HIS DIVINE GRACE,
A C BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUADA
At various times people have called him a scholar, a philosopher, a cultural ambassador, a prolific author, a religious leader, a spiritual teacher, a social critic, and a holy man. In truth, he was all these things and more
Over five hundred years ago, Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa, a village in West Bengal. The purpose of His appearance was to inaugurate the Sankirtana Movement, the Yuga Dharma for this age of Kali. He declared that the chanting of His holy names would spread beyond the shores of India to every town and village in the world. He predicted that His commander-in-chief would appear to accomplish this mission.
Yes… Srila Prabhupada appeared to fulfill this prophecy.
On September 01, 1896, the day after Janmashtami (the auspicious appearance day of Lord Sri Krishna) in a little house in the Tollygunge suburb of Calcutta, a male child was born. His father, Gour Mohan De, and his mother Rajani, named him Abhay Charan (one who is fearless – having taken shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna).
An astrologer prepared the horoscope for the baby and revealed: When this child reaches the age of seventy, he will cross the ocean, become a great teacher of religion and establish 108 Krishna temples. And this is exactly what happened.
Srila Prabhupada set out to America in 1965 and established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness at the age of sixty-nine. He travelled around the world fourteen times, established more than 100 temples of Krishna and initiated more than 10000 disciples into Krishna consciousness.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent devotional scholar and the founder of sixty-four branches of Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic Institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teach Vedic knowledge in the Western world. Srila Prabhupada became his student and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad, he became his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to propagate Vedic knowledge in English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita and in 1944 & without any assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine, Back To Godhead.
Recognizing Srila Prabhupada’s philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honored him in 1947 with the title “Bhaktivedanta”. In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life and four years later he adopted the Vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada travelled to the holy city of Vridavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged himself for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sanyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam(Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
Srila Prabhupada Biography
If you are interested in knowing more you can read the book Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita – As it is. This book is compiled from the lectures, conversations and correspondence of Srila Prabhupada. You may also download the following e-books from our site:
Accomplishments of Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada’s attempts to propagate Krishna Consciousness were not received well by the people in India. At the age of 69 (in the year 1965) he went to the United States of America and incorporated the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). In the next 11 years, he circled the globe fourteen times inspiring his followers, delivering lectures, and discussing the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness with all interested persons.
Srila Prabhupada arrived in the US during the decade of discontent; there was widespread dissatisfaction with America’s war with Vietnam. The American youth created their counter-culture popularly known as hippie culture. They were trying to break away from the status quo, searching for an alternative. Srila Prabhupada presented this alternative.
Srila Prabhupada brought the Hare Krishna Movement to the public eye by:
- chanting in the parks,
- distributing the Back to Godhead Magazine,
- conducting love feasts,
- delivering lectures from the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam in a rented store-front.
Thus, he attracted many youngsters, who gradually became his disciples. Srila Prabhupada trained his disciples in the tradition of Deity Worship, to help them advance spiritually. The Supreme Lord appears in the form of Deities to give us an opportunity to serve Him; and by rendering services to the Deities with utmost care one can advance spiritually. When we are attracted to the beautiful form of the Deities, we will forget our attraction to material things; and by serving the Deities we will develop pure love of God and thus our lives will be successful.
To revive the Krishna conscious tradition, he envisioned God-centered self-sufficient farm communities based on the principles of Simple Living, High Thinking. In 1972, he started a gurukul in Dallas, Texas – an educational institution set up according to the traditional Vedic model. He established more than 108 temples and instructed his disciples that no one should go hungry within a 10 mile radius of an ISKCON temple.
Founding The Hare Krishna Movement
After publishing three volumes of Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada went to the United States, in 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Since then, His Divine Grace has written over sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies on the philosophical and religious classics of India.
In 1965, when he first arrived in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically penniless. It was after almost a year of great difficulty that he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. Under his careful guidance, the Society in a decade, grew into a worldwide confederation of nearly one hundred ashrams, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities.
In 1968, Srila Prabhupada created New Vrindavana, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrindavana, then, a thriving farm community of more than one thousand acres, his students founded several similar communities in the United States and abroad.
In 1972, His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the Gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. The school began with three children in 1972, and by the beginning of 1975 the enrollment had grown to one hundred fifty.
Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of a large international center at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal, India, which is also the site for a planned Institute of Vedic Studies.
Srila Prabhupada and His Books
Of all his contributions, Srila Prabhupada considered his books to be of utmost importance. These books present the timeless wisdom of Vedic scriptures in modern English with startling clarity and a convincing, simple eloquence that proves the relevance of the science of self-realization to our modern world and our own lives. These books have changed the lives of millions.
Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution, however, are his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authoritativeness, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous colleges. His writings have been translated into eleven languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 exclusively to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
In the last ten years of his life, in spite of his old age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture. Srila Prabhupada left us a veritable library of Vedic philosophy and culture. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publishes his works in over 50 languages.
From 1966, till he breathed his last in 1977; Srila Prabhupada travelled the world extensively, meeting world leaders, perpetually giving lectures and interviews and providing spirit to understand vedic philosophy.
We have more resources here for your consumption.
- Srila Prabhupada and His Books
- Catalog of Srila Prabhupada’s Books
- Scholars appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s Books
The transcendental knowledge in his books forms the basis of the Hare Krishna Movement. Srila Prabhupada encouraged the devotees to distribute this literature profusely. These books are translated in most of the major languages and are widely distributed across the world.
Teachings of Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada is the spiritual ambassador who visited our planet to give us the message of Godhead and invite us to come back home – back to Godhead. We publish various articles on our blog on different aspects of his teachings. However, we realize our limitation in capturing all the teachings of Srila Prabhupada in a few pages of a website.
According to Srila Prabhupada, Krishna Consciousness is not an arm-chair philosophy or a part-time religion; it is a way of life. He presented the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness very extensively in his books and we request you to make it a habit to read Srila Prabhupada’s books and be benefited by them.