Just in time
2 October 2008

October 2 2008

Here’s an interesting question from Vishal Gauranga prabhu. He’s been reading Kurma prabhu’s excellent book The Great Transcendental Adventure (If you haven’t read it, beg, borrow or steal it; its as good as his cooking).

 Great Transcendental Adventure

Respected Kurma prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

I was going through this passage as mentioned below ..

“Srila Prabhupada had been booked on a flight to Honolulu via Fiji that was scheduled to leave that afternoon. After deliberation, however, considering travel on Thursday afternoons to be inauspicious, Srila Prabhupada decided to extend his stay in Melbourne for an extra day.

“Madhudvisa Swami requested Srila Prabhupada, since the devotees and congregation were so eager to be with him, that he allow them a special darsana before he left for overseas. Prabhupada agreed on an afternoon meeting in his room. Such an open darsana would be the first of its kind in Australia, and the devotees eagerly looked forward to the special event.”


I  would like to know what this inauspicious time here means?? Travelling on Thursday afternoons?
It may certainly not be “Rahu kala “ since that time falls between  1:30 to 3PM (on thursday’s). It’s bit confusing for me to understand this one as we all know that Srila Prabhupada is transcendental, how can these things affect HDG?.
Did Srila Prabhupada followed “rahukala” times through out his world travel? If not, why only in Melbourne? Sorry prabhu for taking your time, I appreciate very much in advance your time taken for answering this one ..

PS: Marking HG Harisauri prabhu just in case he has any add on to this scenario…

ys, Vishal Gauranga das

Kurma prabhu provided a good reply. (see his blog http://www.iskcon.net.au/kurma/)


He confirmed the inauspicious time as Thursday afternoon and commented:

“Why ‘it may certainly not be Rahu Kalam?'”

“According to my understanding, there are different calculations of Rahu Kalam. Some talk about a fixed time, others talk of a different calculation, which is calculated in connection to sunrise: Rahu Kalam on a Thursday falls 7.5 hours after sunrise. So if we calculated Rahu Kalam for Thursday in mid-summer, it would be at a very different time to mid-winter.

“As I said, this is my limited understanding of a vastly complex system. Shyamasundara dasa ACBSP the Astrologer has a lot to say on the topic of auspicious and inauspicious times, and in comparison to him, I know little more than what I have just said, so I will keep my mouth shut.

“By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on Thursday afternoons.

“One could extend your question and say that if he was ‘transcendental’, why bother to look after the body at all? So why did Srila Prabhupada take medicine, take massage, and go on morning walks?

“I’ll pass this one over to Hari Sauri, because I know he’s itching to answer ;)”

So on the request of my dear Godbrother, here’s my ‘two cents’:

“I have forwarded your comments to Shyamasundar prabhu for his insights. He knows a lot of the technical details on this topic.

> By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on
> Thursday afternoons.

 So much so that if he absolutely had to travel on Thursday, he would have a suitcase placed at the door on a Wednesday and that was considered an indication that the journey had started.

 Your answer is fine Kurma prabhu. Pure devotees still work within the general laws of material nature. Otherwise why do their bodies grow old, get diseases and become subject to the same physical laws as everyone elses?

The main reason is that they exhibit their pastimes within the framework of the conditioned souls. If they didn’t, noone would follow their teachings. If we had an acarya that could leap over skyscraper buildings in defiance of ‘gravity’ a la Superman mode, it might attract a big following, but who would bother to pay attention to his teachings? Then you get a great personality like Jesus who is made into an icon and a bunch of followers who say, “Only Jesus can walk on water. Only Jesus can multiply the loaves and five fishes. Only Jesus can die on the cross and be resurrected. Only Jesus can be pure. We don’t need to do anything because noone can be like Jesus.”

 In this regard I recall Hayagriva prabhu’s dream at Dr. Misra’s asrama in 1966:

HKE 5: The Hare Krishna Explosion

The first night at the ashram, Kirtanananda, Acyutananda, Brahmananda, Gargamuni, Satsvarupa, Umapati, Stryadhisa, and I sleep outside in our sleeping bags. I awake three or four times, and each time I’m flat on my back looking up at the ever shifting star patterns, my sense of time confused.
Sometime just before morning, I dream.
I dream of devotees clustered about an effulgent, golden personality. His transcendental body, radiating a beauty strange to the world, captivates everyone. Stunned, I enquire, “Who is he?”
“Don’t you know?” someone says. “That’s Swamiji!”
I look again, but see no resemblance. The golden person, seeming no older than twenty, appears to have descended straight from the Vaikuntha planets.
“If that’s Swamiji,” I wonder to myself, “why doesn’t he come to earth like that?”
A voice somewhere within answers: “People would follow me for my beauty, not my teachings.”
Then, astonishingly enough, I see the radiant personality turn into Swamiji and then quickly back into the beautiful demigod. He does this several times, and I watch awestruck.
And I awake with the dream clear in my mind, more like a vision than a dream. I feel strangely refreshed, as though bathed in some unknown balm. Again, I see that the constellations have shifted and that the dimmer stars have faded into the encroaching dawn.
Pondering what I had seen, I recall Swamiji’s saying that although most dreams are simply functions of the mind, dreams of the spiritual master are of spiritual significance.
“If the guru gives instructions in a dream,” he told me, “the disciple is supposed to follow them.”
Then: “I came to the West after my spiritual master repeatedly advised me in a number of dreams.”
I lie still, watching the now waning stars in the clear air and thinking about the golden demigod.
Then dawn begins to break.”

 Of course we do have instances of pure devotees doing extraordinary things, but the general course of their preaching is to demonstrate how a person who is subjected to birth, old age, disease and death can make their lives successful without the need for so-called miracles. They demonstrate how a person can be fully God-conscious despite the daily obstacles we meet in the material world.

 As far as observing auspicious or inauspicious timings and phenomena goes, since time is Krsna, then Krsna’s hand can be seen in all things. There are times when the flow of material nature moves relatively favorably for a conditioned soul and some times when they don’t. Astrology and its related angas is the science of describing the movement of time as it affects the lives of the conditioned souls. It is called jyotish – it sheds light on our time-bound lives.


 Jyotish is one of the angas of the Vedas. By jyotish we can know what times are more or less favorable for our activities. It is a brahmincial science. It sheds light on our progress as living beings in the material world. Brahminical life means seeing the future. Animal life means living day to day in complete ignorance of what is coming next.

 In this context then an acarya, who is completely dependent on Krsna, may observe the conventions of brahminical life. It strengthens the importance of the Vedic lifestyle and teaches their followers the value of a regulated life based on shastra.

 Similarly Krsna also follows so many conventions of ordinary life in order to show an example. It does not mean He is subject to them though. Consider the observation of Krsna’s birth:

Krsna’s birth celebration

KB 5: The Meeting of Nanda and Vasudeva

“According to Vedic custom, Nanda Maharaja called for learned astrologers and brahmanas to perform the birth ceremony. After the birth of a child, the astrologers calculate the moment of the birth and make a horoscope of the child’s future life. Another ceremony takes place after the birth of the child: the family members take baths, cleanse themselves and decorate themselves with ornaments and nice garments; then they come before the child and the astrologer to hear of the future life of the child. Nanda Maharaja and other members of the family dressed and sat down in front of the birthplace. All the brahmanas who were assembled there on this occasion chanted auspicious mantras, according to the rituals, while the astrologers performed the birth ceremony. All the demigods are also worshiped on this occasion, as well as the forefathers of the family. Nanda Maharaja distributed to the brahmanas 200,000 cows, which were well decorated with cloth and ornaments. He gave the brahmanas not only cows in charity but also hills of grain decorated with ornaments and golden-bordered cloth.

“In the material world we possess riches and wealth in many ways, but sometimes not in very honest and pious ways, because that is the nature of accumulating wealth. According to Vedic injunction, therefore, one should purify such wealth by giving cows and gold in charity to the brahmanas. A newborn child is also purified by gifts of grain in charity to the brahmanas.

“In this material world it is to be understood that we are always living in a contaminated state. We therefore have to purify the duration of our lives, our possession of wealth and our self. We can purify our duration of life by taking daily bath and cleansing the body inside and outside and accepting the ten kinds of purificatory processes. By austerities, by worship of the Lord, and by distribution of charity we can purify the possession of wealth. We can purify our self by studying the Vedas in order to understand the Absolute Truth and achieve self-realization.

“It is therefore stated in the Vedic literature that by birth everyone is born a sudra, that by accepting the purificatory process one becomes twice-born, that by studying the Vedas one becomes a vipra, which is the preliminary qualification for becoming a brahmana, and that when one perfectly understands the Absolute Truth he is called a brahmana. And when the brahmana reaches further perfection, he becomes a Vaisnava, or a devotee.”

Even when Krsna was getting married, he observed the auspicious times for doing so:

KB 58: Five Queens Married by Krsna

“After a few days, Lord Krsna took permission from King Yudhisthira to return to Dvaraka. When He got permission, He returned to His country accompanied by Satyaki, the leader of the Yadus who were living in Hastinapura with Him. Kalindi also returned with Krsna to Dvaraka. After returning, Krsna consulted many learned astrologers to find the suitable moment at which to marry Kalindi, and then He married her with great pomp. This marriage ceremony gave much pleasure to the relatives of both parties, and all of them enjoyed the great occasion.”
> > Did srila prabhupad followed “rahukala” times through out his world
> > travel? If not, why only in Melbourne?

 He did follow this. His secretaries all knew not to schedule travel on Thursday afternoons.

From TD 1 — January 8, 1976 – Madras

“Another travel quandary arose when Tamal Krishna Maharaja discovered that our plane to Bombay was to depart in mid-evening. Prabhupada never travels on Thursday afternoons, especially between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., for he considers these hours inauspicious for travel. On a previous visit to Australia to open the new Melbourne temple in May 1975, Srila Prabhupada delayed his departure from Perth to Melbourne for one day to avoid traveling on a Thursday afternoon. He was prepared to do the same today. But after some discussion he finally decided to take the late flight, thus avoiding the most inauspicious hours while still keeping his schedule.” [end]

 I hope this helps clarify things

Your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa

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