AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Śrï Śrïmad AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupãda during his stay in Germany in 1974

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (born September 1, 1896 in Calcutta , India , † November 14, 1977 in Vrindavan ; real name: Abhay Charan De fearless under the protection of the lotus feet of the Lord ) was an author of religious books, commentator and translator of well-known holy scriptures of the Hinduism and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON ).

On a morning walk with Karlfried Graf Dürckheim


Abhay grew up in a modest family in Calcutta . His father's worship of Krishna had a great influence on him . As a youth he became a supporter of Gandhi , but he later broke away from his convictions.

Between 1916 and 1920 Abhay attended Scottish Church College in Kolkata, where he learned about Christianity and the Western lifestyle. He befriended a Christian teacher, William Spence Urquhart , whose Bible study he attended daily.

In 1922 he met his spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati , the leader of the organization Gaudiya Math (Order of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas ) for the first time . This convinced the young Abhay to translate the writings and teachings of the Gaudiya Vaishnava religion into the English language and to spread them through missionary work . Initially, however, Abhay was active as a distributor of pharmaceutical products. In 1933 Abhay received formal initiation as a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

Abhay published the magazine Back to Godhead in 1944 without help . At the time, however, the magazine was unsuccessful. Today it is continued by his students. In its heyday in the 1970s, it had a monthly circulation of several million copies and was translated into up to 19 languages.

In 1947 the Gaudiya Vaishnava Society honored Gaudiya Math Abhay with the title Bhaktivedanta (see Bhakti and Vedanta ) .

Abhay Bhaktivedanta withdrew more and more from family life from 1950 in order to be able to devote more time to his studies and writing. He lived in the medieval temple of Radha-Damodara, in Vrindavan , a place of pilgrimage in northern India. In 1959 he accepted an initiation as a mendicant monk and traveling preacher ( sannyasa ) from his sannyasa guru Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja in the Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math in Mathura .

In 1965 AC Bhaktivedanta Swami traveled to the United States of America . His early followers, almost exclusively youngsters of the emerging hippie movement, called him Swamiji and later Prabhupada .

A year later he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON ). In just a decade, the community grew into an organization with around 100 temples, schools, institutes and farm communities. AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada dictated numerous books, gave lectures, founded temples and helped his up to ten thousand disciples organize ISKCON. He also introduced the annual traditional Ratha-Yatra chariot festivals, during which images of gods are carried in temple chariots ( Ratha ), in many western cities. In 1972 the first Gurukula school was opened, which is based on the Vedic system of elementary and secondary education. Despite his old age, he traveled around the world several times.

In 1977 AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada died in Vrindavan after several months of severe suffering. Until a short time before his death he dictated commentaries on the Srimad- Bhagavatam , a classic of Puranic literature.

While still alive, Prabhupada set up a multi-person body, the Governing Body Commission (GBC), which determines the main direction and strategy of ISKCON on an international level through majority resolutions. Since his death, the GBC has played the role of his successor as an institution.


Honored by his successors and disciples as "His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada" ( His Divine Grace ... ) or "Srila Prabhupada" ( Holy Prabhupada ) and "Founding Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness" can be found today in the Most of the ISKCON temples around the world have an almost lifelike image of their founder. A ceremonial offering is made to this figure every day and it is respected and cared for to the same extent as the actual figures of the respective temple (mostly by Krishna or Chaitanya ).

His annotated translations of the most important works of the Vaishnavas received worldwide attention . These are mainly commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita ( Bhagavad-gītā as it is ) , on the Srimad Bhagavatam (in twelve volumes) and on the Chaitanya Charitamrita (in eleven volumes), which have been printed in millions of copies and have been translated into many languages ​​and are still today are still available. There are also several smaller works, often compilations of lectures and conversations, which are sold by the members of ISKCON and distributed on the street for a donation, for example a summary of the 10th Cantos of the Bhagavatapuranas entitled “Krishna - The Source of All Joy ".

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Satsvarupa das Goswami : Prabhupada Lilamrita , Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles 1993, ISBN 978-0-89213-357-4
  2. ^ Graham Dwyer, Richard J. Cole: The Hare Krishna movement: forty years of chant and change . IB Tauris & Co Ltd, London 2007, ISBN 978-1-84511-407-7
  3. ISBN 0-89213-083-0 PDF: Volume 1 (PDF; 1.3 MB) Volume 2 (PDF; 1.3 MB) online

Web links

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