In this article I analyze the transits, cycles and eras of the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I previously overviewed his birth chart. The vimshottari dasha cycles and eras referred to herein are calculated with the nakshatra year, which is 359.017 modern days.
Prabhupada was born into the Mars era. This highlights the importance of the houses owned by Mars, in this case the fourth and eleventh. The fourth house is the house of bhakti and self-realization. The eleventh house is the house of social groups. Srila Prabhupada had enormous and enduring social impact by creating a social institution to facilitate the path of self-realization through Krishna Bhakti.
In Prabhupada’s case being that there are four planets in Mars’ trikona (Aries) in the navamsha, I have to note that Prabhupada’s birth in the Mars era highlights the destiny foretold by this configuration: that he would author copious amounts of very serious literature on the deepest aspects of spirituality and religion.
Prabhupada received a very good education, attending Scottish Church College in Kolkata where he was a member of both the English Society and the Sanskrit society. His education was good because it occurred entirely within his Rahu era. Notice that Rahu in Prabhupada’s chart is in the house of fundamental knowledge (the second house). Prabhupada’s education gave him the foundation on which he would later build his life’s mission: translating Sanskrit culture and philosophy for the English speaking world.
He was educated by foreigners, the British. Rahu represents foreigners.
Most importantly, note that Prabhupada’s Rahu has a 100% perfect aspect from Jupiter, the planet of wisdom. Therefore during Rahu’s era Prabhupada received a good education which would later allow him to use his second house, Jupiter-guided Rahu to speak spiritual mysteries for global enlightenment.
One sure sign that Prabhupada was educated under Rahu is that in the end he rebelled and refused to accept his diploma! As a devout follower of Gandhi at the time, he protested British control of India by refusing to accept their diploma.
Prabhupada’s father wanted him to marry and arranged his wedding to Radharani Datta in 1918, exactly at the beginning of his Jupiter era.
During Jupiter’s era Prabhupada had children (Jupiter is the planet of children). His first child was born in 1921. This was the Saturn cycle of the Jupiter era, while both Saturn and Jupiter were conjoined in ninth house transit over Venus, the owner of the fifth house. Thus, Prabhupada’s first child was born when both the era planet and the cycle planet were activating a fortunate occurrence pertaining to children.
It is well known that Saturn/Jupiter combinations pertain strongly to spiritual leadership. Thus, still during Saturn’s cycle of Jupiter’s era (1922), Prabhupada met his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. This happened when Saturn and Jupiter were both in the house of the guru, the ninth house, transiting the lord of the ninth house. Furthermore, they were in the company of Rahu – the planet of significant, radical changes in direction. Finding Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was undoubtedly a radically important milestone in Prabhupada’s life, radically changing his direction from Gandhi-like social concerns towards pure spirituality.
Prabhupada was born with Jupiter and Ketu exactly conjunct, in the house of occult spiritual perception. During the Keu cycle of Jupiter’s era Srila Prabhupada had the profoundly spiritual experience of visiting the Sri Vrindavana (Krishna’s home) for the very first time. He would later make this his own home.
On November 21, 1932 Prabhupada received formal initiation from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, who modified his birth name (Abhay Charan) to Charanaravinda. This happened when Prabhupada was in the Saturn subcycle of Rahu’s cycle of Jupiter’s era. As I mentioned earlier, it is well known that Jupiter/Saturn combinations are relevant to gurus and spiritual leaders.
On this day Saturn, lord of the Subcycle and of Prabhupada’s first house was conjunct with Prabhupada’s ascendant – signaling very significant changes. The ascendant is the point of birth. An initiation is like a “new birth.” The transit of Saturn over the point of birth depicts this well. Rahu, lord of the cycle, was exactly trine to Prabhupada’s birth Saturn. Thus Prabhupada’s ascendant and his ascendant lord were both in a radical milestone of transformation during a period where the era and cycle planets were very spiritual and guru oriented.
Prabhupada had occasional but very deep, affectionate and confidential association with his guru for the remainder of his Jupiter era, but during the first cycle of his Saturn era, in 1936, his guru departed from the mortal world, just weeks after requesting Prabhupada to explain the message he was teaching to people who speak English. Prabhupada lost his guru when the nodes (Rahu and Ketu) were exactly trine to themselves in his chart, at the same time as Saturn was exactly trine to its own natal position, and Mars was exactly trine to its natal position. Thus all the naturally malefic planets were activated and caused a profoundly painful event.
Saturn is a very strong planet in Prabhupada’s chart. It is the lord of the house of self exalted in the house of career. During Saturn’s era Prabhupada would become known as a competent leader in his own right, no longer one among many followers.
Prabhupada was recognized for his devotional scholarship by the other disciples of his guru when they gave him the title “Bhaktivedanta” in 1939. This was in the Mercury cycle of his Saturn era. Mercury’s condition in Prabhupada’s ninth house is the cause of his approach to religiosity being one of “heartfelt intellectual scholarship” – a close translation of the term “Bhaktivedanta.”
Prabhupada began publishing his own magazine, Back to Godhead, in February of 1944. This was the Mercury subcycle of the Venus cycle of his Saturn era. Mercury of course is verbose and a writer by nature. Mercury combines with Venus in Prabhupada’s house of fortune and religion – making him a religiously creative person (Venus and Mercury combinations inspire artistic expression). In February this creativity was at a zenith point, because the two planets in Prabhupada’s house of creativity (fifth house) were being activated (Mars conjoined natal Mars, and Saturn conjoined the natal Moon). Also, Jupiter, the lord of the house of written communication was exalted at the time and was influencing very important houses for the publication of written & creative works (aspecting the third and eleventh houses).
During the remainder of his Saturn era Prabhupada attempted to start a movement of philosophically informed Krishna devotees, which he called “The League of Devotees.” Prabhupada’s Saturn is exalted in a quadrant house (shasha-yoga) which inspires one to form and lead groups.
In 1950 Prabhupada took up the first stage of renunciation, vanaprastha ashram – a precursor to the complete renunciation of the sanyassa ashram. Thus occurred in the final cycle of his Saturn era, the cycle of Rahu. We describe Prabhupada’s second house Rahu as a factor causing upheaval and dissatisfaction in family life on religious grounds (due to Jupiter’s extreme influence on Rahu). So during Rahu’s cycle of Saturn’s era Prabhupada commenced his renunciation of family life.
In 1953, exactly at the beginning of Mercury’s era, Prabhupada initiated his first disciple, Acarya dasa. Mercury is the exalted lord of the house of guru (ninth house). Thus the first thing Mercury did for Prabhupada was to officially make him a guru. At this time he also opened an actual center for the League of Devotees, in Jhansi.
In September of 1956 Prabhupada moved to Sri Vrindavana – seeking to deeply intensify his understanding of and love for Krishna and then make use of nearby metropolitan New Delhi to share his realizations with the world by publishing his English magazine, Back to Godhead. This was exactly at the commencement of the Venus cycle of his Mercury era. A quick look at Prabhupada’s birth chart will remind you that these are the two planets forming extremely potent raja-yogas (power combinations) on the house of religion. During their era they brought Prabhupada to Vrindavana to fill him with the spiritual power that he would later draw from to create a successful worldwide movement of intelligent devotion to Krishna.
On September 17 of 1959 Prabhupada took up the fourth ashram, sanyassa: complete renunciation. It was the Sun’s cycle of Mercury’s era, on a day when Mercury was completely “combust” due to being entirely conjunct the blazing, fiery Sun. The Sun is the inner soul. When the Sun combusts a planet, that planet devotees its energy to the inner soul only, removing its energy from the normal material plane. Prabhupada symbolically devoted himself entirely to the life of his inner soul in the era of Mercury/Sun, when Mercury (lord of his house of religion) was entirely combust by the Sun – thus creating the destiny for the day Prabhupada would formally entirely dedicate himself to spiritual pursuit.
During his sanyassa initiation he obtained the name Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Sanyassa a type of death, the death of material life. Thus it is fitting that a very successful sanyassi, Prabhupada, accepted this lifestyle when his lord of fortune was swallowed by the lord of the house of death.
Prabhupada lived as a beggar, going from door to door to beg wheat, rice and beans as is customary for sanyassi. But Prabhupada also begged for paper and pens, on which he continuously wrote in English. He turned these writings into his first published book in the autumn of 1960, entitled “Easy Journey to Other Planets.” This was during the Moon cycle of his Mercury era, when Jupiter (lord of his house of writing) was exactly trine to Prahupada’s natal Jupiter.
Under those astrological settings he began an extremely significant literary undertaking: translating and commenting on the most revered of all Krishnaite scripture, the Bhagavata Purana. In two years, by 1962 he published the first section of this scripture in three hardbound volumes and began traveling to distribute them. These were completed in the Rahu cycle of Mercury’s era. Of course Mercury supports literature and written communication by nature. In Prabhupada’s chart, obviously, Mercury supports religious literature and communication because he is the lord of the ninth house exalted in the ninth house. Rahu’s cycle is more important and interesting here, at least to me. Rahu is the planet in Prabhupada’s chart which indicates that he was destined to speak revolutionary words of spiritual guidance that would change the world. It was when Mercury combined with Rahu that Prabhupada produced what could be his most important literary words to that effect.
On August 13, 1965, Prabhupada set out on a steamship freighter to America. It was the Saturn subcycle of the Jupiter cycle of his Mercury era. The transits were all extremely powerfully aligned on that day.
Mercury (lord of the era) was exactly conjunct the two planets which destined Srila Prabhupada to become great spiritual leader (Jupiter and Ketu), and thus exactly aspects the planet who destines Prabhupada to speak words that will change the world (Rahu). The Moon was also exactly conjoined Rahu on that day.
Jupiter (lord of the cycle) was exactly trine to Prabhupada’s Rahu, and trine to Prabhupada’s Mars, which means that Mars was also trine to Prabhupada’s Rahu. This is what Western astrology identifies as a grand trine alignment. Actually, it is a rarer form of the grand trine, a kite alignment, because of the position of Mercury directly opposite from the apex point (Prabhupada’s Rahu and the transiting Moon). This is an enormous indication that Prabhupada was about to start a huge religious revolution in the world, largely focused on his spoken words (Rahu) and even moreso on the focus of the kite formation: his written words (Mercury).
Even the lord of the subcycle (Saturn) was in an important configuration at the time, being exactly trine to Prabhupada’s natal Saturn.
Prabhupada began having significant health issues a few days into the trip, as the Sun (planet of the heart and of health) transited into his eighth house. He had heart attacks onboard the steamship when the Sun directly transited his conjoined Jupiter and Ketu in that house.
On the day the Sun left his eighth house, Prabhupada’s ship landed at commonwealth pier in Boston.
Within a year he managed to set up a storefront to use as a “temple” / “ashram” at 26 Second Avenue in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Many young people were attracted and in July of 1966 Prabhupada founded his International Society for Krishna Consciousness (“ISKCON”). This occurred during the Jupiter cycle of his Mercury period.
In my estimation, ISKCON went through two phases while Prabhupada remained alive on the planet. The first was a very intimate phase. The second was a very huge, opulent, expansive phase. This first phase correlates to the ending portion of Prabhupada’s Mercury era. The second phase correlates to the next era in Prabhupada’s life: Ketu.
Recall that Mercury’s era began with Prabhupada founding the League of Devotees and initiating his first disciple. It ended with him forming ISKCON and beginning to open small, intimate centers of devotion in America. The entire period has a very renunciative feeling to it, and a very “Vrindavana” mood. This renunciation is largely due to Prabhupada’s Mercury owning his sixth house (bringing the challenges and rigors of renunciation). The intimate Vrindavana mood is largely due to his Mercury being with the planet of loving emotions in the house of religion.
Prabhupada’s Ketu period began in December of 1969. Ketu is reclusive and withdrawn. During the Mercury era, Srila Prabhupada was amply available personally to anyone and everyone in his centers. During Ketu’s era Prabhupada became more and more inaccessible, working passionately on his books while his main followers carried on most of the practical business of ISKCON. The first major event to happen in Prabhupada’s Ketu era was the formation of a Governing Body Commission (“GBC”), transferring practical authority from himself to his followers. He continued forming branches and departments within ISKCON to facilitate its expansion and operation without his direct personal involvement.
It is the combination of Ketu with Jupiter which destines Prabhupada to become an extremely powerful guru, and that is exactly what happened during Ketu’s era. Prabhupada because the spiritual master of an enormous movement opening over 108 temples and at least a quarter of a million avowed followers.
Frankly, his main activity during his Ketu period occurred in private: sitting alone at his dictaphone writing book after book after book. He apparently was the world famous guru of an international religious corporation, but factually the main focus of his life during Ketu’s era was privately diving deeper and deeper into the hidden spiritual realities of Krishna consciousness, and expressing those things into his dictaphone to be shared with the English speaking world.
Prabhupada gave up his mortal body on November 14, 1977, as the first major event to occur after his Ketu cycle ended and Venus cycle began. Saturn, the lord of the physical body (first house) was on this day exactly conjoined to the cusp of the eighth house. The Moon was in the twelfth house. The Moon represents Sri Krishna. The twelfth house represents the afterlife. Thus the planets declared that Srila Prabhupada left the world on that day to return to Sri Krishna in the spiritual world.