Today on his birth anniversary, we look back and celebrate his life spent in books and spirituality. He contribution to mankind comprises a library of Vedic philosophy and culture. His books are revered for their authority, depth, clarity and perspective.
In his life, despite his advanced age spiritual leader and founder of ISKON Shri A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) circled the globe 12 times on lecture tours across six continents.
By far his most significant contribution, his writings have been translated into as many as 11 languages. Especially regarded as the most prominent contemporary authority on Bhakti-Yoga, he is also the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Srila Prabhupada, as he's known to his followers, has translated and commented on over 80 volumes of the Vedas' sacred bhakti texts, including the Bhagvad gita.
Srila Prabhupada was born in 1896 in Calcutta, India. His first official introduction to spirituality happened through his master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami in Calcutta itself in 1922. His master, a prominent devotional scholar himself was the founder of sixty-four branches of Vedic institutes.
It was Gosvami who realised the potential in Prabhupada and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge in the Western world. That's when Srila Prabhupada became his student and 11 years later in 1933 became his formally initiated disciple at Allahabad.
His journey to New York
It was in the year 1965 that Srila Prabhupada boarded a New York–bound steamship from Calcutta. This was after forty years of struggling within India to carry out his guru's order and all the while, also maintaining his familial obligations and business responsibilities. All he had was passion, wisdom and forty rupees in his hand and a trunk of Bhagvatam commentaries.
At the time he transitioned to NYC, he was 60 years old and had a passion to introduce, "India's message of peace and goodwill," to the Western world. During the last 12 years of his life, Srila Prabhupada introduced thousands of westerners and inspired them to devote their lives to Krishna consciousness. And that's how the fast-growing spiritual movement came about.
He established the ISKCON in July 1966. Within a decade of being established the society grew to a worldwide confederation of almost hundred ashrams, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities. His divine thoughts, spiritual wisdom will continue to guide the humanity. Prime Minister Modi will be releasing a Rs 125 coin on Thursday to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada.