His Divine Grace, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) – Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, was the principal teacher for thousands of people around the world, including Radhanath Swami. He is regarded as the world’s pre-eminent exponent of the teachings and practices of Bhakti-yoga, outside of its roots in India.
A student of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta & Respected Author
Born Abhay Charan De on September 1, 1896, in Calcutta, as a young man he became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. It was, however, a meeting with a prominent scholar and spiritual leader, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, which proved most influential on young Abhay’s future calling. At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta asked Abhay to bring the teachings of Krishna to the English-speaking world. Deeply moved by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s devotion and wisdom, Abhay became his student and dedicated himself to carrying out his mentor’s request. But it wasn’t until 1965, at the age of seventy, that he would set off on his mission to the West.
Around the world
In these eleven years, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times, bringing the teachings of Bhakti to thousands of people on six continents. Men and women from all backgrounds came forward to understand his message. With their help, Srila Prabhupada established centres and projects throughout the world including temples, self-sustainable communities, educational institutions, and what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program. With the desire to nourish the roots of Bhakti in its homeland, Srila Prabhupada returned to India several times, where he sparked its revival. In India, he opened dozens of temples, including important centres in the holy towns of Vrindavan and Mayapur.
Gratitude for Srila Prabhupada
For millennia, the teachings of Bhakti had been concealed within Sanskrit and Indian vernacular languages, and the rich culture of Bhakti had been hidden behind the borders of India. However, today, millions around the globe express their gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for revealing the timeless wisdom of Bhakti to a world immersed in a hedonistic and distracted ethos.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada passed away on November 14, 1977, in the holy town of Vrindavan, surrounded by his loving followers, who work together to carry on his work today.