About Srila Prabhupada
HE CAME WITH THE MESSAGE OF THE ABSOLUTE WORLD…
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. His spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Matha’s (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada became his student and, eleven years later, his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. 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, now being continued by his disciples in more than thirty languages.
Recognizing Srila Prabhupada's learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honoured him in 1947 with the title "Bhaktivedanta." In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada travelled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece: a multi-volume translation of and commentary on 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 1965, to fulfil the mission of his spiritual master. Subsequently, he wrote more than sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
In 1965, at seventy years of age, he ventured outside India for the first time to fulfil the order of his spiritual master. During his voyage at sea, he suffered two severe heart attacks. He reached the shores of America on a cargo ship “Jaladuta” with the equivalent of only seven dollars to his name. Only after almost a year of great difficulty, he founded the International Society for Krsna Consciousness with a small group of disciples. This marked the only time in history that a Krsna devotee successfully trained non-Indians in the strict disciplines of Vaisnavism. Amazingly, this was achieved during the blossoming of America’s hedonistic counterculture movement.
In accomplishing all the above, he also fulfilled the following prophecies:
idam sthanam parityajya videsam gamyate maya
I will leave this place [Vrndavana] and travel to foreign lands...
Bhakti Devi speaking to Narada, Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam (Padmapurana, Uttarakhanda)
translated by Sri Satyanarayana Dasa
The Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam (The Glories of Srimad Bhagavatam) is a section of the Padma Purana. It tells the story of how Bhakti can be revived in Kali-yuga through recital of Srimad-Bhagavatam. When Srila Prabhupada left Vrndavana and came to America, it is significant that his only possession was a trunk containing the first volumes of his Srimad-Bhagavatam, which he considered his most important work. It is also significant that he instituted daily recitation of the Bhagavatam as the foundation of the temple program, and that Srimad-Bhagavatam (in the form of Krsna Book) was the first of Srila Prabhupada’s books to be distributed in large quantities. Until Srila Prabhupada came to the West, devotional service (Bhakti) had never been successfully introduced in foreign lands.
krsne sva-dhamopagate dharma-jnanadibhih saha
kalau nasta-drsam esa puranarko 'dhunoditah
This Bhagavata-Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krsna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.43]
(Lord Caitanya speaking of the reasons for His descent):
ebe nama sankirtana tikshna khadaga laiya
antara asura jivera phelibe katiya
Taking the sharp sword of the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, (nama-sankirtana) I will root out & destroy the demoniac mentality in the hearts of all the conditioned souls.
yadi papi chadi dharma dure dese yaya
mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya
If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to far off countries, then my Senapati Bhakta will come at that time to give them Krsna consciousness.
(senapati - a military field commander, bhakta - a devotee. Lord Caitanya will empower His own devotee to spread Krsna Consciousness around the world.)
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Sri Caitanya Mangala, Sutra-Khanda
by Locana das Thakura
prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.
Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu
Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126
"Very soon the unparalleled path of hari-nama sankirtana will be propagated all over the world… Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mrdangas, and karatalas and raise kirtana through their streets and towns! When will that day come?"
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Sajjana Tosani 4.3, 'Nityadharma Suryodoy'
Prabhupada: Just like Thakura Bhaktivinoda. In 1896 he sent the Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message to McGill University. That book you have seen. The letter was there. And these are coincidence. Now, after so many years, a servant of that disciplic succession has come here again to preach. So these things are significant.
Lecture: Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.149-171
San Francisco, March 18, 1967
Prabhupada: ...in 1896. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the first origin of this movement. But he simply thought of it. And he was expecting some others that willing to take up the work. Well, somebody says that I am the same man. And I was born in 1896.
Room Conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran
Iran, March 13, 1975
Anyway please try to save temple of Jiva Goswami because in very near future many people from all parts of the world will come to see the Temple and Samadhi of Jiva Goswami and Rupa Goswami.
Letter to Nripen Babu
San Francisco, March 18, 1967
Prabhupada: And in my horoscope there was written there, "After seventieth year this man will go outside India and establish so many temples."
Tamala Krsna: Really?
Prabhupada: I could not understand. "What is this, that I have to go outside India? That is not..." And Guru Maharaja foretold. He told my Godbrothers, Sridhara Maharaja and others, that "He'll do the needful when time comes. Nobody requires to help him." He told in 1935. And after all, this was true. Guru Maharaja told. And in the beginning, first sight, he told, "You have to do this."
Vrndavana, June 17, 1977
He (Srila Prabhupada) seemed to know that he would have temples filled up with devotees. He would look out and say, "I am not a poor man, I am rich. There are temples and books, they are existing, they are there, but the time is separating us from them."
subway conductor who met Prabhupada in 1965
Fulfillment of these prophecies was also confirmed by Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers:
This return back to homeland of Srila Prabhupada is particularly significant, because this time he comes back with a host of his Western disciples. This signifies to me the meeting of the East and the West, or at least the beginning of such a meeting. This signifies the victory of spiritualism over materialism, of good over evil. This is really a rare moment in history, for the first time in the history of the world, for the first time at least in living memory, Vaisnavism, the message of Vaisnavism, the message of Mahāprabhu, the message of devotion and of pure devotion has been carried to the West and carried so successfully. I am sure that historians of the future will have a lot to say about Prabhupada and his movement, and they will be even envious of us for living in a time when this movement was begun and for participating in it.
Introduction Speech By Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor
Vrndavana, October 15, 1972
And what about the qualities he had? All devotional qualities he possess. And that we can know him that he is great only by preaching. Less than 10 years. There is no history, no recording anywhere. Preaching in 10 years he has established this divine name everywhere. As is told in Mahaprabhu’s future [prediction].
His Holiness B.V. Puri Maharaj
ITV, Memories of Srila Prabhupada
Sripada Sridhara Maharaja also appreciated my service. He said that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's prediction: prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama, would remain a dream only, but he congratulated me that I have done it practically.
Srila Prabhupada letter to Bon Maharaja
Evanston, Illinois, July 7, 1975
Any one of the feats mentioned above would be a significant feather in anyone’s cap—even if it were the only thing a person accomplished in a lifetime. That Srila Prabhupada did all these things in just twelve years, and fulfilled so many predictions of sastra, great devotees, acaryas and astrologers, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, is patent validation of his inimitable role in Vaisnava history. By his efforts, uncountable millions have read about Krsna, honoured Krsna prasadam, and heard and chanted the maha-mantra. Through his teachings, he continues to relieve humanity from the maladies spawned by doctrines of monism and voidism, while holding open the door of Krsna-bhakti for many generations to come. Let us recognize and remember his unprecedented contributions and strive to bring him honour throughout the world.
Devotee: Prabhupada, they said that if Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted Krsna consciousness in the Western countries, why didn't He go there Himself? That's what they told us.
Prabhupada: So He left the credit for me. (laughter)
Nellore, January 4, 1976
All glories to
Om Visnu-pada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Ashtotara-sata Sri-Srimad His Divine Grace
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki jai!