In these days, when men are trying to go to the moon, people should not think that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is concerned with something old-fashioned. When the world is progressing to reach the moon, we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. But people should not misunderstand and assume that we are lagging behind modern scientific advancement. We have already passed all scientific advancement. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that man's attempt to reach higher planets is not new. Newspaper headlines read, "Man's First Steps on the Moon," but the reporters do not know that millions and millions of men went there and came back. This is not the first time. This is an ancient practice. In Bhagavad-gītā (8.16) it is clearly stated, abrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna: "My dear Arjuna, even if you go to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka, you will have to come back." Therefore, interplanetary travel is not new. It is known to the Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees.
Since we are Kṛṣṇa conscious, we take what Kṛṣṇa says to be the Absolute Truth. According to Vedic literature, there are many planetary systems. The planetary system in which we are living is called Bhūrloka. Above this planetary system is Bhuvarloka. Above that is Svarloka (the moon belongs to the Svarloka planetary system). Above Svarloka is Maharloka; above that is Janaloka; and above that is Satyaloka. Similarly, there are lower planetary systems. Thus there are fourteen statuses of planetary systems within this universe, and the sun is the chief planet. The sun is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.52):
- yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ
- rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
- yasyājñayā bhramati saṁbhṛta-kāla-cakro
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda (Kṛṣṇa), the primeval Lord, by whose order the sun assumes immense power and heat and traverses its orbit. The sun, which is the chief among all planetary systems, is the eye of the Supreme Lord." Actually, without the sun we cannot see. We may be very proud of our eyes, but we cannot even see our next-door neighbor. People challenge, "Can you show me God?" But what can they see? What is the value of their eyes? God is not cheap. We cannot see anything, not to speak of God, without sunshine. Without sunlight we are blind. At night, we cannot see anything, and therefore we use electricity because the sun is not present.
There is not only one sun in the cosmic manifestation; there are millions and trillions of suns. That is also stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40):
- yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
- koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam
- tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
The spiritual bodily effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is called the brahmajyoti, and in that brahmajyoti there are countless planets. Just as within the sunshine there are innumerable planets, in the shining effulgence of the body of Kṛṣṇa there are innumerable planets and universes. We have knowledge of many universes, and in each universe there is a sun. Thus there are millions and billions of universes and millions and billions of suns and moons and planets. But Kṛṣṇa says that if one tries to go to one of these planets, he will simply waste his time.
Now someone has gone to the moon, but what will human society gain from it? If, after spending so much money, so much energy and ten years of effort, one goes to the moon and simply touches it, what is the benefit of that? Can one remain there and call his friends to come? And even if one goes there and remains, what will be the benefit? As long as we are in this material world, either on this planet or other planets, the same miseries—birth, death, old age and disease—will follow us. We cannot rid ourselves of them.
If we go to live on the moon—assuming it is possible—even with an oxygen mask, how long could we stay? Furthermore, even if we had the opportunity to stay there, what would we gain? We might gain a little longer life perhaps, but we could not live there forever. That is impossible. And what would we gain by a longer life? Taravaḥ kiṁ na jīvanti: (SB 2.3.18) are not the trees living for many, many years? Near San Francisco I have seen a forest where there is a tree seven thousand years old. But what is the benefit? If one is proud of standing in one place for seven thousand years, that is not a very great credit.