originally posted May 3, 2006
New York Times – MALCOLM W. BROWNE (NYT) Science Desk, May 30, 1995
USING one of the world’s largest radiotelescopes, British scientists [Drs. Tom Millar, Geoffrey MacDonald and Rolf Habing] have analyzed an interstellar gas cloud and calculated that it contains enough alcohol to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. The alcoholic cloud known as G34.3, some 10,000 light-years away, is unlikely to yield any of its brew to earthlings…
Ethyl alcohol, the kind of alcohol people drink, was first detected in interstellar gas in 1975 by Dr. Ben M. Zuckerman of the University of California at Los Angeles. But the latest discovery, by Dr. Tom J. Millar of the University of Manchester and Dr. Geoffrey H. Macdonald and Dr. Rolf J. Habing of the University of Kent at Canterbury in England, marks the first time such a vast amount of alcohol has been detected in a celestial body. Their results were reported recently in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
[Additional note: Millar and his colleagues have estimated the size of this cloud of ethyl alcohol at approximately 1,000 times the diameter of our own solar system.]
GUEST: It seems that with all the mythology and all the symbolism in the Vedas—
HANSADUTTA: It is not mythology or symbolism. It is fact.
GUEST: The Maha Vishnu is not really lying in a giant ocean of milk!
HANSADUTTA: Why not? If we have an ocean of salt water and a sea of sweet water, why not an ocean of milk, an ocean of liquor or ocean of honey? We have an ocean of oil underground, and we have an ocean of salt water above ground.
GUEST: I really find it hard to swallow that there is actually a huge ocean of milk.
HANSADUTTA: That’s because you think of everything in terms of your own experience. Your experience is limited. You do not know what is happening on the moon, mars or any other planet or outside this universe. You think of everything in terms of your personal capacity, but you should examine your capacity and recognize your limitations. You are born from the womb. A chicken is born from an egg. A child asks, “Where did this shirt come from?” and we answer, “It came from this silk worm.” The child then wonders, “How is that possible?” It is fact, but the child cannot comprehend it.
GUEST: Most of the people who wrote the Vedas wrote poetically.
HANSADUTTA: Sanskrit language is so perfect that it comes out poetically. In the spiritual sky, all walking is dance, and all speech is song. The Sanskrit language is so perfect that it is poetic; one cannot express himself in any way other than in the most sublime meter and rhyme. Our language, on the other hand, is very gross, inaccurate, and practically like that of the animals. In English we say, “Far out”, and that means one thing to you, another thing to him, and something else to someone else. Everyone has a different idea of its meaning. “Cool”, “great” and “gee whiz” are practically meaningless terms, because they are so general. Sanskrit is a different kind of language. The word Sanskrit means purified, or perfect. To express one’s self in Sanskrit requires intelligence, learning and training. Animals talk, but their language is very gross. Amongst human beings there are different languages, and the topmost language is Sanskrit, the language of the gods.
Whatever is written in the Vedic literatures is fact, not mythology. As soon as one accepts this point, everything will become clear. As long as one tries to impose a mythological interpretation on the statements of the Vedas, he will come out with mythological conclusions, or conclusions that he cannot believe.
GUEST: You’re saying that there is actually an ocean of milk?
HANSADUTTA: If the sun can float in the sky for hundreds and thousands of years, radiating so much energy, why can’t there be an ocean of milk?
GUEST: I’m an intellectual person. Not to brag, but I just happen to—
HANSADUTTA: It takes more than intellect to understand. Someone may say he is a physical person, but there is more beyond his muscle. There is a brain, and beyond the brain there is intellect and beyond even the intellect there is spirit. Intellect can take you only to the threshold of spirit.