by Prishni devi dasi, Richard L. Thompson Archives
“Now our PhDs must collaborate and study the 5th Canto to make a model for building the Vedic Planetarium” proved a mandate from Srila Prabhupada that entered deep into the heart of his disciple Sadaputa dasa, in 1976. Having received his PhD in Mathematics from Cornell University just two years prior, he would soon be inducted as one of the founding members of Prabhupada’s Bhaktivedanta Institute.
In that capacity, he devoted over 30 years researching Vedic perspectives on cosmology and the natural world, producing 9 books and numerous writings on these and a variety of other subjects while drawing upon both his scientific mathematical background and devotional experience with Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He was so appreciated amongst his peers and devotees in general that he was affectionately dubbed the ‘transcendental genius’. And in accordance with Srila Prabhupada’s above mandate he also became the principle mastermind behind the main planetarium chandelier, displays and exhibits of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Sridhama Mayapur before passing away in 2008. Indeed, because of his unique accomplishments and contributions to Vedic cosmology, the planetarium wing of the TOVP has been dedicated to him.
So when the Richard L. Thompson Archives decided to get Sadaputa’s books back into print a year ago, Yamaraja and Sthita-dhi-muni, two of his assistants for many years, felt inspired to start with his principle work on cosmology, Mysteries of the Sacred Universe: The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana (2000), considered by many his magnum opus. Dr. Subash Kak, Computer Science Professor at Louisiana State University, noted that “Thompson presents a compelling case showing that Puranic cosmology was intended to have multiple meanings that span the terrestrial, astronomical, and spiritual planes.”
Once this first reprint became available, two more followed in rapid succession. God and Science (2004), a collection of the best of Sadaputa’s 40 BTG articles, became the next. In his foreword to the book, Dr. Sheldon R. Isenberg, former Chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida, described: “Thompson’s erudition, the elegance of his prose, and his deep understanding of traditional and contemporary science give a different kind of credibility to the knowledge and wisdom of our intellectual and spiritual ancestors, east and west, which they encoded into their legends, myths, and rituals. One begins to suspect that we have forgotten at least as much as we’ve discovered.”
The third book reprinted was Maya: The World as Virtual Reality (2003), in which the modern concept of ‘virtual reality’ is used as a metaphor to illustrate our present situation as conscious beings experiencing conditional life.
Next, we republished Sadaputa’s popular work, Alien Identities (1993), using the author’s original working title, Parallels: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena. Yamaraja, who crafted most of Sadaputa’s original book covers and layouts, designed the new cover to reflect Sadaputa’s initial intention to appeal to an audience beyond the ufology genre. As Hinduism Today noted in their review: “Parallels is a mind stretcher that goes as far as the evidence can allow for UFO-type phenomena in ancient India.”
Yamaraja and Sthita-dhi-muni have now begun working on Sadaputa’s pioneering cosmological work, Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy (1990), and anticipate having it ready within a few months. Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science will take more time since it was originally produced prior to desktop publishing. As a result, we have nothing digital, text or layout, to work with, and will need to redo the entire project from scratch. Once volunteers become available to assist typing the basic text into a Word document format, we hope to produce this volume in a new digital layout by the end of the year. All offers of help will be much appreciated. If interested, please contact us at our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to Sadaputa’s book republishing, another project launched by Sunanda das is underway to transcribe almost one hundred lectures and seminars which remain as his aural legacy, and publish them in a series of books for those interested in serious research into the topics on which he spoke. These lectures, as well as several videos, are currently available to listen to/watch on the Sadaputa Digital Channel on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/SadaputaChannel.
The Sadaputa Oral History Project is yet another attempt to preserve Sadaputa’s legacy through interviews with devotees who knew him personally and whose lives were touched by his transcendental genius and deep Krishna conscious perspectives. The first of such interviews can be read at: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=35752
To order Sadaputa’s republished books, as well as new and used versions of older ones, please visit the Richard L. Thompson Amazon Author’s Page at: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-L.-Thompson/e/B000APL4BY. All books are Print-On-Demand publications or hard-copy books ready for shipping. E-book versions will be available in the near future.