There is no doubt that the rabbis of the Talmud actually believed the world was actually a disk surrounded by an ocean. It was not a metaphor, even though describing the world as being reflected in the anatomy of the eye certainly is. (To read more about talmudic astronomy and the path of the sun around the flat earth, see here.) The rabbis of the Talmud were following a long held belief that the world is flat, which we can trace all the way back to the earliest known map, found in Babylon and made in the 6th century BCE.
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It shows a flat, disk like earth surrounded by waters. And that is the picture most people had, because, well, that’s what it looks like to us. But that changed when the great Greek mathematician and astronomer Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth, a figure that was within about 10% of its true value.
The Talmudic View of the Universe
This chapter describes the talmudic model of the universe. The rabbis of the Talmud believed that the world was flat, and that the sun revolved around the Earth every day. There is a debate about the length of the solar year in the Talmud, and its consequences and the rare Jewish ceremony of the Blessing of the Sun (Birkat Hahammah) are discussed. The view of the talmudic rabbis is contrasted with that of the contemporary Greek astronomers. While the rabbis of the Talmud argued about the size of the flat Earth, the Greeks had determined the Earth to be a sphere, had calculated its circumference and had moved on to consider other questions. Next the chapter describes how Maimonides (1138-1204) adopted the Ptolemaic system, and examples of Ptolemaic biblical commentary are given.
Anda means this universe. It is just like an egg. Anda means egg. All these planets and universes, they are made on the shape of egg. Andantara-stham. So each and every universe, Krsna enters as Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Just like within matter, when there is male and female, sex, it becomes just like a small pea. That is also egglike, emulsified.
And the living entity enters, and then the pea form becomes developed into a body. Similarly, without entrance of spirit, no matter can develop. Matter itself cannot develop. There must be spirit soul; then it develops. Pregnancy is formed when the spirit soul is there within the matter. Not that simply material secretion makes life. That is foolish understanding.
Prabhupada Lecture Los Angeles, January 15, 1969
Real enjoyer or proprietor is Krsna. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram. He’s the proprietor. Sarva loka, not only of this loka, earthly planet, but there are innumerable planets within this universe and there are innumerable universes also, not one universe. Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti. Jagad-anda means universe. It is just like egg shape. anda. You can see this universe, the sky is…, horizon. So it is just like egg shape. All the planets and the universes, they are egg shaped.
Prabhupada Lecture Bhagavad-gita 13.8-12 Bombay, September 30, 1973
Jagad-anda means… Anda, it is round. Anda means egg shape. We don’t say it is flat. Sastra never says, “Flat.” Then you correct, “No, no, it is not flat. It is round.” This is sastra. Long, long years, in the beginning, it was called round, anda. Goloka, go, Goloka, Bhurloka. Goloka means round. Goloka Vrndavana. Everything is round. So jagad-anda. Anda, anda means egg shape. Jagad-anda-koti. The each and every universe is egg shape; it is covered.
Prabhupada lecture Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.28.21 Nairobi, November 1, 1975
Anda means it is egg-shaped, round, egg-shaped. Therefore it is called anda, brahmanda. Bhu-gola. Gola means round. I have heard that before the science, the people were under the impression that this world is square. Is it not?
Prabhupada: Flat. Flat, yes. But in the Vedic sastra, millions of years ago it is mentioned: bhu-gola. Gola means round. Just see. And these rascals say that formerly people were not so intelligent. They are intelligent because they are thinking that this world is flat. And those who have spoken millions of years ago, “It is round,” they will have less intelligence. Just see. Bhu, gola. Gola means round. Bhu-gola. Similarly, jagad-anda. Abda means round, just like egg. Anda means egg. Jagad-anda. This universe is egg-shaped. And we can see also, the sky is round. This is the wall of this universe.
Prabhupada Lecture Bhagavad-gita 1.43 London, July 30, 1973