Mysteries of the Sacred Universe: The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana
by Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa dasa)
From the flat earth to the sun’s chariot — traditional spiritual texts
seem wedded to outmoded cosmologies that show, at best, the scientific
limitations of their authors. The Bhagavata Purana, one of the classical
scriptures of Hinduism, seems, at first glance, to be no exception.
However, a closer examination of this text reveals unexpected depths of
knowledge in ancient cosmology. Mysteries of the Sacred Universe shows
that the cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana is a sophisticated system,
with multiple levels of meaning that encode at least four different
astronomical, geographical, and spiritual world models. By viewing the
text in the light of modern astronomy, Richard Thompson shows how
ancient scientists expressed exact knowledge in apparently mythological
terms. Comparison with the ancient traditions of Egypt and the Near East
shows early cultural connections between India and these regions —
including a surprisingly advanced science. However, quantitative science
is only part of the picture. Mysteries of the Sacred Universe also
offers a clear understanding of how the spiritual dimension was
integrated into ancient Indian cosmology.
Softbound, 361 pages.