Srila Prabhupada

Born close by the sacred Ganges River in 1896,

Srila Prabhupada 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 thirteen years.

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/
etad dhi 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:
"Actually his 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."

Final Preparations

Srila Prabhupada makes his final preparations:

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.

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 from India:

"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.