Srila Prabhupada – Biography, Books, Hare Krishna Movement, Teachings, Samadhi

Srila Prabhupada (also known as Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada) is widely known as the founder of ISKCON Hare Krishna Movement. It is quite possible that your home has a "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" that is written by Srila Prabhupada.

His entire life is a glorious journey in itself and very few have been able to decode the inner confidential treasure of prema-bhakti he has given to the fallen conditioned souls of Kali Yuga.

On the instruction of his Guru Maharaj Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada, he went to the USA at the age of 70 to preach the holy names of Lord in the form of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

He is an acclaimed writer in the history, with more than 70 books, including translations of Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, Chaitanya Caritamrta amongst many Vedic Texts.  He started the Hare Krishna Mahamantra sankirtan and Jagannath Rath Yatra all over the globe and possibly you might have encountered devotees singing Hare Krishna Mahamantra in melodious tunes on streets of any city you might be living anywhere in the world.

Srila Prabhupada won everybody by his immense karuna (compassion), kripa (mercy) and selfless love. He always used to say that he is simply following the orders of his Guru Maharaj and simply repeating his words.

Thousands of devotees globally have transformed their lives by taking up the study of Srila Prabhupada books and following his instructions.

Very few can imagine going in a cargo ship to the USA at the age of 70 (that too in 1965) with just 40 rupees and starting a worldwide Hare Krishna Movement. He appeared specially for giving the treasure of Kali Yuga - Hare Krishna Mahamantra to all unconditionally.

Though it's impossible to glorify Srila Prabhupada in the best manner even by top exalted saints, so what to speak of me and you. I humbly bow down to Prabhupada and Sri Vrindavan Dham and humbly attempt to write whatever they inspire from within in order to think and meditate on my Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada deity at his room at Radha Damodar Mandir, Vrindavan
Srila Prabhupada deity in his room at Radha Damodar Mandir, Vrindavan

Full Name Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Birth September 1, 1896, in Calcutta, West Bengal, India (on Nandotsav, a day after Janmashtami)
Founder of
  • ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness)
  • BBT (Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
Sect Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Year of Diksha 1933
Year of Vanaprastha 1951
Year of Sanyas 1959
Guru Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada
Books Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Caritamrta amongst many others
Samadhi November 14, 1977, Vrindavan, India
Resting Place Srila Prabhupada Samadhi Mandir, ISKCON Vrindavan
Philosophy Madhurya Prema Bhakti in topmost vipralambha bhav
Notable Journey Travelling to the USA at age of 70 (in 1965) on a cargo ship Jaladuta to preach Hare Krishna Mahamantra on instructions of his Guru Maharaj

 

Early Life

Srila Prabhupada was born as Abhay Charan De in Kolkata on September 1, 1896. His father's name is Sri Gaur Mohan De and mothers name is Srimati Rajani De. The interesting thing about Srila Prabhupada's appearance day (or birthday) is that it is on Nandotsav, just a day after Janmashtami.

When Srila Prabhupada was a little kid, many Vaishnavas and saints came at his home as his father was also a Gaudiya Vaishnav and he served the Vaishnava, sanyasis and brahmanas with an extreme amount of love and servitude spirit. Srila Prabhupada's father used to humbly request the saints to bless the little Abhay Charan to be a very nice servant of Srimati Radharani.

Prabhupada organised a Rath Yatra in his lane when he was just 5 years old. He would play the role of Advaita Acharya in the drama and everybody in the audience would have tears in their eyes.

Srila Prabhupada learnt mridanga and deity worship of Lordships at a very early childhood itself. He credits all of his sanskaras (spiritual qualities) to his father.

Once, as a little child, Srila Prabhupada had fallen sick and the doctor has suggested giving chicken soup. His father didn't adhere to the doctor's suggestion and put the little Abhay Charan near the Lord's altar.

Srila Prabhupada recalls all these anecdotes of life at various places in his lectures, books and was always extremely thankful to his father for providing him with a strong spiritual foundation.

Prabhupada deeply thanks his father and dedicates the Krishna Book to him.

College

Srila Prabhupada studied BA (Bachelors of Art) at Scottish Church College in Kolkata (then Calcutta). The college was located nearby his home at Harrison Road.

Srila Prabhupada states that he was his father's favourite child and had thus started education late. He states that he was there in primary school for 4 years, the secondary school for 8 years, and in the college life for 4 years.

He had appeared for the BA Final Exams in 1920 but refused to accept the degree as he was inspired to join the freedom movement of India led by Mahatma Gandhi. Owing to him participating in freedom movement for some time, he gave up on his education. 

Marriage, Family & Pharmacy Business

Srila Prabhupada got married in 1918 at the age of 22 to Radharani Devi who was then 11 years old. They begot their first child in 1921. He had 5 children - Prayag Raj De, Sulaxmana De, Mathura Mohan De, Bhaktilata De and Vrindavan Candra De.

Prabhupada wanted to marry the second time but his father advised him against it (Please note that this is allowed in Hindu culture and was in practice then, but now this practice has wiped off. Though, it's a discussion for another day that the Vedic society permits this if the man can take care of all the wives honestly and sincerely to beget Krishna Conscious children, as stated in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7, Text 11. Don't get bewildered by this as there's a proper reason behind it all. I will write a separate post as inspired from within by recalling the Vedic references and teachings of bonafide saints if you want me to. Do let me know in the comments section if you wish to know about it. The important thing rather would be to take initial steps in spirituality by reading this confidential beginners spirituality guide). 

So Prabhupada's father was a pure Vaishnava and he told Prabhupada that it's good that you haven't got a wife as per your interest and this will help you to progress in spiritual life better as you won't have attachments to anything other than Krishna. Prabhupada used to say often that he took this advice seriously and in spite of being in married life, he was detached internally and dived further in bhakti (spiritual life).

Srila Prabhupada states that his wife and children were not supportive or took much interest in their spiritual life. His wife had once sold his hand-written manuscript of Bhagavad Gita in exchange of tea packets! It sounds simple to hear but that is a translation of 18 chapters and about 700 verses! Any material writer also understands how much effort it takes to write 1 page, what to speak of a thick manuscript of 700 verses. The Bhagavad Gita translation of Srila Prabhupada that has sold more than 500 million copies globally is around 1200 pages.

All this resistance and cold behaviour from his family was all a plan of Krishna for the long-term better interests to show the magnanimity and surrender of a pure Rasika devotee.

If one looks at it from an internal perspective, Srila Prabhupada's wife and children are very special and dear to Lord and they were made to rebel against Prabhupada to show it to the world that detachment is necessary for advancing in spirituality, and also so that no one can later criticise Prabhupada in any manner whatsoever. Had they been practising devotees, Srila Prabhupada would have dealt with them with much warmth and this later could have been used by initial seekers and sadhakas (practising seekers) who are not realised to criticise Prabhupada, hence Krishna removed all these possibilities and sent them to apparently not support Prabhupada.

Later, after giving up the college degree, Srila Prabhupada had joined his family friend Kartik Bose's Pharmaceutical Business as a Manager. His father had helped him in securing this job as the business was owned by Prabhupada's father dear friend. In 1923, Prabhupada shifted to Allahabad to start his own business called Prayag Pharmacy.

Over the years, Prabhupada travelled throughout India, being based in different cities and tried setting his pharma business and met many failures along the way. If looked externally, his life was full of struggle at every place but he was determined to follow the instructions of his Guru Maharaj. 

Meeting with Spiritual Master

Srila Prabhupada met with his Guru Maharaj Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada in 1922. He was in fact taken to meet him by his friend Narendranath Mullik. 

Srila Prabhupada was following the Gandhian Movement of Non-Cooperation then and was wearing khadi clothes as a show of support. Prabhupada had always commanded a repute amongst his friend's circle as their leader. If Prabhupada approved of something, his friends would listen without considering anything.

So, his friend Narengranath Mulllik had asked him to visit a sanyasi who is a devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Krishna in the mood of Radharani who appeared in Mayapur in the 15th century to give highest prayojana or goal of prema-bhakti). His friend basically wanted the approval of Srila Prabhupada to understand the authenticity of this saint.

Srila Prabhupada was reluctant to go with his friend but somehow his friend brought him there. At the very first glimpse, even before Srila Prabhupada had settled, Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur straight away looked at Prabhupada and told him and his friend that you boys are educated and should preach the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the whole world. 

Srila Prabhupada was taken aback and was pleasantly surprised at the boldness of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Prabhupada recomposed and said in a warm tone that the country is dependent and freedom of India needs to be secured first. It was indirectly a challenge but yet in a humble spirit.

The reply of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Maharaj just bowled Srila Prabhupada. He said that Krishna Consciousness is so important that it stops for no one. This is very very urgent and the soul has to become independent from this material world conditioning and has to go back to home, back to Godhead. (I just paraphrased the conversation for giving a perspective of how Prabhupada got inspired by moved by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thaur Prabhupada).

Srila Prabhupada got very inspired by Maharaj and eventually took formal vows of diksha (initiation) from Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur 11 years later in 1933.

Chronology of Srila Prabhupada life journey

Chronology of Srila Prabhupada's Life
1896 Birth at Calcutta as Abhay Charan De (Father: Shri Gaur Mohan De)
1910 Srila Prabhupada's mother left her body
1918 Married to Radharani Devi
1920 Appeared for BA Finals examination
1921 Birth of eldest son
1922 Met spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and was instructed to preach to the western country in the very first meeting
1923 Started Prayag Pharmacy in Allahabad
1925 Came to Vrindavan for the first time
1933 Took diksha (initiation) from Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
1935 Instructed by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur at Radha Kund to construct temples and print books
1936 Spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur takes samadhi
1944 Started publishing Back to Godhead magazine
1951 Takes vanaprastha (retirement from active life) to concentrate on writing books and preaching
1953 Initiated the first disciple Acharya Prabhakar
1956 Shifts to Vrindavan
1959
  • Shifts to the upper floor of Radha Damodar Temple after being invited by Goswamis there
  • Starts writing Srimad Bhagavatam
  • Takes sanyas at Mathura from his godbrother Keshav Maharaj
1962
  • Shifts to the ground floor of Radha Damodar Mandir
  • Completed and printed Srimad Bhagavatam Volume I First Canto
1963 Hands a copy of Srimad Bhagavatam to then president of India, S Radhakrishanan
1965 Completed entire Srimad Bhagavatam First Canto (3 Volumes)

Travels to the USA on cargo ship Jaladuta to preach the holy names as instructed by his Guru Maharaj. Gets two heart attack aboard the ship.

1966 Registers ISKCON in the USA. Over the next few years, establishes 108 temples, street sankirtana and Jagannath Rath Yatra globally.
1977 Takes samadhi at Vrindavan (November 14, 1977)

Attending lectures of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur

Whenever Srila Prabhupada got a chance to visit Puri, Vrindavan or Kolkata during the time he was running his pharmaceuticals business, and if Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur used to be in the city, Srila Prabhupada would make it a point to attend his lectures and talks on Krishna Consciousness and sit just right near him.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was very happy by Srila Prabhupada's sincerity and him sitting near his vicinity during the lecture. He often spoke and had mentioned it to his disciples that when needed, Srila Prabhupada (then Abhay Charan) would do all the needful on his own for preaching the movement of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Prabhupada often used to say that he always feels himself in the association of his Guru Maharaj and has not forgotten him and Krishna at any single point in his entire life. He also adds that this Hare Krishna Movement has turned out so big by him doing nothing except for simply following and repeating his Guru Maharaj's words.

Coming to Vrindavan for the first time

Prabhupada came to Vrindavan for the first time in 1925 and also met his Guru Maharaj Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur here and did attend many of his lectures. 

Later in 1935, he met his Guru Maharaj at Radha Kund where he was instructed to construct temples and print books. In this meeting, Srila Prabhupada's son Mathura Mohan De was also accompanying him, and the then little Mathura Mohan De had offered full dandwat pranam to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Maharaj.

In 1936, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur left the body and had given behind instructions for Srila Prabhupada to preach the holy names in the English language.

Srila Prabhupada room at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan
The room of Srila Prabhupada at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan where he lived from 1962-65

Bhagavad Gita Manuscript

The current Bhagavad Gita book that is written by Prabhupada is the third manuscript that Prabhupada has written. The first one got stolen during one of his rail travel, the second one was sold to a tea vendor by his wife in exchange of tea packets and this current one available in the market is the actually third manuscript.

Srila Prabhupada carried the Bhagavad Gita manuscript to the USA and it was initially published by Macmillan Publishers here in a very strange set of events which is nothing but surprising. if you wish to know about it, just lemme know in the comment section and I will write a separate post on that.

Back to Godhead Magazine and letters

Srila Prabhupada started the Back to Godhead magazine in 1944 and did everything from writing, designing, proofreading, marketing, printing and distributing it from scratch all on own. It is run till date and is being published in over 30 languages globally by devotees.

Srila Prabhupada was once at New Delhi arranging for the printing of Back to Godhead magazine. While he was walking on the road, a bull hit him and he fell down in the middle of the street and was lying there unattended for many hours!

Srila Prabhupada mentions at one place that the idea of Back to Godhead magazine came to him in 1936 but he thought that how can it be done single handly. However, in 1944, he went ahead with it as nobody discouraged him in any manner over all these years so he thought that it might be that Krishna wants him to start the magazine.

Those who know of Prabhupada's journey are well aware that he really struggled in order to mercifully give the treasure of prema-bhakti to the entire world in the form of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It is all and all. Everything is hidden in this maha-mantra. As a devotee chants sincerely, everything manifest in the heart internally. Read the very confidential meaning of Hare Krishna Mahamantra here.

Then from 1947 onwards, he began writing letters to Mahatma Gandi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel in order to give them Krishna Consciousness as he knew that the massed follow the leaders and if he can gain their support, it would be easy to distribute holy names to entire India. Though nobody replied as such but Srila Prabhupada didn't give up and continue with his writing and preaching endeavours.

Awarded title of Bhaktivedanta

In 1947, Srila Prabhupada was awarded (or conferred) the title of Bhaktivedanta by leading and respected Gaudiya Vaishnavas of that time. Bhaktivedanta is made up of two words - bhakti (devotion) and vedanta (knowledge). This title Bhaktivedanta means the one who has fully realised that the bhakti unto the Lotus Feet of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna is the sum and substance of all knowledge of human life.

Acceptance of vanaprastha (retirement) 

In 1951, Srila Prabhupada took vanaprastha or retirement from family life. He wanted to concentrate fully on preaching and following the instructions of his Guru Maharaj so he cut off all material relations and focused fully on printing, writing and preaching.

League of Devotees

Srila Prabhupada was based in Jhansi for some time and established League of Devotees here. It was here that he initiated his first disciple Acharaya Prabhakar. It was quite a struggle to preach and handle all the writing work single handily for Srila Prabhupada but he kept going on with enthusiasm to give Hare Krishna Mahamantra to all.

In this period, he continued writing Back to Godhead magazine, essays and short books.

Shifted to Vrindavan

In 1956, Srila Prabhupada moved to Vrindavan and rented a place near Keshi Ghat. He would cook prasad, write books and meet saints here. He continued publishing Back to Godhead magazine all single-handedly. 

Moving to Damodar Mandir, Bhagavatam and acceptance of sanyas (renunciation)

Srila Prabhupada thought that it was important to accept sanyas in order to preach the holy names more efficiently. He took the vows of sanyas in 1959 at Mathura from his godbrother Keshava Maharaj. 

Also, in 1959, Srila Prabhupada was invited by Goswami's of Radha Damodar Temple to take up residence here. He shifted on the upper floor here and started to translate Srimad Bhagavatam.

In 1962, he shifted to the ground floor of Radha Damodar Mandir (which is preserved till date by Hare Krishna devotees). 

It was in 1962 that he finally was able to publish the Volume I of First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Later, in 1963, he handed one of the copies of Bhagavatam to then President of India, S. Radhakrishnan.

Prabhupada stated that during his stay at Radha Damodar Mandir, he could feel the presence of Srila Rupa Goswami guiding him at all times. Rupa Goswami Samadhi is just adjacent to where the room of Srila Prabhupada is located and a small window in Prabhupada's room then had a direct view of Srila Rupa Goswami samadhi (Now a building is constructed, however, from the kitchen window, it is still visible).

Lotus Feet Imprint of Srila Prabhupada
Lotus Feet Imprint of Srila Prabhupada

Planning for leaving to the USA

In 1965, Srila Prabhupada after completing the entire first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam (spread over three volumes) decided to go to the USA on the instruction that his Guru Maharaj had given him in 1922 during their very first meeting and repeated in 1936 when he (Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur) was about to leave his body.

Srila Prabhupada went to Mumbai to get a pass arranged on the Jaladuta cargo ship that was bound for the USA.

The owner of the ship was not meeting Srila Prabhupada for many days and was ignoring him. Then one day she met Srila Prabhupada and was surprised to see an old 70-year-old sanyasi requesting her for a pass aboard a cargo ship. Prabhupada used to wait outside her office from morning to evening for many days and she was taken aback by Prabhupada's plan and recommended him not to do the same.

But Prabhupada was adamant. She couldn't resist seeing the desperate look in Srila Prabhupada's eyes.

Eventually, Srila Prabhupada got the pass for the USA and the ship was to be boarded from Calcutta. He went to Calcutta and squeezed time to visit Mayapur, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

At the Advaita Acharya Vat, he was weeping and praying to Advaita Acharya to empower him to preach the instructions of his Guru Maharaj.

Later, the pujari there at Advaita Acharya Vat saw pictures of Prabhupada from his western disciples after the mission was successfully established. The pujari started crying and weeping after seeing the pictures of Prabhupada and recalled how Prabhupada was crying before leaving for the USA.

Eventually, on August 13, 1965, Prabhupada boarded the Jaladuta Cargo Ship at Kolkata and was bid farewell by his youngest son Vrindavan Candra De. Vrindavan Prabhu later recalls that he had tears while seeing Prabhupada leave and was feeling extremely proud of Srila Prabhupada.

Preaching in the USA and around the world

The struggle of Srila Prabhupada while in the USA is another crazy story. It is very difficult to comprehend the life of Srila Prabhupada.

While there, it was a challenge to adapt to the extreme cold weather and then preaching to the hippies was another task but Prabhupada was empowered with the wealth of holy name. Everywhere he won by kripa (mercy) and blessings of his Guru Maharaj.

He lived with the hippies and with his unalloyed love, transformed them into happies by simply giving them Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

Srila Prabhupada's compassion is beyond the power of words. It is very difficult to put it in words to be very frank. 

There was a hippie who tried to kill Prabhupada and what not!

Eventually, he started doing kirtan at Tomkins Square Park and slowly, the Hare Krishna Movement exploded so much so that Srila Prabhupada had to travel around the world 11 times over next few years to preach Krishna Consciousness. 

During this time, he established 108 temples around the world and also started Jagannath Rath Yatra globally.

He gave the Vedic scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Caritamrta to the world. These inner confidential books were distributed all over the world by Srila Prabhuapda's book distribution program.

There was street Harinam Sankirtan led everywhere around the globe and can be seen even today everywhere.

Just by the strictly following the words of his Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada has given a very confidential treasure of attaining the topmost perfection of life by simply chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. 

Every answer to realise the eternal constitutional position of the soul as an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is simply hidden in the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. All answers manifest from within as one chants Hare Krishna Hare Krishna | Krishna Krishna Hare Hare | Hare Rama Hare Rama | Rama Rama Hare Hare. 

Servant of God

Once during an interview, the reporter asked Prabhupada, "Who are you? Are you god?" (Paraphrasing a bit here). Prabhupada responded to the reporter that no, he is not a god but he is a servant of God. He then took a pause and then replied back softly once again, "Actually, I am the servant of the servant of God."

The humble response of Prabhupada won the reporter. What Srila Prabhupada is mentioning here is the core philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of trinad api sunecena (humble than a blade of grass) and das anudas (servant of the servant).

As I have heard from exalted Rasika Vaishnavas, the root of das anudas bhav originats from Goloka Vrindavan in maha madhurya bhav of manjaris (maid-servants of Radharani) who are in mood of Radha-dashyam (service to Lotus Feet of Srimati Radharani) and whose only endeavour is to serve Srimati Radharani via Rupa Manjari (Srila Rupa Goswami) who serves under Ananga Manjari (Jahnava Maiya and Nityananda Prabhu).

It is very difficult to comprehend the actual inner meaning of this without kripa (mercy) of Vrindavan Dham. Though, it can be easily understood by chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra and desperately seeking guidance to vraja-prema-bhakti from Vrindavan Dham and Divine Couple internally.

Vrindavan is my home

Srila Prabhupada used to say that Vrindavan is his home, Mayapur his place of worship and Bombay his office. 

When he fell sick in Mumbai in 1977, he expressed a desire to be back in Vrindavan. Eventually on 14 November 1977 7.30 PM, at the age of 81, Srila Prabhupada left his body and went back to the nitya-lila of Divine Couple.

Altar at ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan
Altars at ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan

Samadhi

Srila Prabhupada Samadhi is located just near the entry in the premises of ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan. It is here that Srila Prabhupada is resting. Exalted saints and Rasika Vaishnavs are not cremated, and they are not said to die (as termed materially) but rather they take samadhi (that means that they are eternally meditating on Divine Couple).

The samadhi mandir of Prabhupada is a white marble temple and it is very peaceful to sit and chant here. If one meditates and seeks guidance from Srila Prabhupada here, they can really feel his presence guiding the sincere seeker. There is kirtan always going on at this samadi mandir which is led by Mata Ji's (female devotees). The vibe and ambience here are spiritually surcharged and one can't help themselves to think about Sri Radha and Sri Krishna just by being here.

Take Vrindavan

Once Srila Prabhupada was doing four parikramas of ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandir. A young devotee was standing at a place and whenever Srila Prabhupada used to go from there, this young devotee used to say, "Vrindavan Dham ki Jai." He kept on repeating this for few times. Srila Prabhupada was pleased with the boy and asked him, "You love Vrindavan?"

Again the young devotee nodded his head and enthusiastically responded, "Vrindavan Dham ki Jai." 

Srila Prabhupada was very happy with him, moved his hands forward and as if in an expression of giving something by palms, he told the young devotee, "You love Vrindavan, then take Vrindavan." 

Prabhupada has given the treasure of Vrindavan to the entire world and simply by reading his books, sincerely chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, and following the 4 regulative principles, one can easily attain the topmost spiritual perfection as repeated by Prabhupada again and again.

Srila Prabhupada Bhajan Kutir Board
Srila Prabhupada Bhajan Kutir (Kitchen Window) at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan

Books

Srila Prabhupada has written over 70 books including Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Nectar of Instruction, Science of Self Realisation amongst many others. You can find the list of must-read spiritual books here.

Philosophy

Srila Prabhupada preached the Gaudiya Vaishnav Philosophy (as given by Chaitaynaya Mahaprabhu) to revive the love for Godhead and recognise our eternal constitutional position as a servant of Divine Couple Sri Radha and Krishna. The basic foundation of Bhagavad Gita is that we are not the material body but spirit souls who have forgotten our true identity owing to our association with the matter (material world).

Prabhupada just said that simply by chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra and following 4 regulative principles, all direction manifests on its own in the heart of the sincere seeker.

You can check the beginner's spirituality guide here to advance spiritually very quickly.

Spiritual Identity as saktyayesh avatar

This is a very confidential discussion but I feel inspired by Sri Vrindavan Dham at the time of writing this to give an idea to the sincere seekers to approach this subject. Aindra Prabhu reveals it in one of his lectures by stating how Prabhupada is related to nityananda-swarup-shakti of Lord (Read it here)

Krishna Book

Srila Prabhupad paused writing other books including Srimad Bhagavatam to write Krishna Book after his health had started worsening in the early seventies. Read the synopsis, inner aspects and download the Krishna Book here.

Hare Krishna Movement

Read in detail about the Hare Krishna Movement here.

Some of the known people in public life who were early followers of Hare Krishna Movement are George Harison (Beatles) and Alfred Ford (entrepreneur and great-grandson of Henry Ford)

Food for life

Once Srila Prabhupada saw few poor children fighting near the dustbin for getting waste food thrown by locals. He had tears in his eyes and instructed the temple authorities that anybody within 10 Km radius of ISKCON temples should not be hungry. 

Since then, devotees have been started Food for Life and Akshay Patra keeping in view instructions of Srila Prabhupada. These both initiatives provide food to school students under the Mid-Day meal of Government of India.

Prabhupada was way ahead of time. He had planned for banks, restaurants, post office and other important essential centres in premises of temple itself so that more and more devotees can visit and practice Krishna Consciousness regardless of anything.

How much time does it take to surrender?

Once in a lecture, a devotee had asked Srila Prabhupada that they have been doing sinful activities for so many lifetimes and would it be possible to counteract that in one lifetime. Srila Prabhupada's response was a firm "In one minute. This is Krishna Conisounsess."

Srila Prabhupada was magnanimous and embraced everybody with love. He just repeated that chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Present-day Impact of Srila Prabhupada

Many devotees varying from all sections of society have taken to the process of Krishna Conusonisness seriously and are enquiring about the real prayojana (goal) of prema-bhakti in topmost madhurya bhav (which can be easily achieved by chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and following 4 regulative principles).

There are a lot of intellectual people with the majority hailing from top institutes globally (including IIT, IIM in India) who are taking to self-realisation by Krishna Consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada has given a treasure and he often used to say that he has given it all in his books and lectures. You can find Srila Prabhupada book here. (For his lectures, just search on Youtube "Srila Prabhupada Lectures" and you will find many).

24 Hour Sankirtan

Srila Prabhupada started the 24-hour sankirtan at ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan, which had been put on pause after he left his body. It was again restarted by a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, Aindra Prabhu. Thousands of youth and devotees worldwide have been inspired by 24-hour sankirtan and are focusing more and more on Harinam or congregational chanting of holy names.

Devotees performing kirtan at ISKCON Vrindavan
Devotees performing kirtan at ISKCON Vrindavan

Hare Krishna Film

A film titled 'Hare Krishna!' was produced and directed by Yadubara Prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. It was released in 2017 globally.

Tribute

The Indian government released a stamp in memory of Prabhupada in 1993.

Thousands of academically sound and leading personalities from various fields in the world regard Prabhupada as a spiritual authority. A lot of engineers, scientists, medicos, businessmen, students and elders had surrendered to Prabhupada while he was physically present and even today, devotees worldwide follow instructions of Prabhupada through his books and lectures.

There was one devotee whose father was very unhappy with this devotee participating in the Hare Krishna Movement. His father had come to see Prabhupada and complain about it to him. As soon as Prabhupada came, this devotee's father bowed down in dandwat pranam and just looked at Prabhupada while he went across with a smiling gesture. He just couldn't say anything except for offering Prabhupada a pranam. When this devotee asked his father on why he did that dandwat pranam, his father just said that Prabhupada commanded that. This is the power of pure devotee and Prabhupada commanded an authority wherever he went worldwide.

What Srila Prabhupada gave is very rare and precious - Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

I kindly apologise for my incapability to put it all in the best manner here. It's very difficult to comprehend the life of Srila Prabhupada and glorify him aptly. I have penned down the above facts as inspired by Sri Vrindavan Dham and by visiting Srila Prabhupada's room here at Radha Damodar mandir in Vrindavan while working on this article.

I beg for forgiveness for all the mistakes that may have popped in. I have written this article as inspired by Sri Vrindavan Dham just for meditating on my Srila Prabhupada and not for anybody else. If you feel connected, you can read the inner confidential meaning of Hare Krishna Mahamantra, which Prabhupada often stated that the purpose of this entire movement is just to convince all to chant Hare Krishna!

Jai Jai Shri Radhe!

Hare Krishna!

Jai Srila Prabhupada!

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