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  3. WHO IS SRILA PRABHUPADA ?

WHO IS SRILA PRABHUPADA ?



SRILA PRABHUPADA: A BIOGRAPHY


His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent devotional scholar and the founder of sixty-four branches of Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic Institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teach Vedic knowledge in the Western world. Srila Prabhupada became his student and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad, he became his formally initiated disciple.

At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to propagate Vedic knowledge in English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita and in 1944 he started an English fortnightly magazine, Back To Godhead without any assistance.

Recognizing Srila Prabhupada’s philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honored him in 1947 with the title “Bhaktivedanta”. In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life and four years later he adopted the Vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada travelled to the holy city of Vridavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged himself for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sanyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.

FOUNDING THE HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT


 

After publishing three volumes of Bhagava-tam, Srila Prabhupada went to the United States, in 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Since then, His Divine Grace has written over sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies on the philosophical and religious classics of India.

In 1965, when he first arrived in New York City, Srila Prabhupadawas practically penniless. It was after almost a year of great difficulty that he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. Under his careful guidance, the Society in a decade, grew into a worldwide confederation of nearly one hundred ashrams, schools, temples, institutions and farm communities.

In 1968, Srila Prabhupada created New Vrindavana, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrindavana, then, a thriving farm community of more than one thousand acres, his students 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. The school began with three children in 1972, and by the beginning of 1975 the enrollment had grown to one hundred fifty.

Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of a large international center at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal, India, which is also the site for a planned Institute of Vedic Studies.

BOOKS BY SRILA PRABHUPADA


 

Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution, however, are his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authenticity, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous colleges. His writings have been translated into eleven languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 exclusively 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 the last ten years of his life, in spite of his old age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture. Srila Prabhupada left us a veritable library of Vedic philosophy and culture. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publishes his works in over 50 languages.

From 1966, till he breathed his last in 1977;  Srila Prabhupada travelled the world extensively, meeting world leaders, perpetually giving lectures and interviews and providing spirit to understand vedic philosophy.