Paramahansa Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj
Akinchan Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj
Avadhuta Radha Charan Das Babaji
Memories of Srila Prabhupada
Archive of articles by Hrisikesh
(C) 1995 by Richard S. Brown All rights reserved.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Goswami Prabhupada 1896-1977
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India, as A.C. De. He first met his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutes) in India, liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. A.C. De became his student and, in 1933, his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati requested Swamito broadcast Vedic knowledge in English. In the years that followed, A.C. De wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, and, in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine. Single-handedly, A.C. De edited it, typed the manuscripts, checked the galley proofs, and even distributed the individual copies. The magazine is now being continued by his disciples in the West.
In 1950 A.C. De retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. He traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in humble circumstances in the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sanyasa) in 1959 and was named Bhaktivedanta Swami. At Radha-Damodara, Bhaktivedanta Swami began work on his life's work: a multi-volume commentated translation of the eighteen thousand verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
After publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Bhaktivedanta Swami came to the United States, in September 1965, to fulfill the order of his spiritual master. Subsequently, Bhaktivedanta Swami wrote more than fifty volumes of authoritative commentated translations and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
When he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Bhaktivedanta Swami was practically penniless. Only after almost a year of great difficulty did he establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in July of 1966. Before he passed away on November 14, 1977, he had guided the Society and seen it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes, and farm communities.
In 1972 Bhaktivedanta Swami introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. Since then his disciples have established similar schools throughout the United States and the rest of the world. This is still going on in spite of child molestions and other crimes.
Bhaktivedanta Swami also inspired the construction of several large international cultural centers in India. The center at Sridhama Mayapur is the site for a planned spiritual city, an ambitious project for which construction will extend over many years to come. In Vrndavana are the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guest house, gurukula school, and Bhaktivedanta Swami Memorial and Museum. There is also a major cultural and educational center in Bombay. Major centers are planned in Delhi and in a dozen other important locations on the Indian subcontinent.
Bhaktivedanta Swami's most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, and clarity, they are used as textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish his works, has thus become the world's largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
In just twelve years, despite his advanced age, Bhaktivedanta Swami circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. Yet this vigorous schedule did not slow his prolific literary output. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature, and culture.
In 1977 Bhaktivedanta Swami left this material world in holy Sri Vrindavan (India).
1 SENTENCE APPRECIATIONS FROM DIRECT DISCIPLES:
H.H. Mukunda Goswami ACBSP 1966: "Srila Prabhupada was not an ordinary spiritual master; he saved me.
H.H. Satsvarupa Goswami ACBSP 1966: "Srila Prabhupada gave to me, to my whole generation, and to future generations the precious gift of realization that God is not dead, but He lives in the spiritual world; we are meant to live eternally with Him in bliss and full knowledge and, as part of Prabhupada's gift, we do this by taking up bhakti-yoga, and especially the chanting of Hare Krsna."
H.H. Tamal Krsna Goswami ACBSP 1968 : "Though I had no previous qualification, Srila Prabhupada gave me His Divine association and instructions which have saved me from material existence and given me the means to perfect my human life-Krishna Consciousness, pure devotional service to His lotus feet and the lotus feet of Sri Pancha Tattva."
H.H. Hridayananda dasa Goswami ACBSP 1970: I am eternally grateful to Srila Prabhupada who gave me my real life, and I am endeavoring to dedicate that life fully to his mission, for his pleasure, for he is the pure, and most authorized representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
H.H. Sridhar Swami ACBSP 1970: "I love Srila Prabhupada because he reached out and touched my crying heart with his love and planted the seed of devotion to Krsna by which I am becoming very very happy in Krsna's service."
H.H. Kavicandra Swami ACBSP 1971: "Srila Prabhupada gave me a reason to exist, or a purpose in life, to hear about Krsna from him and to work to engage others, hopefully everyone, in hearing about Krsna from Srila Prabhupad."
H.H. Harikesa Swami ACBSP : "Srila Prabhupada gave me what no other person in my entire existence within this material world could ever give me, connection to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and the easy, sublime and certain means to return to the spiritual world."
H.H. Prahladananda Swami ACBSP : "When I met Srila Prabhupada I met a pure devotee of God (Krsna) from the spiritual world who kindly came to bring me and everyone else back home."
H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami ACBSP 1971: "I would like to broadcast at the top of my voice that Srila Prabhupada is the embodiment of Srila Naradamuni and Srila Vyasadeva of the 20th century who traveled and flooded the entire world with Sri Harinama mahamantra and who gave the immense literatures of the science and philosophy of Krishna consciousness for freeing everyone from material bondage."
H.H. Bir Krishna Goswami ACBSP : "Srila Prabhupada gave me an eternal mission to serve him in working for the benefit of all living entities by preaching Krishna consciousness."
H.H. Umapati Swami ACBSP 1966: "Srila Prabhupada gave me everything when he gave me Krsna, and he gave me still more when he gave me himself for my spiritual master."
H.H. Bhakti Raghava Swami ACBSP 1974: " No one can compare to you Srila Prabhupada who has saved me and countless others from the darkness of illusion by so mercifully giving the most precious of all gifts, pure devotional service in Krishna consciousness."
H.H. Radhanath Swami ACBSP 1973: " I offer my life and soul to Srila Prabhupada who has offered his unlimited compassion to the fallen souls as the supreme sacrifice for the pleasure Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the previous acharyas."
H.G. Guru Dasa ACBSP 1967: "His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is the kindest, wisest, most determined, non-compromising, open-minded personality I have ever come in contact with; His Divine Grace has given us everything by bringing Krishna Consciousness everywhere; His compassion and patience taught me invaluable spiritual lessons, and brought You to me, my Vaishnava family."
H.G. Badrinarayana Dasa ACBSP 1970: "When I heard Srila Prabhupad say on the Cintamini album....`The residents of Vrndaban have no desires to fulfill...still they have variegated transcendental desires to please their Lord in loving service'......all the peaces of my long philosophical search fell into place; freedom from attachment, lust, karma, and re-incarnation did not mean formlessness or void...but ever-fresh and increasingly sweet devotional service; how can I ever repay His Divine Grace?"
H.G. Svavas Dasa ACBSP : When on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada I told him how I and some other sankirtana men were distributing as many of his books as we could and had plans to distribute so many more, Srila Prabhupada stopped and looked straight at me and said, "Just see, this is my real devotee."
H.G. Gaura Mandala Bhumi Dasa ACBSP 1973: Srila Prabhupada spoke this to me in a dream when I was in Secunderabad a few years ago, Srila Prabhupada said, ''Are you ready to leave your body and come back to Godhead with me RIGHT NOW?''
H.G. Nalini-kanta Dasa ACBSP 197: "Srila Prabhupada gave me a loving example of how my consciousness should be fixed in God's service and radiating kindness and compassion to other living entities, rather than absorbed in self-achievement and gratification under the dictates of illusion."
H.G. Bhakta Dasa ACBSP 1970: "We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being." SB 1.1.22 What can say it better???
H.G. Tridandi Dasa ACBSP: 'Dear Srila Prabhupada I'm always praying the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, the Origin of all knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness also, to please never let me forget Your divine instructions and wonderful pastimes; so that wherever I'll be, I'll never loose Your association, my only life and soul.'
H.G. Dravida Dasa ACBSP : "I offer millions of prostrated obeisances to the lotus feet of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who has blessed me and countless others with two priceless gifts--the holy name of Krsna, and the means for becoming qualified to chant the name purely."
H.G. Agrahya das ACBSP 1976: At one stroke you vanquished all crooked and blind philosophies, and by your transcendental association gave us the opportunity to enter into the devotional service of Sri Vrindavana Dhama. Also, a Sanskrit sloka,
adhama-gan hi rupanugayate
sa vikarotu mam daitya-cetasam
H.G. Dayananda Dasa ACBSP : "Srila Prabhupada has given me the greatest occupation, chanting Hare Krishna, the greatest philosophy, Bhagavad-Gita, and the greatest companions, Vaishnavas, thus I pray to satisfy his desire to spread his movement everywhere."
H.G. Brahmananda Dasa ACBSP 1966: "Srila Prabhupada convinced me that God lives and we can live with Him."
H.G. Nrsimhananda Dasa ACBSP : "Srila Prabhupada bestowed VAISNAVA ASSOCIATION upon me which satsified my mind's need to engage in meaningful activities, pacified my heart's yearning for true friendship, and facilitated my tongue's insatiable desire for prasadam."
H.G. Drutakarma Dasa ACBSP 1976: "Srila Prabhupada, you have shown the world and me the real definition of love, pure devotion to Krishna (the dearmost friend of all) through pure devotion to you, which means pure devotion to your order."
H.G. Arijit Dasa ACBSP 1971: "Thank you Prabhupada, I now know what you meant"
H.G. Vrndapati Dasa ACBSP 1974: "Srila Prabhupada, Jagat Guru, please allow this fool the immeasurable mercy of your disciples association."
H.G. Vidyapati Dasa ACBSP 1973: "Srila Prabhupada has shown me that Krishna exists and there is so much love for us to dive into, but I am so unfortunate that I am not serious enough to take advantage of his wonderful gift."
H.G. Jitakrodha Dasa ACBSP 1974: "In a life of darkness, with no thought or belief in God, or anything pious, Srila Prabhupada brought the light of Godhead into my life illuminating me with spiritual truth and giving purpose and brilliance to my life."
H.G. Yajnesah Dasa ACBSP 1976: "Shrila Prabhupada came from the spiritual world to break the dam that stopped the great ocean of mercy in the form of the Sankirtan movement initiated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from flooding this entire material world, in which we were like fish struggling out of the water to get a drop of that nectar that we wanted since time immemorial."
H.G. Kalakantha Dasa ACBSP : "I had a little desire to understand God, and Srila Prabhupada fulfilled it more vigorously and throughly than humanly possible."
H.G. Naresvara Dasa ACBSP 1977: "Srila Prabhupada's magnanimity is evinced by the fact that by his mercy an unqualified ingrate such as myself is able to engage in devotional service to the Lord in the association of His devotees.
H.G. Brahma-muhurta dasa ACBSP 1976: "My Dear Srila Prabhupada, Your life is Your perfect lesson of pure devotional Love, Your Love contains all that is wonderfull, beautiful, compassionate pure and true, O' my Dearest Master, Father and Friend how I wish to be with You! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna...
H.G. Bhutatma Dasa ACBSP : "Prabhupada, dearmost servant of Krishna, your preaching stems the madness by invoking Reality, your sweet voice leads the world in the Great Chanting for Deliverance.
H.G. Vasanta Dasa ACBSP 1976: "I am eternally greatful for the association from the pure spiritual world, our dearest master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada."
H.G. Dina Sharana Dasa ACBSP: 1976: "There is a living God, a spiritual world, I can go there, we can all go there, and he wants us to go, Back to Godhead, all glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, who has brought us this news."
H.G. Sankarsana dasa (ACBSP: 1971 "Dear Srila Prabhupada, You are everything to me. Without you my life has no meaning and no purpose. Please allow me to never for all of eternity forget that you are my eternal spiritual father. And please bless me that I can always serve you in any way which pleases you very much."
H.G. Malati Dasi ACBSP 1967: "Srila Prabhupada: the supreme personality of guru-ship, loving mercy, compassion ---the beloved of his devotees--the guru of gurus (may our hearts always reside at your lotus feet)."
Hrsikesananda das ACBSP 1967: "Iti tad bhajanad gatavan pramadam pranamami sada prabhupada padam"