His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Mayapur Vrindavan Trust’s Founder
In 1965, at the age of 69, Shrila Prabhupada travelled to New York City aboard a cargo ship. The journey was treacherous, and the elderly spiritual teacher suffered 2 heart attacks aboard ship. Arriving in the United States with just 7 dollars in Indian rupees and his translations of sacred Sanskrit texts, he began to spread the teachings of Krishna consciousness. His spiritual message resonated with many young people, some of whom came forward to become serious students of the Krishna tradition. With the help of these students, Shrila Prabhupada rented a small storefront on New York’s Lower East Side to use as a temple. On July 11, 1966, he officially registered his organization in the state of New York, formally founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
In the 11 years that followed, Shrila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours, bringing the teachings of Lord Krishna to thousands of people on 6 continents. Men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life came forward to accept his message, and with their help, Shrila Prabhupada established ISKCON centers and projects throughout the world. Under his inspiration, Krishna devotees established temples, rural communities, and educational institutions and started what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program. With the desire to nourish the roots of Krishna consciousness in its home, Shrila Prabhupada returned to India several times, where he sparked a revival in the Vaishnava tradition. In India, he opened dozens of temples, including large centers in the holy towns of Vrindavan and Mayapur.
Shrila Prabhupada’s most significant contributions, perhaps, are his books. He authored over 70 volumes on the Krishna tradition, which are highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, fidelity to the tradition and clarity. Several of his works are used as textbooks in university courses. His writings have been translated into 76 languages. His most prominent works include: Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam and the set of Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita books.