Born close by the sacred Ganges River in 1896,
was destined to become the greatest ever ambassador of India's spiritual
knowledge to the world.
Completely rejecting that Vedic knowledge was only
for those born in a certain caste or for a certain race, he carried the
Spiritual message of Godhead to all peoples of the world in a dynamic
Ministry, which he began at the age of seventy and which he established in barely
His writings were so prolific, his achievements so
unprecedented that, but for a few exceptions, his contribution to world
religious knowledge is munificent beyond compare. Whereas people
everywhere are now familiar with "Hare Krishna" due to his efforts, he
never strived to make himself known.
Who was this unique personality who
so selflessly did so much on behalf of God? His story is briefly told in the
following excerpt, taken from his biography "Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita".
Srila Prabhupada was born in Tollyganj,
Calcutta, on September 1st 1896, the day after Janmasthami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.
This day is called 'Nandotsava', or the festival of Nanda, Sri Krishna's father in Gokula.
It was the time of the British Raj in India. Srila
Prabhupada's mother and father were both devoted to Krishna,
especially in His form of Lord Chaitanya. His family line descended from
the great sage Gautama.
In Bhagavad-Gita, the central scripture of India,
Lord Krishna states:
athava yoginam eva kule bhavati dhimatam/
durlabhataram loke janma yad idrsam
"...he takes birth in a family
of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly such a
birth is rare in this world."
Srila Prabhupada spoke of his father, who
earned a humble but adequate living as a cloth merchant:
The intellectual and
political leaders of India were increasingly influenced by Western
ways and rejecting Vedic culture. By 1958, circumstance and destiny
were calling him to the more fertile preaching grounds of the West.
real business was worshipping Krishna, but for livelihood he did some
business. We would be sleeping and father would be worshipping the Lord.
Ding, ding, ding - we would hear the bell and wake up to see him bowing
down before Krishna."
Srila Prabhupada moved to Vrindavan, Lord Krishna's village, to translate the
"Srimad Bhagavatam" into English to prepare for his mission. "The
Glories of Krishna nobody can understand, similarly with Vrindavan.
As Lord Krishna is worshipable, so His place Vrindavan is as good as
Him. It is also worshipable." While others leave their worldly
affairs to retire in the sacred place of Vrindavan, Srila
Prabhupada’s intention was to bring Vrindavan with him to all
countries of the world.
Passage from India
Srila Prabhupada gets a passage
"With great difficulty I got out of India. Some way or
other by Krishna’s grace I got out so that I could spread the
Krishna Consciousness movement all over the world. Otherwise, to
remain in India - it was not possible. I wanted to start a movement
in India, but I was not encouraged."
Srila Prabhupada got a free
passage to America from the Scindia Steamship Navigation Company,
whose owner, Srimati Morarji, was a devotee of Lord Krishna. With
very few personal possessions and a crate of his newly-published
"Srimad Bhagavatam" books, Srila Prabhupada set off from Calcutta
for New York in September 1965.
Click here to read more about His Divine Grace
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Click here for a site about Srila Prabhupada's friend Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja,
our own gurudeva, or spiritual master.