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THE SWAMI WHO STARTED IT ALL

Within the final twenty years of his life Srila Prabhupada translated over sixty volumes of classic Vedic scriptures (such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam) into the English language. For their authority, depth, and clarity, his books have won praise from professors at universities like Harvard and Oxford, and his Bhagavad-Gita As It Is was published by Macmillan Publishers in 1968 and the unabridged edition in 1972, and is now available in over sixty languages around the world. Other books by Srila Prabhupada are available in over eighty different languages. Over 500 million books of his have been distributed to date.

Srila Prabhupada established The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) in 1972 to publish his works. The BBT has also published his multi-volume biography, Srila Prabhupada-Lilamrta, that, according to acclaimed scholar of religion Larry Shinn, will “certainly be one of the most complete records of the life and work of any modern religious figure”. Srila Prabhupada reminded his devotees before his passing that he would live forever in his books, and through them would remain present as a spiritual master or guru. He had instilled in his followers an understanding of the importance of writing and publishing not only with regard to his works, but also their own initiatives.

SELF REALISED

Acting on the platform of his spiritual identity, Srila Prabhupada completely dedicated his life to serve God. He was able to produce phenomenal accomplishments and transform the consciousness of people only because he was on the highest state of self-realisation and therefore divinely empowered. Such self-realised souls in the world are very rare.

FEARLESS

Srila Prabhupada was named Abhay Charan at birth, which means ‘one who is fearless having taken shelter at the feet of God’. The significance of this name was revealed in his bold mission with unflinching trust in God, despite great personal hardship. He explained that fear is due to a lack of understanding of the illusory nature of the material world.

BONAFIDE

Srila Prabhupada was an authorised spiritual teacher in an unbroken succession that can be traced back to God Himself – and his appearance was predicted. Sages in this line have learned and taught the pure wisdom of God’s original instructions for millennia, and include Vyasa, the author of the sacred scriptures, and Chaitanya, the propagator of the holy names of the Lord..

SIMPLE

Humble, meek, truthful and pure – in his character, in his lifestyle and in the message he taught. Srila Prabhupada lived to serve mankind and inspired others to follow ‘simple living, high thinking’, a return to an uncomplicated lifestyle. Despite the success of his movement, Srila Prabhupada always remained modest and detached and gave credit to others.

REVOLUTIONARY

Srila Prabhupada created a worldwide spiritual and cultural revolution that encouraged many people to seriously take to the process of god consciousness. He started this revolution in New York, because he felt that America was where he would find intelligent young people that would be receptive to the timeless, authoritative spiritual instruction of the Vedic scriptures.

TEACHER

Srila Prabhupada was not just a teacher, but also a teacher of teachers for the modern age. He translated more than 70 Vedic books into English and was honoured by many leading scholars. He taught and led by example, embodying the knowledge that he conveyed. He is recognised as ‘Prabhupada’ – one at whose feet the other masters sit.

COMPASSIONATE

Srila Prabhupada had selfless concern for the welfare of all living beings. He wanted to relieve our suffering, but explained that compassion for the material body alone does not provide a lasting solution. He saw suffering as a symptom of a deeper problem: our misidentification with the temporary material body. He enlightened us about our real identity: the soul.

DEVOTIONAL

Srila Prabhupada epitomised and taught bhakti yoga: pure, absolute and unconditional love of the Supreme Lord. Giving up household life and adopting the renounced order, he became a travelling monk whose affection and compassion now extended to the whole of society. He circled the globe twelve times, spreading the message of pure devotion everywhere.

WORLDWIDE CONTRIBUTIONS

RATH YATRAS

The pulling of Rath cart during the Rath yatra procession by the devotees symbolizes the attempt of the residents of Vrindavan, especially the cowherd boys and girls, to bring Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra back to Vrindavan, the holy dhama near Mathura, UP from Kurushetra.The first Rath yatra outside India was initiated by Srila Prabhupada on July 9, 1967 in San Francisco. The Lord of the Universe (Lord Jagannath) now parade in major cities all over the world such as London, Paris, New York, Durban, Rome, etc. Thousands throng the streets to pull the giant chariots, chant and dance and enjoy tasty prasad.

THE MAHAMANTRA

Five hundred years ago Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the most recent incarnation of Krishna, taught by His own example that one can live the essence of Bhagavad-gita by chanting Krishna’s holy names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Srila Prabhupada and his disciples popularized the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in the 1960s and 1970s, and it spread to countries around the globe. Though the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is the legal name for the movement Prabhupada started, most people know it as the Hare Krishna movement.

TEMPLES

If one hears from devotees, the way of transcendental experience quickly opens, and gradually one attains firm faith that in due course develops into attraction and devotion.’ If the devotee feels that, “I can be Krishna Conscious without the association of devotees.” it is very dangerous situation. More we separate from devotees, more we bounded by the attacks of Maya. The material world is designed to struggle to exist. So, Srila Prabhupada made the situation minimum by having Krishna conscious temples, communities and farm projects, so devotees can live in association with devotees.

SPIRITUAL CULTURE

Spiritual culture is Krsna’s perfect and sublime system in order to give us stability and harmony in this material world, so we can wholeheartedly develop our forgotten relationship with Him. Our disease however is, that we consider Krsna’s system to be outdated, and we think our system to be better than Krsna’s system. And thus we get chaos, instability, neglect and suffering. All social problems we are facing in these modern days, even things like child abuse, violence towards women, rape etc are global reactions to the fact that we have lost and forgotten Krsna’s system.

DIETY WORSHIP

Members and guests are drawn by the authenticity, punctuality, and vibrancy of ISKCON Deity worship services. Krishna theology teaches that all the senses should be engaged in the glorification of God. Thus, upon entering an ISKCON worship service, a visitor’s eyes feast on an elaborately decorated altar; his/her ears are entreated by melodious chanting; his/her nose embraces fragrant flowers and incense; and his/her mouth savors sanctified delicious vegetarian food.

BACK TO GODHEAD

The motto is ‘Godhead is light. Nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience.’ Despite lack of funds and facilities, Srila Prabhupada continued to produce since 1944 as a small black and white publication on the real purpose of life, since he felt it contained an essential message the world needed to hear. It includes lectures by Srila Prabhupada, tours of Indian holy places, interviews with Hare Krishna devotees. Krishna conscious perspectives on issues of the day, excerpts from Vedic scriptures, and tips on practicing spiritual life in the modern age.

THE BHAKTIVEDANTA INSTITUE

Bhaktivedanta Institute is an internationally acclaimed and dedicated towards the cause of helping humanity through the interface of modern science and technology with spiritual traditions of the world. The institute board mostly comprises of alumni and faculties of IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) who are well-established in their academic pursuits and are open and have a keen interest in the wisdom hidden in various spiritual traditions. They go beyond the boundaries of specific religious rituals and rather deliberate upon the core values, deeper meanings and bigger questions of life and cosmos – an open territory for both scientists and spiritualists.

VEGETARIANISM

Beyond concerns of health, psychology, economics, ethics, and even karma, vegetarianism has a higher, spiritual dimension that can help us develop our natural appreciation and love for God. People may forget – it’s not man but God who makes food. There’s something mystical about the way food grows. You put a tiny seed in the ground, it sprouts, and by the mysterious life force within it a food factory arises – a tomato plant producing dozens of tasty red tomatoes, an apple tree producing bushels of sweet apples. No team of scientists anywhere has yet invented anything as amazing as the simplest green creation of God.

SOCITEY OF DEVOTEES

If one hears from devotees, the way of transcendental experience quickly opens, and gradually one attains firm faith that in due course develops into attraction and devotion.’ If the devotee feels that, “I can be Krishna Conscious without the association of devotees.” it is very dangerous situation. More we separate from devotees, more we bounded by the attacks of Maya. The material world is designed to struggle to exist. So, Srila Prabhupada made the situation minimum by having Krishna conscious temples, communities and farm projects, so devotees can live in association with devotees.

SPIRITUAL FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Many ISKCON farm communities around the world are fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s wish that devotees create self-sustaining rural projects. He wanted these farms to be the perfect places to practice Krishna consciousness and to be examples of the benefits of natural living. Devotees have taken up the challenge of growing their own food, developing cow-protection programs, and following the simple-living/high-thinking way of life of devotional service on the farm. Some of these communities are being recognized as leaders in sustainable living based on renewable resources.

BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST

The BBT was founded in 1970 by Srila Prabhupada. He translated and commented on over eighty volumes (translated into 87 languages) of the Vedas’ most important sacred bhakti texts, including the Bhagavad-gita—Krishna’s compact tutorial on achieving perfection in life—and the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam—an encyclopedic account of Krishna’s many incarnations and devotees in the history of the universe. BBT is the world’s largest publisher of classic Vaishnava texts and contemporary works on the philosophy, theology, and culture of bhakti-yoga.

FARM COMMUNITIES

Many ISKCON farm communities around the world are fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s wish that devotees create self-sustaining rural projects. He wanted these farms to be the perfect places to practice Krishna consciousness and to be examples of the benefits of natural living. Devotees have taken up the challenge of growing their own food, developing cow-protection programs, and following the simple-living/high-thinking way of life of devotional service on the farm. Some of these communities are being recognized as leaders in sustainable living based on renewable resources.

VRINDAVAN SAMADHI

Srila Prabhupada spent his final days with devotees in Vrindaban, India, absorbed in the thought of Krishna. After his departure here, his body was placed in samadhi adjacent to ISKCON’s Krishna-Balarama temple. The samadhi mandir is a beautifully designed, marble-clad building.

MAYAPUR PUSHPA SAMADHI

Traditionally, a garland worn by a spiritual master is placed in the ground to dedicate a site in his honor. Srila Prabhupada’s followers built a magnificent domed samadhi on the ISKCON campus at Mayapur, West Bengal, over garlands that he was wearing when he left his body.

PALACE OF GOLD

The New Vrindaban community, near Moundsville, West Virginia, USA, is home to Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, an ornate hilltop structure decorated with stained-glass windows, gold-leafing, intricate carving, and marble work.

MATCHLESS GIFTS

At 26 2nd Avenue, Manhattan, New York, you’ll find the first temple Srila Prabhupada established in America and the Western world. This small storefront—the previous tenants had named it “Matchless Gifts”—became the first home of the Hare Krishna movement.

OTHER MEMORIALS

At the following temples, devotees have carefully preserved the rooms where Srila Prabhupada lived. 

The links, where available, will take you to the temple’s website.

ISKCON Krishna-Balarama Mandir, Vrindaban, India

ISKCON Radha-Rasabihari Mandir, Mumbai, India

ISKCON Mayapur, West Bengal, India

ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor, Letchmore Heath, Watford, UK

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