We are all searching after happiness, but few of us know
that the basis of real happiness is something eternal,
beyond temporary material things. We are trying to
get happiness through this temporary material body;
therefore we are frustrated. The spirit soul is eternal,
and the Supreme Lord is eternal; therefore reciprocation
of their loving exchanges is eternal. By Krsna
consciousness we can relish spiritual happiness as we
make spiritual progress.
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.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent religious
scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas
(Vedic institutes) in India, liked this educated young man
and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic
knowledge. Srila Prabhupada became his student and, in
1933, his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic
knowledge in English. 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. Single-handedly, Srila Prabhupada edited it,
typed the manuscripts, checked the galley proofs, and
even distributed the individual copies. The magazine is
now being continued by his disciples all over the world.
In 1950 Srila Prabhupada retired from married life.
adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more
time to his studies and writing. He traveled to the holy
city of Vrndavana, where he lived in humble
circumstances in the historic 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 commentated translation of the eighteen-
thousand-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata
Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
After publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam,
Srila Prabhupada came to the United States, in
September 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual
master. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more than
fifty volumes of authoritative commentated 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. It was
after almost a year of great difficulty that he established
the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
in July of 1966. Before he passed away on November
14, 1977, he had guided the Society and seen it grow
to a worldwide confederation of more than one
hundred ashrams, schools, temples, institutes, and
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
his disciples have established similar schools throughout
the United States and the rest of the world.
Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of
several large international cultural centers in India. The
center at Sridhama Mayapur is the site for a planned
Spiritual city, an ambitious project for which construction
will extend over many years to come. In Vrndavana are
the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International
Guesthouse, gurukula school, and Srila Prabhupada
Memorial and Museum. There is also a major cultural and
educational center in Mumbai. There are beautiful temples
in Delhi, Bangalore, Anmedabad and Vadodara besides
many other centers throughout India.
Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution.
however, is his books. Highly respected by scholars for
their authority, depth, and clarity, they are used as
textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have
been translated into over fifty languages. The
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972
exclusively 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, despite 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.
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