(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 13 April 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Srimad Bhagavatam Lecture)
Question: Maharaj, can you say a few words on Prabhupada’s mission for the Vedic Planetarium?
Well, Srila Prabhupada wanted to construct in Mayapur the temple that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur had predicted – a huge, large temple. In that temple, he wanted to make a model of the Vedic Planetarium according to Srimad Bhagavatam and he called it a Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.
So what do we understand by that? Did Prabhupada particularly think that cosmology is very important for us? No, that is not the point. The point is that through this model of the universe which is so important to people, so intriguing to the world of science, something to explore – through that Vedic model, Prabhupada wanted to actually give Bhagavatam. Therefore, it is actually not the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, it is the Temple of the Bhagavatam.
It is the Bhagavatam that Prabhupada wanted to give to the people! What do we care about the moon? Whether the moon is made out of rocks like in Arizona or whether the moon is made out of green cheese, who cares? I don’t care! Couldn’t care less whether they went to the moon or not. Wish them well but why do we care about the moon! It is said:ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ‘rjuna mām upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate (Bhagavad-gita 8.16)
It means that all the planets within the universe are places of misery where repeated birth and death takes place. Thank you! Can we write-off the universe please, can we move to the next topic? Not interested in your universe, you can have it, the whole thing, please take it. I want the spiritual world! That was Prabhupada, that was Prabhupada… So, if you thought he was so interested in a planetarium – no!
His goal was that people who have interest in planetariums and the universe, would come to study it, look at it and be impressed; and with this trick, they would be pulled into the Bhagavatam. Then once they would read the facts about the universe from the Bhagavatam, then the rest of the Bhagavatam would follow and it would end with Krsna in the tenth canto, tasting his sweetness!