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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

Gratitude is an expression of Love

Dear devotees,
 
Please accept my respectful obeisances.
Glories to Shrila Gurudeva and Shrila Prabhupada!
 
We’d like to share with you evidence of the profound feeling of gratitude that our beloved Guru Maharaja often manifests for His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Founder Acarya of ISKCON).
On several occasions we have listened to his voice vibrating with emotion, seeing tears of love running down his face, while memories emerged and he shared them with us. All of this nourish our affection for Shrila Prabhupada and same desire to say "Thank you" for His great work and spiritual gifts we are still receiving.
The following are extracts from a lesson by Shriman Matsya Avatar Prabhu.
 
Your humble servant,
 
BalaRadhya dasi
 
"Since the first meeting with Shrila Prabhupada, He has been at the center of my existence. Gratitude is my most recurrent feeling, that unites me deeply with Him. Gratitude for showing me the way and enlightening my spiritual path. I was looking for the Light, but I did not know what it was, nor where was it. The meeting with Shrila Prabhupada has given a clear direction to my life. I was not looking for a religious conversion: I was looking for God, the meaning of my existence. The first time when I met Him, I realized it was a special occasion and that He was a special person. So, in his ashrama on that summer day, I felt the necessity and importance to entrust myself to Shrila Prabhupada. I have believed in Him and I’ve been investing my life in Him. I have learned to look at people, at the world, at life and God. I have understood how to reorganize priority values by reading His books, listening to His lessons, talking with His disciples and my godbrothers; thanks to him I have learned the art of bringing out the best in others and how to get closer to God. I have always considered ISKCON my spiritual family, for whom I have deep affection.
 
ISKCON is the project founded by Shrila Prabhupada to spread Krishna Consciousness all over world, to reveal the path of Bhakti to all those who wish to transform their lives with joy and love. The same joy that I have been feeling since then and for which I have developed immense and eternal gratitude to Shrila Prabhupada; according to His mercy, He is still guiding me, correcting me and inspiring me, even in my dreams."
 
Matsya Avatar das

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