Tag Archives: Srimad Bhagavata

Śrīmad Bhāgavata Is Nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa

Śrī Kṛṣṇa has two types of manifestations, namely sound form, śabda-brahma and His personal form, param-brahmaśabda-brahma paraṁ brahma mamobhe śāśvatī tanū (SB 6.16.51). Maitreya says that when Bhagavān Viśṇu appeared to the sage Kardama it was his Śabda-brahma that appeared in personalized form – darśyāmāsa taṁ kṣattaḥ śābdaṁ brahma dadhad vapuh (SB 3.21.8). The conch in the hand of Bhagavān Viṣṇu is also considered as a representation of Śabda-brahma. This is understood from Viṣṇu touching the cheek of boy Dhruva after which the latter recited prayers. The conch is called brahma-maya by Maitreya (SB 4.9.4).

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, however, is a direct manifestation of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa Himself.  Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī calls Śrīmad Bhāgavata “the lamp that illuminates the Absolute Reality” (tattva-dīpaṁ purāṇam, SB 12.12.68). He also calls it “the light [or the direct revealer] of supreme transcendence” (adhyātma-dīpam, SB 1.2.3), as well as “the unparalleled lamp of transcendental knowledge” (atulo jñāna-pradīpaḥ, SB 12.13.19). In Devakī’s prayers to Kṛṣṇa when He appeared in the prison of Kaṁsa, she refers to Him as “the lamp of spiritual knowledge” (adhyātma-dīpaḥ, SB 10.3.24). These statements imply that Śrīmad Bhāgavata and Śrī Kṛṣṇa both are adhyātma-dīpaḥ and thus nondifferent. This fact is further confirmed by Sūta Gosvāmī in his reply to the following pertinent question of Śaunaka Ṛṣi: 

Now that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Master of yoga, the well-wisher of the brāhmaṇas, and the protector of dharma, has departed to His own paramount abode, please tell us to whom dharma has gone for refuge. (SB 1.1.23)

Sūta Gosvāmī’s reply given below makes it evident that Śrīmad Bhāgavata appeared as Kṛṣṇa’s direct representative (tat-pratinidhi-rūpeṇāvirbabhūva):

Upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s departure to His own abode, accompanied by dharma, transcendental knowledge (jñāna), and other divine majesties, this self-effulgent Sun in the form of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa has now arisen for those bereft of sight in the age of Kali. (SB 1.3.43)

In Padma Purāṇa, while describing the glories of Śrīmad Bhāgavata, the Kumāras inform sage Nārada: “This Purāṇa called Śrīmad Bhāgavata is indeed directly Śrī Kṛṣṇa and none else” (Uttara-khaṇḍa 198.30). Accordingly, in Skanda Purāṇa, it is stated: “The Śrīmad Bhāgavata and Śrī Bhagavān [Kṛṣṇa] share an eternal absolute oneness of essential nature (svarūpa), characterized as unalloyed being (sat), consciousness (cit), and divine bliss (ānanda)” (Viṣṇu-khaṇḍa 6.4.3). Such being the case, the twelve cantos of Śrīmad Bhāgavata are equated with the twelve parts of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body:

Kṛṣna’s two feet are the First and Second Cantos, His two thighs are the Third and Fourth Cantos, His navel area is the Fifth Canto. His chest is the Sixth Canto, and His two arms are the Seventh and Eight Cantos. O King, Kṛṣna’s throat is the Ninth Canto, His smiling lotus face is the Tenth Canto, His forehead is the Eleventh Canto, and His head is the Twelfth Canto. I worship Him, the Primeval Deva, the repository of compassion, whose bodily hue resembles a Tamāla tree, whose avatāric descent is meant for the highest good of all living beings, who is the bridge to cross over the limitless ocean of worldly existence, and who is directly manifest in the form of Śrīmad Bhāgavata.

Thus for Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, Śrīmad Bhāgavata is not just a book but Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifest in the form of sound. Śrīmad Bhāgavata is worshipable like Kṛṣṇa Himself. It is said that Sanātana Gosvāmī considered Śrīmad Bhāgavata as his iṣṭa-devatā even before meeting Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. 


Śrīmad Bhāgavata Is Equivalent to the Veda

The following article is a further part of the introduction to our forthcoming translation of the first canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata.

All the Vedānta schools accept prasthāna-trayī i.e., the ten principal Upaniṣads, Vedānta Sutra and Bhagavad Gītā as pramāna and base their specific vāda on them. Śri Vallabhācārya adds Śrīmad Bhāgavata to the list of the three pramānas. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī goes a step further and calls Śrīmad Bhāgavata as the supreme pramāṇa, pramāna-śiromaṇi. 

Although Śrīmad Bhagāvata belongs to the class of the Purāṇas, it is equated to the Vedas in authority. In Bhagavad Gītā, Kṛṣṇa declares, “By all the Vedas, I alone am to be known” (Gītā 15.15). Śrīmad Bhāgavata is unquestionably the Purāṇa that directly discloses the ontological truth pertaining to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī affirmed this very point in the conclusion of his teachings to King Parīkṣit: “Bhagavān Hari [Kṛṣṇa], the Immanent Self of the cosmos, is repeatedly described in this book [Śrīmad Bhāgavata]” (SB 12.5.1).

Accordingly, in the penultimate chapter of the Bhāgavata, Sūta Gosvāmī sums up the entire discussion in the following words: “Here [in Śrīmad Bhāgavata], Hari, the dispeller of all sins, who is Nārāyaṇa, Hṛṣīkeśa, and Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa, the Guardian and Master of the Sātvatas, has been directly described” (SB 12.12.3).

Śrīmad Bhāgavata’s status as equivalent to the Vedas is also directly affirmed in the book itself in statements such as the following: “This Purāṇa, called the Bhāgavata, is equal (sammitam) to the Vedas” (SB 1.3.40). The word sammitam can mean “equal,” “similar,” “resembling,” “like,” “comparable,” or “of identical value.” Thus, here it signifies that the Bhāgavata is equal to the Vedas or is esteemed on a par with the Vedas. The intended sense is that Śrīmad Bhāgavata’s authority is equivalent to that of the Vedas, and it conveys the essential import of the Vedas in the form of transcendental knowledge regarding Śrī Kṛṣṇa. 

While questioning Sūta Gosvāmī, sage Śaunaka directly refers to Śrīmad Bhāgavata as a Śruti, a word that is synonymous with the Vedas: 

“My dear [Sūta], how, moreover, did the conversation occur between the sage-like king [Parīkṣit], who appeared in the Pāṇḍu dynasty, and the introverted sage [Śuka], in the course of which this Vaiṣṇava Śruti was disclosed?” (SB 1.4.7)

Śrī Śukadeva also refers to the Bhāgavata as equal to the Vedas while informing King Parīkṣit about his own study: “This Purāṇā, called the Bhāgavata, is equal to the Vedas. I studied it from my father Dvaipāyana Vyāsa at the end of Dvāparayuga” (SB 2.1.8).  Here also, the word sammitam is used to point out the Bhāgavata’s equivalence to the Vedas. The compound dvāpara-adau, which would normally be interpreted to mean, “at the beginning of Dvāpara,” is of the bahuvrihi, or “exocentric,” classification, meaning that its referent is external to, yet qualified by, its component members. The compound thus comes to mean “at that period of time the beginning of which corresponded to Dvāpara’s end.” Here, “at that period of time” is the external referent, while the remainder of the phrase, drawn from the words adau and dvāpara, is its qualifier.

Sūta Gosvāmī also refers to the Bhāgavata as equal to the Vedas while describing the dialogue between King Parīkṣit and Śukadeva: “He recited the Purāṇa called the Bhāgavata, which is equal to the Vedas and was spoken by Bhagavān to Brahmā at the beginning of the Brahma-kalpa” (SB 2.8.28).

From the above citations, it is clear that Śrīmad Bhāgavata has a distinct place among the Purāṇas because of being equated to or esteemed on a par with the Vedas. Indeed, its importance exceeds even that of the Vedas because it is determined as the ripened fruit of the tree of all the Vedas. The fruit is indeed the most highly valued product of a tree and more delectable than any other part. The author himself praises it as follows:

“O you devotees, who are connoisseurs of the aesthetic experience (rasa) [of divine love for Bhagavān] and who are highly skilled in the art of contemplation on particular aesthetic modes of being (bhāvukas), drink again and again up to liberation and beyond the divine rasa known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata, the ripened fruit of the wish-fulfilling tree of all the Vedas. Abounding with the fluid essence of immortal nectar, it has descended upon the earth [unbroken, out of the utter fullness of its taste] from the mouth of Śrī Śuka.” (SB 1.1.3)


Śrīmad Bhāgavata—Foremost of the Purāṇas

The following article is part of the introduction to our upcoming translation of the first canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata.

Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa is the fountainhead of Gauḍīya theology and practice. It is one among the eighteen Purāṇas composed by Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsa. The name Bhāgavata Purāṇa can be understood to mean “the Purāṇa spoken by Bhagavān” (bhagavatā proktam), or “the Purāṇa that delineates the character of Bhagavān’s exclusive devotees” (bhāgavatānāṁ purāṇam), or “the Purāṇa that describes the nature and divine acts of Bhagavān and His devotees” (bhagavataḥ bhāgavatānāñ ca purāṇam).

As is evident from the story related in the fourth to seventh chapters of the First Canto, the Bhāgavata is Vyāsa’s last work. Up to that point, he had already rendered tremendous service to humanity by dividing the one Veda into four and then teaching these different branches to his four prominent disciples for the perpetuation of Vedic dharma. He also wrote the Purāṇas as well as his magnum opus, the Mahābhārata, to disclose the meaning of the Vedas to all. Moreover, having directly intuited the truth of the self and Brahman, Vyāsa composed the Vedānta Sūtra to synthesize and codify the essential teachings of the entire corpus of the Upaniṣads. In spite of these prodigious and selfless accomplishments, however, he remained unfulfilled at heart.

It was only on being instructed by sage Nārada and then bringing forth Śrīmad Bhāgavata from out of his samādhi vision that he finally attained complete inner fulfillment. From this, it can be concluded that the Bhāgavata Purāṇa is of paramount importance among all his works. Befittingly, the Bhāgavata is qualified by the word śrīmat, meaning, “that which by its essential nature is intrinsically endowed with śrī.” The word śrī means “beauty” as well as “opulence.” Śrīmad Bhāgavata is beautiful as a poetic composition, especially in its various prayers (stuti) and songs (gītam). At the same time, it contains the divine opulence of the highest wisdom of Vedānta, as proclaimed by Sūta Gosvāmī:

“This Śrīmad Bhāgavata is the essence of all Vedānta philosophy because its subject matter is the one nondual Absolute Existent (advitīyam vastu), characterized by the constitutional oneness of being [in love] of the individual self (ātmā) with Brahman. Moreover, it has for its one and only intended aim (prayojana) the state of unconditional liberation (kaivalya) [which finds its ultimate repose in divine love alone (prītāv eva viśrāntiḥ)].” (SB 12.13.12) 

And a few verses later, he adds:

“Śrīmad Bhāgavata is indeed celebrated as the essence of all Vedānta [i.e., the Upaniṣads]. To one who is enraptured by the immortal nectar of its aesthetic relish (rasa), attraction for any other literature simply does not arise.” (SB 12.13.15)

Earlier, Sūta declared Śrīmad Bhāgavata as “the essence of all the Vedas and Itihāsas”:

Thereafter, Vyāsa imparted this Mahā Purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavata, which is the condensed essence extracted from all of the Vedas and Itihāsas, to his son [Śrī Śukadeva], the foremost of all those established in immediate realization of the Self. (SB 1.3.41)

According to Skanda Purāṇa, each verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavata is more potent than all the other Purāṇas combined:

“A person who intentfully recites one verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavata daily, O sage, attains the fruit of reading the eighteen Purāṇas.” (Skanda Purāṇa, Viṣṇu-khaṇḍa 5.16.33)

The superiority of Śrīmad Bhāgavata is also understood from its defining characteristics. A Purāṇa generally has five defining characteristics, as stated in Matsya Purāṇa:

“A Purāṇa is characterized by the following five topics—sarga (cosmic evolution), pratisarga (cosmic dissolution), vaṁśa (genealogy), manvantara (the dharmic reign of the Manus), and vaṁśānucarita (narrations of the various dynasties of religious kings and enlightened sages).” (Matsya Purāṇa 53.65) 

In contrast, however, Śrīmad Bhāgavata has ten defining characteristics, as stated by Śukadeva:

“In this book, ten subjects are discussed—sarga (the primary evolution of primordial nature as a whole), visarga (the secondary evolution of life forms and living beings), sthāna (the sustenance of living beings), poṣaṇa (the grace displayed by Bhagavān in nurturing His devotees), ūti (the subconscious imprints and desires that promote engagement in goal-oriented action), manvantara (the religious path enacted by the Manus), īśānukathā (narrations of Īśvara and His devotees), nirodha (cosmic dissolution), mukti (liberation), and āśraya (the ultimate ground and refuge of all being).” (SB 2.10.1)

On this basis, Sūta rightly declares Śrīmad Bhāgavata to be the foremost among the Purāṇas:

“As the Gaṅgā is supreme among rivers, Acyuta among the devas, and Śiva among Vaiṣṇavas, so too this [Śrīmad Bhāgavata] is supreme among the Purāṇas.” (SB 12.13.16)

This conclusion is substantiated by the Padma Purāṇa:

“Among all the Purāṇas, Śrīmad Bhāgavata is supreme. In each of its words, Kṛṣṇa is sung about in various ways by the sages.” (Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa 193.3)

The superiority of the Bhāgavata is further established on the basis of its incomparable speaker, Śrī Śukadeva. He was Brahman-realized from birth and thus priorly situated in the state of freedom from all attachment. He left home immediately after his birth, without even undergoing any Vedic rituals, and did not heed his father’s request to remain at home (SB 1.2.2). He was so absorbed in the immediate awareness of Brahman that he remained indifferent to his own personal care. He had transcended altogether the duality of male and female (SB 1.4.4-5).

The Bhāgavata’s eminence is also due to the illustrious status of its original audience headed by King Parīkṣit. When he was cursed to die in seven days, he renounced his kingdom and sat on the bank of Gaṅgā with a vow to fast until death. At that time, great sages from different regions of the universe assembled to bless the king. This event is described by Sūta:

“At that time, many sages endowed with extraordinary spiritual power, who purify the entire world, arrived there, accompanied by their disciples. Generally, on the plea of visiting the sacred places of pilgrimage, the sages sanctify those holy places merely by their presence. [The great sages who arrived there included] Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Cyavana, Śaradvān, Ariṣṭanemi, Bhṛgu, Aṅgirā, Parāśara, Viśvāmitra, Paraśurāma, Utathya, Indrapramada, Idhmabāhu, Medhātithi, Devala, Ārṣṭiṣeṇa, Bhāradvāja, Gautama, Pippalāda, Maitreya, Aurva, Kavaṣa, Kumbhayoni (Agastya), Dvaipāyana, and the illustrious Nārada. Many other sages also arrived there, including the foremost of the celestial sages, the brāhmaṇa sages, and the royal sages, as well as other sages who preside over particular branches of the Vedas, such as Aruṇa.” (SB 1.19.8-11)

This most august assembly of sages included three avatāras, namely, Paraśurāma, Vyāsa, and Nārada. When Śukadeva arrived in the assembly, everyone stood to honor him (SB 1.19.28). He was unanimously selected as the right person to answer the query of King Parīkṣit. When he accepted the seat of honor, his eminence was described as follows:

“While installed upon that seat of honor, surrounded by groups of brāhmaṇa sages, royal sages, and celestial sages, the illustrious Śukadeva, greatest even among the great, appeared extraordinarily resplendent, like the moon encircled by clusters of planets, constellations, and stars.” (SB 1.19.30)

Finally, the supremacy of the Bhāgavata is understood because of its supreme message: 

In this Śrīmad Bhāgavata, the supreme dharma is disclosed, utterly devoid of all deception and compromise. (SB 1.2.2)

Discrepancies Between Shastra and Science

Question: A devotee scholar explained that when śāstra clashes with pratyaksa, we should accept modern science when it comes to descriptions of Vedic cosmology, and not be literal fanatics of śāstra. I am confused by this. Why should we accept the arguments of NASA for the moon landing and the shape of the Earth as absolute truth?

Answer: Yes, no need. But then you should be able to explain the visible phenomenon like the cycle of days and night, change of seasons, solar and lunar eclipses, etc. Moreover, we have the word Bhū-gola in Sanskrit, which means round earth.

Question:  Śrīmad Bhāgavata describes in Fifth Canto Bhūmaṇḍala, Jambūdvīpa and our position in Bhārata-varṣa. In Mahābhārata is described how Arjuna went through other varṣa of Jambūdvīpa and with Kṛṣṇa along the whole Bhūmaṇḍala. Are we supposed to think that all this is a myth?

Answer: No.

Question: My mindset as a devotee is to believe in śāstra, rather than in the explanations of scientists. Nowhere in śāstra is stated that we live on a spinning ball in a dark universe. Quite opposite, it is clearly stated that we live on the southern tip of Jambūdvīpa, in one of nine varṣas – Bhārata-varṣa.

Answer:  That is perfectly fine, but you must also describe where the other varṣas are. Where is the Jambū tree which has fruits of the size of an elephant? Where is the Jambu-nada, the river made from the juice of these Jambū fruits? Where are the oceans of milk and liquor? [ Devotees will be happy with the milk ocean and the nondevotees with the ocean of liquor !] Where is the Meru Mountain, which 80000 yojana high? You also must explain the process of day and night as well as the making of the seasons. All this need to be explained.

Question: Thinking that these descriptions are just realizations of elevated yogī’s and that our reality is that which NASA tells us is really destroying my faith. “This Bhāgavata Purāṇa is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the Age of Kali shall get light from this Purāṇa. How should we, lost persons in the Age of Kali will get light from this Purāṇa if descriptions are not reality?” (SB 1.3.43)

Answer:  The above verse is talking about Śrīmad Bhāgavata giving light to those who have lost their vision out of ignorance. There is no mention about teaching astronomy. Kṛṣṇa did not come to teach cosmology. He came to establish dharma (Gītā 4.7, 4.8). I have not read anywhere that He comes to teach cosmology or astronomy. Thus the Bhāgavata, being a representative of Kṛṣṇa, has appeared to teach about dharma. If you want to learn cosmology from a book of dharma, you will be frustrated. It is like trying to learn quantum mechanics from a biology book. Vyāsa tells in SB 1.1.2, vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu, and in 1.1.3, pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayam. Every śāstra describes its subject (viṣaya) and object to be achieved (prayojana) in the very beginning. We have to study that carefully and then read the śāstra, keeping these two things in mind. Vyāsa has mentioned these in the first three verses of the first chapter. To know more about these two subjects, please read verses 1.7.4 – 7, which describe the samādhi of Vyāsa. Śrīmad Bhāgavata is an explanation of Vyāsa’s experience in samādhi. To understand   this better, please read verses 2.10.1 and 2.10.2. Here the list of the ten topics described in Śrīmad Bhāgavata is given. Astronomy or cosmology are not included here. Moreover, the first nine topics are secondary. They are meant to explain only the tenth topic, which is Kṛṣṇa. The last quarter of verse 2.10.2 is noteworthy. It explains that these topics are described directly as well as indirectly (to put it in simple words). This means that not everything in Śrīmad Bhāgavata is a literal description.

This is made clearer in SB 12.3.14, especially with the words vaco-vibhūtīr na tu pāramārthyam. To get an idea of what Śrīmad Bhāgavata describes, consider SB 12.13.12, 12.13.18, 12.5.1. Was Parīkṣit bitten by a real snake or saṁsāra-sarpa—a snake in the form of saṁsāra (SB 12.13.21)? These are statements from the Bhāgavata itself.

Question: We are confused enough in this material world and thinking that Śrīmad Bhāgavata adds just more confusion is too much for me.

Answer: Śrīmad Bhāgavata is not adding confusion. But Śrīmad Bhāgavata is also not a storybook that you can read yourself in your leisure time and understand. It is the last work of Vyāsa, and it is the one that gave solace even to Him. There is a common saying among Sanskrit scholars, vidyāvatāṁ bhāgavate parīkṣā—one’s scholarship is tested if one can explain Śrīmad Bhāgavata. It is said to be an explanation of Vedanta-sūtraVedānta-sūtra is a brilliant work that gives the essence of Upaniṣads. It cannot be understood by self-study. Similarly, to understand the message of the Bhāgavata, one needs to study from a qualified teacher. Śrī Jiva Gosvāmi wrote Bhāgavat Sandarbha, a set of six books, just to explain the meaning of the Bhāgavata. Even his work needs further explanation. So the Bhāgavata is not adding confusion, but if we feel confused by it, then our approach to it is defective.

Question: Other varṣas are physically located north of Bhārata-varṣa. Great personalities as described in Śrīmad Bhāgavata and Mahābhārata traveled to other varṣas of Kimpuruṣa, Harivarṣa, Ketumāla, and others. This is not what we could perceive with our limited senses. Modern science could not prove the recordable curvature of the Earth, spinning of the Earth, landing on the Moon, etc. And why do high-speed jets never need to adjust their craft for curvature? There is no direct chain of evidence or observation. My understanding is that the descriptions and dimensions in the cosmology section of Śrīmad Bhāgavata are factual but beyond human logic.

Answer: When I asked where the other varṣas are, I did not expect a citation from śāstra but to hear from you where they are physically located. After all, with the inventions of airplanes and spacecraft, we know a lot about physical reality.

Why are neither Bhārata-varṣa nor the other varṣas visible, although it seems Arjuna went there? We know that north of Bhārata are the Himalayas, which are visible, and north of the Himalayas is China. This is also visible. Where is China in the picture provided by you? And where do the invisible varṣa begin? I mean, we have some visible parts, so where exactly does the invisible one begin? Is it right after the Himalayas? If yes, why is China not described in your picture? If no, then is China part of Bhārata-varṣa? If not, whose part is it?

But in any case, you have made an important statement, “This is not what we could perceive with our limited senses.” So this is what carries the solution to the discrepancy between the descriptions of śāstra and science.

Question: I heard the cosmological descriptions given in the Purāṇas are ādhidaivika, but you also mention on your website that the Bhāgavata Purāṇa contains kāvya. Therefore, parts of it could be literary devices. Is there some reference from the ācāryas or the Bhāgavata, where Purāṇic cosmology is labeled “ādhidaivika“?

Answer: There is no statement in the Bhāgavata per se. There is no label given to it. It is understood by pāriśeṣa-nyāya—or the principle of the remainder. The description is certainly not ādhibhautika, because it does not match our experience. Ādhibhautika is what we can experience with our senses. It can also not be wrong, because the Bhāgavata is pramāṇa—that which gives authentic knowledge. This being the case, we are left with the choice that either it is ādhidaivika, subtle, or ādhyātmika, spiritual. It cannot be ādhyātmika because it is part of the material world. So by the principle of the remainder, it can only be ādhidaivika.

Śrīmad Bhāgavata indeed describes objects at these three levels, and it describes things indirectly, as understood from verses such as SB 2.10.2. The description of the universe found in the Fifth Canto is the understanding through yogic vision. It is the understanding of sages like Śukadeva, and not of ordinary people like us. This is confirmed by Patañjali in Yoga-sūtra (3.26) bhuvana-jñānaṁ sūrye saṁyamāt, “By doing saṁyama on the Sun, the yogī gets knowledge of the structure of the universe.” Here the word saṁyama refers to dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi, the last three limbs of Āṣṭāṅga Yoga. Vyāsa writes an elaborate explanation of this sūtra similar to the description found in the Fifth Canto. This proves that the description of the Bhāgavata is not cognizable to our ordinary sense perception. Therefore, I do not consider the Bhagavata’s description to be wrong nor that of modern science. They belong to two different spheres.