Born on the 1st of September in 1896 into a devout Hindu family, Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada’s life took a significant turn in 1922 when he encountered the esteemed religious leader and scholar, Shri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Under the guidance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Abhay Charan was tasked with the noble mission of introducing the profound philosophies of Lord Krishna to the Western world, marking a pivotal moment in his spiritual journey.
Journey to the West
In 1933, Srila Prabhupada wholeheartedly embraced Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s teachings, embarking on a 32-year journey to the Western countries to fulfill his mentor’s vision. At the age of 69, armed with only Rs40, a trunk of books, and a few personal belongings, he arrived in New York City. Despite facing numerous challenges, including financial constraints and the absence of a stable residence, Srila Prabhupada remained resolute. He initiated his mission by conducting classes on the Bhagavad-gita in lofts within the Bowery, New York’s infamous skid row, and leading traditional devotional chants in Tompkins Square Park.
Srila Prabhupada’s message of peace resonated profoundly with the hippie community and the younger generation, leading some to become dedicated students of the Bhakti-yoga tradition. With the support of his followers, he officially founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on the 11th of July 1966. Over the next 11 years, Srila Prabhupada circumnavigated the globe approximately 14 times, spreading the teachings of Lord Krishna to diverse audiences across six continents.
Legacy and Achievements
Srila Prabhupada came back to India with a wish to cultivate the better roots of Lord Krishna. He opened numerous temples and one of the largest centers of ISKCON in the holy towns of Mayapur and Vrindavana. The most imperative contribution of Srila Prabhupada is conceivably his books. He wrote more than 70 volumes on the tradition of Krishna, which Scholars highly appreciate because of its depth, clarity, and faithfulness toward the tradition. Several colleges have used his work in textbooks, and all his books have been already translated into 76 different languages.
His lifetime achievements are innumerable, magnificent, and extraordinary. Some of his achievements are listed below:
He dictated a total of 22,000 pages of text.
He translated and wrote purports to 18,000 verses of Srimad Bhagwatam and 700 verses of Srimad Bhagwat Gita.
He translated and wrote purports to 700 verses of the Srimad Bhagwat Gita and 12,555 Chaitanya Charitamrit.
He published 147 books, wrote 7000 letters to his disciples, and brought his magazine Back to Godhead into the mainstream with 1 million copies distributed.
His Bhagwad Gita lectures are compiled in 7 volumes, and Srimad Bhagwatam in about 12 book volumes.
6. His conversations with scientists, professors, editors have been compiled in 42 volumes. And also produced innumerable recordings.
At the age of 70, he started the mission to bring Lord Krishna’s name to every household. In the short span of 9 years, he achieved 5000 devotees and established 108 Isckon temples worldwide.