Back in the 1970s I was living in France, helping to put Bhagavad Gita As It is, by my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, into French, when we came across a statement by Krishna that seemed easy to translate: “Among the stars I am the moon.”
I immediately said it in French.
“You can’t say that in French,” said the translator, Vishnu Dasa, a young French-Canadian man.
“But I just did,” I said.
Vishnu opened a French dictionary and turned to the definition of a star: ”Anything in the night sky except the moon.”
“How can the moon be a star,” he asked, “if a star is anything except the moon?”
I put my hand on my head. “Why,” I wondered,” do people have trouble with this? I Even I myself think the stars are suns. We have blindly accepted this theory just because some astronomer said so. Why have we never questioned it? The astronomer offers no proof, no way to see for ourselves.”
I still think about that conversation. Yes, why can’t the stars be moons? It is just as believable, just as likely. And Krishna offers proof in the Bhagavad Gita. By devotion and service, we can see him as Arjuna saw him. And when we see Krishna, we see everything the astronomer cannot.
But here’s the doubt. How can the sunlight reach stars that may be infinitely distant?
The Vedas tell us the secret: Our universe, infinite though it may seem, is limited, enclosed like a bubble inside a larger universe, and our sun shines its light everywhere in this bubble.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” goes the old saying, and when I meditate on Krishna’s words and look at things his way, I see that the universe is no big-bang accident. It is Krishna’s universe.
In fact, the first time I tried it, l gasped when I saw the sky suddenly filled with a beauty that reminded me of the beauty of ancient astronomical drawings (though I didn’t see little cherubs blowing out air to make the wind). It made my whole body smile.
On the contrary, how pathetic it is to look aside, to picture the universe as our misled scientists have told us. What a robbery!
You don’t have to be robbed. The ancient beauty of the skies is only a thought away.
Try it the next time you look at the stars. You may not see them exactly as I did that night, but you’ll smile.
Not some big-bang accident: Moon and stars all shining by reflected sunlight.
Eternally touching my head to the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada,
⁓Umapati Swami, August 31, 2018, revised April 5, 2021
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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the teacher who brought Krishna Consciousness from India to the West and then to the rest of the world. He is the founder of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement as well as the author and compiler of many works of Vedic knowledge. He left this world in 1977.
One of the first American devotees of the Hare Krishna Movement, he became Srila Prabhupada’s disciple in 1966. Since then, he has preached Krishna Consciousness in many countries and is the author of “My Days with Prabhupada,” available from Amazon. Now 84 years old, he has started this blog to share what he has learned.