Śrīla Prabhupāda

 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness



When His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda entered the port of New York City on September 17, 1965 few Americans took notice — but he was not merely another immigrant. He was on a mission to introduce the ancient teachings of Vedic India into mainstream America.  Before Śrīla Prabhupāda passed away on November 14, 1977 at the age of 81, his mission proved successful. He had founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and saw it grow into a worldwide confederation of more than 100 temples, ashrams and cultural centers.

Śrīla Prabhupāda was born Abhay Charan De on September 1, 1896 to a pious Hindu family in Calcutta. As a youth growing up in British-controlled India, Abhay became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement to secure independence for his nation. It was, however, a 1922 meeting with a prominent scholar and religious leader, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, which proved most influential on Abhay’s future calling. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta was a leader in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava denomination, a monotheistic tradition within the broad Hindu culture, and asked Abhay to bring the teachings of Lord Kṛṣṇa to the English-speaking world. Abhay became a disciple of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta in 1933, and resolved to carry out his mentor’s request. Abhay, later known by the honorific Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, spent the next 32 years preparing for his journey west.

In 1965, at the age of sixty-nine, Śrīla Prabhupāda traveled to New York City aboard a cargo ship. The journey was treacherous, and the elderly spiritual teacher suffered two heart attacks aboard ship. Arriving in the United States with just seven dollars in Indian rupees and his translations of sacred Sanskrit texts, Śrīla Prabhupāda began to share the timeless wisdom of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. His message of peace and goodwill resonated with many young people, some of whom came forward to become serious students of the Kṛṣṇa tradition.  With the help of these students, Śrīla Prabhupāda 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.

In the eleven years that followed, Śrīla Prabhupāda circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours, bringing the teachings of Lord Kṛṣṇa to thousands of people on six continents.  Men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life came forward to accept his message, and with their help, Śrīla Prabhupāda established ISKCON centers and projects throughout the world. Under his inspiration, Kṛṣṇa devotees established temples, rural communities, educational institutions, and started what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program.    With the desire to nourish the roots of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in its home, Śrīla Prabhupāda returned to India several times, where he sparked a revival in the Vaiṣṇava tradition. In India, he opened dozens of temples, including large centers in the holy towns of Vṛndāvana and Māyāpura.

Śrīla Prabhupāda‘s most significant contributions, perhaps, are his books.  He authored over 70 volumes on the Kṛṣṇa 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 numerous college courses.  His writings have been translated into 76 languages. His most prominent works include:  Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, the 30-volume Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the 17-volume Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.


Working and traveling in the 12-year period from early 1966 until late 1977, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Śrīla Prabhupāda), ISKCON’s Founder- Ācārya, wrote more than 70 books, mostly translations with commentary of Vedic scriptures rendered into English. The publishing arm of ISKCON, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), was established in 1972. The BBT soon became the world’s largest publisher and distributor of books on Indian philosophy and religion.

The BBT, as of January 2009, had printed over 500 million books and magazines in more than 60 languages.



Translations with commentary

• Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is (1968)
• Śrī Īśopanishad (1969)
• Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1972–77) (Vols.)
• Caitanya-caritāmrta (1974) (Vols.)
• The Nectar of Instruction (1975) [21]

Summary studies

• Teachings of Lord Caitanya (1969)
• Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (1970)
• The Nectar of Devotion (1970) [21]

Other works published within Prabhupāda’s lifetime

• Beyond Illusion and Doubt (1967)
• Search for Liberation (1969)
• Easy Journey to Other Planets (1970)
• Krishņa Consciousness: The Topmost Yoga System (1970)
• Beyond Birth and Death (1972)
• The Perfection of Yoga (1972)
• On The Way to Krishņa (1973)
• Rāja-vidyā: The King of Knowledge (1973)
• Elevation to Krishņa Consciousness (1973)
• Krishņa Consciousness: The Matchless Gift (1974)
• Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers (1977)
• Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahūtī (1977)
• The Science of Self-Realization (1977)
• Back to Godhead magazine (founder)[21]

Bengali writings
• Geetār-gan
• Vairāgya-vidyā
• Buddhi-yoga
• Bhakti-ratna-boli[21]

Published posthumously
• Light of the Bhāgavata (1978)
• Teachings of Queen Kuntī (1978)
• Life Comes From Life (1978)
• Krishna, The Reservoir of Pleasure (1972)
• Chant and Be Happy (1982)
• Coming Back (1983?)
• Path of Perfection (1989)
• Nārada bhakti sūtra (1991)
• Mukunda-mālā-stotra (1989)
• A Second Chance (1991)
• Journey of Self Discovery (1991)
• Laws of Nature: An Infallible Justice (1991)
• Renunciation Through Wisdom (1992)
• Quest for Enlightenment (1993)
• The Path of Yoga (1995)
• Message of Godhead (1996?)
• Civilization and Transcendence (1998)
• Dharma: The Way of Transcendence (1998)
• Introduction to Bhagavad-gītā (2005)[21]