Biographical Sketch of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
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Srila Prabhupada, Maha-bhagavata

The Hare Krishna movement has been recently brought to the Western world by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of the Hare Krishna movement. In this century, Srila Prabhupada is the foremost proponent of Vaishnava philosophy, represented by the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya.

This unbroken line of disciplic succession boasts the names of great spiritual preceptors (Acharyas) such as Lord Brahma, Vyasadeva (compiler of the four Vedas , Vedanta Sutras , 18 Puranas , Upanishads , and Mahabharata ), Sri Madhvacharya, Sri Krishna Chaitanya and many others.

Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, in Calcutta in the year 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of 64 Gaudiya Maths (Vedic institutes), favoured the educated young man, and convinced him to dedicate his life to presenting the Vedic literature in English language to the people of the Western world. From his first meeting with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Srila Prabhupada embraced those words with his heart and soul, recognising that he had met his spiritual master, although it was not until 11 years later (1933) that he was formally initiated a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati at Allahabad.

During the years of his family life, Srila Prabhupada devoted his free time to studying the Vaishnava literature and writing, and offered assistance to the devotees. He began work on an English edition of the Bhagavad-gita, but to his dismay, the manuscript went missing. When in 1950 he encountered difficulties in operating his pharmacy branches, he took it as the arrangement of God, and retired from married life. He was then 54. He travelled to Vrindaban, and devoted his time to his studies and writing. In 1959 he entered the renounced order (sannyasa), and began work on his multi-volume translation of the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavat Purana), complete with elaborate purports. He also wrote and published Easy Journey to Other Planets.

In 1965, when he had published the first three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada set out to fulfil the order of his spiritual master, leaving India and travelling to the USA on board a freighter. He was 70 years old when he arrived in New York. He arrived alone, and practically penniless. Finally, after nearly a year of struggle, he met some young persons who took an interest in him and lent their assistance. This was the beginning of the Hare Krishna movement. In 1966 he established his society in New York, and over the next 11 years he guided that society and saw it grow to a world-wide community of more than 5,000 initiated disciples recruited from all around the world, 108 temples, a number of schools, institutes, restaurants and farm projects.

Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution is his books. Srila Prabhupada translated and wrote purports to 18,000 verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 700 verses of Bhagavad-gita, and 17 volumes of Chaitanya-charitamrita. He published a monthly magazine, Back to Godhead, which at one point was distributed in excess of one million copies per month. His published books number 160. Millions of copies have been distributed around the world in 28 major languages. Highly respected by academicians for their authoritativeness, depth and clarity, they are used as standard course material in numerous colleges and universities in India and the USA. In 1972, Srila Prabhupada founded The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust for publishing his works exclusively, and The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust went on to become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.

Srila Prabhupada gave lectures daily to his students and to capacity crowds at universities and festivals. He produced phonographic records. He brought about a revival of spiritualism in art by engaging the talents of his disciples to draw and paint hundreds of illustrations for his books, and to create sculptures and dioramas depicting the pastimes and features of God and His associates, as well as to produce performances in drama, dance and music.

In just 12 years, in spite of his advanced age (70-82), 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.

Young and old and from countries all over the world, his students have embraced Vedic principles enthusiastically, chanting Hare Krishna in towns and villages worldwide. It is said in Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 6.279), " lohake yavat sparsi hema nahi kare, tavat sparsa-mani keha chinite na pare: One cannot understand the value of touchstone until it turns iron into gold. One should judge by action, not by promises. A maha-bhagavata (great spiritual personality) can turn a living entity from abominable material life to the Lord’s service. This is the test of a maha-bhagavata ."

Srila Prabhupada has received respect and accolades from leaders of all religious camps, both within and outside the Hindu religion. Even leading politicians and international scholars have appreciated Srila Prabhupada’s efforts and valuable contribution to human society. No other personality of group has accomplished as much in 100 years or even 500 or 1,000 years as Srila Prabhupada accomplished in the last 12 years of his physical presence. Therefore he is the Sampradaya Acharya for the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya and most worshipable spiritual personality.

Before his departure in 1977, Srila Prabhupada appointed senior disciples to continue to oversee the affairs of his international society and to recruit, initiate and train new disciples on his behalf. Hansadutta das is one of those who were deputised to represent Srila Prabhupada as Rittvik Representative of the Acharya.

Summary of Srila Prabhupada’s Contributions

• more than 160 books published

• 108 temples and ashrams worldwide

• guest houses attached to major temples

• farms modelled after Vedic principles of "plain living and high thinking," varnashram-dharma

• established schools

• resurrected spiritualism in art in fields of painting, sculpture, drama, dance, music

• established vegetarian restaurants

• instituted "Food for Life", distribution of prasadam to millions all over the world

• founded a society having more than 5,000 initiated disciples and as many more lay followers

• engaged modern technology (typewriters, computers and printing press, radio, television, photography, video production, automobiles, aeroplanes, etc.) in devotional service to Krishna, thereby demonstrating practically the principles of total renunciation (yukta-vairagya, "utility is the principle").

The Disciplic Succession

Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarshayo vidhuh (Bhagavad-git a 4.2). The science of Krishna consciousness is received through this disciplic succession:

    1) Krishna, 2) Brahma, 3) Narada, 4) Vyasa,
    5) Madhva, 6) Padmanabha, 7) Nrihari, 8) Madhava, 9) Akshobhya, 10) Jayatirtha, 11) Jnanasindhu,
    12) Dayanidhi, 13) Vidyanidhi, 14) Rajendra,
    15) Jayadharma, 16) Purushottama,
    17) Brahmanyatirtha, 18) Vyasatirtha,
    19) Lakshmipati, 20) Madhavendra Puri, 21) Ishvara Puri, (Nityananda, Advaita), 22) Lord Chaitanya ,
    23) Rupa (Svarupa, Sanatana), 24) Raghunatha, Jiva, 25) Krishnadasa, 26) Narottama, 27) Vishvanath,
    28) (Baladeva) Jagannatha, 29) Bhaktivinode,
    30) Gaurakishora, 31) Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati,
    32) His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Legacy of Srila Prabhupada

Audio recordings of Srila Prabhupada lectures and kirtans and video footage of Srila Prabhupada’s interviews and festivals are available in CD, MP3 and DVD formats.

Also available: the complete collection of Srila Prabhupada’s works in folio with extensive search capability on a single CD-ROM, requires Windows98, XP or later.

Books by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(A Partial Listing):

BBT Books

Back to Godhead magazine (Founder)

Beyond Birth and Death

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Chaitanya-charitamrita (17 vols)

Chant and Be Happy

Civilisation and Transcendence

Collected Lectures on Bhagavad-gita (7 vols)

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Collected Lectures on Srimad-Bhagavatam (11 vols)

Collected Teachings of Srila Prabhupada (7 vols)

Consciousness: The Missing Link

Conversations with Srila Prabhupada (37 vols)

Dialectic Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy

Easy Journey to Other Planets

Elevation to Krishna Consciousness

In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life

Krishna Consciousness: The Matchless Gift

Krishna Consciousness: The Topmost Yoga System

Krishna, the Reservoir of Pleasure

Krishna Book set

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (3 vols, originally published by Beatle star George Harrison)

The Laws of Nature: Infallible Justice

Life Comes from Life

Light of the Bhagawat

Letters from Srila Prabhupada (5 vols)

Lord Chaitanya in Five Features

Message of Godhead

Mukunda-Mala-Stotra (Prayers of King Kulashekhar)



Nectar of Devotion (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu )

Nectar of Instruction (Upadeshamrita )

On the Way to Krishna

The Perfection of Yoga

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers

Preaching is the Essence

Purusha Shukta Confirmed

Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge

Renunciation Through Wisdom

Science of Self-realisation

Second Chance

Shikshamrita (3 vols)

Spiritual Master and the Disciple

Sri Ishopanishad

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Cantos 1 — 10 (30 vols)


Teachings of Kapila

Teachings of Lord Chaitanya

Teachings of Queen Kunti

Transcendental Teachings of Prahlada Maharaja

Understanding God Through Bhagavata-dharma

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
©2004 - Hansadutta das
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