AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Biography

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Biography

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (or Srila Prabhupada) was born in Calcutta in 1896. He received the Bengali name Srila Prabhupada from his parents: “fearless having taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord”.

Born into a Vaishnava family, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada breathed a spiritual atmosphere from his earliest moments.


But 1922, when he finished his studies at the University of Calcutta, marked a turning point in his activities with the meeting of the one who was to become his spiritual master.

His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, founder of the Gaudiya Matha, which was then multiplying its centres (there were 64 in 1922) in India, but also London and Berlin. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who appreciates the young man’s personality and intuits his talents, entrusts him with spreading the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita in the West.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s Last Wish

In 1933 Srila Prabhupada was formally initiated by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who, in 1936, just before leaving this world, reminded him of her wish to see him convey the message of the Bhagavad-gita to Western countries.

In 1947 the Gaudiya Vaishnava Institute recognized him as Bhaktivedanta. In 1959 he accepted the sannyasa, the renounced order; his former name was then replaced with the traditional title of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Insights into Srimad Bhagavatam Revealed

He then travels to Vrindavana, a village which he saw manifested 5,000 years ago, the childhood games and pastimes of Sri Krishna. In his small room at the Radha-Damodara Temple, he translates from Sanskrit and comments into English the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam and other sacred texts.

Piles of exercise books, notebooks and even sheets of newspaper, of which he uses the white parts, are covered, page after page, with translations and comments.

Humble Beginnings to Global Distribution: Inside Back to Godhead Magazine

In addition to this great work, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada continues the publication of a magazine in English, Back to Godhead, which he founded in 1944. Editor, financier, and printer, he also distributes it.

Once a week, he hits the road in New Delhi with an armful of Back to Godhead. He enters tearooms, sits down without even getting a glass of water, and often converses with people late into the evening, discourse on the science of the Bhagavad-gita and distributing his Back to Godhead.

In 1965 he embarked on a merchant ship en route to the United States. His manuscripts and his books plus 40 rupees are all his fortune.

Prabhupada’s Transformative Teachings  on Bhagavad-gita

He settles in New York, where soon many young and old will feel the charm of his personality; they begin to sing mantras with him, see us and attend his lectures on Bhagavad-gita in an abandoned little shop on Second Avenue.

Ever eager to continue his translations of the Vedic texts, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada rests only from ten in the evening to two in the morning.

The term “translation” is appropriate because many others have adapted rather than translated Sanskrit texts according to their own interpretations.

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is always concerned with quoting, in all his works, first the original Sanskrit verse, then its transliteration into Roman characters, the word-for-word translation and the literary translation; only then does he specify its content and meaning, but always according to the teachings of the Scriptures.

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is considered the most important Vedic philosophy teacher today and the most widely read.

Prabhupada Books

He has published many essential works, such as Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Isopanisad, The Teaching of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, The Nectar of Devotion, The Book of Krishna, Chaitanya Caritamrita. Among these works, Srimad Bhagavatam deserves special attention because it is the commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, who wrote down the Vedas.

Srimad Bhagavatam, or Bhagavata Purana, is a masterwork of 18,000 verses, revealing the personal aspect of the Absolute Truth and encompassing all the information needed to establish a Krsna conscious society in the realms of family life, government, sciences, arts, etc.

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada worked diligently on publishing this work up to the last moments of his life in a burning desire to make known to the Western world “the ripe fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge”.

Tirelessly, he has also travelled from one end of the Earth to another, addressing large audiences daily. He has consistently instructed his disciples that Vedic wisdom, in its original purity, can be offered to all through them.

Prabhupada’s: Global Revolution to Krishna Consciousness

From 1967 to 1977, in the last ten years of his earthly sojourn, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada established more than ninety Krishna consciousness centres in major cities around the world, where his many disciples lead simple and wholesome lives, the facilities of which are strictly conforming to the teachings of the sacred texts. Every day they perform various activities hold programs, lectures, etc., based on Krsna’s consciousness.

According to the Vedic norm, a spiritual master has realized learning through a succession of teachers whose teachings never deviate, even in the slightest detail, from those of the scriptures and previous spiritual teachers.

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the thirty-second link in the Brahma-Gaudìya-sampradaya disciplic succession that dates back to Sri Krishna himself.

Therefore, he did not “invent” some religion or new spiritual realization method but wanted to make Vedic wisdom known to the world in its pure form.

Disciples succession of spiritual masters dating back to Sri Krishna himself. He, therefore, did not “invent” some religion or new spiritual realization method but simply wanted to make Vedic wisdom known to the world in its pure form. Disciples succession of spiritual masters dating back to Sri Krishna himself.

He, therefore, did not “invent” some religion or some new method of spiritual realization but wanted to make Vedic wisdom known to the world in its

At present, the ISKCON. (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has more than four hundred temples worldwide and numerous villages, farms, rural communities, preaching centers, schools, museums, restaurants, radio stations, TV studios and publishing houses publishing authentic Vedic literature plus of sixty languages.
Moreover, numerous periodicals, magazines and other communication tools allow today to keep alive and spread among the people this very precious science of spiritual realization, which, thanks to the compassion and mercy of Krishna and His pure devotee Srila Prabhupada, has reached intact up to our generation.

Prabhupada Infographic

Prabhupada Infographic

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