Our Founder Acharya
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Our Founder Acharya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made appearance in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent religious scholar and also the founding father of 64 Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutes), loved this educated youthful guy and convinced him to dedicate his existence to teaching Vedic understanding. Srila Prabhupada grew to become his student and, in 1933, his formally inititated disciple.
At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati immediately asked him, "You are an intelligent young man. Why don't you preach the message of Lord Caitanya in English?" This request was to be the driving force in Srila Prabhupada's life.
In 1936, Srila Prabhupada wrote to his spiritual master, who was then passing his last days on the planet. In the letter Prabhupada asked, "Is there any particular service I can do?" Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said in his reply, "I am fully confident that you can explain in English our thoughts and arguments......I have every hope that you can turn yourself into a very good English preacher." Srila Prabhupada knew this was to be his life's mission, and he began to prepare himself.
Within the following years, Srila Prabhupada authored commnetary on Bhagavad-gita, aided the Gaudiya Matha in the work, and, in the mid 1940s, began the 'Back to Godhead', an British fortnightly magazine. Singlehandedly, Srila Prabhupada edited it, typed the manuscript, checked the proofs, as well as distributed the copies personally. The magazine is now being continued by his disciples in the West.
In 1950, Srila Prabhupada retired from marraige, implementing the vanaprastha (retired) to devote additional time to his studies and writing. He traveled to the holy town of Vrndavana, where he resided in humble conditions within the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged his whole time in deep study and writing. He recognized the renounced order of existence (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada started focusing on his life's masterpiece: a multivolume commentated translation of the 18000-verse Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). Also, he authored 'Easy Journey to Other Planets'.
After publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada reached the United States, in September 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Subsequently, His Divine Grace authored greater than fifty volumes of authoritative commentated translations and summary studies from the philosophical and religious classics of India.
As he first showed up by freighter, the Jaladuta, in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically broke. He later related, "I didn't know where to turn, left or right." Following a difficult six weeks, he leased a little store on 26 Second Avenue and he was recognized to his first disciples as "Swamiji." Once several months of effective difficulty, he establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in summer of 1966. Before he died on November 14, 1977, he'd led the Society and seen it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes, and farm communities.
Our Founder Acharya, Srila Prabhupada also inspired the making of several large worldwide cultural centers in India. In the middle at Sridhama Mayapur is the site for planned spiritual city, an ambitious task for which construction will extend for years to come. In Vrndavana, is the magnificent Krsna-Balaram Temple and worldwide guesthouse, gurukula school, and Srila Prabhupada Memorial and Museum. A number of other centers are situated in dozen important locations in India.
Srila Prabhupada's most significant contribution was his books. He authored more than 50 volumes of transcendental literature. In the original Sanskrit or Bengali texts, he wrote word-to-word translations and discussed the manuscripts in the famous Bhaktivedanta purports. He called these purports "my emotional ecstasies." Highly respected by students for his authority, depth, and clearness, these books are being used as textbooks in numerous college courses. His documents have been converted into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.