A Brief Biography of
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his
spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, in
Calcutta in 1922. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent
religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic
institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to
dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada became
his student and, in 1933, his formally initiated disciple.
their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati requested
Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge in English. In the years
that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work and, in 1944, started "Back to Godhead," an English fortnightly magazine. The magazine is now being continued by his followers.
1950 Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the
vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and
writing. He travelled to the holy city of Vrndavana , where he lived in
humble circumstances in the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. He
accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-
Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece: a
multivolume commented translation of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana).
publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to
the United States, in September of 1965, to fulfil the mission of his
spiritual master. Subsequently, he wrote more than fifty volumes of summary studies and commented on translations of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
Srila Prabhupada first arrived by freighter in New York City, he was
practically penniless. Only after almost a year of great difficulty did
he establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in July of 1966. Before he passed away, on November 14, 1977, he had guided the Society and seen it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred centers, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities.
Among the farm communities Srila Prabhupada established is New Vrndavan, in West Virginia , USA. New Vrndavan is now the site, also, of a memorial built in Srila Prabhupada's honor, "Srila Prabhupada's Palace of Gold."
Srila Prabhupada inspired the construction of several large international centers in India. The center at Sridhama Mayapur is the site for a planned spiritual city. In Vrndavana are the Krishna-Balarama Temple
and International Guesthouse, gurukula school, and Srila Prabhupada
Memorial and Museum. There are major cultural centers and temples in Bombay, Ahmedhabad, Bangalore and New Delhi. Other centers are planned in several important locations on the Indian subcontinent.
Srila Prabhupada's most significant contribution, however, is his books, which are highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth and clarity.
just twelve years, from his arrival in America in 1965 till his passing
on in Vrndavana in 1977, despite his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada
circled the globe fourteen times on lecture
tours that took him to six continents. Notwithstanding such a vigorous
schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His
writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.