I came across a news item on the internet the other day called “Light from Dawn of Time Discovered.” The astronomers, it seems, have found a new quasar, one of those bright objects in the center of a galaxy, this time a galaxy still youthful and forming.
This quasar, so they tell us, was the first light in the universe. It goes back some 12.8 billion years, right after the big bang. That’s when when it emitted the light we are only seeing now. And what’s more, it’s 500 trillion times brighter than the sun.
Really? I scratched my head and pushed my glasses upward on my nose. If the galaxy is still young and forming, I wondered, how can its center date back to the big bang? And how do they know they won’t find an older one tomorrow?
Who Saw the Big Bang?
Well, it doesn’t need to make sense, does it? It’s guesswork anyway, this idea of a big bang. So why worry about logic? Did anyone see the big bang? Who was there to write about it for posterity?
I leaned back and opened my Bhagavad Gita. I have good reason to believe Krishna, as I will explain. But first, here are Krishna’s words:
O son of Bharata [Arjuna], as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness. ⁓13:34
If the sun lights up the whole universe, then it illuminates the quasar too. In other words, if the quasar is shining by reflected sunlight, how can it be brighter than the sun?
A Quasar Is Like the Moon
Wait! Could I be reading something into this Bhagavad-Gita verse that isn’t there? But in another verse Krishna puts the stars in the same category as the moon: “Among the stars I am the moon.” ⁓10:21
The quasar, then, which is a kind of star, is reflecting sunlight, like the moon.
O.K. then, but why do I give my mind to Krishna and not the astronomer?
Simple. Because the Bhagavad Gita offers me the possibility of seeing things directly:
My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding. ⁓11:54
Everyone Has Four Defects
The astronomer offers me no such possibility, and I don’t know how much he himself sees. As the Vedas tell us, every fallen soul in the material world, and this includes the astronomer, is mentally crippled by four defects:
- Imperfect senses.
- The certainty of making mistakes.
- The certainty of being in illusion.
- A tendency to cheat.
But these defects cannot touch Krishna. That’s why we can believe his Bhagavad Gita. And I have never come across any convincing refutation of Krishna’s words, just a lot of rantings from certain Christians and fanatics. Anything outside their own path, they say, comes from the devil.
The Clue in the Final Verse
Now in the final verse of the Bhagavad Gita, the narrator, Sanjaya gives us the clue, missed by most readers, to grasping the essence of Krishna’s words:
Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion. ⁓18:78
The scripture is a conversation. Do you want to understand Krishna’s words? Just walk in Arjuna’s footprints:
“O Krishna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me.” ⁓10:14
Because the Bhagavad Gita offers me God realization, I will take Sanjaya’s advice. I will follow Arjuna. I will accept everything Krishna says.
I Am in Good Company
What’s more, by meditating on the cosmology of the Bhagavad Gita, even a beginner like me, can understand that the world belongs to Krishna. And I have good company:
And the first light in the universe? Guess again, my dear astronomer. It’s the sun. And Krishna turned it on.
(See my post “Darwin: Eclipsing the Sun and the Soul.”
Eternally touching my head to the floor at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada,
~Umapati Swami, January 17, 2019, revised April 4, 2021
Write to me: email@example.com
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.
© Umapati Swami