duties. But, Krishna also wants to lay the foundation for his performance of duties, with the highest level of excellence (yad shreyas syaat nishcitam broohi tanme, chapter 2, verse 7, also yena shreyOham aapnuyaam, chapter 3, verse 2), so that Arjuna would never again become deluded. Shreyas is opposed to Preyas. The latter means what we like. The former means what is good for us. In the deepest sense, shreyas means attaining moksha, whereas Preyas means sense gratification.
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****************************************************************** (It is interesting that the gopis address Krishna as “Preshttha” in the Rasa-Lila chapters that we just discussed. Preshttha means that the Dearest of all. So, what did the gopis really want? Someone to ponder about… what is dear can also be something that is good for us… shouldn’t that be the case?) ****************************************************************** Uddhava too is overwhelmed at the very thought that Krishna will leave soon and leave him behind in this miserable big joke of a world. The rest of the verse above describes Narayana - as Uddhava now addresses Krishna. He calls Him Narayana nara-sakhaa, a friend of all naras (humans). He is the Supreme Being, the Lord of all and higher than all (Eeshwara). He is the ever victorious and unconquerable. He is the one without any end and the One that is present even beyond that seemless end (Ananta paaram). Thus, we can now prepare to hear the story of pre-Brahma creation. It is of interest to see the description in the Holy Bible, which is very brief, a part of which is given below the signature line. The Bible also says something was created in the beginning. That beginning is the pre-Brahma beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam. Well, it is Sunday now and the early morning hours. Even our Christian brothers and sister devote the day to pray to the Lord this morning (while being engaged with other fruitive activities the rest of the week, ideally, in the spirit of dedication, as we ALL must, at ALL times). Also, reproduced below is Prabhupada's translation of the verse describing Uddhava's final surrender. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan April 29, 2012 ******************************************************************

Page 11 of 36 Genesis 1 New International Version (NIV) The Beginning 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the first day. ****************************************************************** SB 11.7.14: Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You alone award the results of yoga practice, and You are so kind that by Your own influence You distribute the perfection of yoga to Your devotee. Thus You are the Supreme Soul who is realized through yoga, and it is You who are the origin of all mystic power. For my supreme benefit You have explained the procedure for giving up the material world through the process of sannyāsa, or renunciation. SB 11.7.15: My dear Lord, O Supreme Soul, for those whose minds are attached to sense gratification, and especially for those bereft of devotion unto You, such renunciation of material enjoyment is most difficult to perform. That is my opinion. SB 11.7.16: O my Lord, I myself am most foolish because my consciousness is merged in the material body and bodily relations, which are all manufactured by Your illusory energy. Thus I am thinking, "I am this body, and all of these relatives are mine." Therefore, my Lord, please instruct Your poor servant. Please tell me how I can very easily carry out Your instructions. SB 11.7.17: My dear Lord, You are the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You reveal Yourself to Your devotees. Besides Your Lordship, I do not see anyone who can actually explain perfect knowledge to me. Such a perfect teacher is not to be found even among the demigods in heaven. Indeed, all of the
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demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, are bewildered by Your illusory potency. They are conditioned souls who accept their own material bodies and bodily expansions to be the highest truth. SB 11.7.18: Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material life and tormented by its distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are the perfect master. You are the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose spiritual abode in aiku ha is free from all disturbances. In fact, You are known as ārāya a, the true friend of all living beings. ******************************************************************

Boltzmann’s Famous Tombstone Engraving
Physicists did NOT accept the atomic view of matter, even well into the 19 th century. In particular, Ludwig Boltzmann, who along with James Clerk Maxwell, developed the modern kinetic theory of gases, using probabilistic arguments, felt unappreciated and ridiculed by his peers and suffered from depression throughout his life.

Kelvin Scale
Freezing point of water 0°C = 273 K Boiling point of water = 100°C = 373 K BEC exists at a few nanoKelvins NanoKelvin = 10-9 K

Maxwell and Boltzmann, building on the earlier work of Clausius, considered a gas to be made up of hard tiny spherical particles, which obeyed ewton’s laws of mechanics and the newly discovered laws of thermodynamics. This led to a new conception of the meaning of “temperature” of a gas. This “atomic” viewpoint has was confirmed very eloquently, towards the end of the 20th century, with the discovery of a new state of matter called the Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC, and honored with the Nobel Prize in 2001. At ultralow temperatures (measured in nanoKelvins), the energy of the gas is greatly reduced and the speed (or velocity)
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of the atoms decreases. Atoms also have wave-like properties (just like electrons) and these “matter waves” simply fuse together to produce a new fluid called the BEC, whose existence was predicted theoretically by Einstein and Bose. The BEC only exists at temperatures of a few nanoKelvins, with zero Kelvin being the lowest temperature conceivable theoretically (the so-called Absolute Zero of temperature). Zero Kelvin = -273 °C = -459 °F (see illustration above). Boltzmann’s probabilistic models also laid the foundations for Planck’s Quantum theory and also lie at the heart of the (quantum) theory that led to the prediction of the BEC. Quite tragically, hit with a severe bout of depression, Boltzmann committed suicide, on September 5, 1906, just as the physics world was beginning to embrace virtually all of his ideas. Einstein developed his theory of the particle nature of light (in 1905) building on Boltzmann’s ideas about the entropy of a gas. Einstein considered light to be made up of small particles, called photons, each having an energy E = hf, where h is the Planck constant and f is the frequency of the light wave. (Light also has wavelike and particle-like properties. This view is called the dual nature of matter.)

Boltzmann’s tombstone in Vienna with the engraving of S = k log W. This is, perhaps, the only known example of a mathematical theory honoring a famous scientist. Even Einstein’s E = mc2 or Planck’s E = hf escaped this distinction. ****************************************************************** The famous equation S = k ln W, introduced by Planck when he developed quantum theory in 1900, is engraved on Boltzmann’s tombstone, in ienna. The
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constant k is called the Boltzmann’s constant and is one of the fundamental constants of physics. In this equation, S is the entropy, which is a measure of the extent of chaos in a system (such as gas, which is made up of zillions of small atoms or molecules, moving randomly in all possible directions). W is the number of microstates in which N particles can exist that lead to a certain macrostate of interest, such as the total energy of the system. The notation ln W means natural logarithm of W. The equation can also be written as S = k log W, where log is logarithm of W to base 10. (Logarithm to the base 10 is easy to understand. For example, 1 = 100 and so logarithm of 1 equals 0 where 0 is the power to which we raise 10 to get 1. Since 10 = 101, the logarithm of 10 is 1. For 100 = 102, the logarithm is 2, for a million = 106, the logarithm is 6 and so on. Decibel levels, used for sound and hearing aids, are expressed in logarithms.) If all this is confusing, just think of the US economy, or the World economy, as a whole. The US economy is worth a few trillion dollars. How does this worth arise? Quite simply, it arises from the wealth of millions of households and thousands upon thousands of corporations. These are what we call the microstates. The macrostate can be characterized by many properties, one of which is the total wealth of the economic system. Obviously, there are many different ways in which the same total wealth (macrostate) can be achieved, with some being rich and some being poor. The “equilibrium” condition is one where the entropy reaches a maximum value. (Hence, the modern economic conundrum, the 1% versus 99%, defies the laws of physics, especially the entropy law, if it can be extended from physics to economics. More on this separately, at a later date!


Or, think of the famous Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). This is the average value of the stock price of 30 different companies which is considered to be “representative” of the US economy. (Companies which are poor performers are actually “kicked out” of the Dow. Hence, the DJIA has, historically, since its conception in 1894, with only 12 companies, always been going up and up and up, with some occasional downs – or “crashes”.) Exactly the same value of the DJIA can be achieved in many different ways, with some companies having a high stock value and some having a low stock value. The exact value of W in S = k ln W can be determined using probability theory for a “simple” system with only 30 entities.

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Dear All: Before proceeding with our narration of the Story of Creation, as told in the Srimad Bhagavatam, let us consider again the final sloka from Srimad Bhagavatam, where Uddhava surrenders to Krishna and begs for Divine instructions. This section of Canto 11 of the Bhagavatam is also referred to as the Uddhava Gita. Tasmaad Bhavantam Anavadhyam Anantapaaram Sarvajnam Eeshwaram Akunta-vikunta-dhishNyam l NirviNNadheerahamu ha vrujinaabhi taptO NaarayaNam Narasakham sharaNam prapadye ll 11.7.18 ll Alternate for 3rd line : NirviNNa dheeriha muhuh ha ...


l ll ११.७.१८ ll

Uddhava describes himself as NirviNNadheeh which is the compound word made up of dhee ( , the mind, as in the Gayatri mantram) and which is the opposite of AnirviNnah, which means one who is NOT despondent, or gets depressed. This is one of the namas in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. The full commentary on this nama is extracted and pasted below from ). Uddhava is experiencing extreme despondency because he would soon have to face the prospect of being separated from Krishna, who is preparing to return to His Divine Abode. The despondency is described beautifully here with the poetic garbling of words that we see here immediately following NirviNNadhee. As noted earlier, there is also an alternate version cited in the Gorakhpur Press edition of Srimad
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Bhagavatam. However, with some reflection, the version with the grabbling of sounds, as we will see shortly, is very very touching. The sounds following nirviNNadhee are “aham u ha” or sequence of sounds is the garbling of the sounds mantram, or “Om”. The compounding of +उ+ उ उ as if

someone is just stammering away and does not know what to say. This in the Omkara = ॐ which signify

Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma. As Uddhava begins to address Krishna as Narayanam Narasakham, he is also trying to utter the Omkara sound (as in Om namo NarayaNaaya) but is unable to do so. As he tries to say , which signifies Vishnu, he gets choked and the sounds emanating get mixed up. It is as if he is overcome by his immense grief. He says that he feels the intense “heat” of the fire of this samsara, with the impending departure of Krishna to Vaikunta. Finally, he surrenders. The full commentary on this nama is given below. nAma 436. AnirviNNah

He who is never despondent. a-nirviNNAya namah 1. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning starting from the root vid - vicAraNe to discuss, to consider. SrI BhaTTar explains this by indicating that bhagavAn does not become despondent even though His expectations that we will resort to Him for our
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redemption are not fulfilled. He just goes on with a new creation in the hope that we will meet His expectations in our next chance. 2. SrI V. V. RAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr - SOmbAduippalluruvai ellAm paDarvitta vittA - periya tiruvantAdi 18. 3. SrI Sa~nkara gives the interpretation that He is never despondent because He has no wishes that are not fulfilled. The term a-nirvedah is also used to explain this nAma - One who is not despondent or in despair. 4. The dharma cakram writer points out that just as the heart ceaselessly keeps beating in order to keep us alive but takes rest constantly in between the beats and so never gets tired, bhagavAn ceaselessly creates this world and rests also continuously in between and never gets tired. If we do our karmas with a sattvic attitude we also will never get despondent, but if we do our karma-s either with the rAjasic or tAmasic disposition, we will get easily depressed. This is the lesson we should take from this nAma.

Each one of us should at least keep repeating the last line of this beautiful verse describing the surrender of Uddhava. Om NaaraayaNam Narasakham sharaNam prapadye! Om, I surrender to Narayana, the dear friend of all humans. I wish, someday, someone with a beautiful and melodious voice will sing this verse in a memorable fashion.

Very sincerely V. Laxmanan April 29, 2012

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Canto 11: General History Chapter 7: ord a nstructs ddhava Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.7.18 tasmād bhavantam anavadyam ananta-pāra sarva-jñam īśvaram aku ha-viku ha-dhi yam nirvi a-dhīr aham u he v inābhitapto nārāya a nara-sakha śara a prapadye SYNONYMS tasmāt — therefore; bhavantam — unto You; anavadyam — the perfect; anantapāram — unlimited; sarva jñam — omniscient; īśvaram — Personality of Godhead; aku ha — undisturbed by any force; viku ha — the spiritual kingdom aiku ha; dhi yam — whose personal abode; nirvi a — feeling renounced; dhī — my mind; aham — I; u he — O (Lord); v ina — by material distress; abhitapta — tormented; nārāya am — unto Lord ārāya a; nara-sakham — the friend of the infinitesimal living entity; śara am prapadye — I approach to take shelter. TRANSLATION Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material life and tormented by its distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are the perfect master. You are the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose spiritual abode in aiku ha is free from all disturbances. In fact, You are known as ārāya a, the true friend of all living beings. PURPORT No one can claim to be a self-made man, because everyone works with the body and mind awarded by material nature. By the laws of nature there is always anxiety in material existence, and terrible tragedies periodically harass the conditioned souls. Here Uddhava points out that only Śrī K a, the Personality of Godhead, is a proper master, friend and shelter for the conditioned souls. We may be attracted by the good qualities of a particular man or demigod, but we may later discover discrepancies in that person's behavior. Therefore K a is described as anavadyam. There are no discrepancies in the personal conduct or character of the Personality of Godhead; He is eternally faultless.
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We may faithfully serve a master, father or demigod, but when it is time for us to receive our reward for faithful service, the master may die. Therefore Lord K a is here described as ananta-pāram, which indicates that He is not limited by time or space. The word anta indicates the termination of time, and pāra indicates a spatial termination; therefore ananta-pāram means that Lord K a is not limited by time or space and thus will always dutifully reward His faithful servants. If we serve someone other than the Personality of Godhead, our so-called master may forget our service or become ungrateful. Therefore Lord K a is described here as sarva-jñam, omniscient. He can never forget the service of His devotee, and therefore He is never ungrateful. In fact, it is said that Lord K a does not remember the faults of His devotees but only the sincere service they have rendered. A further disadvantage in serving anyone besides K a is that when we are in danger our master may not be able to protect us. If we take shelter of our nation, that nation may be destroyed in war. If we take shelter of our family, they may also die. And as described in the Vedic literature, even the demigods are sometimes defeated by the demons. But since Lord K a is described here as īśvara, or the supreme controller, there is no danger of His being overcome or even impeded by any other power. Thus Lord K a's promise of protection to His devotee is eternally valid. If we do not serve the Personality of Godhead, we will not know the ultimate result of our service. But here Lord K a is described as aku ha-viku ha-dhi yam. Lord K a has an eternal abode called aiku ha, and that abode is never disturbed by anything. The faithful servants of Lord K a will certainly go back to Godhead, back home, for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge in the personal abode of the Lord. However, since even the demigods, and what to speak of insignificant human beings, are subject sooner or later to annihilation, what ultimate benefit can be derived from serving them? Uddhava describes his personal situation as nirvi a-dhī and v inā hitapta . n other ords Śrī Uddhava states that he is exhausted and discouraged by the contradictions and anguish of material life. He has been forced, therefore, to become humble and surrender to the lotus feet of a, the personal friend of every living entity. In the material world a great man does not have time for insignificant men. But although the Lord is the greatest person, He sits in the heart of every living entity;
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thus He is the most merciful. Lord K a is the ultimate shelter of even āra, or the Lord's puru a expansion who creates the material world. The living entity is called nara, and the source of his material situation is āra, or Mahā- i u. The word nārāya a indicates that even Mahā- i u finds His shelter in K a, who is certainly supreme. Although our consciousness is presently contaminated by sinful propensities, if we follow the example of Śrī Uddhava and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, K a, everything can be rectified. Taking shelter of K a means taking shelter of devotional service to K a and obeying Him. Lord K a demands this in Bhagavad-gītā, and if we comply with the order of the Lord our life can become fully auspicious and successful. Sooner than we expect, we may, by K a's mercy, enter the kingdom of God for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.

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The Rishis of NaimisharaNya
Pose their Questions to Sootha Maharshi
The story of Creation, and all the glories of the Lord, as told in the Srimad Bhagavatam is narrated in three ways: as the conversation between the sages of NaimisharaNya and Sootha Maharishi, as the conversation between the sage Maithreya and Vidura, and as the conversation between Uddhava and Krishna, or Bhagavan, when the latter was preparing to return to Vaikunta. The conversation between Uddhava and Krishna, found in Canto 11 is also called Uddhava Gita. It starts with chapter 6, where preparations to return to Vaikunta is described (Brahma,Shiva, and other celestials visit Krishna and urge the return to Vaikunta) leading to Uddhava’s surrender in chapter 7 (and plea to take him also to Vaikunta) and finishing of the divine instructions in chapter 29 with Uddhava being told to travel to Bhadarika ashram and spend his remaining days there. The last two chapters of Canto 11 describe the perishing of the Yadu dynasty (chapter 30) and finally Krishna’s return (chapter 31). This is the broad outline for our story of creation, which is really part of the original instructions to Uddhava. However, the sage Maithreya also heard what Uddhava heard and this sage was instructed to reveal the same to Vidura. The entire Srimad Bhagavatam was composed by Vyasa and taught to his son Shuka who then instructed Parikshit as he was preparing to die (he had seven days to live). The sage Sootha Mahrishi was present in the audience and heard Shukaacarya’s narration. He then retold the story to the sages of NaimisharaNya. Thus, the whole Srimad Bhagavatam, the original composition of Veda Vyasa, which reveals Bhagavan’s teachings to Uddhava, is weaved in an interesting way through these three different interweaving narrations. Hence, we begin our story by first recalling the questions posed by the rishis of NaimisharaNya and slowly lead up the “nitty-gritty” of the creation story revealed in Canto 3 (pre-Brahma creation in chapter 5 and Brahma’s appearance and subsequent expansion of creation starting with chapter 8).
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NaimeshE nimishakshetrE rishayah Shaunakaadayaahaa l Satram swargaaya lokaaya sahasra-samam-aasata ll 1.1.4 ll SB Ta ekadaa tu munayah praatar huta-hutaagnayahaa l Satkrutam sootham aaseenam prapacchur idam aadaraat ll 1.1.5 ll SB These two slokas provide the actual introduction to the story. The first three slokas prior to these are the MangalacaraNam slokas and we would be remiss if we do not chant them, even if we do not discuss them fully. The MangalacaraNam slokas themselves have a very profound and deep meaning and the reader should consult other acaryas like the widely available writings of Srila Prabhupada, in English, on this most divine topic. More recently, there have been other exponents of Srimad Bhagavatam. Some of these narrations are available in audio-video format from various sources. Let us read the mangalacaraNa slokas and meditate on them.

Janmaadyasya yatOnvayaat itaratah caarthEshvadhijnah swaraath l Tene Brahma hrudaa ya aadhi kavayE Muhyanti yat soorayahaa ll TejO vaari mrudaam yathaa vinimayO Yatra trisargOmrushaa l Dhaamnaa swena sadaa nirasta kuhakam Satyam Param dheemahi ll 1.1.1 ll Dharmah projjhita kaitavOtra paramO nirmatsaraaNaam sataam l vedyam vaastavam atra vastu shivadam taapatrayOn-moolanam ll Sreemad Bhagavate Mahamuni krute Kim vaa parair eeshwarahaa l
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Sadyo hrud avarudyatEtra krutibhi Shushroobhis-tat-kshaNaat ll 1.1.2 ll Nigama kalpatarOr galitam phalam Shuka mukhaad-amruta drava samyutam l pibata Bhagavatam rasam aalayam MuhurahO rasikaah bhuvi bhaavukaahaa ll 1.1.3 ll Notice that the first two slokas are eight lines, instead of usual 4 or 2 lines. They can be reduced to four line versions, if we wish, by compressing them. I have highlighted some of the key thoughts in blue and bolded them. Very briefly, the first verse ends with “Satyam Param Dheemahi”, let us meditate on that Absolute Truth. The second verse says “TaapatrayOnmoolanam” that is the complete uprooting and eradication of the three tyes of suffering that we experience in this life (aadhyaatmika, imposed upon oneself by the self, adhibhautika, imposed by other living beings, adhidaivika, imposed by divine and celestial forces – or what is known as God made calamities). It also says, “kim vaa paraair eeshwarah”, why does one have to feel anymore that Eeshawara (the Supreme Being) is separate and different from us. Why? “Sadyo hrud avarudyate atra” right here, He can be immediately grabbed and imprisoned within the heart (like Mother Yashoda was able to grab baby Krishna and tie Him up) of any devotee with this Srimad Bhagavata Purana that has been composed by this great Muni (sage), Vyasa. The third verse says, “Shuka mukhaat pibata Bhagavatam”. They say that a fruit that has been first tasted by a parrot tastes even sweeter. In the same way, we are hearing this Bhagavatam from Shukaacarya, after he had tasted it first (when Vyasa first taught him). Let us taste the sweet and divine nectar of this Bhagavatam, over and over, here on this earth. So long lives this and this give life to us – all of us whose minds are tuned to relish it and whose hearts are filled with the emotions to drown in it.

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Returning now to the rishis of Naimsha aranya (a great forest, supposed to be in the middle of the Indian peninsula, now what we call Andhra Pradesh), they were engaged in the performance of a huge yajna. It would take thousands of years to complete, yet they were engaged in performing it (knowing fully well that they would not see its completion, or benefit from the fruits of performing this great yajnam). Then, one day – ekada – this simple word usually introduces something extremely auspicious, like once upon a time in English – after they had finished their morning ablutions and made their offerings to the fire, they saw Sootha Mahrishi, requested him to accept an exalted seat and asked him, as follows, with great reverence. “O great sage, you have heard and studied all the puranas, all the histories. You know them all. So, please tell us something that is the highest good (shreyas, verse 9), that which will please the soul itself (yena aatma praseedati, verse 11). We, born in this Kaliyuga, have limited lifetimes, we are extremely dull (mandaah), with a very dull-headed mind (mandamatyahaa), we are extremely unfortunate (manda-bhagyaah), and extremely tormented in every way (verse 10).” “There is a lot that we have to do, and a lot more to hear. So, please tell us something that will please our very soul – yena aatma praseedati – we are now overcome with intense devotion (shradda-dhaana-naam broohi nah). So, tell us about Bhagavan, who was incarnate as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. He chose to do so at His own Will. All of His incarnations are to bring lasting good and prosperity (kshemaaya) to all beings (bhootaanaam ca bhavaaya ca).” The pleading of the sages (rishis) continues and ends with the following: Broohi YogEshwarE KrishnE BrahmaNyE dharma-varmaNi l Swaam-kaashtthaam adhunopete dharmah kam sharaNam gatah ll1.1.23ll “Where is dharma now, and where has dharma taken refuge? We know that Krishna has now returned to His own Abode (swaam kaashtthaam upete). He is the Master of all the yogas (Yogeshwara), He is the Absolute Brahman He is the one who always follows the path (vartmaNi) of dharma
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and establishes dharma and protects dharma.” The Hindi translation from the Gorakhpur Press adds, “He is the Protector of dharma, dharmarakshak, the one who is fond of the Brahmins, BrahmaNa-bhakta, who uphold dharam, and He is Yogeshwara.” Thus ends chapter 1, Canto 1 of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sootha Maharshi then responds to the rishis and their plea. This is the topic of chapter 2 after which he describes and briefly enumerates 22 incarnations of Bhagavan in chapter 3,which ends as follows and provides the answer to the last and most pregnant question raised by the rishis at the end of chapter 1. “In Kaliyuga, with the enveloping of the darkness in the form of ignorance, the radiant sun, in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam, has risen to combat it. When this Bhagavatam was being sung, recited, glorified by Shukaacarya, on the banks of the Ganga, and told lovingly (literally feeding it into his ears, like a mother feeds a baby) to Maharaja Parikshit, I was blessed to be in his presence. I received his anugraham (divine consent) to be seated there and listened to him. And so, I will now tell you all the same (feed into your ears in the same way, shraavayishyaami), without any tampering changes just as I heard (yathaadheetam) and to the best of my recollections (yathaa mati). Kalau nastthadrushaam esha puraNorkOdhunO-dithah l Tatra keertayatO vipraa viprarshEr bhooritejasah ll 1.3.44 ll Aham caadhyagamam tatra nivishttas-tadanu-grahaat l SOham vah shraavayishaami yathaadheetam yathaamati ll 1.3.45 ll And, thus ends chapter 3 of Canto 1 of the Srimad Bhagavatam. There are many beautiful and extremely devotional verses in the chapters that have been very briefly summarized here to pave a quick passage to
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the story of creation. One sloka is worth recalling, however, since it captures the most glorious message of Srimad Bhagavatam. After enumerating 22 incarnations, starting with the first incarnation as Purusha (not the Matsya avataram, as in the popular list of ten, example in verse 24 of Venkatesa Suprabhatam, Meenaakrute Kamato Kola Nrusimha VarNin) and ending with Kalki, Sootha says, “O rishis, this is by no means the full list. There are innumerable incarnations of Sri Hari that we cannot even count, just like thousands upon thousands of tiny streams flow out a might lake. All the great rishis, all the great humans, all of the great celestials, all the sons of Manu, all the prajapatis (the progenitors of mankind) and all those with great prowess, all of them, they are all but amshas (minute fragments) of Sri Hari alone.” (verses 26 and 27). Then he concludes as follows. Ete caamsha kalaah Pumsaahaa KrishNas tu Bhagvam swayam l Indraari vyaakulam lokam mrudyanti yuge yuge ll 1.3.28 ll All of the incarnations mentioned are a small amsha of the Supreme Being (Pumsahaa, of the Pumaan or Purusha). They are like small rays. But Krishna is Bhagavan Himself. He manifests Himself in yuga after yuga, in this world, when the enemies (ari) of Indra, the king of the gods (i.e., when evil, demoniac, forces), torment this world. He then arrives to protect all the good beings. The story of these incarnations and manifestations is most secret and difficult to understand. But those try to, morning and evenings, each day, day after day, will be relieved of all their sorrows. Krishnas tu Bhagavaan swyam… This is the most profound statement of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna is Bhagavan Himself. He is not an incarnation, which represents a small fragment (amsha kalaah). He is Bhagavan swayam, Bhagavan Himself. Uddhava said, “NarayaNam Narasakham sharaNam prapadye” when he surrendered to the same Krishna. So, Hari, Narayana, Krishna all used here, even Vaikuntanaathaa (Canto 8, chapter 5), are all clearly names of the same Supreme Being.
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Kakudmi and Revati Story
Confirms the 28th Kaliyuga Sankalpam statement
Dear All: In a recent email on the topic of the Cosmology Lessons from Krishna's teachings in chapter 8 of the Gita, I had mentioned the story of King Kakudmi's trip to Brahmaloka and its humorous rationalization attempts in terms of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Now, I have been able to locate the exact reference to that story in Srimad Bhagavatam. The story is found in Canto 9, chapter 3, verses 29 to 36, where Shukaacarya is describing different lineages and dynasties starting with the first Manu. Here we also find confirmation for the count of "ashtavimshati tame Kaliyuge" in the ‘sankalpam’ recited when we do various poojas. In the ‘sankalpam’ we are merely humbly recalling our place in the cosmic order by recalling the year in Brahma’s lifetime (dwiteeya paraardhe), the day of Brahma (kalpa, shewtavaraha kalpe), the reigning manu in that kalpa (Vaivaswata manvantare), the yuga in which we live during that reign (ashtavimshati tame Kaliyuge) and so on to the exact date obtained from our familiar calendar. This is about why we say “ashtavimshati tame Kaliyuge”. This is the first time I have come across some kind of a justification for this statement. Ashta means eight and vimshati means 20 and so ashtavimshati means 28. Hence, the statement "Ashtavimshati tame Kaliyuge" means that we are in the 28th Kaliyuga during the reign of our Manu - who is named as Vaivaswata Manu being descended from Visvaswan, the sun god. Canto 9, chapter 1, begins with the question posed by King Parikshit to Shukaacarya where he requests the sage to tell him more about our Manu. In the previous day, or kalpa, of Brahma (in each kalpa there are 14 Manus), it is stated that our Manu was born as a Rajarshi named Satyavrata. It is also mentioned that he was born in Dravida desham (Canto 9, chapter 1, verse 2). He is called Dravideshwara by Parikshit. It is this Rajarshi (royal sage) who is
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now our Manu and is named Vaiswasvata. He was reborn in the NEXT kalpa of Brahma (i.e., our present kalpa). Parikshit wants to know more about this Manu, the past, present, and future. The narration continues through chapter 3 of Canto 9, with the listing of the names of various generations of descendants. Finally, we find the story of the King Kakudmi, a descendant in the lineage of our Manu. Kakudmi was descended immediately from King Sharyati. Kakudmi's daughter Revati was named after her grandfather who was called Revat. (I recall this name Revat in use even today, especially in North India.) Now Shukaacarya tells the story of Revati, who was incredibly beautiful. (Of course, even today, many baby girls are named Revati. There is also a nakshatram named Revati, the last one in the list of 27 nakshatrams. May be that is all related to this story.) There is a reason why Revati's story is being told, as we will see shortly. Revati is an important personality. Her father Kakudmi wanted a suitable match for her and decided to visit Brahmaloka and seek the advise of Brahma himself. Shukaacarya also points out that in those times (it was Kruta yuga then) there was no problem with such travel and it could be accomplished very easily. Kakudmi went with his daughter Revati to Brahmaloka. When he reached Brahmaloka, there was a big celebration going on with a lot of heavenly music and dancing - as we say Gandharva gaanam - but this was really the Gandharvas singing and dancing. Hence, Kakudmi could not talk to Brahma immediately and had to wait for a while - sthiOlabdha-kshaNah kshaNam, verse 30. The exact term used is "kshNam" which usually means a very small time duration. Alabdha-kshaNah means not able to get a "kshaNa" for audience with Brahma. SthiOlabdhakshah means Kakudmi waited for a "kshaNam" since he could not attract Brahma's attention immediately (in spite of the incredibly beautiful Revati being with him! ) When Brahma finally turned to Kakudmi and heard his request, Brahma smiled (verse 31) and spoke, as follows. It is actually very interesting what Brahma says. "O King, all those suitors who you had wished for in your heart (hrudi ye krutaahaa) have already died (literally 'tied up' by time, or death, niruddhaah te kaalena). Not only do we not hear about their sons (putraah), grandsons (pautra), or great grandsons (naptru) - remember Vyaasam Vashishta
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naptaaram from Vishnu Sahasranamam, meaning Vyasa, the great grandson of Vashishta - we do not even hear anymore about their gotras." (verse 32). Then Brahma adds, "A time duration of tri-nava, three times nine, i.e., twentyseven, Chaturyugas have now elapsed. So, O King, go now and find the mighty Baladeva, who is an amshaavatara of the Supreme - devadevaamshO BaladevO Mahaabalahaa" (verse 33). Brahma continues, "Give this kanyaratnam (gem of a daughter) of yours in marriage to that great Divine among men (Naradevaaya). He is now on earth, along with Bhagavan to reduce the burden of Mother earth." (verse 34). In the next sloka, Shukaacarya says that the Punya-shravaNa-kirtanah (i.e., the hearing of whose glories and the singing of whose glories are purifying) Bhagavan has now incarnated. Kakudmi touches the feet of Brahma and returns to his kingdom but everyone had scattered away. He then found Balarama and offered his daughter Revati in marriage. In summary, King Kakudmi was born in the first Chaturyuga, when it was still Kruta yuga, the first of the four yugas. He traveled to Brahmaloka and waited there for a "kshaNam". Such travel could be easily accomplished in that yuga. But, 27 Chaturyugas had elapsed in the "kshaNam" that Kakudmi spent in Brahmaloka to speak with Brahma. This means that when Kakudmi returned it was the 28th Chaturyuga and since Balarama and Krishna were present, it was the Dwaapara yuga of that Chaturyuga. This also means that Krishna was present in the 28th Dwaaparayuga of our Vaivaswata Manu. This also confirms the yuga count in our sankalpam recitation. The most amazing statement here made by Brahma is, however, that even gotras of the suitors who Kakudmi had considered for his daughter were no longer existent when he returned to earth. As I had noted in an earlier email, the connection between our currently used "Western" calendar and our notions of cosmic timescales is made via the Panchangam (see ). Great seers will arrive when it is time to change the details in the sankalpam - such as the count of the yugas, or the name of the manu, or the name of the kalpa of
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Brahma in which we live, see Finally, parents who are worried about long delays in getting daughters married can take heart from this story. Revati's marriage was delayed for an incredibly long time of 27 Chaturyugas. Ultimately, she was married to Balarama. It may all be for the very good, that we do not fully comprehend. No wonder, they say, marriages are made in heaven, or Brahmaloka. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan April 29, 2012 ow, let’s think about the statement of “ksha am” here. Brahma’s daytime lasts for 1000 Chaturyugas and Brahma tells Kakudmi that 27 Chaturyugas have elapsed since he arrived. That means 27/1000 = 0.027 of Brahma’s day has passed. This is the meaning of “ksha am” in Brahmaloka. Using the same divisions of the day we use (12 hours of daytime, 60 minutes per hour), we can calculate 0.027 of Brahma’s day equals 19.44 minutes, or about 20 minutes, of Brahma’s day had elapsed. So, Kakudmi did wait for a significant time, even by Brahma’s standards. These kind of stories got popular after Einstein’s theory of relativity – the twin paradox as it is called. The traveling twin returned and found that the stay-at-home twin had aged – presumably because the clock had slowed down for the traveling twin. If t’ is the clock time for the traveling twin and t for the stay-at-home twin, Einstein’s theory gives the relation for their times as t’ = λt where λ = √1 – (U2/c2). Here c is the speed of light and U is the speed at which the traveling twin/clock is moving. The time difference shown by the two clocks can be calculated and was done by Einstein in his famous 1905 paper. t’ = λt + t – t = t – (1 – λ)t. Yes, Einstein takes us through these steps of adding and subtracting t in the equation for t’. Then he uses the binomial approximation λ ≈ 1 – ½ (U2/c2) which restricts us to small values of U/c. Hence, Einstein concludes that t’ ≈ t - ½ (U2/c2)t which means the clock for the traveling twin has slowed by ½ (U2/c2)t, to a first approximation. The higher the value of U, the bigger will be the time difference. Also, the higher the value of t, the bigger will be the time difference. So, to conclude Einstein says in his 1905 paper, all we need is two identical clocks. Just place one on the South Pole and the other on the equator. Let them keep ticking to test his theory of relativity! Unfortunately, this simple and very direct test has NOT yet been made. t ould e the most eloquent test of the “relativity”of time.
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Why did Brahma Laugh? Why do gotras disappear?
Dear All: In the story about Kakudmi and Revati from Srimad Bhagavatam and their trip to Brahmalokam, it was stated that: a. Brahma pointed out that 27 Chaturyugas had elapsed since Kakudmi came to visit him. b. Brahma laughed when Kakudmi sought his advise about a suitable groom for his daughter Revati. c. Brahma said, “….even the gotras (of the suitors Kakudmi had in mind) do not exist anymore.” Why did Brahma laugh? Why did even the "gotras" of the potential grooms for Revati disappear? This too can be understood in terms of the Cosmology Lessons from chapter 8. As we have learnt already, Brahma's daytime lasts for 1000 Chaturyugas with 14 Manus having lordship during this time. Hence, the rule of each Manu lasts for 1000/14 = 71 + (6/14) Chaturyugas. So, one Manvantara (period of one Manu) lasts for about 71.5 Chaturyugas. With each new Manu, there is a new Indra and also new devatas and the saptarishis also change. This is mentioned in Canto 8 in different places (chapters 1, 8, and 13), in bits and pieces, by Shukaacarya. I have summarized this below. 1. In Canto 8, chapter 1, verse 4, it is stated clearly that in the present kalpa of Brahma, six Manus have already completed their reigns. He names Swayambhu and adds others, meaning Swayambhu was first Manu. Then in verse 20, he says that Swarocisha was the second Manu. The third Manu was Uttama (verse 23). The fourth Manu was Taamasa (verse 27). In between he is providing some details. Then the story of Gajendra is narrated. After the Gajendra story, in chapter 5, the names of Manus are again mentioned. 2. In Canto 8, chapter 5, the Raivata is mentioned as the fifth Manu (verse 2). The names of a few of the rishis are mentioned. Shukaacarya also
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says that Bhagavan created Vaikunta, at Mahalakshmi's request during this Manvantara. Bhagavan was incarnated from the womb of Vikuntaa, who was the wife of one of the Manvantara rishis named Shubra. Hence, Bhagavan Himself was called Vaikunta, or Vaikuntanaatha, and He created Vaikuntadhama (verse 5). 3. In verse 7, the name of the sixth Manu is given as Caakshusha. Havishyamaan, Veerak, and others were the saptarishis. 4. Then in the same Canto 8, chapter 13, Shukaacarya talks about and lists all the seven rishis for the present Manvantara. They are given as Kashyapa, Atri, Vashishta, Vishwamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadwaja. (This might differ from what we recite during Gayatri Japam. In what I was taught, the list goes as Atri, Bhrugu, Kutsa, Vashishta, Gautama, Kashyapa, Angirasa rushyahaa.) As we know, the names of gotras (family lineages) are tied to the rishis. When creation begins, the daughters of the first Prajapatis (the Manus) are offered to the rishis, hence we trace all of our family lineages to the rishis. (More later as we learn about the story of creation.) The Bharadwaja gotram is one of the largest and I often hear this mentioned when I attend various poojas and sankalpams are taken by the families. Atreya gotra is another such large one. My own father and mother belonged to these two gotrams, respectively. When Brahma says gotrams themselves have vanished, it implies that there must also have been a change of Manu during the time Kakudmi was in Brahmaloka, although he was there for only 27 Chaturyugas. This is the only way to rationalize this statement. The differences we see in the Gayatri japam, etc. are indicative also this "disappearance" of the gotrams, at least in different parts of India. Why did Brahma laugh? Kakudmi was in Brahmaloka for 27/1000 = 0.027 of Brahma's day. If we divide this day into 12 hours and each hour into 60 minutes, like we do with our own time frames, it can be shown that Kakudmi had spent 19.44 minutes, or about 20 minutes to round things off in Brahmaloka. That is a significant time, although word used is "kshaNam" to describe it. But, it looks like Kakudmi did not realize that he was in Brahmaloka for a very LONG time - based on where he had come from. This is why Brahma laughed. We don't have to invoke 20th century ideas like Einstein's theory of relativity to understand this. It was Indian born astrophysicists like Narlikar who found it appealing to attach the theory of relativity to this story. This story was being told
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for centuries before Newton, Einstein, or Narlikar. What this story tells us is that humans, if they are transported to Brahmaloka, will simply "adjust" to that environment. What is "adjust"? This means our biological clocks will start ticking at a different rate when we are in the appropriate lokas, just like we have to adjust our habits depending on the place we live (when we get up, how we drive - cannot do what we were doing in India - food habits, even prayer habits - there were hardly any temples in the USA when I arrived here... and so on). This same argument of biological clocks ticking at different times (if we travel at or close to the speed of light) was made by relativity enthusiasts, without offering any concrete experimental evidence. In the western world, this gave rise to the famous twin paradox, in the 20th century, where the twin who traveled supposedly came back from a space trip to find the stay-at-home twin had aged and was enjoying time with the grandchildren! There is no proof this will happen. It was also just fun speculation based on the firm belief that Einstein's math is correct. Just like we mention Kakudmi and Revati's trip to Brahmaloka. I can read Kakudmi's story today as a layperson, without knowing anything about Einstein and his relativity. What do I get from that? First, I can travel to these places, if I were born in that yuga. Interesting, isn't it? Second, it means "time", as I understand, is not the same in our loka and in Brahmaloka. Why do we need a theory, any scientific theory, to understand this? All the rest of the psuedo-science is just intellectually pleasing. It is no different from what Krishna warns us about the Vedas in chapter 2, verses 42 to 46, which precede the famous KarmaNyeva adhikaras te. Krishna tells us that people tend to get deluded by the flowery language of the Vedas and derive pleasure from forcefully expressing themselves by citing the authority of the Vedas (verse 42, pushpitaam vaacam, vedavaadarataah). Krishna tells us that one has to be careful about such extreme attachments, since they takes us away from the ideal - do your duties (karmas) without any attachment to or claims on (that is what adhikara means) the fruits of the labor. The same goes for all the so-called scientific rationalizations of the story we find in our puranas. When I talk about exoplanets, the speed of light, testing Maxwell's speed of light equation, or Einstein relativity ideas near these planets, it only shows how we can get all emotionally tied to our own understanding. We have to rise above that.
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The Rasa-lila described in Canto 10, chapters 29 to 33, lasted for a night as long as a night of Brahma. To me, that is the most significant statement of all from our scriptures. We do not have to go to Brahmaloka to experience Brahma's time or the 27 Chaturyugas like Kakudmi and Revati did. We can experience ALL of 1000 Chaturyugas - the time duration for Brahma's night - right here on earth - in Vrindavana, or Vraja bhoomi - with Krishna present. Did the Rasa-lila actually last for 4.3 billion years? Or, did it last for just one night? The MarkaNdeya story says that the great rishi experienced Pralaya (the dissolution at the end of Brahma's lifetime), suffered tremendously as he was being tossed around in the waters of Pralaya, and then saw baby Krishna in the Vataparta shaayee form (lying on the leaf of a banyan tree or a fig leaf). Then everything just disappeared and he returned to his ashrama and all was the same as before, as if nothing had happened. The same with Rasa-lila experience. These are stories but they are also humble attempts to tell us about the Divine. When great seers and realized souls came back (like Buddha did in recent times) and want to share their experience, and that knowledge that has no comparison (jnaanam adwayam), that deep and essential principle and philosophy (tatvam), they try hard to compose words and utter some sounds so that they can describe what they learned during their meditations. And the sounds that emanate from their mouths are "Brahma (short vowel), Paramaatma, Bhagavan..." These are just our limited attempts, as stated eloquently at the start of the Bhagavatam narration. Vadanti tat tadvidah tatvam yajjnaanam adwayam l Brahmeti Paramaatmeti Bhagavan iti shabdyate ll 1.2.11 ll SB Shabdyate means trying to make a sound. We also encounter the same in the final verses of Vishnu Sahasranamam (samkeetrya Narayana "shabda" maatram vimukta dhuhkhaa sukhino bhavanti). When Uddhava finally surrenders, he concludes with Naryanam Narasakham sharaNam prapadye. The He received Divine knowledge from Bhagavan Himself. This is the ultimate purpose. It can also happen in a temple here on earth - through the arca vigraham (statues that we worship, I try to avoid use of the term "idol" which in the English language is a derogatroy one - ok, my annual complaint about this is over now!) - like we find from the message received by Ramanujaacarya through Thirukkatchi Nambi.
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Varadaraja Perumal would talk to Nambi while enjoying the chamara seva (when the fan, or chamaram, is waved) during the poojas (Thirumanjanam) and responded to Ramanujaacarya's questions.

Very sincerely V. Laxmanan April 30, 2012

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