The great soul
who lived amongst us....
Prabhupada appeared in this world in Calcutta in 1896 on Nandotsav day, the day following
his Youth In 1922....
his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who convinced him to
dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge, especially in the English language.
started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine - single-handedly writing the
articles, editing them, typing the manuscripts, proof-reading the galley proofs and even
distributing the individual copies. The magazine continues even today in over thirty
languages. Though practically penniless, his faith in the order of his spiritual master
took him to New York in 1965 at the advanced age of 70. After a year of intense struggle,
in July 1966, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
with its first center in New York. During the next eleven years, before his passing away
on November 14, 1977, he undertook vigorous preaching tours that took him round the globe
fourteen times. Under his guidance, he saw the society grow to over 108 centers. ISKCON
continues to expand even now with over 600 centers all over the world.
Prabhupada created New Vrindavana, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West
Virginia. Inspired by its success, his students have founded several similar communities
in different parts of the world. In 1972 His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of
education in the West by founding a gurukula in Dallas, Texas. ISKCON now has children's
schools worldwide with the principal educational center in Vrindavana, India
Prabhupada was also the inspiring spirit in the establishment of a forum of leading God
conscious scientists, the Bhaktivedanta Institute ( BI ). BI has done pioneering work in
presenting the Vedic philosophy in a rational manner to the scientists of the world. Srila
Prabhupada was the greatest cultural ambassador of India to the world. Srila Prabhupada's
vision was a global East-West synthesis. Just as the lame man, if carried by the blind
man, can guide the latter, he felt that if the materially wealthy but spiritually blind
West, especially the United states and the spiritually wealthy but materially lame India
joined forces, the combination together would usher in an era of real peace and prosperity
all over the world,
trained thousands of disciples from varying backgrounds in the Vedic way of life He also
took India's cultural and religious festivals to the West, especially the Ratha-Yatra
festival, which has now become a major event in over 64 cities worldwide. The
international cultural centers in Sridham Mayapur, Vrindavana, Mumbai and other places are
also a manifestation of this principle.
Over and above all his other activities, Srila
Prabhupada's most significant contribution is his books. He authored 70 volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies
of the philosophical and religious classics of India. His Bhagavad Gita As It Is is the most widely read edition of the Bhagavad
Gita in the English language. His life's masterpiece is, however, a multi-volume
commentated translation of the eighteen thousand verse Srimad Bhagavatam. Highly respected
by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity, his books are used as
standard textbooks in numerous college courses. They have been translated in over fifty
languages and constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, Religion literature and
Prabhupada was not just a great scholar. He was a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, motivated
by no desire other than to please his spiritual master. He saw that people in general in
Kali Yuga were absorbed in bodily, animalistic activities. Led by similarly blind leaders,
the whole world was on the path of self-destruction, with no hope of any genuine solution.
And it was the selfless saintly compassion
|aroused within him by this hopeless situation
that propelled him to preach all over the world to wake up the souls sleeping in illusion
with the sound of the Holy Name.
what Srila Prabhupada will always be remembered for: in the darkness of materialism, he
gave the light of genuine spiritualism; in the nescience of Kali Yuga, he gave the supreme
knowledge of the Bhagavata-dharma.
Thus he built a house in which the whole
world can live.