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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.

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

A life in the spirit of service to his Spiritual Master

Short Biography of Shriman Matsya Avatar Prabhu

Dear devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Shrila Gurudeva and Shrila Prabhupada!

Here below, please find the short biography of Shriman Matsya Avatar Prabhu.

We publish it with the desire to share the story of his meeting with His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who transformed his life.

Guru Maharaja has often told with deep emotion about these moments in His presence: “My immense and eternal gratitude goes to Shrila Prabhupada. I needed a vision, which Shrila Prabhupada provided me. I began to read immediately the Bhagavad-gita. A whole new world was going to be opened up to me. All that resonated with me and it was complete to me. I have found my way thanks to the Bhagavad-gita and since then I have no desire but to live according to its teachings, sharing them with all those who wholeheartedly welcome them as well”.

What happened next is the story of a life in service to Shrila Prabhupada, animated with the pure spirit of devotion ...

Your servant,

BalaRadhya dasi



Matsya Avatara dasa (Marco Ferrini) is a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada, from whom he received spiritual initiation in 1977.

New Delhi, India, August 1976. Marco Ferrini a young interior designer who has already gained international success, enters Shrila Prabhupada's room in the ISKCON temple that overlooks Mahatma Gandhi Road, to attend what is going to be the most important meeting of his life. "Unfortunately, modern society is not on God's side - Prabhupada tells him - that's why it isn’t heading towards happiness, on the contrary towards defeat and self-destruction! Do not waste your time. You are a talented person. Do you know where talent comes from? What's its source, who it belongs to? It's God's property, just like everything that exists, including the fruits of your labor. Your one responsibility is to serve Krishna using your talents. The purpose of life is to know Krishna and it can only be achieved by serving Him with love and devotion. When you’ll be back home sing Hare Krishna, study the Bhagavad-gita and talk of Krishna to whomever you meet; Krishna will protect you, do not be afraid ".

Marco takes these recommendations to heart. Once back in Italy, he tells his family about the meeting with Shrila Prabhupada and both his fiancée and parents embrace the path of Krishna consciousness as well.

Thus, he immediately starts serving the Mission of Shrila Prabhupada: three weeks after meeting his Spiritual Master, he organizes a first conference in his home, attended by approximately fifty people, mostly friends who are professionals, in order to introduce them the fundamentals of Krishna Consciousness. In May 1977, for Nrsimha-Caturdashi, Marco and his wife Marisa receive the first initiation from Shrila Prabhupada and their spiritual names of Matsya Avatara dasa and Manupatni devi dasi .
His mother and father will be initiated some time later, receiving the spiritual names of Ananda Vrindavana devi dasi and Caitanya Nitai dasa.

Matsya Avatara dasa has carried out many important services within ISKCON, among them are the following: Setting-up and developing Villa Vrindavana, the first Vaishnava rural community in Italy; funding the first edition of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (first Canto translated in Italian); designing the interior of many temples in Europe, America and India; undertaking the exterior and interior architecture of Shrila Prabhupada’s Samadhi in Mayapur; realizating the Shrila Prabhupada Murtis; editing of articles for “Back To Godhead” Magazine and creating radio programs for Radio Krishna Centrale.

After decades of devoted service within a wide variety of areas, especially towards the impressive development of Villa Vrindavana, that in the ‘80s became one of the largest ISKCON Communities in the world, Matsya Avatara dasa finally feels the need to focus his service to Shrila Prabhupada on spreading His teachings primarily through cultural networks, with the desire of bringing Bhakti into major Italian institutions (Universities, Hospitals, Trade Associations), developing an accessible language to enable Bhakti to flourish in society and within the life of many people hungry for spirituality, but who would be unprepared for a confessional approach.

With this purpose in mind, thanks also to the encouragement of S.S. Hridayananda Gosvami, Radhanath Swami and other dear godbrothers, Matsya Avatara dasa founded the Centro Studi Bhaktivedanta in 1995 (a recognized Non-Profit Cultural Association and of Social Promotion) and later in 2000, the Academy of Traditional Sciences of India. Both Institutions are independent although they pursue the same purpose of Sankirtana as ISKCON. They do so by their own means and specific modalities to serve the great mission of Shrila Prabhupada.

The activities of Centro Studi Bhaktivedanta are manyfold: conferences, seminars, teacher-led classes, online courses (including in English and Spanish), Audio and Video Production, Spiritual Journeys and Pilgrimages in India, cooking courses called “Kitchen for the Soul”, participation at international conferences, exhibitions and major public events.

Over the years Matsya Avatara dasa has brought the teachings of Bhakti and Shrila Prabhupada to the most important Italian Universities, such as a 5-Year Academic Course in Indology at the University of Siena; to the main Hospitals in North and Central Italy and to the Orders of Psychologists, by giving lectures related to training courses for Doctors, Psychologists and Healthcare Professionals accredited by the Ministry of Health; to Public Schools within refresher courses valid for education professionals on all levels; to the Italian Parliament and Protomoteca in Campidoglio, and to hundreds of cultural institutes, Trade Associations, socio-religious institutions, with an overall activity of more than 3000 training events held over the past twenty-five years.

In 2008 Matsya Avatara dasa founded the Yoga Teacher Training School, which imparts the knowledge and practice of Bhakti Yoga, as well as the School of Spiritual Relational Counseling, recognized by the Italian Association of Professional Counselors, with the aim of spreading theory and practice regarding bettering relationships in society, based on the philosophical and spiritual Vaishnava Tradition (according to Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada’s teachings).

In 2017, the Academy of “Kitchen for the Soul” was also established with professional cooking courses enhanced with exams regarding theory of various topics, practical workshops and the participation of star Chefs (disciples of Matsya Avatara dasa). This has greatly contributed to the dissemination on a large-scale and at the highest level of Vaishnava Philosophy, in order to spread the culture of Prasadam, as sanctified food offered to Shri Krishna.

For the last twenty years, Centro Studi Bhaktivedanta has been organizing four intensive residential seminars per year with an average duration of a week each.

Each seminar is usually attended by approximately 150 participants. The explored topics are the most important works of Shrila Prabhupada and Shastra. During these full-immersion events, people have the opportunity to appreciate and experience first-hand the main benefits of Sadhana-bhakti: Mangala-aratika, Guru-puja to Shrila Prabhupada, meditation on Hari Nama Japa, Prasadam, worship of Deities, Bhajan and Kirtan, and other important expressions of Vaishnava Bhakti.

Thanks to these activities over the past twenty-five years, the teachings of Shrila Prabhupada and the vision of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu have successfully reached today's "temples of knowledge" and above all have found their way into thousands of people’s heart, people who have transformed their lives and, in some fortunate cases (over a hundred by now), they have fully embraced the values ​​of Krishna Bhakti Tradition and have received the sacred Diksha from Matsya Avatara dasa. Hence, they have become full members of the great ISKCON Community and Family.

Centro Studi Bhaktivedanta Academy cooperates with the Indian Dev Sanskriti University in Haridwar since 2010, with whom it has also developed scientific research projects and has written articles for the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Sciences, under the name of Matsya Avatara dasa (Marco Ferrini) as Member of the Board of the journal. Further, Matsya Avatara dasa has illustrated a statistical research on the benefits of Hare Krishna Mahamantra Meditation at the Order of Psychologists of Lazio in Rome, in November 2017. This research has been published on specialist magazines.

In 2012, Matsya Avatara dasa was also awarded with the academic title Doctor Honoris Causa - Ph.D. in Philosophy – by Dev Sanskriti University. The President of India and the Chancellor of the University jointly awarded the gold medal and honorary certificate to him.

The motivation for the honorary degree as stated on the Ph.D. certificate:

"Marco Ferrini (Matsya Avatara dasa) was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of his contribution to the dissemination of the Vedic knowledge throughout the world and for that he himself is a shining example of noble and coherent life, entirely dedicated and without other purposes, to the authentic spirit of Vedas for the wellbeing and welfare of humanity.”





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