Universal expansion

According to the Vedic model of the universe, the universe is egg shaped. But how does this account for expansion of the universe according to the Big Bang theory?

Second question: If consciousness is the symptom of the soul, then why does a paralytic patient lose some part of his consciousness while the soul is still present? Does that mean any disorder for the soul?

(Ghanesh, Vellore, TN)

Our Reply: When the cosmic creation starts to manifest, the universe in a seed form emerges from the pores of the cosmic primeval person, Maha-Vishnu. It then expands during the period that Maha-Vishnu exhales, contracts during the period of His inhalation, and re-enters into His body at the time of cosmic destruction. Simply stating, the egg expands.

Consciousness (which comes from the soul) exists independent of the body and its condition, but the manifestation of the consciousness through the body to our vision depends on the body, especially the brain, being functional. A crude example: Time exists independent of the clock, but its manifestation to our vision depends on the clock being functional. If the brain is partially damaged as in paralysis, the instrument through which the soul manifests its consciousness being damaged, the consciousness is manifested partially. Paralysis in the body does not mean that the soul is affected, just like the power house is not affected if there is short-circuit in a remote factory. The soul cannot be damaged by anything (Bg. 2.23-24). In cases of paralysis the beating of the heart and brain’s activity denote the presence of life and an intact soul.

How far is the moon?

I read the interesting article on the moon landing (June ‘09), but had a doubt. You said there that the distance between the earth and moon according to Suryasiddhanta is almost same as given by modern science. But I have heard that according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, the moon is further away from the earth than the sun. How can both be simultaneously true?

(Sri Caitanya Candra Dasa)

Our Reply: The Bhagavatam cosmology includes a vertical dimension that is often not known to those familiar only with the modern approach to cosmology. Thus, when the Bhagavatam talks about the distances of different celestial bodies from the earth, it is actually talking about their distances in the vertical dimension, that is, their heights, above the earthly plane. Let us understand this with an example.

An apartment on the 10th floor is further from the ground floor than a flat on the sixth floor in terms of height. But if the apartment on the 10th floor is in a building 100 feet away and the apartment on the sixth floor is in a building 1000 feet away, the tenth floor apartment is now closer than the sixth floor apartment in terms of horizontal distance.

Similarly, the moon is further away from the earth than the sun in terms of its height above the earthly plane, but the sun is much further away from the earth than the moon in terms of horizontal distance.This is how both are simultaneously true.

Replies to the letters were written by Caitanya Carana Dasa.