Srila Prabhupada was born Abhay Charan De on September 1st 1896 in
Calcutta, India. His father was Gour Mohan De, a cloth merchant,
and his mother was Rajani. His parents in accordance with Bengali
tradition, employed an astrologer to calculate the child's
horoscope, and they were made jubilant by the auspicious reading.
The astrologer made a specific prediction: When this child reaches
the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great
exponent of religion, and open 108 temples.(Satswarupa das Goswami.
1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher". page x.)
It is noteworthy that in that very same year, 1896, Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakura's book was accepted into McGill University in
Canada, a pilot light for preaching in the West.
When young Abhay had been unwilling to go to school, his father saw
the humour in it, and always treated him kindly, and was lenient.
His mother however, hired a man to escort young Abhay daily to
Gour Mohan De was also a pure hearted Vaisnava. He often used to
take young Abhay to the local Sri Radha-Govinda temple. Where young
Abhay was seen to be stood for many long hours offering prayers
before the Deity. "The Deity was so beautiful, with His slanted
(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987.
"Your Ever Well-wisher". page xiii.)
As Abhay grew up he became more and more devoted to the Deity form
of the Lord. He was especially enamoured with the Jagannatha
Rathyatra festival that was held in Calcutta each year. Hearing and
understanding the significance of the festival Abhay would
sometimes check railway timetables to go to Jagannath Puri where
Lord Caitanya personally attended some 500 years before. Every year
a conservative estimated 5 million people attended the festival,
this absorbed Abhay more in the mood of Rathyatra.
1901 (circa) Young Abhay conducts his very own first Rathayatra.
His father making a small cart, three feet high with a canopy
resembling closely the huge carts in Puri. all the local children
and many adults would come. Abhay stood out as a leader even then,
as he organised and engaged everyone, even many of the mothers were
engaged by him in cooking, (especially his sister Bhavatarini), who
all cooked special preparations to be offered and distributed as
'prasadam' at this Rathyatra festival.
At age 6, his father purchased upon his request, his own
Radha-Govinda Deities. Seeing the family engaged from his birth,
watching his father performing the 'puja' at home, and going
regularly to see Radha-Govindaji, it was only natural. From this
day on whatever foodstuffs were brought before him by his parents,
he would first offer to Sri Radha-Govindaji, and then eat Their
'prasadam'. He also used to daily offer them a ghee lamp, and
properly put Them to rest at night. Little is know of his
During his college years his father arranged a marriage, selecting
Radharani Datta as Abhay's bride. In 1918 they were married, but
for several years Abhay lived with his family and Radharani with
hers. This was to facilitate his finishing his college education.
As it was recognised that the added responsibility of supporting a
family is a challenge.
In his fourth year of college Abhay felt reluctant to accept his
degree, a degree that was given by the British. He had become a
sympathiser to the Nationalist case, which advocated 'National
schools', Freedom from British Rule, and Self Government (Self
At the same school (Scottish Colleges) in the class one year ahead
of Abhay was the highly spirited Nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose,
who later became the leader of the Indian National Army formed to
overthrow British Rule of India.
Abhay was attracted to the pure and simple teaching of Mohandas K.
Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi). Who stood by the ancient pure principles
of moral India, and regarded Bhagavad Gita above all other books.
His personal habits too, and life-style were pure, as he lived a
life as a saint, 'sadhu'. Abhay had seen many 'sadhus' and was not
overly impressed. However, Gandhi had more integrity than most.
Gandhi called on all Indian students to rebel and give up British
mundane, manipulative educations, that would ultimately bind one in
slavery to the British Raj and would deny the Indian people of
their freedom, religion, culture, and inevitably their country. The
schools shaped the students, 'brainwashing' them to British
Imperialism, teaching them the corrupted philosophies taught by the
Christian Church funded Western Indologists shaping them for the
control of generations to come.
Abhay weighed up the 'pros' and 'cons'. Abhay then rejected his
diploma even after completing his fourth year and passing his
examination. So doing he made his principled stand of protest in
response to Gandhi's call.
When Gandhi called for a boycott of everything British and
'non-co-operation' after the British soldiers had gunned down
hundreds of innocent, unarmed Indians who gathered at a peaceful
rally at Jallainwalla Bagh, Abhay moved closer towards Gandhi's
Abhay's father was somewhat disturbed for Abhay's future, but
didn't resent his decision. More concerned for Abhay's future than
Indian politics Gour Mohan De arranged employment for Abhay through
a prominent friend, distinguished surgeon, and chemical
industrialist, a Dr Kartick Chandra Bose. Dr Bose gladly accepted
Abhay as his department manager in his firm.
1921 His wife gave birth to the first son and child, while she was
just 14 years old (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. June 8th
1974. Morning walk conversation. Geneva, Switzerland.).
1922 marked the first meeting of Abhay with his spiritual master.
Some of Abhay Charan's friends were going to see a 'sadhu' who was
preaching in Calcutta, a descendant in the Brahma Madhwa Gaudiya
line coming through Bhaktivinoda Thakur, his father none less. The
'Scottish School' educated, and prestigious leader of his group of
friends, was asked to come along too. At his family home Abhay
Charan De had seen so many 'sadhus' come, his father a pure devotee
of the Lord, would daily invite 'sadhus' to his house for
'prasadam', and as a general feeling Abhay was not overly impressed
with what he saw. His friends knowing his devotion, learning and
expectations, valued his opinion, and so insisted that he come and
see Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. Abhay was reluctant, but
his friends wanted his approval. So Abhay conceded to go.
"No sooner did Abhay and his friends respectfully bow before the
saintly person and prepare to sit than he said to them, 'You are
educated young men. Why don't you preach Lord Caitanya's message
throughout the whole world?' "(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. Your
Ever Well Wisher. page xvi.)
Abhay was surprised that the 'sadhu' had asked immediately for them
to become preachers on his behalf. Impressed by Srila Bhakti
Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura he wanted to test him with intelligent
inquiries"(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. You Ever Well-wisher. page
Khadi clad, Abhay asked, "Who will hear your Caitanya's message? We
are a dependent country. First India must become independent. How
can we spread India's culture if we are under British rule?"
Note that he never objected to the concept of spreading Lord
Caitanya's mission, his concern was with the apparent obstacles
that stood in the way.
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati dispelled any thought of potential
obstacles saying that Krsna consciousness didn't have to wait for a
change in Indian Politics, nor was it dependent on who ruled. Krsna
consciousness could not be impaired by anyone or anything, it is so
important that it could not wait. Therefore you must do it.
Abhay was struck by his boldness. He brushed all temporal material
miseries and condions aside, leaving the only worthwhile and
factual conclusion and solution to all material difficulties, Krsna
In a very short time Abhay was convinced, "He's wonderful!" Abhay
said to his friend, "The message of Lord Caitanya is in the hands
of a very expert person"(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever
Well-wisher", page xvii.) It was that very night that in his heart
young Abhay accepted Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Prabhupada as his spiritual master(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987.
"Your Ever Well-wisher", page xvii-xviii.).
In 1925 Abhay Charan De first visits Sri Vrindavan, the Holy place
of Lord Sri Krsna's pastimes.
For business purposes, Abhay and his wife and family moved to
Allahabad. As a pharmaceutical salesman, Abhay did a lot of
travelling by rail, especially in North India.
By now Abhay Charan had developed a strong relationship with Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad, to the point where he
requested formal spiritual initiation. On November 21st 1932., in
the Gaudiya Math in Allahabad Abhay Charan De receives 'diksha'
Abhay tried to organise to visit his spiritual master but whenever
he visited Calcutta Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was not there.
Unlike many of his other disciples Abhay was thus unable to travel
and spend time with his spiritual master. Consequently over the
next four years they only met about a dozen times.
When finally they did meet Abhay Charanaravinda das took every
opportunity to hear from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. "Although Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was so strong in argument against other
philosophies that even his own disciples were cautious about
approaching him if he were sitting alone, and although Abhay's
contact with him was quite limited, still Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Saraswati would always treat him very kindly. Srila Prabhupada
would later recall, "....sometimes my Godbrothers would criticise
because I would talk a little freely with him, and they would quote
this English saying, 'Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread'.
But I would think, 'Fool? Well, maybe. But that is the way I am'.
My Guru Maharaj was always very, very affectionate to
me"(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher", page
1935 on the occasion of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati's 62nd
birthday Abhay submitted a poem and an essay at as meeting of his
Godbrothers in Bombay. The articles were well received and duly
published in the 'Harmonist' for which Abhay was informally daubed
'kavi' (learned poet) by his Godbrothers. Abhay's real pleasure in
his offering was when it reached Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati,
who in particular liked one stanza and showed it to all his
Absolute is sentient
Thou hast proved,
though has removed.
Later Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said to the editor of the
'Harmonist', "Whatever he writes, publish it!"
That year (1935) held one of the most significant meetings with his
spiritual master in Vrindavan. Once when Abhay Charanaravinda das
was walking with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and several other
disciples, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati began talking
confidentially to Abhay Charan das. the conversation was in regard
to some senior disciples quarrelling over who would use various
rooms and facilities at the Gaudiya Math headquarters in Calcutta
(Bagh Bazaar). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said to Abhay
Charan' if they are quarrelling now what will they do after their
spiritual master passes away? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was
distressed. He said to Abhay Charan' "There will be fire.......!"
One day there would be fire in the Calcutta Gaudiya Math, and that
fire of party interest would spread and destroy. Abhay Charan'
heard, but didn't know what to make of it. "It would be better, to
take the marble from the walls of the temple to secure money. If I
could do this and print books, that would be better," said Srila
Then Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said directly to Abhay Charan,
"I have a desire to print some books. If you ever get money print
books".(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher", page
"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad departed from
this mortal world in December 1936. One month before his departure
Abhay Charan wrote him a letter. He was thinking that as
householder, 'grhastha' he couldn't fully serve his spiritual
master, and he wanted to know what to do. Thus he inquired, "Is
there any particular service I can do?"
Two weeks later Abhay Charan received a reply: "I am fully
confident that you can explain in English our thoughts and
arguments to the people who are not conversant with the languages
Bengali & Hindi.....this will do much good to yourself as well
as your audience. I have every hope that you can turn yourself into
a very good English preacher."(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your
Ever Well-wisher", page xxi.) Accepting this as his confirmation of
his mission Abhay Charan began to further mould his life.
"The fire in the math", mentioned by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Saraswati broke out almost immediately after his disappearance.
Legal disputes followed and the mission as propounded by Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, was spoiled.
Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad lets his feelings be felt
in the following purports:
"In the beginning, during the presence of Om Visnupada Paramahamsa
Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, all the disciples worked in
agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One
party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Thakura, but another group created their own concoction
about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at
the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a
governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He
did not instruct a particular man to become the next 'acarya'. But
just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans,
without authority, to occupy the post of 'acarya', and they split
in two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently,
both factions were 'asara', or useless, because they had no
authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master.
Despite the spiritual master's order to form a governing body and
execute the missionary activities of the Gaudiya Matha, the two
unauthorised factions began litigation that is still going on after
forty years with no decision.
"Therefore, we do not belong to any faction. But because the two
parties, busy dividing the material assets of the Gaudiya Matha
institution, stopped the preaching work, we took up the mission of
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura to
preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world, under
the protection of all the predecessor 'acaryas', and we find that
our humble attempt has been successful. We followed the principles
especially explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his
commentary on the Bhagavad Gita verse 'vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha
kuru-nandana'. According to this instruction of Visvanatha
Cakravarti Thakura, it is the duty of a disciple to follow strictly
the orders of his spiritual master. The secret of success in
advancement in spiritual life is the firm faith of the disciple in
the orders of his spiritual master. The Vedas confirm this:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
'To one who has staunch faith in the words of the spiritual master
and the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the secret of
success in Vedic knowledge is revealed'. The Krsna consciousness
movement is being propagated according to this principle, and
therefore our preaching work is going on successfully, in spite of
the many impediments offered by antagonistic demons, because we are
getting positive help from our previous 'acaryas'. One must judge
every action by its result. The members of the self-appointed
'acaryas' party who occupied the property of the Gaudiya Matha are
satisfied, but they could make no progress in preaching. Therefore
by the result of their actions one should know that they are
'asara', or useless, whereas the success of the ISKCON party, the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which strictly
follows 'guru' and Gauranga, is increasing daily all over the
world. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to print as
many books as possible and distribute them all over the world. We
have tried our best in this connection, and we are getting results
beyond our expectations."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; Sri
Caitanya Caritamrta Adi lila 12:8. purport.)
asarera name ihan nahi prayoiana
bheda janibare kari ekatra ganana
"There is no need to name those who are useless. I have mentioned
them only to distinguish them from the useful devotees."(Sri
Caitanya Caritamrta Adi lila 12:11. text.)
dhanya-rasi mape yaiche patna sahite
pascate patna udana samskara karite
"Paddy is mixed with straw at first, and one must fan it to
separate the paddy from the straw."(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi
Lila 12:12. text.)
"This example given by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is very
appropriate. In the case of the Gaudiya Matha members, one can
apply a similar process. There are many disciples of
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, but to judge who is actually his
disciple, to divide the useful from the useless, one must measure
the activities of such disciples in executing the will of the
spiritual master. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried his best
to spread the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to countries outside
India. When he was present he patronised the disciples to go
outside India to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but
they were unsuccessful because within their minds they were not
actually serious about preaching His cult in foreign countries;
they simply wanted to take credit for having gone to foreign lands
and utilise this recognition in India by advertising themselves as
repatriated preachers. Many 'swamis' have adopted this hypocritical
means of preaching for the last eighty years or more, but no one
could preach the real cult of Krsna consciousness all over the
world. They merely came back to India falsely advertising that they
had converted all the foreigners to the ideas of Vedanta or Krsna
consciousness, and then they collected funds in India and lived
satisfied lives of material comfort. As one fans paddy to separate
the real paddy from useless straw, by accepting the criterion
recommended by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami one can very easily
understand who is a genuine world-preacher and who is
useless."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; Sri Caitanya
Caritamrta Adi Lila 12:12. purport.).
1939 Abhay Charan prabhu in recognition for his devotional
scholarship receives the honorary title 'Bhaktivedanta' from the
February 1944 A.C. Bhaktivedanta begins the 'Back to Godhead
magazine', an English fortnightly magazine, single handedly. Srila
Prabhupada edited it, typed the manuscripts, checked the galley
proofs, and even distributed the individual copies.
Indian independence in 1947 was followed by the horrors of
'Indo-Pak' fighting. Hundreds of thousands died in the fighting
that followed 'partition' of the land into India and Pakistan.
Abhay Charan' always remained in spiritual prospectus, reflecting
Srila Prabhupada recalls, "We have seen in 1947, Hindu-Muslim
fighting. One party was Hindu, the other party was Muslim. They
fought, and so many died. And after death there was no distinction
who was Hindu or who was Muslim - the municipal men gathered the
bodies together in piles to throw them somewhere".(Satswarupa das
Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxiii.)
In regard to the problem Abhay Charan das presented a solution in
BTG (Back to Godhead Magazine), in his article "Gandhi-Jinnah
Talks", he wrote, "Fighting will go on between Hindu and
Mohammedan, between Christian and Christian, between Buddhist and
Buddhist 'till the day of annihilation".(Satswarupa das Goswami.
1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxii.) As long as people forget
their purpose in life and relationship with God and each other out
of selfish material interests and desires for sense gratification,
they will continue fighting. "Real unity was possible only on the
platform of spiritual understanding and service to the
Supreme".(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher",
On December 7th 1947 Abhay Charan' wrote a long letter to Gandhi in
New Delhi. Having doubts that Gandhi would ever receive it Abhay
Charan addressing himself as Gandhi's "Unknown Friend", he wrote,
"I tell you as a sincere friend that you must immediately retire
from active politics if you do not desire to die an inglorious
death". Abhay Charan never received a reply, and on 30th January
1948 Gandhi was shot to death, his letter appearing as a
For the next few years Abhay Charan put less and less energy into
business and more and more into writing and preaching.
Abhay Charan was invited to speak at the Gita Mandir in Jhansi by a
colleague he had met as a customer at the Jhansi hospital. The
audience was mostly students and professionals, who were mostly
interested in social and cultural mental titillation. Many speakers
came and went. But Abhay Charan was visionary and ambitious, and
leaving his Allahabad business affairs in the hands of his son, he
tried to start a spiritual movement there in Jhansi. This was "The
League of Devotees".
1950 he retired from family life, adopting the 'ashrama' of
'vanaprastha' (retired). He was far from retirement in actuality.
Now he dedicated his energy into study and writing.
In 1953 initiates his first disciple in that centre in Jhansi,
Starts his own centre in Jhansi, to which the Grand Opening for
'The League of devotees' was on May 16th.
The 1950's were a difficult time for Abhay Charan. He had to leave
his "League if Devotees" building because the governor's wife
insisted it be used for a "Ladies Club". With no place to stay and
no real support, he left Jhansi - but not his plan for a world wide
association of devotees. He moved around from an 'ashram' in Delhi,
stayed with different Godbrothers, now he knew he was on his own.
He lived like a mendicant, staying here and there for a week at a
time in various temples or in the homes of the wealthy pious people
who would receive him. These difficult times of no money, simple
clothing, little proper food, etc., made him more resourceful. He
took these difficulties as assets(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987.
"Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxix.) Not so much in material terms,
but in term of what it did for his faith. He had no-one, he was
alone. Rejected by family and friends as a material failure his
only solace was the mission of his spiritual master.
To fulfil this mission he approached many prominent personalities
including Dr Rajendra Prasad, the President of India a that time,
but received no reply.
In September of 1956., Abhay Charan moves to Sri Vrindavan Dham
eighty miles south of Delhi to begin an intensive preparation and
study to embark on his life's mission. His plan was to draw enough
energy from the well of spiritual purity and energy of Sri
Vrindavan Dham, write in the tranquil atmosphere and then commute
to Delhi to distribute his literature and seek donations from
Having full faith in guru and Krsna, always expecting their mercy,
daily Abhay Charan pushed on even in the 60 degree Centigrade heat
of the Vrndavana and Delhi summers. Living simply, in an
inexpensive room in the Vamsi-Gopalji Temple, located on the bank
of the sacred Yamuna River, he entered into a special mood, and
quality of Vrindavan life.
It was very difficult, commuting to Delhi on the early morning
train, but having nowhere to stay, returning to Vrindavan the same
night. It didn't leave but a few hours in Delhi, and everything was
so expensive, for one on a budget of next to nothing. Yet he
continued, travelling, printing and mailing. After producing 12
consecutive fortnightly editions of "Back To Godhead" Abhay Charan
ran out of money. The printer told him that he couldn't print
simply out of friendship, and so there was no more publication.
Abhay Charan continued writing, building up a stock-pile of
preaching materials, but the plan for publication was distant.
After many years of struggle to support and maintain his family,
finally in 1954., A.C. Bhaktivedanta prabhu leaves his family to
dedicate his life to the mission of fulfilling the order of his
He ventured again to preach in Delhi. Resolute in his definite
major purpose A.C.Bhaktivedanta prabhu sat in his Chippiwada temple
(Delhi) typing by day and night in order to present Srimad
Bhagavatam faithful to the Vedanta Sutra of Vyasa, and with
purports to affect the stone like hearts of the misdirected
civilisation presently inhabiting the Earth. Srila
A.C.Bhaktivedanta prabhu carefully and thoughtfully with exacting
care and concentration worked quickly to this end.
After some time moved to the Radha-Damodar Temple in town. There he
would eat, sleep and write in his humble rooms overlooking the
courtyard at the Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple, where the six
Goswamis, four hundred years previously, would sit and take
'prasadam' and discuss Vaisnava philosophy and the loving pastimes
of Sri Radha Krsna in the presence of Lord Caitanya. At this sacred
place, the home of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Srila Prabhupada, by the
mercy of the 'parampara', became surcharged. His conviction, and
mission to write and preach becomes more apparent, with much deep
reflection upon his role, and the method by which he would fulfil
Living at the historic Sri Radha-Damodar temple in Vrindavana he
began his monumental 'life's masterpiece' the multi volume
commentated translation of the eighteen thousand verse Srimad
Bhagavatam (Maha-Bhagavat Purana)
Reflective, and in a renounced and solitary mood, Abhay Charan
Bhaktivedanta prabhu composed a Bengali poem, entitled, "Vrindavan
Bhajan". Its opening stanzas were especially self-reflective and
Verse 1. "I am sitting alone in Vrindavana Dham. In this mood I am
getting many realisations. I have wife, sons, daughters, grandsons,
everything. But I have no money, so they are a fruitless glory.
Krsna has sown me the naked form of material nature; By His
strength it has all become tasteless to me today, 'yasyaham
anugrhnami harishye tad-dhanam shanaih' "I gradually take away all
the wealth of those upon whom I am merciful".
How was I able to understand this mercy of the All Merciful?
Verse 2. "Everyone has abandoned me, seeing me penniless wife,
relatives, friends, brothers, everyone. this is misery, but it
gives me a good laugh. I sit alone and laugh!
In this 'Maya samsara', whom do I really love?
Where have my loving father and mother gone now?
And where are all my elders, who were my own folk?
Who will give me news of them, tell me who?
all that is left of this family life is a list of names.(Satswarupa
das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxxi.).
Soon after this realisation Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta prabhu had a
striking repetitive dream, one that he had as a householder. In the
dream his spiritual master appeared, just as he knew him, a tall,
scholarly 'sannyasi', 'Vaikuntha man', the pure representative of
the Lord. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur indicated to Abhay
Charan that it is time now to take 'sannyasa'. Repeatedly he called
and motioned to the cloth. He was definitely asking Abhay Charan to
take to the 'sannyasa' order.
When Abhay Charan awoke he pondered carefully the dream. "Abhay
Charan dasa reasoned that his spiritual master was saying 'now take
sannyasa and you will actually be able to accomplish this mission.
Formerly the time was not right'."(Satswarupa dasa Goswami. 1987.
"Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxxiv.)
Humbly Abhay Charan (Bhaktivedanta prabhu) although apprehensive,
approached his senior godbrother, Srila Bhakti Prajna Keshava
Maharaj in Mathura, who stressed that Abhay Charan take 'sannyasam'
September 17th 1959., he receives formal 'sannyasa' initiation in
Mathura from Srila Bhakti Prajna Keshava Maharaj, a dear godbrother
and senior disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Prabhupada. He was given the suffix Goswami to his name, and so
carried the full name A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
That day he was horned by a bull in the market place, and took it
as purification after the initiation.
In the Autumn of 1959, "Srila Prabhupada was living in Sri
Vrindavan Dham and would sometimes practice 'madhukari'.
'Madhukari' means to collect a little food door-to-door for one's
maintenance just as a bee collects a little pollen
flower-to-flower. Sri Prabhupada, however, often requested the
householders whom he called upon to give pen and paper for his
writing rather than the rice, dahl, and chapattis traditionally
sought by holy men practicing 'madhukari'.
On those papers that he received as alms, Srila Prabhupada wrote
page after page, preparing his messages of Godhead for the world.
Some of his manuscripts he published in his 'Back to Godhead
Magazine', and others, like 'Easy Journey to Other Planets', he
printed as small booklets. Although unable to publish everything he
wrote, Srila Prabhupada nevertheless continued to write and
stockpile his manuscripts. Unfortunately, some of the early
writings of His Divine Grace were lost after Srila Prabhupada left
Sri Vrindavan Dham to conduct his worldwide campaign of spreading
Krsna consciousness."(J.G. Bhaktigaurava Narasingha Swami. 1993.
Introduction to 'In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life'. page
Following the mood of the day, acknowledging the world struggle and
control between the 'post war super powers' for the 'uncharted,
unknown realm of space', and understanding the mentality of the
people of the day A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami publishes his first book
'Easy journey to other planets' in Delhi in the autumn of 1960.
As a culmination of many years of study, reflection, meditation,
discussion, and thought A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami publishes Canto
One, Volume One of Srimad Bhagavatam a commentary with super
condensed, compacted purports which were the crystallised product
of a life times study and realisation.
From his small room at the Radha-Damodar temple, where he would
prepare his meals, and rest he could see the 'samadhi' of Srila
Rupa Goswami and the Deities that he installed there. Bhaktivedanta
Swami prayed there, at the feet of Rupa Goswami, his predecessor
for guidance. what he received in return, the inspiration, intimate
direction, was like the scribe Ganesh who wrote on Srila
Vyasadeva's behalf as Vyasa dictated to him.
In 1962, with his Srimad Bhagavatam now published he personally
travelled, preached its glories, and sold copies. Using favourable
reviews from prominent persons like; Hanuman Prasad Poddar (Gita
Press - Gorakpur), Hindu philosopher Dr Radhakrishnan, the
prestigious 'Adyar Library Bulletin', Scholarly Godrothers, Prime
Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Dr Zakir Hussain - the Vice President
of India, Sri Biswanatha Das - governor of Uttar Pradesh, as his
advertisements. Bhaktivedanta Swami visited prospective donors as
he tried to raise funds for further volumes. To publish the first
canto in three volumes it had thus taken a little more than two
Outside the Radha Damodar Temple in Vrindavan 1964 with the
Governor of UP.
Now he turned his attention to preaching in the West.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was 69 years of age. He had treasured,
nurtured and developed the instruction from his spiritual master
some forty years. It seemed a long cultivation and preparation. As
Satswarupa das Goswami so nicely calls his biography on Srila
Prabhupada's first volume "A life-time in preparation", preparing
to plant the seeds.
"In Vrindavan Bhaktivedanta Swami met Mr Agarwal, a Mathura
businessman, and mentioned to him on passing, as he did to almost
everyone he met, that he wanted to go to the West. although Mr
Agarwal had known Bhaktivedanta Swami for only a few minutes, he
volunteered to try to get him a sponsor in America by asking his
son Gopal, an engineer in Pennsylvania, to send back a sponsorship
form. When Mr Agarwal volunteered to help in this way,
Bhaktivedanta Swami urged him to please do so"(Satswarupa das
Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher", page xxxviii.)
Meanwhile A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami went about his daily affairs
following his usual avenues of book selling, looking for whatever
opportunity might arise.
Then one day to his pleasure and surprise, he was contacted by the
Ministry of External Affairs and informed that a certificate of 'No
Objection' for travelling to the U.S was ready. Mr Gopal Agarwal of
Butler Pennsylvania had solemnly declared that he would bear any
and all expenses of Bhaktivedanta Swami during his stay in the
With newly acquired passport, visa, 'P-form', sponsor, and travel
fare A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami travelled to Bombay to seek
assistance in getting to America. He approached Srimati Sumati
Morarji, head of the Scindia Steamship Line, who had previously
helped him with a large donation for printing volume two of Srimad
Concerned to his health and welfare Sumati Morarji said, "no" to
his request for assistance.
Bhaktivedanta Swami coaxed her secretary Mr Choksi, advising him in
exactly what to say; "I find this gentleman very inspired to go to
the States and preach Lord Krishna's message to the people
there....." again she said, "no". He demanded a personal interview,
which he got, and then presented his single minded emphatic
request; "Please give me one ticket!!!"
Finally she conceded and gave him a scheduled place on the ship
Jaladuta, which was sailing from Calcutta on 13th August 1965. She
made all the arrangements, making sure that he would travel on a
ship whose captain understood the needs of a vegetarian and a
'brahmana'. She organised that the captain, Arun Pandia carry extra
vegetables and fruits for Bhaktivedanta Swami.
A couple of days before the ship was to sail Bhaktivedanta Swami
arrived in Calcutta. Although he had spent so much of his early
life growing up there and had known so many persons as in his poem,
now he knew no-one.
Staying with a slight acquaintance, and on the day before his
departure, travelling north to Mayapur to visit the 'samadhi' tomb
of his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Prabhupada to ask for his blessings. Now he was ready.
His main baggage was several trunks, two hundred three volume sets
of first canto Srimad Bhagavatam, his personal baggage a small
suit-case, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal in case he
couldn't find food in the land of the meat eaters. If that be the
case, he was prepared to live on boiled potatoes and the cereal he
brought with him.
On Friday August 13th 1965., at 9:00 am., he sets sail for America
aboard the steamship 'Jaladuta'. By Saturday 14th., Bhaktivedanta
Swami experienced seasickness, dizziness, vomiting as they moved
slowly in heavy rains through the Bay of Bengal.
Reaching Colombo, Sri Lanka on 19th., Bhaktivedanta Swami was able
to go ashore and get some relief from his seasickness. A diary is
recorded of the exact route in Satswarupa das Goswami's books in
the chapter "Struggling Alone"(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your
Ever Well-Wisher", pages 1-3.)
After experiencing sea-sickness from the Atlantic crossing, in
rough seas, and in mid-Atlantic, and at the advanced age of 63
years of age A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami suffers two heart attacks.
"If a third comes I will not survive!"
That night in a dream the Lord appeared to him in a boat full of
many incarnations, and assured the dedicated mendicant that He will
Sri Krsna was very kind to Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, and he
appreciated that. In his diary he wrote, "If the Atlantic would
have shown its usual face, perhaps I would have died. But Lord
Krishna has taken charge of the ship".
After a 35 day journey from Calcutta the Jaladuta docked at
Commonwealth pier at 5:30 am., September 17th 1965., the ship docks
in Boston, United States of America, stopping briefly before
pushing on to New York City Harbour, for A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami a
new journey had begun.
The Captain made comments to the effect that, this had been the
calmest of all the Atlantic crossings that he had ever been on, and
light heartedly, yet with regard for his health, asked
Bhaktivedanta Swami if he would return with him to ensure another
With only forty Rupees, and an Indian steel trunk full of Srimad
Bhagavatams, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami set his sights for creating a
movement that would have the effect of changing the world that we
live in so many ways.
Unlike many Indians who had gone before him and come to the West,
he had not come to receive from the West, but had come to give to
He was staunch. In an uncompromised manner, with shaven head,
'Vaishnava tilak', Tulasi neck beads, saffron 'dhoti', 'kurta',
'uttara' and an old 'chaddar' - shawl; and rubber pointed slippers,
all not uncommon for 'sadhus' in India. But who in America had ever
dreamed of seeing anyone dressed in the traditional Vaisnava way?
"He was possibly the first 'Vaisnava sannyasi' to arrive in New
York with uncompromising appearance"(Satswarupa dasa Goswami. 1987.
"Your Ever Well-Wisher", page 5.)
Srila Prabhupada recalls, "I did not know whether to turn left or
right"(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher", page
5.) After passing through the dockyard formalities he was met by a
representative from travellers aid, sent by the Agarwals' in Butler
He stayed there for a while, always meditating on how best to
preach. With a burning desire to start his preaching movement he
got Gopal Agarwal to take him to Pittsburg where he got a bus for
New York City.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami knew no-one in New york, he only had a
contact: Dr Ramamurthi Mishra. Dr Mishra was a flamboyant, dramatic
personality. Bhaktivedanta Swami was given a room at his apartment,
but when it became inconvenient he shifted Bhaktivedanta Swami down
to his Hatha Yoga studio near Central Park. Bhaktivedanta Swami
stayed there for a short time, but found himself constantly at odds
with Mishra who turned out to be a 'mayavadi'.
In Butler he had been confined by the Agarwals' middle class
sensibilities; now due to having to be temporarily dependent on the
good will of a 'mayavadi' - treated with kindness, yet viewed as a
threat. Dr Mishra tried desperately hard to keep his 'yoga'
students away from the personalistic philosophy emanating from
Bhaktivedanta Swami's mouth.
November 8th., 1965., Bhaktivedanta Swami wrote to his godbrother
Tirtha Maharaj, who had become president of the Gaudiya Math. He
tried to urge his godbrothers to come and help him, or at least
send a couple of men he could work with, preach with and open a
Three weeks later a reply came from Tirtha Maharaj, unfortunately
today, I think for him, Tirtha Maharaj's letter was a very polite
yet to the point, ".....that the Gaudiya Math's funds could not be
used to open a centre in New York".
That didn't deter him in the least, his faith in the mission of his
guru maharaj was firm, he knew what he wanted and knew that all he
had to do was be willing to follow the design of the Lord. the
practical example of Arjuna was there in the forefront of his mind,
trusting that the battle was in fact already won, the humble
follower of this ageless tradition now stood up proudly amidst
numerous potential foes and declared the battle won. Proof of the
foresight of his faith, like one who puts faith in the darkness of
the early morning, knowing that light of day will appear, he
revealed his mind to those he met, who he found worthy.
"In his solitary wanderings in Manhattan, Bhaktivedanta Swami made
acquaintances with a number of local people. there was Mr Ruben, a
Turkish Jew, who worked as a subway conductor. Mr Ruben met
Bhaktivedanta Swami on a park bench and, being a sociable fellow
and a world traveller, sat and talked with the Indian holy Man.
Mr Ruben: He seemed to know that he would have temples filled 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 time is separating us from them'. He always mentioned
'we' and spoke about the one who sent him, his spiritual master. He
didn't know people at that time, but he said, 'I am never alone'.
He always looked like a lonely man to me. That's what made me think
of him like a holy man, Elijah, who always went out alone. I don't
believe he had any followers."(Satswarupa dasa Goswami. 1987. "Your
Ever Well-Wisher", page 14.)
Even in the severest conditions of blizzards and snow Bhaktivedanta
Swami worked on his "Krsna Book", Srimad Bhagavatam, preached from
Bhagavad Gita and offered his food to the Lord.
15th February 1965., Bhaktivedanta Swami moved from Dr Mishra's
'yoga' studio to an place of his own, a small narrow office without
furniture or telephone. Sleeping on the floor on blankets, and a
makeshift desk for writing made by covering a trunk with a cloth.
There were no bathing or cooking facility so he travelled up two
flights to use Dr Mishra's 'Yoga Ashram'. Now Bhaktivedanta Swami
maintained himself simply by selling his books to who ever he met
that was interested.
Even in this bare room Bhaktivedanta Swami began to preach. On a
donated reel to reel tape recorder he recorded some of his solitary
'bhajans', accompanying himself on 'karatals' (hand cymbals). He
even recorded a long philosophical essay, "Introduction to
Gitopanishad (Bhagavad Gita)". Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had
told him, "...and even if no one attends, you can go on chanting to
the four walls". Now uninhibited by those around him, and free to
speak, Bhaktivedanta Swami began lectures Mondays, Wednesday, and
Fridays to whoever would come. His first audience were Dr Mishra's
students that he had preached to at their 'ashram'. But news soon
spread like fire in the Lower East Side of New York, the time was
right and so were the people.
After having his typewriter and tape recorder stolen, disappointed,
Bhaktivedanta Swami moved to the Bowery to be where the people
were, and where he was offered accommodation in a loft.
The classes continued, and the musicians of the area came to chant
along with Bhaktivedanta Swami, as long as they chanted 'Hare
Krishna' he didn't mind.
But alas the nature of the Bowery's drug using population convinced
Bhaktivedanta Swami that as he was warned, the Bowery was unsafe
for a gentleman such as he.
Gaining assistance from some of his students Bhaktivedanta Swami
stayed with Carl Yeargens and his wife Eva, until Michael Grant and
Carl helped him to find a store front, a former gift shop on 26 -
2nd Avenue, called "Matchless Gifts". The rent was $71 a month and
including bond, electricity etc., it came to $196 to move in. Carl,
Mike and some of the others pitched in and Bhaktivedanta Swami was
able to move in.
The apartment was painted, electricity connected, water turned on,
and a phone installed - everything paid for by his friends.
The musicians and people of the Bowery considered Bhaktivedanta
Swami "Highly Evolved", and felt inspired when it was time to move
him into his new place. He was pleased to be there too, and seeing
things slowly but surely coming together encouraged the mission of
his spiritual master to keep going on.
The time was right, things were radically changing in the west. The
youth were looking for the positive alternative, something to give
lasting peace after decades of war.
Now finding himself strategically placed by the Lord ready to
receive the influx of potential spiritual seekers, who had come
from all over the U.S. to descend on the Lower East Side, "Which in
the parlance of the renting agents became known as the 'East
Village'."(Satswarupa dasa Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-Wisher",
page 34.) Their search was unlike other immigrants to the area,
their's was a search not for work or acceptance by material
society. Their's was a search to find real love, real peace, real
existence, integrity, and ultimately real spiritual consciousness.
They had rebelled against the war in Vietnam, political
manipulation, T.V. propaganda, the trivia, and mundane advertising,
and influence of the media - in fact they rebelled against
everything that the ephemeral goals of 'middle class America'
whence they came stood for. "They were disillusioned by parents,
teachers, clergy, public leaders, and the media -- they were just
right for spiritual life."(Satswarup das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever
Well-Wisher", page 34.) Sometimes, with his usual visionary and
humble outlook, he would declare that they had been placed there by
his 'guru maharaj' to assist with his preaching.
With complete disregard for his own safety he went to a place that
Vaisnavas normally find distasteful, the most materially successful
place, but a land of passion and ignorance, beset with crazy
misguided youth and demoniac scientists, and where intoxication,
illicit sex, and cow killing were a way of life. Srila A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami, at an age when most elderly gentlemen would be
thinking of rest and retirement, started a revolution that has,
without any doubt, changed the face of the earth.
aitam sa asthaya paratmanistha madhyasitam
aham tarisyami durantaparam tamo mukundanghri nisevayaiva
"Following in the lotus footsteps of the great 'rshis' [we shall
cross], he has crossed over the impassable ocean of the material
existence by means of devotion to the Supreme Lord and by the
transcendental service of Lord Mukunda, the Lord of
The pure unalloyed Vaisnavas like Srila Prabhupada always act in a
way that is pleasing to the Lord and in no other way, as in the
case of Lord Caitanya's servant, who, after Lord Caitanya fell
asleep across the doorway of the room, stepped over His body to
perform devotional service for the Lord. Upon Lord Caitanya's
waking he saw that His dear servant was still in the room and had
not taken his meal. Lord Caitanya enquired why he had not gone for
his meal, and the devotee replied that he couldn't as You, the Lord
were sleeping, blocking the door. The Lord further enquired saying,
"How then did you enter the room?" The devotee replied that, "I had
stepped over You so I could do some service for You, but for my
service, service of my tongue and belly, I could not cross over You
as this would be an offence." There are many stories like this in
the Srimad Bhagavatam. One story relates how, at one time, Lord Sri
Krsna played the part of having a headache. He stated that the only
medicine was to take the dust from the lotus feet of the
'brahmanas', and so approached the 'brahmanas' in that way.
Thinking for their own welfare and not for Krsna's, they all said
that if they were to allow the Supreme Lord to take their feet on
His head, they would all go to hell, never to return. However, when
Krsna approached the 'gopis', the simple cowherd girls of Vrndavana
with the same request, without hesitation gave Krsna their feet and
He placed them on His head. Their thoughts are recorded as, "We
don't care if we go to hell. Let us satisfy our Krsna. If Krsna is
suffering we will do anything we can to relieve Him."
Another time in Jagannatha Puri temple, which gets very full, an
old lady climbed onto the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to see
the forms of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Lady Subhadra. Many
devotees were perplexed, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could see her
deep love for the Lord, and thus allowed her to do so. Another is
in the case of Lord Krsna Himself, who broke His promise to save
His devotee Arjuna. When grandfather Bhisma attacked Arjuna, Krsna
ran at Bhisma to crush him with a chariot wheel, even though He had
said He would not intervene in the battle. Yet for His devotee He
gave up His reputation.
So in the same way, as a spotless 'paramahamsa Vaisnava sannyasi'
of the Lord "our Srila Prabhupada", for the service of the Lord and
for the service of mankind and all living entities, took up the
preaching mission as laid down by the Personality of Godhead, Lord
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, at the risk of his own personal safety and
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was never concerned for the petty
criticisms of the caste conscious 'smartas' and 'gosais', or others
who never preached to try to lessen the suffering of the living
entities in this world, for his turning those born outside of the
'Hindu' caste of 'brahmin' into sincere 'Vaisnava brahmins'. Rather
he strictly followed the higher principal of compassion to all the
conditioned souls, as spoken by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu;
bharata-bhumite haila manusya janma yara
janma sarthaka kari kara para upakara
"One who has taken his birth as a human being in Bharata Bhumi
(India) should make his life successful and work for the benefit of
all peoples outside India as well as in India."
ateva saba phala deha 'yare tare
khaiya ha-uk loka ajara amare
"Distribute this Krsna consciousness movement all over the world.
Let people eat these fruits of love of Godhead and ultimately
become free from old age and death."(Caitanya Caritamrta Adi Lila
atheva ami ajnadilvn sabakare
yahan tahan prema-phala deha 'yare tare
"Therefore I (the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krsna
Caitanya Mahaprabhu) order every man within this universe to accept
this Krsna consciousness movement and distribute it
everywhere."(Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 9:35-36.)
Even at the cost of his own reputation, expense, safety and
The 'shastric' injunctions that the many rigid 'smartas' quote are
it's true there for our guidance and safeguard. The context however
needs to be examined, and then applied to practical application as
in the way of it's intent. In reality the sum and substance of
these injunctions restricts the movements of purified or pure
devotees outside of 'karmabhumi' (India) to safeguard them from the
undesirable lifestyles of the non-devotees, and barbarian
carnivores who pervade such places, least not only their Vaishnava
principles be threatened but also their lives. Specifically the
west is referred to as 'bhogabhumi' meaning a place of unrestricted
sensual exploitation and enjoyment.
We can see though, that such a strong willed, pure hearted and
dedicated person as Srila Prabhupad never ever became affected by
the lesser influences of the material energy. Rather 'Mayadevi'
stands hands folded as the assistant of her Lord and master (Sri
Krishna) to help and guide such a pure devotee.
"We shall call our society I.S.K.C.O.N. Bhaktivedanta Swami had
laughed playfully when he had first coined the acronym". He had
initiated the legal work of incorporation that spring, while still
living on the Bowery, but even before its legal beginning, he had
been talking about his "International Society for Krishna
Consciousness", and so it had appeared in letters to India and in
"The Village Voice" (newspaper). A friend had suggested a title
that would sound more familiar to Westerners "International society
for God Consciousness". But 'God' was a vague term, whereas
'Krishna' was exact and scientific; 'God Consciousness' was
spiritually weaker, less personal. And if Westerners didn't know or
understand that Krishna was God, then the 'International Society
for Krishna Consciousness' would tell them, by spreading His
glories 'in every town and village'.
'Krishna Consciousness' was Bhaktivedanta Swami's own rendering of
a phrase from Srila Rupa Goswami's Padyavali, written in the 16th
century. 'krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita': "To be absorbed in the mellow
taste of executing devotional service to Krsna'.
The purposes stated within Iskcon's articles of incorporation
reveal Bhaktivedanta Swami's thinking. There were seven points,
similar to those given in the prospectus for The League of
Devotees, he formed in Jhansi, India 1954. That attempt had been
unsuccessful, yet his purposes remained unchanged.
Seven Purposes of the International Society for Krishna
(a) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at
large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual
life in order to check the imbalance of the values in life and to
achieve real unity and peace in the world.
(b) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in
the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
(c) To bring the members of the society together with each other
and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus to develop the idea
within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part
and parcel of the Quality of Godhead (Sri Krishna).
(d) To teach and encourage the 'sankirtan' movement, congregational
chanting of the Holy Names of God as revealed in the teachings of
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
(e) To erect for the members and for society at large, a Holy place
of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of
(f) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of
teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
(g) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to
publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other
Regardless of what Iskcon's charted members thought of the
society's purposes, Bhaktivedanta Swami saw them as immanent
realities."(Satswarup dasa Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher",
page 45-47.) In 1966 (July 20th), he incorporates ISKCON. Autumn of
1966., he establishes the ISKCON Press.
In January 1967 A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami experiences his first
airplane flight to San Francisco to be greeted by his newly
established temple inmates there.
September 1967., he finds himself suffering from a third heart
attack since leaving his beloved Vrindavan.
July 9th 1967., he inspires his disciple to perform the first
Rathayatra outside of India, it was to be performed in San
In July (24th) 1967., Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami leaves for
India because of ill-health. But found a warm welcome to meet
In May of 1968., Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami visits the new
fledgling community of 'New Vrindavan', West Virginia.
This opens a new chapter by installing the first Radha-Krsna
Deities outside of India, in the Los Angeles Iskcon temple (June
23rd 1969). Being sensitive to the predictions that Los Angles may
become like Dwaraka and return to the sea, (Los Angles, due to its
being in an earthquake zone, being on a fault line etc.) the
Deities are called Sri Sri Rukmini-Dwarakadisha.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami pays his first visit to London
(September 1st 1969) to see his disciples there, and resides at
'Beatle' John Lennon's country estate at Tittenhurst, near
In December (14th) 1969., he conduct the Grand Opening and 'Avahan'
Installation of Sri Sri Radha-Londoniswara at the Radha-Krishna
Temple., 7., Bury Place, Holborne, London, just around the corner
from the British Museum.
On 28th July 1970., Srila Prabhupada forms the Governing Body
Commission (G.B.C.) as originally requested by Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur for his disciples to do.
The very next day (29th July) he establishes the Bhaktivedanta Book
Trust (BBT). A book trust specifically for publishing the works of
His divine Grace. Highly respected by scholars for their authority,
depth, and clarity, the books are now used as standard text books
in numerous college, and University courses.
As a publishing enterprise it has to date published, and
distributed world-wide more books in number, unequalled by anyone
book publishing house. (In some Iskcon literature 1972 is the date
given as the foundation of the BBT.).
August 29th 1970., marks the instituting of the 'Life Membership
Program' in Calcutta. Later that fall, he performs a series of
preaching tours with his American and European disciples.
May 1971., Srila Prabhupada signs a contract with MacMillan Book
Publishing Company to print the unabridged edition of 'Bhagavad
Gita As It Is'.
1971 (May) marks the acquiring of five acres of land in Sridham
Mayapura, near the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, Nadia, West Bengal.
This will further one of the purposes of the society.
Sometimes some of Srila Prabhupada's godbrothers would try to
criticise him saying that they had noticed that when he came to
Mayapura that he didn't stop his vehicle at the Gaudiya Math get
down and pay obeisances as the others did at the 'samadhi' tomb of
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Srila Prabhupada stated
that it was not that he saw his spiritual master only in that
place, he said that never was there a second of any day that he
felt the absence of his spiritual master. He always felt the
presence of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta because actually he was always in
We can truly see that Srila Prabhupada followed in the mood of the
great predecessor acaryas like Sripad Madhwacarya, Sripad Vyasa
Tirtha and the Goswamis of Vrindavana, for he was never simply
attached to the worldly system of 'varna' and 'ashrama', or
materialistic etiquette and its' dogma. But rather knew how to
please Lord Krsna, and subsequently all others, by adapting
whatever situation occurred into a favourable one for serving
Anyone could see, he was a great 'Vaisnava brahmin' of the highest
character, but when necessity called for it he did not hesitate to
involve himself in day to day management to ensure that his
preaching mission, his life's mission to fulfil the order of his
'Guru Maharaja', went on, which ordinarily someone who was thinking
himself to be a 'sannyasi' or a big big 'guru' doesn't seem to do.
In fact on numerous occasions he said that he would do anything to
assist in the preaching mission of his 'guru maharaj'. One such
instant that come to mind was with a 'sankirtan' - book distributor
who required something on a shelf, and asked Srila Prabhupad if he
could stand on his bed to reach it. The devotee was immediately
told that for preaching you can stand on my head.
On an arrival address Srila Prabhupada spoke about the caste system
in India. He defined the four social castes, and then especially
glorified the 'brahmins'. Thinking they had found a loop-hole in
his spotless character, a reporter poised a subtle challenging
question. "So what caste are you?" The humble reply, "I'm a fifth
class, servant of the other four!", startled everyone there.
From time to time fundamental, fanatical and other poorly informed
groups; deprogrammers etc., published books in which they found
fault with Srila Prabhupada's fledgling and 'newly converted'
disciples, yet none to my knowledge were so brave, or so foolish as
to find fault with him, the pure surrendered devotee of the
Now we are seeing the fruits of Srila Prabhupada's selfless
surrender, but according to some, one in the renounced order of
life should not cross a small ocean. And if one is thinking himself
as a material designation such as a 'sannyasi', then as Sripad
Rajendra Tirtha inferred to Jayadharma Tirtha (Vijayadhvaj Tirtha),
surely it is better that one doesn't go anywhere least he become
contaminated, but for pure Vaisnavas there is a higher principle.
H.H. Sri Bannajee Govindacharya gives his support to such selfless
preaching to further the 'dharma'.
However, June 1971., saw Srila Prabhupad visiting Moscow the seat
of communistic atheism, and plants the seed of Krsna consciousness
there, by which we see today, the fruits of many temples, and tens
of thousands of devotees have emerged.
In 1972 Srila Prabhupada began the Vedic system of primary and
secondary education in the West by founding the ' Bhaktivedanta
Swami gurukula' school in Dallas, Texas. Since then many more have
been developed around the world.
In March 1972 he performs the consecration, and cornerstone laying
ceremony ('Deva Grharambha') at Hare Krishna Land his newly
established and threatened project in Juhu, Bombay.
Just after this still in March 1972., he aquires land in Raman
Reti, Sri Vrindavan Dham, and conducts the cornerstone laying
ceremony there also.
Following a vigorous 12 year preaching tour which took him fourteen
times around the world, and to six continents. Yet his 'sadhana' of
taking rest early, and rising at midnight to write through the
night afforded his prolific quality literary output.
At the Rathyatra in London July 1973., even at a very advanced age
of 77-78 he dances ecstatically the full length of the procession
course from Hyde Park Corner to Trafalgar Square, for at least an
hour and a distance of about 3-4 kilometres (around 2 miles).
Srila Prabhupada was so ecstatic that even the devotees who were
seated on Lord Jagannath's cart, Revatinandan Maharaj leading
wonderful kirtans, they were told to come down off the cart and
join the fun. They did, and by the time the Rathyatra reached
Picadilly Circus Srila Prabhupada was dancing and jumping, clean
off the ground.
On November 10th 1974., Srila Prabhupada completes his mammoth
commentary on Sri Caitanya Caritamrta with elaborate translations
April 20th 1975., he organises to bring local 'brahmin' priests to
accompany his ecstatically jubilant disciples as functionary
priests under his instruction to perform the 'Avahan' and Grand
Opening of the newly completed Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir, in
On April 20th 1975 Srila Prabhupad meets with Prime Minister of
India, Indira Gandhi.
1975, also marks a great scientific achievement for Srila
Prabhupad. He founds the 'Bhaktivedanta Institute', the scientific
branch of Iskcon headed by a group of his disciples from the
scientific community, now dedicated to Srila Prabhupada's mission
of proving that 'Life Comes From Life'. Thus smashing former
atheistic, rationalistic, Darwinistic theories of 'Material
"One time in Mayapura, we had just completed that four-storey
building, and Srila Prabhupada was very happy to be there. Of
course he had a place to sit, so now we could lay down.
He was taking 'prasad'. There was a big feast that day for the
opening of the temple, and [after] he was taking, and he heard all
this noise in the back. He got up and looked out of the [window in
the] back. He called all the G.B.C.'s immediately come, .....call
Bhavananda, Jayapataka........everyone (everyone laughs).
Also......, he used to call......., all of a sudden. 'Call
everyone!' so everyone was called, they all run.....! .......and
there he was looking, ........and there in the back, there was a
ditch about 50 feet from the wall of the temple where all the leaf
plates from the feast had been thrown. ......And there, there was
about 15 local children, who were fighting off the dogs and taking
the plates. You know, how devotees, .....they get a little piece of
uncooked 'puri', and throw it back on the plate, or there's a
little bit of chutney juice.......! anyway the children were taking
the plates and licking them, and taking the little half 'puris',
and whatever they could get and eating that. And Srila Prabhupada
was looking, 'Just look at how they are eating this, they must be
so hungry. They must be so hungry! We must feed them!'
"Then Srila Prabhupada started crying and said, 'This is Krishna's
house, Krishna is the father of everyone, if you want to make 'real
temple' then you must make arrangement.......anyone within a 10
kilometre circumference, that they near go hungry. Then this is
Krishna's house - in the presence of the father the child will
never go hungry. Immediately make arrangements to distribute
'prasadam'.' And that's the beginning of Iskcon Food Relief (the
fore-runner of 'Food For Life')."(Jayapataka dasa Goswami. 29th
August 1979. Bhaktivedanta Manor, London.)
Srila Prabhupada's mission was so necessary. I, for one, would not
be here writing this book if it were not for his compassion for the
fallen conditioned souls, such as myself, who somehow, or another
had fallen into this material pool, and were suffering like
anything there. This is not some esoteric poetry or exaggerated
'arthavadic' statement on my part, I mean suffering LIKE
Srila Prabhupada, by his mercy and on the order of his spiritual
master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, came to smash the
philosophies of impersonalism and voidism. Not only are pure
Vaisnavas crossing a small watery ocean like a calf's hoof-print,
but are successfully crossing the ocean of birth and death, and
enabling many thousands of souls in this world to do the same. On
the order of 'guru' and Krsna, "..therefore, the Madhwa Sampradaya
is successfully spreading all over the universe"(A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada in his purport to the verse Srimad Bhagavatam
1:9:7. page 75.).
Like all of the predecessor 'Acaryas' we need to remember, relish
and give thanks to such a devoted and pure soul as Srila
To enable this mission to be established Prabhupada nearly
sacrificed his very life on the journey across the treacherous
Atlantic Ocean that remitted two heart attacks, but this humble
pure devotee's love for the Lord changed everything. The Lord even
appeared in a dream to Srila Prabhupada, in a boat full with many
incarnations, saying they would protect their lonely ambassador.
The captain of the Jaladuta (the ship on which Prabhupada left
India) said that it was the smoothest voyage he had ever had, and
asked Prabhupada to come with him on the return to guarantee
another smooth Atlantic voyage.
To capture the mood of Srila Prabhupada we have included the
English translation of the Bengali prayer that he wrote on his
arrival at Commonwealth Pier on September 17th 1965, Boston,
One should try to picture the scene, looking at the seat of western
materialism where he had come to fulfil the order of his spiritual
master. The intensity of standing on the battle field overlooking
the armies assembled, or ready to embark upon one's allotted
"sankirtan spot" ('prabhu datta desha') prepared with intent,
meditative, observant, dependant, and where to start? Srila
Prabhupada, on board the ship Jaladuta, carrying within his heart
the order of his spiritual master to spread the teachings of Sri
Caitanya, the wisdom of the 'Acaryas', beyond the borders of India
throughout the entire world, oversaw his purpose. As he looked out
upon Bostons' bleak and dirty skyline he could understand the
difficulty of this sacred mission for these Godless people. Thus,
with perfect humility, he composed this historic prayer, praying
for the deliverance of all the fallen souls.
1. " My dear Lord Krsna, You are so kind upon this useless soul,
but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now you can do
whatever you like with me.
2. But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You
bring me to this terrible place?
3. Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of
ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think
themselves very happy and satisfied and therefore they have no
taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how
they will be able to understand it.
4. But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible
because You are the most expert mystic.
5. How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O
Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to
convince them about Your message.
6. All living entities have come under the control of the illusory
energy by Your will, and therefore, if you like, by Your will they
can also be released from the clutches of illusion.
7. I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore, if You so desire
their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your
8. The words of the Srimad Bhagavatam are Your incarnation, and if
a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural
reception, then he will be able to understand Your message.
9. It is said in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1:2:17-21.): "Sri Krsna,
the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in
everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee,
cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the
devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous
when properly heard and chanted. By regularly hearing the
Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is
troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed to nil and loving
service unto the glorious Lord, Who is praised with transcendental
songs, is established in the heart, the modes of passion ('raja')
and ignorance ('tamas') and lust and desire ('kama') disappear from
the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness and he
becomes happy. Thus established in the mode of goodness, the man
rejuvenated by loving service to the Lord gains liberation from
material association ('mukti') and comes to know scientifically of
the Personality of Godhead. Thus the knots of the heart and all
misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions
('karma') is terminated when one sees the Self as master."
10. He will become liberated from the influence of the modes of
ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious things accumulated
in the core of the heart will disappear.
11. How will I make them understand this message of Krsna
consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most
fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can
convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.
12. Somehow of other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak
about You. Now, My Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or
failure as You like.
13. O spiritual master of all the world! I can simply repeat Your
message, so if you like You can make my power of speaking suitable
for their understanding.
14. Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am
sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts
they will certainly feel gladdened and thus become liberated from
all unhappy conditions of life.
15. O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have
brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord
make me dance as You like.
16. I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have
strong faith in the Holy Name of Krsna. I have been designated as
Bhaktivedanta, and now if You like You can fulfil the real purport
(Signed - the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami, on board the ship Jaladuta, Commonwealth Pier,
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 18 September 1965.)
Arriving with only forty rupees in his pocket and a trunk full of
Canto One of the Srimad Bhagavatam in three parts, Srila
Prabhupada, the ambassador for the priceless truth of ancient
India, the panacea, that makes lame men walk and blind men see, was
about to embark on his mission that we have seen, has changed the
face of the whole earth. Srila Prabhupada relied completely on
Krsna, sitting down beneath a tree in Tomkins Square Park. The
'Yuga Dharma' was put to the test - "Just chant 'Hare Krsna' and
your life will be sublime." Srila Prabhupada's faith in 'guru' and
Krsna gave everyone who came in contact with his message the living
purport to devotional life.
On the Jaladuta ship in mid-Atlantic, suffering heart attacks,
Srila Prabhupada composed the following prayers knowing how, by the
order and desire of Lord Sri Caitanya and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Saraswati, everything would go on.
sri siddhanta saraswati saci-suta priya ati
krsna-sevaya jara tula nai
sei se mohanta-guru jagater madhe uru
krsna bhakti dey thai thai
tara iccha balavan pascatyete than than
yoy jate gauranger nam
prthivite nagaradi asamudra nada nadi
sakalei loy krsna nam
"Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who is very dear to
Lord Gauranga, the son of mother Saci, is unparalleled in his
service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. He is that great saintly
spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krsna at different
places throughout the world. By his intense desire, the Holy Name
of Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the western
world. In all the cities, towns and villages on the earth, from all
the oceans, seas, rivers and streams, everyone will chant the Holy
Name of Krsna."
Sitting on a park bench in New York City, Prabhupada, in
conversation with an acquaintance said, "We have so many temples,
so many devotees, so many books..... There is just some time
separating us." And it became a fact. By Srila Prabhupada's
humility, fathomless faith and determination to satisfy guru, the
parampara and Krsna, to save all the fallen souls suffering due to
ignorance in this materialistic age of Kali, his years of intense
study and writing had given Krsna a perfect instrument to work
When success came, with so many devotees, so many books and so many
temples, Srila Prabhupada remained meek and humble.
In a letter of 1968 Srila Prabhupada wrote: "Personally, I am a
nonentity; I have come here on the order of my Spiritual Master,
and He has kindly sent all you boys (and girls) to assist me. So
whatever is being done, there is no credit for me, but all the
credit goes to my spiritual master, because He has arranged
everything, and I am simply to abide by His
order."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Letter, 68:10:34 Book
Srila 'Prabhupada': The master at who's feet other masters sit,
never ever utilised any facility for sense gratification. His
purity and true renunciation was, and is, admired by all. Even
sometimes persons would criticise Srila Prabhupada's followers due
to our deep conditioning, not coming to the standard Srila
Prabhupada had set, but still no honest man could criticise Srila
Prabhupada. He is still cherished in the memories of millions for
his perfect Vaisnava qualities, more tolerant than a tree, humbler
than a blade of grass, and always offering respect to others. Even
he would glorify his disciples for their helping him, though the
disciples knew it was by Srila Prabhupada's mercy that they were
even there. Kindling the smallest flames of devotion, the perfect
'hotri' set the entire world ablaze with Krsna Consciousness.
If any think they can do as, or better than he, I challenge you to
do it. Talk is cheap, achievements take surrender, and if by the
Lord's mercy you too are successful, then wonderful, we all benefit
the more! Please only speak to glorify who is worthy.
In just twelve short years he initiated many thousands of
disciples, established temples in every major city in the world,
and travelled extensively twelve times around the world in as many
years. He established the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which is now
one of the biggest book publishing houses in the world which
distributes transcendental literatures at a rate unparalleled. In
every university, library, school, and many millions of houses
there are now to be found the transcendental time bombs of Vedic
wisdom - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Sri Ishopanishad, Bhaktirasamrta
Sindhu (Nectar of Devotion), Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya
Caritamrta, and hundreds of small books and booklets on spiritual
All the great 'acaryas' made commentaries on the Vedanta Sutra, and
our Srila Prabhupada also mentioned that he had this planned.
Actually if one studies Srila Prabhupada's life and instructions on
how to take up spiritual life, one will realise how the person
"Bhagavata" and the scripture "Bhagavata" are non-different 'saksad
dharitvena samasta sastraih'........!
Every word that Srila Prabhupada spoke came as a translation of a
verse with crystallised realisations in the form of the
Bhaktivedanta purports. If one reads the purports of the previous
'acaryas' which the faithful surrendered soul Srila A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami echoed, one can see that he embellished the
words of all the pure 'Vaisnava acaryas' in our line. What he
actually did was virtually gave up his own ideas, and even speech
patterns, to assimilate and simply deliver the word of the previous
authorities, in a pure and presentable manner. He used his
intelligence properly to present it. That to my understanding is
real self surrender. This is why Krsna empowers such devotees, for
Srila Prabhupada had no other interest but to spread the pure
teachings of the Brahma Madhwa Gaudiya Sampradaya to all who could
take it. Every action that he made, every 'mudra', gesture told of
the ageless culture coming down from the Lord. If you doubt this,
study his life. Srila Prabhupada may not have formally written
Vedanta Sutra, but his life was the living Bhakti-Vedanta-Sutra,
and therefore must be accepted along with all the great 'Vaisnava
acaryas' like Narada, Srila Vyasadeva, Acarya Madhwa, Sri Caitanya,
the Goswamis, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Bhaktivinoda and Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Earnestly studying the
commentaries of the great 'acaryas', Srila Prabhupada preached
their glories constantly.
Srila Prabhupada states in his purport to Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi
Lila (7:21.) that "All the codes of the Vedanta Sutra need not be
examined here however, since we intend to present the Vedanta Sutra
in a separate volume." I suggest, that He was that volume
personified. Actually if one takes the time to read the purports of
these verses of the 7th chapter of Adi Lila of Sri Caitanya
Caritamrta, one will easily understand the purport to the stanza
the person "Bhagavata" and the book "Bhagavata" are one and the
same. Srila Prabhupada is a living example of the Vedanta Sutras.
Sacrificing everything for the mission of the Lord, barely sleeping
at night, he would stay up translating and writing his purports,
then daily giving lectures, going on walks and having room
discussions with his disciples and guests. Whatever way one looks
at this, the conclusion must be that Srila Prabhupada is definitely
the bona-fide representative of the Brahma-Madhwa-Gaudiya
Sampradaya. As all the acaryas have left their commentary on
Vedanta Sutra, all complimenting the original author, and the
supporting commentaries by great acaryas like Madhwa, so Srila
Prabhupada left his for us in the modern age, in the form of his
life, the Bhakti-Vedanta Sutra.
On his last journey around the world stopping at London's
Bhaktivedanta Manor, I, for a very short time, had the great good
fortune of being able to see His Divine Grace and have but a few
"exchanges". At this time I accepted His Divine Grace as the Lord
of my life, my spiritual master, not officially, but within my
heart. This, no one can deny me. Thus Srila Prabhupada has changed
my life, and feeling so indebted, I humbly dedicate this book to
His Divine Grace, in his centennial year (1896-1996), and who is an
epitaph of the "Legacy of Sripad Ananda Tirtha, Madhwacarya,
Bhagavatpad", - Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, for if
it had not been for him, I have no idea of where I would be now, or
my future. Nor would you be reading this book!
At this time his physical health had been poor for a while now, and
virtually his body had ceased to work. In London when he came in
August, we were all so excited to see him. And after delays at the
airport, which gave way to prolonged ecstatic 'kirtan' by devotees
from all over Europe (England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Holland,
etc.) up to the point when his car came through the "Manor Gates"
and up to the reception room door. But we were shocked at his
emaciated appearance, it was heart rending. Yet, his eyes,
sparkling behind tinted glasses told of a different situation. They
were penetrating, warm and smiling, reaching out and touching the
very core of each of us.
Watching his devotion to Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda was touchingly
memorable, and his 'traditional' visit to Radha Londoniswara via
Radha-Bankabihari's (an old friend from Vrindavan's Deity, who
lives in London) even in such a condition. .......and Janmastami
and Vyasa-puja there at the Manor.
A few months after his visit to London, after giving up eating,
sleeping etc., only subsisting on the Deity's 'caranamrta', home,
he now returned to his beloved Vrindavana.
The concerned devotees consulted astrologers on Srila Prabhupada's
request with a view to gaining insight as to when this condition
would pass. Everything indicated that this could be the time of
Srila Prabhupada's disappearance. Although some said that if he
were to survive this difficult time for his body, he would carry it
on for a few more years. One astrologer suggested, 'maha-mrtyum
jaya-japa' and 'havan', to which Srila Prabhupada responded, "So
this 'japa', 'maha-mantra japa' and 'bhagavat-path', that I am
doing". 'Srimad Bhagavatam-patha'. So either read 'bhagavat' or
chant 'Hare Krishna', and let me lie down like this, that's all, as
it is going on. Huh?(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. October
14th 1977. Room Conversation.)
In his humility Srila Prabhupada requested many of his godbrothers
to come, and those who could not come, he sent telegrams asking for
their forgiveness of any offences that he may have committed while
trying to push on, and fulfil the preaching mission of Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada. Humbly Srila
Prabhupada requested like this, and the loving devotees surrounding
his bedside, carried out his every wish. Many godbrothers came,
sharing treasured moments together, knowing Srila Prabhupada's
nature, and heart's desire, and intent - there was no question of
any offence being taken.
As a complete philosophy, a full and rich culture, a way of life,
and a way to death, and beyond, the 'acaryas' like Srila Prabhupad
have left a wealth of guidance that we can take advantage of to
help us advance.
Some things as eternal truths, some to be applied according to
'time, place and circumstance'. Nothing was left untouched, no
mysteries, or controversies. The chaste 'Prabhupadanuga' followers
recognise this, look for what he has left, and resolve, and push on
his movement, as he did himself.
Srila Prabhupad residing in the holy Dham of Sri Vrindavan, on
Monday November 14th, 1977, at 7:30 pm., which fell upon the
Caturthi of the Gaura (Sukla) Paksa, Mula nakshatra, gave up this
mortal frame surrounded by loving disciples engaged in
'Harinam-sankirtan', the congregational chanting of the Holy
Translating Srimad Bhagavatam up until the very last breath, in a
peaceful condition, and with the Holy Name on his tongue, Srila
Prabhupada passed from this world in Sri Vrndavana Dhama to rejoin
his worshipful Lords Sri Sri Nitai Gaura, Sri Sri Krsna Balarama,
and Sri Sri Radhe Syamasundara in Their eternal abode.
"He reason ill who tells that Vaisnavas die
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaisnavas die to live, and living try
To spread the Holy Name around !"
(Poem by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura).