Accept the Direct Meaning!
As It Is and As You Like Him
Accept the Direct Meaning!
Third of a Three-Part Series
By Kailasa Candra dasa
“Modern scientific calculations are subject to one change after another, and therefore they are uncertain. We have to accept the calculations of the Vedic literature. These Vedic calculations are steady; the astronomical calculations made long ago and recorded in the Vedic literature are correct even now. Whether the Vedic calculations or modern ones are better may remain a mystery for others, but, as far as we are concerned, we accept the Vedic calculations to be correct.” Srimad Bhagavatam, 5.22.8, purport
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that mukhya-vritti (“the direct meaning”) is abhidha-vritti, or the meaning that one can understand immediately from the statements of dictionaries, whereas gauna-vritti (“the indirect meaning”) is a meaning that one imagines without consulting the dictionary. . . Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that one understand the Vedic literature in terms of abhidha-vritti, and the gauna-vritti He rejects. Sometimes, however, as a matter of necessity, the Vedic literature is described in terms of the lakshana-vritti or gauna-vritti, but one should not accept such explanations as permanent truths.” Cc., Adi, 7.110, purport
All emphases added for your edification and realization
The followers of Sri Shankaracharya, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, have covered the real meaning of the Vedas, including a Vaishnava literature as well, with indirect explanations that are offensive, inappropriate, and not at all required. There is no genuine reason for these Mayavadi explanations of the Vedic sutras and literatures except to propound the false doctrine that the Vedic literature is not meant for the purpose of understanding that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Controller, the cause of all causes, and the goal of all Vedic and Vaishnava study.
Sri Bhagavan declares this Truth forthrightly in the Bhagavad-gita, where He says: sarvasya caham hridi sannivisto mattah smritir jnanam apohanam ca vedaish ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedanta-krid veda-vid eva caham. He declares in this verse (Bg., 15.15) that by all the Vedas He only is to be known, that He is the compiler of the Vedanta, and the complete knower of the Vedas. All of these Vedic teachings and principles are here to help us understand this eternal relation with the Supreme Person, and the study of sidereal or Vedic astrology, an authorized vedanga, is meant for this best of purposes as well.
The Lord also says that He is the source of higher intelligence (prajna), the immediate next-door neighbor of the small, dependent spirit soul; He says that He is seated in everyone’s heart, providing remembrance along with that knowledge. However, when the bewildered living entity does not want to know Truth, or even to know the relative truths that have a relation to Truth, then the Lord reciprocates by remaining silent. In other words, He then becomes the source of the conditioned soul’s forgetfulness.
It seems these days that people want to forget; we find them everywhere in the Western culture, the playground of the vikarmis. However, we also, somewhat surprisingly, find them in the devotional community, and it seems that they particularly preponderate in the fringe sector known as the astrologers and their dupes. Many of these fellows make a pretty good living off the less intelligent section of devotees, who, on the whole, are quite bewildered about the science of sidereal astrology (even though they are supposed to be initiated brahmins). They want their charts, and the charts of their children, calculated and interpreted. As such, they naively accept anyone who has some so-called good reputation as a learned astrologer–never mind that he also advertises himself as a “New Age guru” or some such thing.
“Regarding your question about my birth, I was born September 1, 1896, Tuesday, at about 4:00 in the afternoon. My rasi is Mithuna.”
Letter to Jaya Krishna Thakur, Dec. 6, 1975
In this last installment, let us concisely summarize what has been brought out in the previous sections of the series. We have pointed out that Prabhupada said that his Moon was in the sign of Gemini (Mithuna) as per the above-cited passage from the letter to Jaya Krishna Thakur. We have mentioned that there was no reasonable explanation for Prabhupada to want to mislead the Thakur in responding to his (J. K. Thakur’s) question. We have stipulated that all of the popular ayanamshas (“standard” ayanamshas) in vogue today, employing the modern method of calculating sidereal positions for the planets via Western ephemerides, place Prabhupada’s Moon in the previous sign, Taurus. We mentioned the principle that all Western astronomers create their ephemerides based upon somewhat complicated and varied, but, nevertheless, set formulas. We have pointed out that Prabhupada’s lagna (ascendant) was certainly Capricorn, and that any and all those who insist it is Sagittarius are whistling Dixie.
Vedic understanding is best assimilated by revelation, as a Vaishnava receives his or her highest realizations by way of revealed truth; that is our path. We have revealed that any ayanamsha used today is a shortcut guesstimate for each sidereal planetary placement, and that deducting the ayanamsha is not the way in which the nirayan positions are actually calculated–in terms of the Vedic formulas revealed and commented upon in the siddhantas. We have, most essentially, established that the way to make these shortcut calculations—particularly the sidereal Moon—is to first calibrate his placement, as per a modern or post-modern time-place-and-date, to an ayanamsha that had also previously placed Prabhupada’s Moon in Gemini (obviously, at the very beginning of the sign) around 4:00 p.m. on his day of birth in Calcutta.
We have told you that not all the planets will have the exact same ayanamsha (although they will have very similar ones). This is because ayanamsha is no more than a shortcut replacement for the siddhantic formulas for each planet (such complicated formulas presented perfectly by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada in his translation and commentary on the Surya-siddhanta).
In this final installment, let us now explain this point in a little more detail, along with an example to illustrate the principle. Suppose you have a decent and relatively accurate sidereal program (software), and it affords you the User Defined option. As such, you work to find an ayanamsha that places Prabhupada’s Moon in Gemini. You select a time around 4 p.m. according to the above-mentioned parameters (revealed in the letter), and you come up with your ayanamsha for the middle of 1896.
Your software, according to your personally programmed definitions, now renders all sidereal placements for future years according to that chosen ayanamsha. So, you do a chart wherein it is found that the native, a Scorpio lagna, has Candra-mangala Yoga in Pisces in the fifth. Mars will be a benefic here, and the yoga is very good, especially since the Moon is the lord of the ninth. Both of these planets are in an amicable sign. Your program says that the Moon is at sixteen degrees and forty-eight minutes of sidereal arc, in Pisces. You can be very confident of this placement, because the Moon is the planet you used to calibrate your ayanamsha.
Your program puts Mars in Pisces at twenty-eight degrees, sixteen minutes of sidereal arc. There could be some variance however, because, although this will certainly be close to his position, he could very well be at twenty-seven degrees, fifty-eight minutes of the sign, i.e., eighteen minutes of sidereal arc back. This same principle applies for all planets, although they will not necessarily be all back of the positions that your software assigns to them; some of them might be a little bit forward in the sign.
We have previously pointed out that Prabhupada’s divine horoscope, with all planets functioning at their highest octaves, was not under the laws of karma. Nevertheless, we have specified how his lagna (being Capricorn) and his Moon (being in Gemini) made total and complete sense from all experienced perspectives. We have stated unequivocally that it is a better chart than his having his Moon (allegedly) exalted in the fifth, that the actual chart (Moon in Gemini) showed how he was protected from enemies, and that Moon in the fifth was not borne out by the facts of his life connected to fifth house portfolio. We have stated with complete confidence, backed by astrological jnana and vijnana, that a Capricorn ascendant with Moon in Gemini was the best possible chart of the three being currently pushed, superior to the Sagg ascendant (which is ludicrous) and superior to Moon in Mula-trikona in Vrishabha.
Most importantly, we have emphasized that putting the Moon in Gemini in the birthchart of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada is based upon deductive logic, based upon accepting the mukhya-vritti from his letter. Simply put, there is no room for any indirect or figurative interpretation here. Similarly, any and all “disciples” who believe that Prabhupada did not really know what he was talking about when he dictated this letter are engaged, perhaps unwittingly, in gurv-aparadha. Of course, there has been no dearth of gurv-aparadha since Prabhupada’s disappearance (which took place under strange and nefarious circumstances, indicating ati-papam of the most unthinkable variety!). Neo-Mutt is the most malignant personification of gurv-aparadha, and all of its leading adherents should be understood as guru-tyagi, as traitors to the transcendental line of their original initiation.
So much for the concise summary. If you wish to consult either of the previous two installments, hyperlinks for this purpose have been provided at the end of this article.
Now, let us proceed to the anecdotal equivalent of the rawest of an already raw nerve. There are lessons to be learned from this. For example, a whole movement has sprung up—anti-Vedic and anti-Vaishnava to the core—based upon ultra-indirect evidence (although it hardly even qualifies as evidence) in a document not even dictated or formulated by His Divine Grace. It was composed by one of his leading secretaries, now dead, who had a vested interest in its coldplay.
That fellow also may very well be integrally implicated in the abovementioned ati-papam gurv-aparadha. Prabhupada, in a very sick and emaciated condition, simply put his signature to this document; it is highly doubtful that he analyzed it with any intense scrutiny in doing so. Both the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON,” and the rittviks make a big thing of this legal document, although it is actually near the very bottom of important translations, commentaries, treatises, letters, and/or legal documents created by Srila Prabhupada. It was mostly formed in order to protect the properties, especially in India, from takeover attempts (by two obvious sources). It was a flawed document, and this was admitted by “ISKCON” leaders later, when the rittviks made it the centerpiece of their concoction.
Of course, we are referring to the Will. Why do we bring up the Will? Because all kinds of pseudo-devotional misconceptions and crap have been able to thrive and prosper as a result of both its overemphasis and motivated misunderstandings. Most unfortunately, the devotees at this time in Kali Yuga are especially prone to this kind of nescience, and some weak, anecdotal evidence is being pushed now which supposedly proves that Prabhupada was a Sagittarius ascendant with Moon in Taurus.
Without naming names, here is the scuttlebutt—and, just like the Will, it is made the fulcrum of “proof” and blown way out of proportion. Supposedly five different charts (with five different predictions for time of death) were proffered by five different astrologers. These charts were said to have a total of three different lagnas (how mind-boggling that is!). Now, only one of them had a Sagg lagna with Moon in Taurus. So, as per the scuttlebutt from the ever-unreliable devotee grapevine, when these five were showed to Prabhupada (by a sannyasi there at that time; no longer sannyasa, of course), he (Prabhupada) pointed to the one with the Sagg lagna and said that was the real chart. Then, as the story goes, the sannyasi went to a devi dasi (who was more or less the secretary for that yatra) and told her to specially demarcate the chart Prabhupada had selected. Many years later, these five charts were unearthed from a storage locker, and, lo and behold, Prabhupada had arranged to tell all of his best astrologers just where his lagna and planets were actually situated. Such a convenient fable.
There are all kinds of problems here. I have never met the devi dasi in this tale, but I knew the former sannyasi quite well. I know, at that time, his knowledge of astronomy or astrology was practically nil. I also know from practical experience that he could very well have been mistaken in his part of this whole alleged transaction—if he took part in it at all. And then we have the transaction between the nyasi and the devi dasi; plenty of chance for something to have gone astray here, as well. We have the unearthing of the manuscripts at a later date: All kinds of opportunity for Maya to have entered into the mix in so many different ways! In other words, this anecdotal evidence is not at all steady or firm; to put it another way, as long as it is accepted via mukhya-vritti, the letter to Jaya Krishna Thakur is very specific. The anecdote has all the makings of being (like the Will) blown out of proportion by various interests.
Leave the gun; take the canolee. Leave the charts; take the letter.
However, taking a further stroll down memory lane, why not consider how an entirely different destiny could have played out? What am I referring to here? Well, could not Prabhupada have–in the middle of 1975 when the whole varnashrama-dharma fervor was in full swing–ordered a section of his initiated brahmins to become skilled, sidereal astrologers? He did not do so, of course, but such an order could have been given at that time. It does not require some kind of parallel universe thinking in order to know that this order, had it been given, would have created an astrology department in his ISKCON Society. Is there any potential evidence for this?
Prabhupada: I have read that your program, what is that: College of Vedic Science?
Prabhupada: So, what is the actual program?
Bahulasva: That was not completed, Prabhupada. That’s just a description of the courses. . . That was simply an explanation of what courses would be given, and how they would be structured.
Prabhupada: That’s nice.
Morning walk in Los Angeles, June 23, 1975.
How could there have been a College of Vedic Science without the inclusion of the most important universal (yet limited) Vedic teaching, the vedanga known as Vedic or sidereal astrology? Such would have been incomprehensible, but that’s just what went down. That’s just the dull-witted path that the Bhaktivedanta Institute chose to take, although your author, directly and personally, petitioned its leader in Atlanta (in the spring of 1978) to include sidereal astrology as part of its program. Your author’s request was unceremoniously rebuffed, because, according to the leader of this Institute, it was only meant to influence the mundane, Western scientists and professors. The College of Vedic Science would have been meant for more than that, but it never got off the ground. Instead, PDI took off on the West Coast—and what disastrous results that brought to the ISKCON’s reputation (with its second version of Magic Alex!).
However, theoretically, His Divine Grace could have instituted a program of sidereal astrology in his movement. Now, would anybody have been astute enough to have secured the commentary (from the British Library) of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta? Would any devotee have been a competent enough mathematician to have perfectly deciphered the ahargana, the cycles, the epicycles, etc., specified there? Would any of the members (brahmins) of the College—in the event that no one could chop through the thicket of placing planets according to Surya-siddhanta—have brought up the matter of the ayanamsha? On this, we can answer unequivocally: Certainly!
Now, as these newly-authorized brahmin-Vaishnavas went about establishing the means to compute astronomical positions (in the heady days well before personal computers and software), do you think that one of them, hearing about the abovementioned letter from someone who had been privy to it, would have brought up the topic of Prabhupada’s Moon being in Gemini? Very probably; almost certainly.
If you have followed this so far, then read on, attentively. We were in the movement at that time, and we knew how things like this went down. You are not reading the rant of an inexperienced man here; things were institutionalized in those days in a very different way then currently. The stress back in the day was always on authority and against any and all mental speculation. If Prabhupada had authorized a College of Vedic Science, and if it (a virtual certainty) included a Department of Sidereal Astrology, then the imprimatur of this ISKCON College would have been required for anyone to compile or analyze charts—and even that may not have been permitted in the first months.
If the letter to Jaya Krishna Thakur had been made open to the light of day–and if the brahminically-oriented students in charge of that College were researching to come to a consensus about the ayanamsha (a slam dunk)–an ayanamsha similar to your author’s would have been institutionalized in ISKCON. It would have been done so as per the authoritative letter, on the basis of the placement of Moon in Gemini by Prabhupada (in the letter) around 4:00 p.m. in Calcutta on Sept., 1, 1896. You can take this one to the bank prabhus, because it’s money!
And if it had been so institutionalized, what about Lahiri? None of the ISKCON astrologers would have given rat spit about him or his ayanamsha. Ditto, Raman. Ditto Ojha. Ditto Krishnamurti. Ditto Yukteshvara. Ditto Fagan. And anything connected to tropical placements, planets, lordships, and interpretations would have been considered veritable poison. The devotees back in 1966-1977 did not care about the prevailing opinion of any renowned scholar, any culture, any other cult, any other religion—and most especially they did not care about the opinions of Gaudiya Mutt.
The real followers of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, a mercy incarnation of Lord Caitanya, all wanted only the direct meaning of the Vaishnava literature and Vedic sciences. They considered indirect explanations generally offensive, inappropriate, and not at all required. They wanted real authority, and they wanted the mukhya-vritti in virtually all circumstances. They would have accepted the direct meaning of the letter, and no feverish mentality pushing some kind of socially-acceptable alternative would have been tolerated.
There is no good reason for these nonsense and uncertain explanations of the ayanamsha, except to propound the false doctrine that sidereal astrology is meant to fulfill the material desires and whims of society, friendship, and love—and to line the pockets of rascals who have jumped the gun—so that we can all get along. There is no permanent truth in the ayanamshas that place Prabhupada’s Moon in a sign where he said it was not. You may be very good at quickly reading yogas and all that jazz, but, as long as you do not accept the direct meaning of that letter to Jaya Krishna, then your system does not measure up to the standard that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada expects of you.
OM TAT SAT