“Awaiting that Disaster”
Srila Prabhupada Predicts Doomsday
By Narasimha das
Like death itself, no one likes to talk about nuclear war. We prefer to avoid such talk. But although we tend to ignore the possibility of nuclear holocaust, that doesn’t make the problem go away. As death is certain, war is certain. It is a direct result of wholesale animal slaughter and other vicious karmic reactions. In a nuclear-armed world, nuclear war is certain.
“You are maintaining so many slaughterhouses, and when it will be mature [karmic reactions], there will be war, the wholesale murder. Finished. One atom bomb—finished… Wait for accumulation of your sinful activities, and there will be war. And America will drop the atom bomb, and Russia will be finished. Both will be finished.” (Lecture, SB. 6.1.32, Honolulu, May 31, 1976)
“Well, anyway, they [nuclear weapons] must be used. There is no doubt about it. Therefore, we can say there will be war. It is no astrology; it is natural conclusion.” (Morning Walk, July 18, 1975, San Francisco)
“The whole world is awaiting that disaster. America has got atom bomb and Russia has got atom bomb. As soon as there is another war [world war], the whole world will be finished.” (Lecture, BG. 13.14, Bombay, October 7, 1973)
In his last years on Earth, Srila Prabhupada repeatedly warned of the certain doom of blind, materialistic civilizations. He explained that according to the laws of nature, mass destruction is unavoidable due to the heavy weight of accumulated sins in human society, particularly wholesale cow slaughter. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly predicted the nuclear destruction of nations and social systems based on unbridled sinful activities. Speaking to two disciples whose main service was book publication and distribution, he asked, “What you will do when the cities are closed?”
“So, it is very difficult to preach Krishna consciousness. The whole world is overburdened by these rascals and demons. So, atom bomb is waiting for them. Yes. It will be finished. All the demons will be finished.” (Lecture, SB.1.8.34, Los Angeles, April 26, 1973)
We find numerous graphic references to nuclear devastation in Srila Prabhupada’s conversations, morning walks, lectures, and purports. He repeatedly advised devotees to start farming communities and live self-sufficiently, without depending on outside resources for basic needs, but very few devotees have seriously attempted to follow this advice.
One misleading argument we often hear against making any preparations for WW3 or living on Vedic farms is that devotees just need to depend on Krishna and chant Hare Krishna. This obviously true, yet when it comes to other practical work, the same devotees offering this advice are seen to depend on a doomed way of life in cities or at country retreats that depend not upon “Krishna’s mercy and the beauty of nature” but on modern technology and urban finances. Such devotees are often heavily invested in city real estate, artificial enterprises, or high living and plain thinking. Contrary to this attitude of expecting Lord Krishna to do our practical work for us in the matter of protecting the devotees, cows, and Deities, we find in Krsna Book that Nanda Maharaja and Sunanda, during a meeting with other cowherd men of Sri Gokula, decided their residence was no longer safe; therefore, they decided to move immediately to a safer location in Vrindaban. In other words, as responsible leaders, they made practical plans to avoid a dangerous circumstance.
Some devotees apparently don’t believe Srila Prabhupada’s warnings, or they dismiss his detailed descriptions of the coming nuclear disaster as mere conjecture. This argument suggests that Prabhupada was speculating on politics, the way mundane pundits do. Foolish persons who think in this way apparently conclude that Srila Prabhupada’s prediction that nuclear war would come “very soon” was a wrong guess since everything seems just fine today, more than 35 years later. They think the political disintegration of the former USSR is proof that a new age of spiritualism has dawned, and they imagine that America and Russia are now great friends and allies. They apparently never consider that our conception of what Prabhupada meant by “very soon” might be naïve or mistaken. Guessing against the words of Srila Prabhupada is extremely risky.
Other devotees have doubts whether Srila Prabhupada’s article “Blind Materialism” (BTG, April, 1956) offers real information regarding the time frame for WW3. “Everything is in oblivion, and this teaches us that the materialistic plans of the present civilization will meet the same fate after a lapse of 50 years.” We should carefully note Prabhupada’s use of the phrase “after a lapse”. From this we can understand that the doom of modern civilization has already been ordained. It is certain. Yet some lapse time has been allowed for Srila Prabhupada to inaugurate the Krishna consciousness movement around the world. Unfortunately, Srila Prabhupada mission itself appears to have lapsed into near oblivion in most places. At other locations it has been usurped by sahajiya pretenders and their misguided followers. All over the world, especially in America, the pure mission is suffering due to deviations from Srila Prabhupada’s orders and disunity among various camps of misguided or fallen devotees. Presently, all over the planet, cow slaughter has increased exponentially, especially in India, as has every other kind of sinful activity.
Sometimes the government issues a notice saying, “The city has ordered that the house or apartment you are occupying be demolished, along with other buildings in your neighborhood. However, a lapse of 180 days will be allowed for you to vacate the premises.” It would be foolish for residents of such a condemned neighborhood to go on investing in home improvements and construction projects. Evicted residents of a condemned neighborhood should not assume the government will never execute this demolition order simply because officials don’t arrive with demolition equipment and crews immediately after the 180-day lapse time.
Another argument against making immediate arrangements to follow Srila Prabhupada’s advice to live on self-reliant farms asserts that the War might be averted by the strong preaching of the Krishna consciousness movement. This is a utopian idea. When Prabhupada repeatedly warned of nuclear destruction in the 1970s, he spoke of it as a certainty; yet at that time the movement was flourishing worldwide under his personal direction and seemed unstoppable.
“There is no doubt about it [nuclear war]. Therefore, we can say there will be war… It is a natural conclusion.” He only suggested that the War could possibly be avoided if large numbers of people and world leaders accepted Krishna consciousness. “The demons should therefore be careful and curtail their Godless civilization. They should take advantage of the Krishna consciousness movement and become faithful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; otherwise, they are doomed.” (SB. 7.8.31, Purport)
If prominent leaders and a significant percentage of the population became serious about carefully hearing from Srila Prabhupada, devotees could abolish cow slaughter and establish varnashrama dharma in leading nations and thus “revise a misdirected human civilization.” Rather than seeing such hopeful signs of progress, we find instead that human society has degenerated significantly since Srila Prabhupada issued his dire warnings, becoming more depraved and violent in every way. Instead of hearing from Srila Prabhupada carefully, pseudo-devotees and people in general constantly hear gossip, politics, legal fighting and plans for economic development. Cow slaughter has increased tremendously, as has genocide and every other type of wholesale sinful activity. The mission Srila Prabhupada began has been polluted and diminished almost everywhere because devotees themselves have become fallen and materialistic. To make matters worse, so-called devotees nowadays are spreading blasphemy and sadhu-nindha in public forums via the internet. Such wholesale Vaisnava-aparadha, nama-aparadha, and sadhu-nindha may be unprecedented in the history of the world.
Srila Prabhupada is a great Vaisnava acharya empowered to revive Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement and disseminate the teachings of Krishna consciousness worldwide. His words and instructions are perfect and complete. Maha-bhagavatas, devotees of the highest order, are truly tri-kala-jna. They know everything in the past, present and future, just like Krishna Himself. Their words are never mistaken or inaccurate. In fact, the words of the Pure Devotee are even more reliable than the words of Krishna Himself, because Krishna sometimes changes His stance to protect His pure devotee’s integrity. This is the verdict of all Vaisnava acharyas. In the teachings of Srila Prabhupada there is nothing left unknown or unanswered, and there are no defects of any kind. Our problem is that we don’t hear from him with “rapt attention” and “staunch faith”.
Those who think Srila Prabhupada’s words are sometimes mistaken are unfortunate. They remain bewildered in spite of their best efforts for spiritual advancement. “One should consider the Acharya to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In spite of these instructions, if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are useless, like the bathing of an elephant.” (SB. 7.15.26, Purport)
Many devotees don’t like to hear about WW3. They deride those who warn of the demise of modern civilization, calling them “doomsday prophets.” We doomsday “prophets”, however, are just doomsday messengers. Krishna Himself was the original doomsday prophet. He predicted that almost everyone on the battlefield of Kurukshetra would be killed. At least 640 million people, including most of the world’s greatest leaders, died within eighteen days. Krishna also predicted that everyone in the material world, as well as the material world itself, would be annihilated again and again. Speaking of global destruction, Srila Prabhupada said, “Many times it has happened, and it will happen [again]…” Srila Prabhupada points out that the philosophy of Krishna consciousness begins on the battlefield. It is not “an ease-lover’s utopian philosophy”. The bona fide teachings of the Krishna consciousness movement begin with “doomsday”. Criticism of “doomsday preaching” is therefore meaningless.
“The result is that we have now come to the age of nuclear weapons for the destruction of material civilization. By the law of nature, the nuclear weapons have been produced for crushing the result of blind materialism.” (Blind Materialism, BTG, April, 1956)
“You have killed so many animals. Now wholesale killing–one bomb. One atom bomb. Be killed. So these rascals they do not know how things are going on. Isvarasya vicestitam: ‘Tit for tat.’ There must be [tit for tat].” (Lecture, SB. 1.15.24, Los Angeles, December 3, 1975)
To test his wisdom, Lord Yamaraja asked Yudhisthira Maharaja, “What is the most wonderful thing?” Yudhisthira Maharaja replied that although people see death all around them everywhere, they still go on thinking and planning as if they will never die. Similarly, although history has described the total demise of many great civilizations, we imagine that our present grossly sinful and artificial age of blind materialism will endure forever.