A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, commonly known as ‘Srila Prabhupada’, was a highly influential spiritual leader, teacher and founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He was the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. He is renowned for his dedication to spreading the teachings of Bhakti Yoga and Hare Krishna Mantra throughout the world.
Early life and spiritual attractions
Srila Prabhupada was born Abhaya Charan Dey on September 1, 1896 in Calcutta, India. He was brought up in a Vaishnav family. His father was Gour Mohan Dey, a textile merchant, and his mother was Rajni Dey. From a young age, he displayed a keen interest in spiritual matters and was particularly attracted to the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Bhagavad Gita.
Connection with a spiritual master
In the year 1922, Srila Prabhupada met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who encouraged him to spread the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Krishna consciousness in the English-speaking world.
Propagation of renunciation and devotion to Krishna
After receiving initiation in 1933, ‘Abhay Charan De’ ‘A.C. He became ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami’ and later, in 1947, he took sannyasa.
For many years, Srila Prabhupada lived a simple and austere life, writing and translating scriptures and preparing himself for his mission in the West.
Trip to united states
In 1965, at the age of 69, Srila Prabhupada embarked on a historic trip to the United States with little money and few contacts. His mission was to spread the message of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna to the Western world.
Establishment of ISKCON
Upon arriving in New York City, Srila Prabhupada faced many challenges, but he persevered and his teachings began to attract followers. In 1966 he officially founded ISKCON. In 1967, a center was started in San Francisco. He traveled throughout America with his disciples and popularized the movement through street chanting (sankirtan), book distribution, and public speeches.
In the following years, his role as a preacher of the Krishna Consciousness movement led him to establish temples and community centers in other countries around the world.
Prolific writing and translation
Srila Prabhupada’s most notable contribution was his extensive translations and commentaries on the Vedic texts. He wrote translations and paraphrases of the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and other important texts.
His translation of the Bhagavad Gita became a widely admired and respected work.
End times and legacy
He died in Vrindavan, India, on November 14, 1977, leaving behind a global community of devoted followers and a lasting influence on the practice of Bhakti Yoga. By the time of his death in Vrindavan in 1977, ISKCON had become the internationally known expression of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect.
Srila Prabhupada’s dedication, teachings and leadership played a significant role in popularizing Hinduism, especially the Bhakti tradition, in the Western world.
Srila Prabhupada’s life and work inspire people around the world to seek the path of devotion and spirituality, and ISKCON remains a vibrant, worldwide organization dedicated to spreading his teachings and the Hare Krishna mantra.