ISKCON Founder His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


In 1896, in Calcutta, India, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made his appearance into this world. In Calcutta in 1922, he first encountered Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, his spiritual master. This well-educated young man won the favor of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a renowned religious scholar and the founder of 64 Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutions), who persuaded him to dedicate his life to passing on Vedic knowledge. In 1933, Srila Prabhupada was officially inducted as his disciple after becoming his student.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati asked Srila Prabhupada to convey Vedic knowledge in English during their first meeting in 1922. Following this, Srila Prabhupada prepared a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, helped the Gaudiya Matha with its activities, and in 1944 he began publishing Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine. Srila Prabhupada did everything by himself, including editing, typing manuscripts, reviewing galley proofs, and even distributing individual copies. His Western students have since carried on publishing the magazine.

In order to spend more time on his studies and writing, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life in 1950 and took the vanaprastha (retired) order. He journeyed to the revered city of Vrndavana, where he took up residence in the old Radha-Damodara temple in modest surroundings. He spent many years there writing and studying in depth. In 1959, he agreed to adopt the renounced way of life (sannyasa). At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada started translating the 18,000 verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), which would become his life's labor. Easy Journey to Other Planets was another book he wrote.

In September 1965, Srila Prabhupada traveled to the United States to carry out the instructions of his spiritual master after completing the publication of three volumes of the Bhagavatam. His Divine Grace then translated and summarized the Indian philosophical and religious classics in more than fifty volumes with authoritative commentary.

Srila Prabhupada was practically impoverished when he arrived by freighter in New York City for the first time. In July 1966, after nearly a year of severe difficulty, he finally founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He led the Society and saw it develop into a global confederation of more than 100 ashramas, schools, temples, institutes, and farming communities before he passed away on November 14, 1977.

His Divine Grace established the gurukula school in Dallas, Texas, in 1972 to bring the Vedic primary and secondary education system to the West. Similar schools have since been founded by his disciples all around the world and in the United States.

The development of several sizable international cultural centers in India was also influenced by Srila Prabhupada. A projected spiritual metropolis will be built at the Sridhama Mayapur center in West Bengal; this ambitious project would take many years to complete. The majestic Srila Prabhupada Memorial and Museum, the gurukula school, and the Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guesthouse are all located in Vrndavana. Mumbai is home to a significant hub for both culture and education. There are other centers planned for a dozen significant places on the Indian subcontinent.

However, Srila Prabhupadas' writings represent his greatest contribution. They are employed as textbooks in various college courses and are highly regarded by academics for their authority, depth, and clarity. Over fifty languages have versions of his books. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, founded in 1972 to publish His Divine Grace's writings, has grown to become the largest publisher of books about Indian religion and philosophy in the world.

Despite his elderly age, Srila Prabhupada traveled to six continents on lecture tours that carried him around the world fourteen times in just twelve years. Despite keeping such a busy schedule, Srila Prabhupada kept up his prolific writing. A vast library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature, and culture may be found in his writings.

Srila Prabhupada spend several years in Vrindavan before going to America. Through his travels and preaching he revealed the glory of Vrindavan-dham to the whole world.

Srila Prabhupada Chronology

  • 1954 Left family, vanaprastha
  • 1956 Vrindavan residence, Vamsi Gopal temple
  • 1959 Begins translating Srimad Bhagavatam in Delhi
  • July Moves upstairs Radha-Damodara temple
  • Sept. 17, Takes sannyasa, renounced order of life
  • 1960 Fall Publishes first book, paperback Easy Journey to Other Planets
  • 1962 July Moves into downstairs rooms at Radha-Damodara
  • Sept. Publishes Volume one, Srimad Bhagavatam in Delhi
  • 1963 December Publishes volume two Srimad Bhagavatam
  • 1964 December Publishes volume three Srimad Bhagavatam
  • 1965 August 13, Leaves Calcutta on Jaladuta bound for America
  • 1967 Returns to Radha-Damodara
  • 1971 Visits Radha-Damodara and Vrindavan with forty disciples
  • 1972 Kartik at Radha-Damodara, delivers famous Nectar of Devotion Lectures
  • 1977 Enters the eternal lila of Radha and Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan