The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe

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The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe

Traditional spiritual literature seem to be married to antiquated cosmologies, such as the flat earth and the sun riding in a chariot, which demonstrate, at best, the scientific limits of the people who wrote them. At first look, it would seem that the Bhagavata Purana, which is considered to be one of the most important religious texts in Hinduism, is not an exception to this rule. On the other hand, a more in-depth analysis of this book shows unexpectedly deep levels of understanding of ancient cosmology. This demonstrates that the cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana is an intricate system, since it has numerous layers of meaning that encode at least four distinct astronomical, geographical, and spiritual world models. Richard Thompson demonstrates how ancient scientists presented accurate information in language that seemed to be mythical by reading the text in light of current astronomy and analysing its implications. The ancient traditions of Egypt and the Near East suggest that India and these countries had early cultural linkages, including a science that was startlingly sophisticated at the time. Nevertheless, quantitative science is just one aspect of the bigger picture. This study also provides a transparent comprehension of the manner in which the spiritual component was incorporated into the cosmology of ancient India.

Author

Richard L. Thompson

SKU: 9788120819191 Categories: , Tags: ,

The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe

Traditional spiritual literature seem to be married to antiquated cosmologies, such as the flat earth and the sun riding in a chariot, which demonstrate, at best, the scientific limits of the people who wrote them. At first look, it would seem that the Bhagavata Purana, which is considered to be one of the most important religious texts in Hinduism, is not an exception to this rule. On the other hand, a more in-depth analysis of this book shows unexpectedly deep levels of understanding of ancient cosmology. This demonstrates that the cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana is an intricate system, since it has numerous layers of meaning that encode at least four distinct astronomical, geographical, and spiritual world models. Richard Thompson demonstrates how ancient scientists presented accurate information in language that seemed to be mythical by reading the text in light of current astronomy and analysing its implications. The ancient traditions of Egypt and the Near East suggest that India and these countries had early cultural linkages, including a science that was startlingly sophisticated at the time. Nevertheless, quantitative science is just one aspect of the bigger picture. This study also provides a transparent comprehension of the manner in which the spiritual component was incorporated into the cosmology of ancient India.

Contents

Introduction to Bhagavata Cosmology, 1. Introduction to Texts, 2. The Islands and Oceans of Bhu-mandala, 3. The Solar System in Projection, 4. The Solar system in three Dimensions, 5. The Earth and Local Geography, 6. The Realm of the Demigods, 7. The Greater Universe, 8. Notes on Time and Chronology, 9. General Observations, Appendices, Bibliography, List of tables, Glossary, Index.

Review(s)

“This is a very original book, and it represents an important advance in the understanding of the cosmology described in the famed Bhagavata Purana of India. Thompson looks at this cosmology from several points of view and he presents a compelling case showing that this cosmology as intended to have multiple meanings, the span, the terrestrial, the astronomical, and the spiritual planes.” – Prof. Subash Kak, Louisiana State University

“Thompson takes us back in time when man regarded himself an integral part of the cosmos and shows us how, in a strange way, such a system as the Bhagavatam cosmology bears an uncanny harmony with modern astronomy. More important and interesting is the way Thompson shows how the Bhagavatam literature present visual astronomy in geographical and mythological settings which, in this respect, is very cosmologies of other ancient cultures of the world…Gripping, scholarly and ground-breaking, this deserves to be widely read and discussed.” – Robert G. Bauval, Author of The Orion Mystery and co-author of The Message of the Sphinx

“Dr. Thompson has a talent that may well be unique in our times: the ability to take complex, esoteric ideas that require high level mathematics, specialized technical expertise, and a familiarity with scholarship that spans the history of civilized humanity, and presenting them to lay reader in a narrative style that is as user-friendly as a novel, but packed with sound reasoning, solid scholarship, and impressive empirical research” – Prof. William W. Wall Santa Fe Community College, Florida

“Mr. Thompson’s premise is that the system of the Bhagavatam includes some modern understandings of the science of astronomy, not just mythology… If the reader can judge what is not science, putting aside the non-science aspects of the cosmology, it seems clear that there are indeed a number of references to known scientific aspects of the sky in the Bhagavatam.” – Jeanne E. Bishop, Planetarium Director, Westlake, Ohio

“A revolution in our understanding of the cosmology of the Puranas is the making here. This book offers a way of reading ancient Indian texts that is profoundly interesting, that overturns a long history of scholarly undervaluation of the supposedly ‘only mythological’ contents of Puranic literature.” – Prof. Gene R. Thursby University of Florida

Author

Richard L. Thompson

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 10 × 11 × 12 cm
Book Author

Richard L. Thompson

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