Saturday, March 19, 2011


DOES THE MOON MAKE US CRAZY? - With the so-called “supermoon” upon us, as our only natural satellite makes its largest appearance Saturday (March 19) in more than 18 years, should we expect any lunacy?  The moon will be more than 221,960 miles away- the closest it has been to earth since March 1993.  For centuries legend has held that full moons make people go crazy.  Full moons have been linked in popular culture with a rise in suicides and even epileptic seizures, but there’s little to no scientific evidence backing these ideas up.  However, the moon is a powerful body, its gravity tugging on our oceans to control tides, and its light thought to impact ancient animal behaviors.

Before modern lighting, the moon played a larger role in people’s sleep-wake cycles, and so the light of a full moon may have kept people up at night, leading to sleep deprivation that could have caused other psychological issues.  In nature, the moon is nothing to scoff at.  Animals time routine activities around the light, and the oceans’ tides depend on it.  The moon and the sun combine to create tides in Earth’s oceans (the gravitational effect is so strong that our planet’s crust gets stretched daily by these tidal effects).  But tides are large-scale events.  They occur because of the difference in the gravitational pull felt on the side of the Earth closest to the moon, compared to the side of the Earth farthest.  Astronomers, astrologists and amateur scientists are abuzz on Internet chat sites this week about Saturday's “supermoon”.

A bigger and brighter “supermoon” will appear today Saturday.  This big full moon makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 20 years.  Apart from this scientific aspect, today is the celebration of Gaura Purnima, to honor the day when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His birth under the full moon, purnima.  The full moon of the vernal season is compared with Lord Sri Krishna.  He has not been compared with any full moon of every month in any season, but the full moon of the spring which shines in all its excellence, as the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna shines in all His glories.

According to Mukta-pragraha Nyaya, Krsna alone has been described as Vidhuh, i.e. “One who cuts at the very root of all miseries and transcends all”, or, “One who gives the highest and every possible felicity and happiness to one and all without any distinction”.  So also, the mundane moon is called Vidhuh as it removes miseries of all, caused by the darkness of the night or the heat of the day, and gives happiness and pleasure to all without any distinction.  Again, as Krsna alone has been described as Vidhuh and not any of His other Manifestations or Divine Descents or Avataras, so also in the mundane comparison the Full Moon alone should here be called Vidhuh and not any part of the moon, because the full moon alone is most powerful in dispelling the intensity of the darkness of the night.

Śrīla Bhakti Hridaya Bon (Vana) Mahārāja :
“Sri Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh”
Comments to Eastern Division of the Ocean:  First Wave, Text 1.
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library -

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