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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) is the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for...
  • His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  • His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) is the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the world’s foremost teacher of Krishna Bhakti in the 20th century.
    Born in India as Abhay Charan De, Abhay received a classical European education from Calcutta’s prestigious Scottish Church College. However, as a political activist and early follower of Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement, he rejected his diploma in protest of British rule in India. Several years later, after a life-changing encounter with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, a prominent scholar and spiritual teacher who explained that the practice of Krishna Bhakti is too important to wait for political reform, Abhay redirected his attention from politics towards the cultivation of spiritual life and community.
    Bhaktisiddhanta represented the ancient tradition of Krishna Bhakti, the yoga of devotion, based on the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. Upon their first meeting, Bhaktisiddhanta asked Abhay to bring the teachings of Bhagavad-gita and the practice of Krishna Bhakti to the West. Inspired by the depth of Bhaktisiddhanta’s devotional wisdom, Abhay became his lifelong student.
    After four decades of learning and practice, while simultaneously running his own business and supporting his family, Abhay took formal vows of sannyasa, or celibate priesthood. In preparation of his journey to the West, Abhay settled in the holy city of Vrindavan, India and began translating the Sanskrit verses of the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-bhagavatam into English and writing elaborate commentaries explaining each verse. During this time, Abhay was given the title Bhaktivedanta in recognition of his advanced scholarship and spiritual realization.
    In 1965, at the age of 69, Bhaktivedanta departed from India with unremitting determination to fulfill his teacher’s request. After a month-long voyage, having suffered two heart attacks while aboard an Indian cargo ship, Bhaktivedanta arrived at a lonely Brooklyn pier with seven dollars in Indian rupees and a trunk of ancient Sanskrit scriptures translated into English.
    Although faced with many hardships, Bhaktivedanta began giving Bhagavad-gita classes in Bowery lofts and leading kirtan (devotional chanting) in Tompkins Square Park. His sincerity attracted the attention of young seekers, eager to learn more about meditation and Eastern spirituality. With their help, Bhaktivedanta rented a small storefront in New York’s Lower East Side and continued giving daily classes and leading kirtan.
    Inspired by the support of his young American students, Bhaktivedanta established ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) with the hope that his students’ enthusiasm would continue to grow. The following year, Bhaktivedanta was asked to establish ISKCON in San Francisco, where hundreds of more students began regularly attending his classes and kirtans.
    In the following 11 years, Bhaktivedanta (again honored with a new title – Srila Prabhupada) circled the globe 14 times, bringing Krishna Bhakti to tens of thousands of people on six continents. With their help, he established centers and projects throughout the world including temples, ashrams, farm communities, schools, universities, and what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program.
    During this time, Srila Prabhupada continued his translation work and authored an unprecedented number of books, over 70 titles, subsequently translated into 76 languages. His most prominent works include: Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the 30-volume Srimad-bhagavatam, and the 17-volume Sri Caitanya-caritamrita.
    In 1977, at the age of 81, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada passed away in Vrindavan, surrounded by his loving disciples who continue to preserve his legacy. Although the teachings of Krishna Bhakti had rarely ventured beyond India’s borders, by the extraordinary devotion and determination of Srila Prabhupada, tens of millions of people around the globe now benefit from the timeless practice of Krishna Bhakti.

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  • His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Speech by Matsyavatara Prabhu at the Italian Parliament

At last, the ethics of compassion and non-violence, even at the dinner table, have made their way to the Italian Parliament! 

It happened on Friday, June 24, thanks to the intervention of Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu (Marco Ferrini), invited by the deputes, who spoke about the theme of "Prevention and Education on Nourishment."

Many highly qualified speakers specialized in scientific disciplines participated at the conference and discussed the themes in terms of health and the environment. The intervention of Matsyavatara Prabhu introduced the fundamental, ethical aspects of Bhakti yoga’s spiritual vision. Within this tradition, Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu explained, the person doesn't doesn’t just absorb the nutrients of the food ingested, rather receives the psychic imprint in it contained, which affects his or her physical characteristics and spiritual awareness.

 

"Think of how charged is any food obtained through violence: all the suffering, dismay, fear, terror felt by an animal which has been kept prisoner until the terrifying moment of slaughter; how these imprints have remained impressed in the body, and are then assimilated by whomever, unaware, chooses these cadaveric items for nutrition.”

In front of the 200 people in the audience, amongst which were representatives of the parliament, scientists and journalists, Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu exclaimed: “Rather than asking, ‘WHAT am I eating today?’ many should ask, ‘WHO am I eating today?’ Since life is essentially about relations, relations are our most important patrimony! Choose foods then that honor non-violence, company, friendship, and compassion towards all creatures; because it is only through these actions that ours and others’ evolution will take place”. 

According to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most monumental works on the perennial philosophy of the Yoga of Love, continued Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu, there are main categories of foods, based on their energetic structure and the more or less violent production manner, and from which derive:

  • Virtue foods, which grant health, longevity and serenity;
  • Passion foods, which carry intense flavors, at times biting and energizing, but also cause for illnesses and suffering;
  • Garbage foods, which weigh down and intoxicate the person, predisposing him/her to drowsiness, sadness and the loss of self-awareness and of being alienated.

On the health front, it has at last been proven that a carnivore diet is a major cause for cancer, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. On the environment and economic front, industrial breeding is the primary cause for world hunger: to produce one kilogram of meat enough to feed 5-6 people, we need 30,000 liters or water and 16 kilograms of cereal, which alone would supply enough for 40-50 individuals. Industrial breeding is also the main culprit for deforestation, pollution and global warming, with gas emission higher than the transport sector and producing 64% of the total ammonia, contributing to the acidification of ecosystems and acid rains. 

And what to say of the ethical aspect, explained Matsyavatara Prabhu, without which the person loses his/her life-long dignity? To change things is possible for everyone. How?

With our nourishment daily choices!

At the conclusion of his intervention, Matsyavatara Prabhu underlined how the power derived by our sensible and aware choices, individual and collective is immense: able to re-orient the political choices of our country and beneficial to all.

 

 

 

 


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