of the Rupanuga Vedic College is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) who also founded the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness.
His Divine Grace
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in this world 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 the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya
Mathas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced
him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada
became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad he
became his formally initiated disciple.
At their first
meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested
Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English
language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary
on the Bhagavad-gita, assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work and,
in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine.
Maintaining the publication was a struggle. Single-handedly, Srila
Prabhupada edited it, typed the manuscripts, checked the galley
proofs, and even distributed the individual copies. Once begun,
the magazine never stopped; it is now being continued by his disciples
in the West and is published in over thirty languages.
Srila Prabhupada's philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya
Society honored him in 1947 with the title "Bhaktivedanta."
In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from
married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote
more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada traveled
to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances
in the historic medireview temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged
for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced
order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada
began work on his life's masterpiece: a multivolume annotated translation
of the eighteen-thousand-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana).
He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to the United
States of America, in September 1965, to fulfill the mission of
his spiritual master. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more
than sixty volumes of authoritative annotated translations and summary
studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
When he first
arrived by freighter in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically
penniless. Only after almost a year of great difficulty did he establish
the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in July of
1966. Before his passing away on November 14, 1977, he guided the
Society and saw it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than
one hundred äsramas, schools, temples, institutes and farm
In 1968, Srila
Prabhupada created New Vrindaban, an experimental Vedic community
in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrindaban,
which became a thriving farm community of more than two thousand
acres, his students have since founded several similar communities
in the United States and abroad.
In 1972, His
Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary
education in the West by founding the Gurukula school in Dallas,
Texas. Since then, under his supervision, his disciples have established
children's schools throughout the United States and the rest of
the world, with the principal educational center now located in
also inspired the construction of several large international cultural
centers in India. The center at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal
is the site for a planned spiritual city, an ambitious project for
which construction will extend over many years to come. In Vrndavana,
India, are the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International
Guesthouse, and Srila Prabhupada Memorial and Museum. There is also
a major cultural and educational center in Bombay. Other centers
are planned in a dozen important locations on the Indian subcontinent.
most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected
by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity,
they are used as standard textbooks in numerous college courses.
His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works
of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world's largest publisher
of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
In just twelve
years, in spite of his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the
globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents.
In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued
to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library
of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.