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.
How one goes to the moon, how he comes back, etc., is a great story, and this is all described in the Vedic literature. It is not a very new process. But the aim of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness society is different. We are not going to waste our valuable time. Kṛṣṇa says, "Don't waste your time attempting to go to this planet or to that planet. What will you gain? Your material miseries will follow you wherever you go." Therefore, in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Adi 3.97) it is very nicely said by the author:
- keha pāpe, keha puṇye kare viṣaya-bhoga
- bhakti-gandha nāhi, yāte yāya bhava-roga
"In this material world someone is enjoying and someone is not enjoying, but actually everyone is suffering, although some people think that they are enjoying, whereas others realize that they are suffering." Actually everyone is suffering. Who in this material world does not suffer disease? Who does not suffer from old age? Who does not die? No one wants to grow old or suffer from disease, but everyone must do so. Where then is the enjoyment? This enjoyment is all nonsense because within this material world there is no enjoyment. It is simply our imagination. One should not think, "This is enjoyment, and this is suffering." Everything is suffering! Therefore, it is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, "The principles of eating, sleeping, mating and defending will always exist, but they will exist in different standards." For example, the Americans have taken birth in America as a result of pious activities performed in previous lifetimes. In India the people are poverty-stricken and are suffering, but although the Americans are eating very nicely buttered bread and the Indians are eating without butter, they are both eating nevertheless. The fact that India is poverty-stricken has not caused the whole population to die for want of food. The four principal bodily demands—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—can be satisfied under any circumstances, whether one is born in an impious condition or in a pious condition. The problem, however, is how to become free from the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease.
This is the real problem. It is not "What shall I eat?" The birds and beasts have no such problem. In the morning they are immediately chirping, "Jee, jee, jee, jee." They know that they will have their food. No one is dying, and there is no such thing as overpopulation because everyone is provided for by God's arrangement. There are qualitative differences, but obtaining a superior quality of material enjoyment is not the end of life. The real problem is how to get free of birth, death, old age and disease. This cannot be solved by simply wasting time traveling within this universe. Even if one goes to the highest planet, this problem cannot be solved, for there is death everywhere.
The duration of life on the moon, according to Vedic information, is ten thousand years, and one day there is equal to six months here. Thus ten thousand multiplied by one hundred eighty years is the duration of life on the moon. However, it is impossible for earthmen to go to the moon and live there for very long. Otherwise the whole Vedic literature would be false. We can attempt to go there, but it is not possible to live there. This knowledge is in the Vedas. Therefore, we are not very eager to go to this planet or that planet. We are eager to go directly to the planet where Kṛṣṇa lives. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):
- yānti deva-vratā devān
- pitṟn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
- bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
- yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām
"One can go to the moon, or one can even go to the sun or to millions and trillions of other planets, or if one is too materially attached he may remain here—but those who are My devotees will come to Me." This is our aim. Initiation into Kṛṣṇa consciousness insures that the student ultimately can go to the supreme planet, Kṛṣṇaloka. We are not sitting idly; we are also attempting to go to other planets, but we are not merely wasting time.