His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of ISKCON

The founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON), His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He was born in a devout Vaisnava family and from early childhood he showed natural affection for the service of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

In 1922 Srila Prabhupada met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, the spiritual leader of the Gaudiya Math, a prominent movement propagating the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami immediately noticed Srila Prabhupada’s potential and requested him to spread Vedic knowledge in English. Srila Prabhupada assisted the Gaudiya Math and published some of his own writings, but it was not until 1965, after a lifetime of preparation, that he set out to fulfill the mission his spiritual master had given him.

At the age of 69 Srila Prabhupada was offered a free voyage on a commercial steamship bound for New York. His only possessions were forty rupees and a trunk where Srila Prabhupada had stored copies of the three volumes of the Srimad-Bhagavatam which he had personally translated and published. However, Srila Prabhupada’s main asset was his staunch determination in bringing Vedic culture to the western world and his complete dependence on Krishna. After a year of hardship in New York, his efforts bore fruit. Encouraged by a small group of followers, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July 1966.

In the twelve years that followed, Srila Prabhupada worked tirelessly to spread Lord Krishna’s message around the world. He circled the globe fourteen times opening temples in all the five continents. He opened traditional Vedic schools and initiated 5000 disciples who helped Srila Prabhupada in many international projects.

Srila Prabhupada’s contribution to a revolutionary revival of Vaishnavism in India has been appreciated by many. He obtained prime land in Juhu, Bombay where he built ISKCON’s International Headquarters. Other grand temples and cultural centres were built in the holy cities of Vrindavan and Mayapura.

While accomplishing all this, Srila Prabhupada also wrote prolifically. He gave the world a legacy of 70 literary spiritual masterpieces, many of which are used as textbooks in universities and colleges. His writings have been translated into 76 languages and the BBT, the publishing house set up by Srila Prabhupada to print his literature, is the largest publisher of Indian religious books in the world. It is still publishing many books by current ISKCON leaders and devotees.

In November 1977, while surrounded by his loving disciples in the holy land of Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada departed from this world and returned to Goloka Vrindavan, the eternal abode of Lord Krishna.

On the spiritual plane there is no difference between appearance and disappearance because although the body dies, the soul continues to exist eternally. Therefore, the presence of Srila Prabhupada is still strongly felt by those who follow him. In our temple room at Hare Krishna Land in Phoenix and Krishna-Balarama Mandir in Bon Acceuil, a deity of Srila Prabhupada is worshipped. You may also visit and meet this extraordinary, holy personality.