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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

Sii uno Yogi, in ogni circostanza

Questa mattina, Shriman Matsya Avatar Prabhu ci ha offerto un’importante riflessione sul tema dell’equilibrio. Qui di seguito potete leggerne una sintesi attraverso i miei appunti personali. La lezione integrale la potete ascoltare nella raccolta audio di lezioni “Riflessioni, Meditazioni e Realizzazioni. Anno 2018”.
Vostra servitrice, Madhavipriya d.d.

Quando ci guardiamo dentro, occorre coraggio, perché spesso emergono parti di noi quasi opposte, potremmo definirle: sacre e profane. Nella vita incarnata non è possibile liberarsi completamente di questa dicotomia, ma vorrei anche incoraggiarvi a non vederla come una frattura o una spaccatura insanabile.

Eppure etimologicamente “sacro”  significa proprio “ciò che è legato ad un valore trascendente; per estensione, inviolabile, separato”, quindi una sorta di separazione ci deve pur essere. E se il sacro è separato dal profano, allora ovviamente anche il profano è separato dal sacro. 

Così come potremmo dire che la razionalità è separata dal mondo dei sentimenti, dal linguaggio del mito e dei sogni, e viceversa.

Ma se io non avessi sentimenti o intuizioni, cosa potrebbe sostenere e motivare la mia razionalità?  
E se il sentimento non fosse accompagnato da una certa dose di razionalità, cosa accadrebbe? Sarebbe come un fiume che esonda e produce disastri. Occorre non farlo tracimare, ma allo stesso tempo non sopprimerlo. Sono dunque importanti, contestualmente, sia intuizioni e sentimenti che capacità logico-razionale. Quest’ultima, senza i primi, diventerebbe sterile, arida; l'immagine che emerge nella mia mente in questo momento è una sorta di labirinto che chiude, soffoca e opprime la persona.

Lo Yoga è la misura, la capacità di stare in equilibrio tra la sfera della razionalità e i sentimenti, e anche tra il sacro - che da solo tenderebbe a separare troppo la persona dal mondo in cui vive - e il profano, che non possiamo non considerare fintanto che siamo incarnati e che tuttavia, senza il sacro, rimarrebbero privo di finalità ultima.

La separazione tra sacro e profano esiste, ma dovrebbe essere vissuta in un rapporto di complementarietà, di armonia ed equilibrio, come esiste una separazione tra l’argine e il fiume, però il fiume necessita dell’argine e l’argine senza il fiume non avrebbe senso alcuno. Nella Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna spiega questa suprema scienza della misura e dell’equilibrio, definendola appunto Yoga. E così esorta Arjuna: “Sii uno Yogi, in ogni circostanza” (Bg. VI.46). 


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