This conversation is inspired from my post titled Magnificence
of Srimad Bhagavatham with an amazing seeker that I have ever come across
in my infinitesimal spiritual journey so far.
The topic of discussion is primarily on Canto 5: Chapter 23 – The
Śiśumāra Planetary Systems of Srimad Bhagavatham.
This has opened both of us to reveal our latent understandings of this magnificent scripture.
Here it is:
Seeker 1: Bhagavatham is one of the grand keys to open the Pandora
of Puranas. Have you really read/gone through the scripture? Just curious.
Because, the chapters on. Sisumara chakra (tortoise back), Kapila and Devahuti
discussions, Vidura and Maitreya discussions, etc are filled with many interesting
points. In fact, the metamorphosis of Life from Mineral, Plant and human
kingdoms is very secretively given in this Purana. The Darwin’s theory of
material evolution forms a subset of our grand theory of evolution of soul.
Also, can you give me the sources of your knowledge that will give me a hint as
to what line of thought influenced your writings? It helps me to tailor my
comments in best way possible, if I am aware of that source of course! Anyway,
I will be reading other articles of yours.
Seeker 2: Thank you very much for this valuable insight. Bhagavatham
is the key to my life since 2011 🙂 it continues to
inspire for lifetimes of learning. Sisumara chakra is dolphin. The symmetrical
arrangements of 27 stars on both sides, the arrangement of various other planets
Tortoise or kurma avatar comes in the 8th canto during churning of ocean by demigods and demons for nectar…
There are so many topics in Bhagavatham that are so subtle…
for example Hiranyakashipu’s sermon to his mother Diti and Hiranyaksha’s
wife Kayadhu on the nature of the soul when they were lamenting for Hiranyaksha’s
death at the hands of Lord Varaha,
the story of the king of Ushinara kingdom and Lord Yama in
the form of small boy instructing on the illusions about death and material
the Hamsa Guhya prayers by Prajapathi Daksha for creating
progeny through the womb of his wife Pāñcajanī,
the story of King Chitraketu and his small son teaching the
philosophy of the soul through the dhristi of sage narada and angira after re-entering
the dead body,
the story of King Anga and King Vena,
the most important story told to prachinabaari on puranjana
by sage narada on transmigration of soul,
song sung by lord shiva to the prachetas,
the narayana kavacha for killing vritrasura,
the story of jada bharath,
the enigmatic comparisons meted out to son of Daksha – Haryaśvas
and Savalāśvas by narada for their renunciation from material life,
the bhumi gita, the uddhava gita, the aila gita (part of
the gopi gita on the prayers of their separation with lord
the story of various incarnations,
the teachings of the sages at kurukshetra,
the chatur sloki bhagavatham on the absolute truth,
the concept of absolute time,
the dimensions of universe,
the concepts of creation, annihilation and dissolutions,
the three modes of material nature,
the various types of Mayas of the supreme lord,
the prayers by vidura, akrura, chitaketu and the demigods at
several times and several situations,
instructions by nine yogendras to king nimi,
the lilas of krishna in 10th canto. etc.
I just mention whatever that comes straight out of my mind. there is much much more direct as well as subtler aspects. I mean Bhagavatham is more than everything to me…and it is the driving force in my life 🙂
Seeker 1: Sisumara is Tortoise and kurma is turtle (both
have a difference), just a humble correction. I can see your immersive joy in
Bhagavatam. This is the intended purpose of outcome of Bhagavatam by Vyasa. You
are blessed. A continuous effort on knowing and being with something is called
Dharanaa and this reveals many secrets that cannot be understood by normal
read. Since 2011 implies your deep constant connection with it and so the
unfoldment of wisdom like a lotus flower.
Seeker 2: Thank you so much…I would do more exhaustive study
on Srimad Bhagavatham than anything else for the rest of my life if given a
– The Sisumara Planetary Systems – “This
great machine, consisting of the stars and planets, resembles the form of a
śiśumāra [dolphin] in the water. It is sometimes considered an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa,
Vāsudeva. Great yogīs meditate upon Vāsudeva in this form because it is
The form could also be interpreted as a tortoise as you have
been mentioning.as mentioned in this link:
– “a group of stars and constellations said to
resemble a dolphin, porpoise, or tortoise; held to be a form of Vishnu, and
often considered as a representation of the great circle of time. As an
imaginary belt, a symbolic representation of the celestial sphere, or a
theoretical revolving zone or belt within which move the celestial bodies —
which are the bodies of spiritual entities.”
More information here: http://www.decodinghinduism.com/search/label/sisumara%20planetary%20system
This is another link – http://www.kamakoti.org/kamakoti/details/bhagvatpurana24.html
– (not related to ISKCON 🙂
) – Sisumara Planetary System.
– “Some 13,00,000 yojanas ( 10,400,000 miles)
above the ‘Great Bear’ shines high the Pole Star and the‘Sisumara System’ or
the Great Machine, comprising the Stars and Planets, resembling a Dolphin in
Anyways it’s an aquatic with the arrangement of the various
celestial bodies at various places and varied interpretations through various
sources always results in ambiguity 😦
but what we require is the right conclusion and the form doesn’t matter 🙂
I hope this provides some clarification.
Seeker 1: There is a difference between exoteric and
esoteric approach of Scriptures. A symbol is unique and very special
association of spiritual and mundane aspects. I respect the links and info you
sent. But, the truth of it lies in “Why” of the reasoning. The form is
important, for it encompasses the subtle aspects that cannot be grasped on
first sight. A dolphin is no symbol for Sisumara because, it’s back is smooth.
The Tortoise back has divisions and a symmetry of arrangement of scales. This
symmetry is mapped to the upper dome of visible skies (mahaakaasa) and inner
dome of psychic skies (chittaakaasa). Also, the reference point from where all
the measurements given in Bhagavatam are made, is not our solar system or our galaxy,
but a far of star, in which is one of the 7 evolved solar systems (out of 12 –
hint: Dvaadasa Aadityas).
But one should ask, why speak of these magnitudes in a
scripture whose sole goal was divine romance? One of reasons is the internal
mapping of external Universe – called “Yay Pinde Tat Brahmaande – As above so
below”. Without this, one is left with mere glamour of vastness of scripture
without applicability. And for this reason, turtle is used to suggest the role
of Vishnu in preserving the secrets of Visible and invisible cosmos.
Another point is, the exoteric astrologists and astronomers
think that the zodiac we are given the names of Ram, Bull, etc., for the shapes
they resemble. This is absurd. The same reasoning I saw in above links when
they said “resemble dolphin”. No group of stars or constellation resemble any
living being. It is the effects produced that resulted in their esoteric
symbolical name. For example, if you refer to T.Subbarow’s essay on Zodiac, you
will know how the constellation Leo or Simha got its name. Simha does not mean
lion, bit in one of its derivative forms implies lion, in Sanskrit. Same with
Aswa. So, unless the effects are perceived, it’s futile to understand visible
arrangement as particular being. I hope you understand the roots off the
approach. Exoteric helps you up to certain extent. But true esoteric intuition
from within tales you and helps you cross the ocean of mysticism.
Seeker 2: I can clearly observe your analytical brain to put
forth logical arguments at the drop of a hat. Tortoise is used to a great
effect in Bhagavad Gita’s second chapter as well as to how to withdraw our
senses and keep it under control. Vishnu or Rishikesha is master of senses and
sense control and so it is for a big reason to specify tortoise and give so
much importance to it.
Bhagavatham says there are millions and millions of universes floating in the causal ocean and virata rupa is associated with each one of them…Lord Brahma is associated with each one of them…the arrangement of 14 planetary systems is associated with each of them…and so on…
Likewise each living organism itself is a universe with a
microcosmic arrangement with the equivalent arrangement of planetary systems.
the part from the waist is considered asoucha or impure and it is where the
lower 7 planetary systems starting from atala to patala are situated…and then
similarly we move upwards from bhur loka towards the top of the head which is
satyaloka where the supreme consciousness and the control system or brain
centre is located.
This body is a temple and the heart is the altar where the
deity of supreme God resides. When we abuse the body mind and soul with impure
food impure thoughts and impure actions the entire universe (our body) is
polluted and similarly the entire physical universe is polluted in that way as
we try to dominate the material nature rampantly! Material Universe has its own
process to circulate itself in the form of eternal time through yuga cycles but
this material body decays and the soul just keep transmigrating from body to
body having failed to realise the ultimate purpose of life.
Seeker 1🙂 Let’s reserve this for
our later topic – conversation: “The mysteries of multiverse and monoverse in
scripture”. The comment section will be bloated with incoherent comments (when
we look back in future).
Seeker 2: To conclude for now :), my last comment is in connection with the virata rupa or the universal form of the Supreme Lord floating in the waters causal ocean – the concept of Nara – Naarayaana – in a particular shape equating In the form of an aquatic organism like dolphin or tortoise or porpoise (or whale (dolphin is an evolved sub-species of whale) etc.) existing in the real world for us to perceive the universal form of the Lord and the various entities in the universe situated at various points in the body to initiate us in our spiritual realisation/meditation process to conclude that there is nothing beyond this in the material world. This is just to summarise the entire universal process. It is the first stage of God realisations as we look at things externally. Then we start to look at the Paramaatma or the Super soul residing internally in our own heart as the first intuitive spiritual guru. The final stage is the realization of the Absolute Truth as the Bhagawan or The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna as a reservoir of the 64 transcendental qualities in full opulence. (https://mykrishnaourkrishna.blogspot.com/2016/11/krishnas-transcendental-qualities.html). This transcedental realisation enables us to be in full communion or in union with the Supreme!