His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
tvaṁ naḥ sandarśito dhātrā
kaliṁ sattva-haraṁ puṁsāṁ
“We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.22)
On the order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda began translating and writing Vedic literature in the English language to bring the message of Lord Kṛṣṇa to the Western countries. After decades of struggle in India, he came to the West and started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Later on he created the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, to publish his writings and recordings of his lectures, conversations, etc. The VedaBase has been created so that this great treasurehouse of knowledge may be preserved and propagated and so that all may take advantage of the wisdom and association of the pure devotee of Lord Krishna.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gauḍīya Maṭhas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Śrīla Prabhupāda became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad he became his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting, in 1922, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā, assisted the Gauḍīya Maṭha in its work and, in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine. Maintaining the publication was a struggle. Single-handedly, Śrīla Prabhupāda edited it, typed the manuscripts, checked the galley proofs, and even distributed the individual copies. Once begun, the magazine never stopped; it is now being continued by his disciples in the West and is published in over thirty languages.
Recognizing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s philosophical learning and devotion, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Society honored him in 1947 with the title Bhaktivedanta.” In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Śrīla Prabhupāda retired from married life, adopting the vānaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Śrīla Prabhupāda traveled to the holy city of Vṛndāvana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Rādhā-Dāmodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyāsa) in 1959. At Rādhā-Dāmodara, Śrīla Prabhupāda began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume annotated translation of the eighteen-thousand-verse Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
After publishing three volumes of the Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Prabhupāda came to the United States of America, in September 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more than sixty volumes of authoritative annotated translations and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
When he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Śrīla Prabhupāda 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 his passing away on November 14, 1977, he guided the Society and saw it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred āśramas, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities.
In 1968, Śrīla Prabhupāda created New Vrindaban, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrindaban, which became a thriving farm community of more than two thousand acres, his students have since 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. Since then, under his supervision, his disciples have established children’s schools throughout the United States and the rest of the world, with the principal educational center now located in Vṛndāvana, India.
Śrīla Prabhupāda also inspired the construction of several large international cultural centers in India. The center at Śrīdhāma Māyāpur in West Bengal is the site for a planned spiritual city, an ambitious project for which construction will extend over many years to come. In Vṛndāvana, India, are the magnificent Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Temple and International Guesthouse, and Śrīla Prabhupāda Memorial and Museum. There is also a major cultural and educational center in Bombay. Other centers are planned in a dozen important locations on the Indian subcontinent.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 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 just twelve years, in spite of his advanced age, Śrīla Prabhupāda circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.
yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ’pi
dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
“By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Kṛṣṇa. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, I should always remember and praise the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.”
Pasted from Causeless Mercy
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